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The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  3,036 ratings  ·  233 reviews
"Even when you have an organization brimming with talent, victory is not always under your control. There is no guarantee, no ultimate formula for success. It all comes down to intelligently and relentlessly seeking solutions that will increase your chance of prevailing. When you do that, the score will take care of itself." (Bill Walsh)

Bill Walsh is a towering figure in
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 20th 2009 by Portfolio Hardcover (first published July 3rd 2009)
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Yevgeniy Brikman
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The good: it's a fun tale of how Bill Walsh helped turn the San Francisco 49ers from the worst team in football into one of the NFL's greatest dynasties. The strongest parts of the book are those that feel like Walsh's memoir, where he shares gritty, down-to-earth stories of success and failure which allow you to extract lessons for yourself.

The bad: the story is awkwardly twisted into a "business book" format, which just doesn't work. The weakest parts of the book are when it relies heavily on
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a slower read, but very informative and helped me think about another aspect of leadership, teaching. I don't follow football, so I didn't know anything about Bill Walsh before I read this book. I picked it up because I read an article on the Harvard Business Review blog talking about his leadership style and it mentioned this book. I wanted to get a "non-corporate" perspective on leadership and coaching.

There were a couple things that really stood out to me in
Willian Molinari
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doist, audio, non-fiction
It's a great book on leadership.

I confess that I was really bored in the first 15% of the book. The beginning is boring for those who don't give a f*** about football but keep reading, it worth the journey.

Bill Walsh took the San Francisco 49ers from really bad performance (2 win/14 losses) to an amazing one (13 win/3 losses) 2 years later. He applied his organizational philosophy to the whole organization and this is what this book is about, how he managed to do that and how it works.

Here are
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
The late 49er's coach Bill Walsh and his leadership journey various football leagues are captured and descried inside. The late 49er's coach Bill Walsh and his leadership journey various football leagues are captured and descried inside. It's a unique compilation of his personal notes, interviews from peers and players all compiled by his son Craig and Steve Jamison.

This book provides a refreshing and unapologetic review of what leadership is all about; the good, the bad and often times ugly pe
Alex Ikonn
One of the best management books that I've read. Very actionable advice.
John Majors
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read book. So fantastic at so many levels.
Christian Janke
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Score Takes Care of Itself by Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh is in my mind the best book to read if you are a leader or someone of a high position in an organization. Bill Walsh was recognized as one of the highest and most esteemed coaches in all of sports history. His philosophy on leadership is unparalleled to that of any other coach or captain. That’s what this biography tries to depict his reasoning behind his coaching techniques and the insight that he has on being a successful master ...more
Jeff Beckham
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very applicable to business

There's lots to learn from Bill Walsh, with the caveat being his real secret is being a genius who knows everything about everything. That allows you to instruct every coordinator, receptionist, and grounds crew member in detail about doing their job well. I have pages of notes and especially enjoyed the football stories as a long-time 49ers fan (although you don't have to be one to like the book). A bit repetitive in places but overall a great read.
Oleksiy Kovyrin
Truly inspiring story, great leadership lessons! For many years throughout my career I had this idea, that everybody should be doing their best job and the results will come. That has been my default mode of operation for years now. It was so good to see, that the standard of performance idea worked for someone, especially in the situation like the one described in the book.

Highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to work with other people on achieving a common goal: from CEOs, to middle
Amir Salihefnedic
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best leadership books I've read.
Jane Dugger
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
I love a book that makes me think. This one did in surprising ways.

There is much about Coach Bill Walsh's philosophy I applaud: his "Standards of Performance", his idea of everyone on the team/staff were connected "success belongs to everyone" no matter the job title, and his approach to leadership "listen, learn, lead".

I was also astounded about how much I learned about football. There is method (and appreciation) to the madness of men reenacting tribal warfare. As well as how it IS a busines
Seth Davis
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this biography. Made me appreciate Bill Walsh and his perspective on coaching. My previous knowledge of him was no more than superficial. His diligence and style have much more to offer a business environment than most other sports coaches in my estimation.
Geraldine Carrillo
Just a shame that I wasn't able to meet this great human being, at least being at one of his 49ers game. Bill Walsh is a clear example of perseverance and grit. I haven't been interested in football before, never thought how complex it could be. Leadership is not in business guys...
Barron Caster
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Get the small things right.
TEELOCK Mithilesh
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
In the book, the author talks about how being a leader has more to do with your mindset than your skills. Walsh speaks about how champions behave like champions before they are champions by obsessing about improving themselves and their team and focusing on the things within their control. When they do that, the score will take care of itself. Also, it’s a great book for sports fans!
Brad Carl
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are some good leadership lessons and practices in this book. That said, I'd be apprehensive about suggesting this book to a young and upcoming leader because there are portions of Walsh's ways that resemble micromanagement.

Towards the end of the book Bill Walsh's son, Craig, wrote several pages about his late father. Much of it was repetitive and filler. But that's okay, I guess. The part that struck me most, though? Bill Walsh was apparently always bothered by the Wes
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book that not only applies to the game of football but to life and business.
Michael Huang
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
If you pardon the length and unnecessary details at times, there are gems in this book. The author is a fan of Bill Walsh and interviewed him and put together this book. The key insight is that you can control certain things: in his case what he calls "Standard of Performance", which is everybody needs to measure up to that standard of excellence. With that you can control 80% of the game. Focus on that. The other 20% is outside your control. Accept it. In a big game, it's business as usual, no ...more
Neehar Reddy
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this book. This book should be a foundational book for anyone looking to be a founder.

This join my list of business bibles alongside - high output management by Andy grove
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whether you’re a football fan or not (and in case you’re wondering: I fall squarely in the “NOT” category), this an intriguing conundrum:

How did one man take the NFL’s (arguably) worst team and, in the space of two years, produce Super Bowl champions?

In The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership, Bill Walsh shares the secrets to his impressive success as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

He talks honestly about his struggles, successes, and the principles that allowed hi
Bob Colwick
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Walsh's success on the gridiron is undisputed...whether he was reinvigorating the Stanford Cardinal with his patented West Coast offense or leading the San Francisco 49ers to 3 Super Bowls, he understood success and the importance of strong leadership in making it happen. This book is the result of Bill looking back upon his career and seeing what life lessons others can glean from his experiences...surrounding yourself with a strong support network (such as his 49ers coaching staff that helped ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book 10 stars out of 5. This is perhaps the greatest book written till date on leadership. Bill Walsh was essentially the underdog who proved his critics wrong by becoming the greatest coach NFL has ever had. What is more eye opening is the fact that he was empathetic towards his players. It was perhaps an eclectic mix of discipline, street smartness and unconventional wisdom coupled with deep knowledge about the game that helped Bill Walsh shape the greatest team in NFL ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
I admit that I did not read this entire book. I listened past the point of Mr. Walsh saying that the consequences to an employee who went around him to his boss to express concerns about his goals was to fire this this employee for "going over his head" thinking to myself that perhaps Mr. Walsh was a bit old-school and there might be redeeming qualities yet to be heard. But I gave it up as a bad cause when he said his criteria for hiring included only those that would conform to his way of think ...more
Jonathan Torrey
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-books
Paradigm-shifting book on leadership, management and relationships. Major successes do not happen overnight - they take time, dedication, preparation and attention to detail.

Bill Walsh took the 49ers from the worst team in football to Superbowl champions by his 3rd season with them. He gleaned some incredible insight not only from that transformation but of his own evolution as a coach (starting from the bottom) to achieve goals.

A must-read book for any aspiring leaders, changers, motivators,
Maciej Witowski
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly down-to-earth book about leadership, from the master football coach. If you're interested in getting the top performance individually, as a team or as an organization, Bill Walsh is the person you should be listening to. What's really unique is that he tells the story not only about going from the bottom to the top (from the very worst team in NFL to winning multiple Super Bowls) but also about the price he paid for it.
Muhammad Hakim Asy'ari
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bill Walsh used micromanagement to turn his football team from the worst team in NFL to become winner (winning several super bowl).
The point was that every role within the company had a “standard of performance,” and that if everyone knew what that standard was and strived for it, high performance would naturally result on the field, and the score would take care of itself.
Robert Parker
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Master class in coaching and teaching. Great insights and cautions.
Lorenzo Bovitutti
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Several highly intelligent ideas.
Unfortunately, it’s repetitive and there’s too much football.
“There is no guarantee, no ultimate formula for success. However, a resolute and resourceful leader understands that there are a multitude of means to increase the probability of success. And that’s what it all comes down to, namely, intelligently and relentlessly seeking solutions that will increase your chance of prevailing in a competitive environment. When you do that, the score will take care of i
Adam Bratt
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author compiled this memoir on Bill Walsh's leadership in a way that packages everything into bite size pieces of advice. It makes it easy to pull out nuggets but at the same time doesn't really leave the reader with much of a framework.

That said, there are some absolutely amazing pieces here with some great anecdotes attached to them that are important in any leadership position:

- Being able to be both intense and relaxed. Before Super Bowl games he would break the tension in the room and j
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I took advantage of the time to read “The Score Takes Care of Itself“, written by Bill Walsh with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh. After reading several books on running, it was nice to read about a different sport (football) and about management and leadership. The book is sub-titled: “My Philosophy of Leadership“. The book is copywrite in 2009 and must have come out shortly after Walsh’s death.

I found it to be a VERY fast read and a very interesting one as well. Of course, being a 49ers fan, i
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1. Do expect defeat. It’s a given when the stakes are high and the competition is working ferociously to beat you. If you’re surprised when it happens, you’re dreaming; dreamers don’t last long.
2. Do force yourself to stop looking backward and dwelling on the professional “train wreck” you have just been in. It’s mental quicksand.
3. Do allow yourself appropriate recovery—grieving—time. You’ve been knocked senseless; give yourself a little time to recuperate. A keyword here is “little.” Don’t let it drag on.
4. Do tell yourself, “I am going to stand and fight again,” with the knowledge that often when things are at their worst you’re closer than you can imagine to success. Our Super Bowl victory arrived less than sixteen months after my “train wreck” in Miami.
5. Do begin planning for your next serious encounter. The smallest steps—plans—move you forward on the road to recovery. Focus on the fix.

1. Don’t ask, “Why me?”
2. Don’t expect sympathy.
3. Don’t bellyache.
4. Don’t keep accepting condolences.
5. Don’t blame others.”
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