Player Resource: Power of Reading, Brandon Marshall

Stu Woo, Wall Street Journal (

Marshall, the 31-year-old veteran, is the bookworm of 1 Jets Drive. Of the 69 lockers in the team’s dressing room, three contain books. One belongs to Marshall, whose collection of 10 or so titles dwarfs those of guard Willie Colon and tight end Zach Sudfeld. Marshall often totes a hardcover to meetings. “He’s always reading,” fellow receiver Quincy Enunwa said.

Marshall, whom the Jets acquired in a trade with Chicago in March, has a history of legal trouble, with arrests for drunk driving, domestic violence and disorderly conduct marking his early-career stint with the Denver Broncos. But his new coaches have said they harbor no concerns about his personal life.

To prepare for football as well as his off-the-field ventures, he reads self-improvement books. In 2014, the Bears said Marshall contacted Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse after reading her book, “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment,” then attended one of her courses. This February, he loved “Boundaries With Kids” so much that he posted a photo of the book on Instagram with this caption: “Reading this to the family. One of the best book imprints for Child Rearing.”

And as the Jets prepared for the unusual challenge of playing the Miami Dolphins in London on Sunday, which required them to fly out on Thursday night and adjust their bodies for a 9:30 a.m. Eastern time kickoff, Marshall again took advice from a book.

“What I’ve learned is there’s so much changing in the NFL with a lot of things, and so much thrown at us throughout weeks and things change daily, and sometimes by the hour, and I’ve learned just to embrace it, not really complain about it,” Marshall said this week. “I’m actually reading a book right now called the ‘No Complaining Rule’ by Jon Gordon. That’s always been my approach—never to complain about it and just embrace it.”

In an interview, Gordon said the one takeaway from “Training Camp” is something he calls zoom-focus. “You wake up in the morning and you focus on, ‘What do I need to do to be my best?’ and you don’t let distractions get in the way,” he said.

In Marshall’s latest read, “No Complaining Rule,” Gordon relates a fable about a young woman named Hope who encounters calamities at her 9-to-5 office job. “The main takeaway for ‘The No Complaining Rule’ is don’t complain without a solution,” the author said, adding that the book is based on a real startup company with such a rule. “Complaining is toxic. It sabotages your team and your organization.”

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