If you’re even a little familiar with professional soccer, you’re likely familiar with Pep Guardiola. He has, after all, made a name for himself by having enormous success at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City. That being the case, it will be quite obvious to you that Pep Guardiola: The Evolution, which was written as Pep was transitioning from Bayern to City, is mainly a soccer book. There’s lots of discussion of tactics and other soccer-specific concepts. So if you don’t follow that sport, this might be a challenging read.

That said, however, there is a volleyball connection. We can thank Julio Velasco there, as he and Pep have apparently become good friends. And this isn’t just a background thing. Velasco comes up several times in the book.

Now, you may wonder why go for a book from 2016. Perhaps even more so when it focuses on a guy who’s been coaching at another club for all the intervening years. The answer is pretty simple, and it’s in the book’s title.


At Barcelona, Pep essentially carried on a system that existed since well before he got there. Obviously, he brought his own particular approach and was very successful. Still, he didn’t need to do tons of adaptation and was a pretty new coach. Going to Bayern was something different. Bayern has a legacy of success, but it’s a very different culture with a different style of play. As the book relates, Pep took that job so he could grow in his craft. The narrative mainly focuses on exactly that.

One funny observation. The book’s narrator clearly didn’t know who Vince Lombardi was and thought he was some Italian coach. When sharing a quote attributed to the football coaching legend, he pronounced Vince as VIN-chay. lol

Anyway, if you’re like me and interested in seeing how other coaches think and work – even those from outside your sport – this could be worth a read. As I said, a reasonable understanding of soccer is useful in this case, however. This is another book I consumed via audio – mainly while walking. It’s definitely a lot longer than Coach to Coach, though!

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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