My Life in Books

7 books that inspired CBC Olympics reporter Colleen Jones

The champion curler and CBC reporter discusses the books that have inspired her throughout her life.
Colleen Jones is a champion curler who is covering her 10th Olympic Games. (CBC)

Champion curler Colleen Jones will be CBC's reporter on the ground in PyeongChang, covering Team Canada as they attempt to strike gold once again in curling at the Olympic Winter Games, which take place Feb. 9-25, 2018. 

Below, Jones shares seven books that have inspired her throughout her life.

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

This classic children's book from 1930 was written by Arnold Munk, who used the pseudonym Watty Piper. (Grosset & Dunlap)

"Coming from a family of nine, dad on Saturdays would put us all in the station wagon and he would take us to the library on Spring Garden Road in Halifax. I remember not being able to read, but I liked the picture of that little engine going up the hill. I kept taking it out every time we went to the library. I loved the story of the engine that was too small for anything and would end up coming to rescue. 'He thought he could, he thought he could, he thought he could' — that mantra has followed me through my entire life."

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery is best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. (NATARK-Canadian Press/Pan Macmillan)

"I love what Lucy Maud Montgomery did with Anne of Green Gables. This was a bright girl, with bright red hair, and nobody wanted her. Even when Matthew went to pick her up at the train station he was looking for a boy, not a girl. She was incredibly strong and wonderful. She turned the whole village around, she turned the farm around. Reading that as a young girl, that was a book that said, 'You are absolutely limitless.'"

Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson, pictured above at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, describes lessons learned as the coach of the three-time national champion Chicago Bulls team. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

"I look at a lot of psychology books just because as a curler you need to make yourself tough as nails in order to face the fear, face the failure, face the challenge. If you are just a little mentally not ready, you're going to lose. You realize that going into your battle. Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson opened by eyes to the need of visualization, meditation, all of that stuff, in order to get your head in the right place."

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Brazilian author Paul Coehlo published The Alchemist in 1988. (Matej Divizna/HarperOne)

"Those books helped me prioritize life a little bit and see there's a destiny laid out for you and that made me a peaceful curler. To prepare for a curling game, I would routinely be so nervous, so high energy, feeling sick to my stomach, not able to sleep — just so stressed about making sure I was always perfect. That carried with it an anxiety level that is not a healthy place to live. I was always in fight/flight mode and curling season goes on for seven months of the year. I needed to bring that down and be as competitive and fired up as I could, but be at peace with the outcome and at peace with the results."

Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect by Dr. Robert J. Rotella and Robert Cullen

Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect is a nonfiction book about Bob Rotella's approach to performance consulting in sports. (Simon & Schuster)

"As an athlete I was always looking for perfection all of the time. Yet, stuff comes up that is not in your control, like ice conditions. Or maybe someone else on your team isn't feeling well that day. You have to learn to accept imperfection in sport. Things are not always going to be as you envision. Having covered sports and the Olympics, I know a lot of stuff goes wrong."

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War is attributed to Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, and is believed to date back to 5th century B.C. (Dover Publications)

"The Art of War by Sun Tzu is on a lot of athletes' list of books to read. The big message is to know yourself and know your enemy. That helped me understand that I need to be true to my style of play and I also need to study my opponent enough to know what they're going to do in every strategy scenario. While I'd never know it all, I could be at least a little bit more aware of what they're going to do and when."

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

American Pema Chödrön draws from Buddhism for lessons on how to cope with difficult circumstances. (Shambhala)

"Pema Chödrön teaches be at peace with where you're at now. Once you come to the acceptance of it, you stop fighting. I must admit, I really put it to work. When the doctors came and said, 'We need to do a spinal tap' and my husband said 'No,' I was able to say calmly, 'We're doing a spinal tap now.' It made me more peaceful, more accepting. I am much more accepting of what is, than I was. I was trying to control the outcome of everything, but you realize, you don't have a lot of control, so let's just let that go."


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