A Review of Wolfpack: how to come together, unleash our power, and change the game by Abby Wambach
Okay, let’s just get this over with- it’s hard for me not to think about Zach Galifianakis’ character, Alan, from The Hangover making a certain toast, every time I pick up my copy of Abby Wambach’s Wolfpack. There, I said it. Abby is a champion, so I know she can take that one small piece of criticism (actually, it’s probably more self-criticism, but I’m...some guy who writes infrequent short, lame, book reviews, so I can take it too). Abby Wambach’s “Wolfpack speech,” originally delivered as a commencement address for Barnard College students, and this ensuing expansion, is inspiring, powerful, and necessary.
The essence of Wambach’s book is in her comparison between what she sees as the “old rules,” which codify a series of messages society has been directing towards women and girls, and her own “new rules” which admonish all of us to be confident, driven, and team-oriented.
Those new rules are:
Create your own path (we can’t allow others to limit what our lives will amount to and we can’t wait for society to make the changes we need to happen in order to pursue our dreams- we have to take charge of our own destinies).
Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve (the old message of being grateful for what we have is meant to disempower and sideline the many to benefit the few. Being grateful is good advice, but it’s not enough. As I frequently remind my daughter, you aren’t going to get what you want if you don’t ask for it).
Lead now- from wherever you are (this is my favorite rule and one of my favorite sections of the book. Abby says, “If you’re not a leader on the bench, don’t call yourself a leader on the field” and, “Leadership is not a position to earn, it’s an inherent power to claim”).
Failure means you’re finally IN the game (taking risks means failures happen and what’s important is how we respond to them. Abby says, “A champion never allows a short-term failure to take her out of the long-term game”).
Be FOR each other (play for your teammates and share credit. Abby says, “Revolutions are won with collective action”).
Believe in yourself. Demand the ball (don’t be afraid to be powerful. When we unapologetically go all-out we give others permission to do their best, also).
Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders (we don’t need more followers. The team succeeds better when everyone leads).
You’re not alone. You’ve got your Pack.
This book is for everyone. Yes, it is aimed primarily at young women. And why the heck not? But everyone who wants to be a better leader, manager, teammate, person in general is the audience for Abby Wambach’s book. And soccer fans- there’s plenty of great anecdotes from the career of one of the greatest players of all time.
Other helpful reviews:
By Jill Celeste Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach – Celestial UniversityBy Mandy Stewart A Message My Sixteen-year-old Self Needed to Hear: Review of Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game (2019) by Abby Wambach – Review by Mandy Stewart | Nerdy Book Club (wordpress.com)
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