Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry

Date(s) - 10/29/2020
7:00 pm-8:00 pm


October 29, 7-8 p.m.



Is team chemistry real, and if so exactly what is it? These are the questions acclaimed journalist Joan Ryan spent nearly 10 years in pursuit of answers, which she delivers in her powerful new book, “Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry.” The Great Fenway Park Writers Series is thrilled to announce that Ms. Ryan will be joining us in a free Zoom presentation on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in what promises to be a compelling discussion with implications that go far beyond the world of clubhouses and locker rooms and into our own workplaces, classrooms, and homes. Register right here!

While “Intangibles” draws upon a range of disciplines—including neuroscience, sociology and psychology—in its investigation of team chemistry, the book also draws upon more than 200 interviews Ms. Ryan conducted with such notables as Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr; Hall of Fame women’s college and Olympics basketball coach Tara VanDerveer; Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa; home run record-holder Barry Bonds; former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes; and retired NATO commander Stanley McChrystal.

Ms. Ryan, one of the first female sports columnists in the country (San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle), is the author of five books, including Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, which had a transformative effect on the world of women’s gymnastics and was named one of the Top 100 Sports Books of all time by Sports Illustrated. She also wrote a New York Times best-seller, was a ground-breaking and award-winning columnist for the Examiner and Chroncle in San Francisco and is now a media consultant for the San Francisco Giants.

We urge you to join us for this vital, provocative and potentially game-changing evening. You may register here:

The Great Fenway Park Writers Series would like to encourage you to make use of the great local bookstores in your community! For this event, we have partnered with Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury.


If you don’t live in Boston, you might consider looking for an independent bookstore closer to home.

*Donations to the Red Sox Foundation are Encouraged


From Ms. Ryan’s website:

“Weaving cutting-edge research in sociology, psychology, and neuroscience, with page-turning storytelling, Ryan takes us on a fascinating and wide-ranging investigation that spans from Oracle Park in San Francisco —where an improbable group of players were transformed into a World Series-winning dynasty—to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where coach Tara VanDerveer brought a struggling USA Women’s basketball team back from the brink. Along the way we are presented with a definitive model of how team chemistry works, one that boldly argues that the phenomenon is not a gimmick, but is, in fact, an innate human construct with a single function: to elevate performance.

“With wide-ranging implications, Ryan’s theory illustrates how a certain combination of biological and social forces can boost selfless effort while simultaneously encouraging us to be the best versions of ourselves. How these elements interact are what determines if a team will “click” and create an atmosphere of trust and respect that will push an individual to perform better on a team than they could alone.

“A ground-breaking examination that promises to transform how sports and business leaders think about high performance, Intangibles finally proves how, in this eternal dance of human tribes, all of us affect each other, profoundly influencing who we are and how we function within our own teams of colleagues, friends and family.”