'A Season on the Brink'

Davis's favorite book is not a controversial choice. 'A Season on the Brink' is John Feinstein's magnum opus about the Indiana University basketball program's 1985–86 season and a psychological profile of controversial coach Bobby Knight. The book created a new genre: fly-on-the-wall descriptions of a single team's campaigns.

"He had the foresight and the ability to recognize that he had unique access to a unique human being," Davis says. "To me, that book is a textbook on the power of access, which you don't always get."

The book became a teaching tool to Davis – literally. Davis took a course at Duke taught by Feinstein in which the author assigned his own bestseller. Davis adds that although the book became popular in large part for detailing Knight's provocative coaching approach – "there was so much profanity" – Feinstein masterfully revealed "the man's humanity and his good sides, too. He really presented Knight in full."