Taking the Lead: Winning Business Principles that Fuel Joe Gibbs Racing

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Taking the Lead: Winning Business Principles that Fuel Joe Gibbs Racing


Dave Alpern with David Thomas


Tyndale Momentum

Publication Date:

June 2021




272 pages


Dave Alpern started his business career through an unpaid internship at Joe Gibbs Racing, at which point it was a new company created by a former football coach without any reputation in the racing world. He discusses his unexpected development over the years, not just becoming an important part of Joe Gibbs’ circle, but ultimately becoming the president of the company. He discusses his path from the company’s earliest days and lessons he learned along the way about what matters.

“How to succeed in life” books by executives are often hampered by several things. First, executives who make great speeches are not always good at creating words for the printed page. Second, there books are usually more flash than substance – one gets the impression that really the subject got to the top by fighting harder or having more charisma than anyone else. This book avoids both problems. It’s hard to say how much of the writing is by Alpern and how much is by David Thomas, but regardless, it’s better than average. Alpern is also humble throughout, admitting he wasn’t sure at first what his role would be in Joe Gibbs Racing. As he puts it, he began at “the T-shirt guy,” handing out promotional t-shirts and so forth at events. He also knew Joe Gibbs Racing was a family business run by Joe Gibbs and his son, which raised the question what a non-family member like Alpern would do long-term. Alpern emphasizes that he found his place by learning how to work in teams and doing what’s helpful even if it’s mundane. As he learned to give back more than he got, he found his place.

These elements make what could have been a generic book more compelling. It still has the typical nuts and bolts of an inspirational, “you can do it” business book, but there’s a sense of Christian servitude and honesty which seems genuine.

An engaging, inspirational work.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4 out of 5 stars.

Suggested Audience

Business executives seeking to learn about expanding their influence and to produce better companies, as well as NASCAR fans interested in the history of Joe Gibbs Racing.

Christian impact

Alpern repeatedly emphasizes the value of community, of working together and of learning how to give back.

Taking the Lead: Winning Business Principles That Fuel Joe Gibbs Racing

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