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41. Jackie Robinson : A Biography
$18.95 $2.52
42. Values of the Game
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43. Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big
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44. And Then the Shark Told Justin:
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45. Hogan
46. Golf in the Kingdom
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47. October 1964
48. Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of
49. Everyone's a Coach: You Can Inspire
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50. Knight : My Story
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51. Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan
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52. Ted Williams : The Biography of
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54. Putting Like a Genius
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55. Be the Ball: An Audio Recording
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56. When Pride Still Mattered : A
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57. Total Body Golf: Seven Steps to
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58. Rise & Walk: The Trial &
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59. The Dark Side of the Game : My
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60. The Natural

41. Jackie Robinson : A Biography
list price: $4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679460071
Catlog: Book (1997-09-16)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 623501
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

4 cassettes / 4 hours
Read by LeVar Burton

AudioBook contains the historic recording of Jackie Robinson's Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech.

The extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson is illuminated as never before in this full-scale biography by Arnold Rampersad, who was chosen by Jack's widow, Rachel, to tell her husband's story, and was given unprecedented access to his private papers. We are brought closer than we have ever been to the great ballplayer, a man of courage and quality who became a pivotal figure in the areas of race and civil rights.

Born in the rural South, the son of a sharecropper, Robinson was reared in southern California. We see him blossom there as a student-athlete as he struggled against poverty and racism to uphold the beliefs instilled in him by his mother--faith in family, education, America, and God.

We follow Robinson through World War II, when, in the first wave of racial integration in the armed forces, he was commissioned as an officer, then court-martialed after refusing to move to the back of a bus. After he plays in the Negro National League, we watch the opening of an all-American drama as, late in 1945, Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers recognized Jack as the right player to break baseball's color barrier--and the game was forever changed.

Jack's never-before-published letters open up his relationship with his family, especially his wife, Rachel, whom he married just as his perilous venture of integrating baseball began. Her memories are a major resource of the narrative as we learn about the severe harassment Robinson endured from teammates and opponents alike; about death threats and exclusion; about joy and remarkable success. We watch his courageous response to abuse, first as a stoic endurer, then as a fighter who epitomized courage and defiance.

We see his growing friendship with white players like Pee Wee Reese and the black teammates who followed in his footsteps, and his embrace by Brooklyn's fans. We follow his blazing career: 1947, Rookie of the Year; 1949, Most Valuable Player; six pennants in ten seasons, and 1962, induction into the Hall of Fame.

But sports were merely one aspect of his life. We see his business ventures, his leading role in the community, his early support of Martin Luther King Jr., his commitment to the civil rights movement at a crucial stage in its evolution; his controversial associations with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Humphrey, Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and Malcolm X.

Rampersad's magnificent biography leaves us with an indelible image of a principled man who was passionate in his loyalties and opinions: a baseball player who could focus a crowd's attention as no one before or since; an activist at the crossroads of his people's struggle; a dedicated family man whose last years were plagued by illness and tragedy, and who died prematurely at fifty-two. He was a pathfinder, an American hero, and he now has the biography he deserves.
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book cooks!
I wasn't a huge baseball fan when I started this book, but I'd heard of Jackie Robinson. I used to think I knew who he was. Well, you don't anything until you read this book! The comforting text inches over every exciting aspect of Jackie Robinson's life. It was written using information that Jackie Robinson's wife provided for the first time. The topics range from rising above racism to sharing personal family experiences. If you love baseball, this book is absolutely for you. However, if you're not really into sports (like me), then you'll still adore this true-life story that seems almost unreal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings the Legend who was Jackie Robinson to life.
In his excellent biography of Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson, author Arnold Rampersad has painted with a crisp and lively narrative an objective, balanced , and candid portrait of a legend. Here is seen the complex, driven man that was Jackie Robinson, "warts" and all. He was the proud and fiercely determined African American athlete, extraordinarily gifted in at least four sports; a sometimes overly sensitive man who despised racism always fought against it, even in the pre-Civil Rights era of the 1930s and 1940s, and even at the risk of conviction by military court-martial. He used an unconquerable will and ambition to became a football, baseball, basketball and track star at Pasadena Junior College; one of the greatest football running backs in UCLA history, and ultimately, under the guidance of legendary Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, the first African American professional baseball player of the modern era. Rampersad traces Robinson's struggle against racism during his early Dodger years; it is a poignant and compelling story.

The book also shows the more human side of Robinson: a quiet and sensitive man, and a political activist whose fight for racial equality was consistent throughout his life; a wonderfully loving husband but sometimes distant father; and a businessman of tremendous integrity. At Rampersad's hands, Jackie Robinson is a genuinely heroic and admirable person. This is a book which allows the reader to really get to know its subject. It is one of the finest biographies I've read in many years. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific Read
This biography does an outstanding job of giving an overview of Robinson's life and times, from his early, awnry but talented years in Pasadena, through UCLA, then the military, and then the Brooklyn Dodgers and beyond. It paints a picture of a strong willed gentleman with enormous pride, dedicated to his family, and dedicated to the idea of racial integration and equality. The influences of his mother on his early, somewhat (understandably) confrontational character, that allowed him to ultimately be the individual who paired with Branch Rickey to integrate "America's Pastime" are clearly laid out.

Some reviewers have faulted the author for not being more interpretive of Robinson's politics - specifically, that he was a Nixon supporter in 1960 and a Rockefeller supporter in 1968 (while also being a strong supporter of Civil Rights, active in almost every civil rights organization) and Humphrey supporter as well. I think the book lays out all the facts for the reader to see for themselves. Robinson's coming of age - in an era when a Dixiecrat from a Jim Crow state (LBJ) led the passage of the Civil Rights Act - was a time of a shifting political landscape that didn't settle out until near his death (he also broke badly with Nixon later in Nixon's career). The Republican party's mantra of self-reliance, and Robinson's determination to succeed in business in the same way he did in sports, made his attraction to the party not a big leap; the alienation of this country's African American establishment from big business was not a pre-ordained fact in the time Robinson lived.

Finally, Robinson's own family struggles were also a reflection of the confusing and troubling times in which he lived.

Robinson died too young for us all. This is a great book and I would highly recommend it..

5-0 out of 5 stars an engrossing, human story
i'm not particularly interested in baseball, but i am particularly interested in American history from the human perspective. i could have read a much more dry account of the turmoils that dominated American race relations throughout the middle of the 20th century, but instead i've read this fascinating account of those terrible, backward days from the perspective of a true pioneer, Mr. Jackie Robinson.

of course he is looked back on now as a symbol, a mythological figure. i always knew peripherally of Jackie as the same thing most people do: the first black man to play major league baseball, a step forward & up in the painful struggle of the times. but this book presents him as a human being, a fallible man who lived most of his life not on the baseball field, but in a relentless pursuit of his ideals and desire for a better life for himself and everyone around him.

the reviewer before me questions the biographer's lack of judgement of Robinson. i am curious as to why he feels Rampersad should insert his own analysis; the biography presents analyses of Robinson by many of Robinson's contemporaries, and then presents the recorded facts available to clarify incidents & statements. yes, this is an intensely personal biography, perhaps too personal in places. it is very much centered on Jackie's private correspondences. it is absolutely told from Robinson's persepctive, as best can be reconstructed from his widow Rachel & the papers he left behind, but it feels very honest, not at all like an airbrushed bit of hero-polishing. it is in places very blunt about Jackie's shortcomings as observed by his peers & contemporaries.

before i stretch this out any longer, i'll just say that this is the most engrossing biography i can ever recall having read. it's an account of a fascinating life in an amazingly recent time, in an America that seems so long ago but is still discouragingly recent. readers will learn not just about Jackie Robinson, but about two American eras as well.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pulls its punch
Professor's Rampersad's biography of Jackie Robinson is a book that's needed now. It's incredibly informative about the man behind the legend. (I think Roger Angell's blurb sums it up: "[the] book arrives just in time to save the man from his own legend.") However, Rampersad doesn't focus much on Robinson's baseball life, and he seems to be holding back judgment on Robinson despite the opportunities to do so.

Before digging in the dirt, I want to say that this book is crisply written and chock full o' facts about Robinson's life. Rampersad obviously had the full support of Robinson's widow, Rachel, and her views are constantly felt throughout the book. It's almost told from her point of view, in fact, and thus feels like a intimate, loving homage to the man.

But there are some issues and character flaws in Robinson that Rampersad shows or hints at, but never fully explores. For example, we never truly felt the force of the hatred leveled against Robinson during his efforts to integrate baseball. There are a few quick references to name-calling, a couple of pitches thrown his way, but what made Robinson so bitter, what filled him with the hatred that so obviously ate at him later in his career? It's implied, rather than shown, as if it were too terrible even to discuss. On the whole, the chapters on Robinson's baseball career are woefully thin. It's clear that Rampersad is not much of a baseball fan - including a few factual errors about the sport's rules and game play - and it's a shame, because baseball is as much about its stories as it is about its action.

And then there's Robinson's role as Civil Rights' leader, which Rampersad describes, but withholds all judgment on. Why exactly did Robinson favor the Republican Party, even long after it was obvious that the GOP proved to be the party of segregation and white privilege? Also Rampersad only hints at the acrimony and in-fighting between Robinson and such organizations as the NAACP and SLCC.

Presented with the facts supplied by Rampersad, it seemed that Robinson was a vain, proud, and sensitive man, who was extremely susceptible to flattery, especially from powerful whites. It also seems that his success in baseball convinced him that he would be successful in other areas, especially politics. But it seemed that he was over his head in that area, always a tool of the professionals, Nixon and Rockerfeller.

Notice I say "seem" a lot! That's because Rampersad never states any of this outright, he only hints at it - enough to acknowledge these characteristics, but fails to explore them. Rampersad never digs into Robinson's psychology, never explains or contemplates motivation, cause, or effect of any of Robinson's endeavors. It's so easy on Robinson that I suspect Rampersad wrote this book for Robinson's widow - or maybe her approval of the book was necessary as part of some deal for use of her letters. Or perhaps Rampersad was too aware of Robinson's near-saint-like stature in our nation's culture to find any fault with the man. In any case, he definitely pulls all punches, and the book, though informative, feels incomplete.

Yes, Robinson was a hero. Yes, he was courageous. But he was also a man, full of frailties and inconsistencies, just like the rest of us. To withhold judgement does him as much diservice as it does us... ... Read more

42. Values of the Game
by Bill Bradley, John Randolph Jones
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565113497
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Sales Rank: 993131
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As the Presidential run heats up with the start of the primary season in New Hampshire on February 2, the attention to the candidates and their issues will become even more intense.Values of the Game is an ideal book to understand Bill Bradley, the man and the candidate.The values that Bill speaks of so frequently during his campaign speeches are reflected in Values of the Game--responsibility, discipline, passion, selflessness and respect.

Bill Bradley, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2000, former U.S. senator from New Jersey from 1979 to 1997, and a member of two championship New York Knicks teams, returns to the scene of his first career and his first great passion, basketball.

Things have changed since Bradley's championship days, but what separates winners and losers remains very much the same: No collection of players, no matter how good, can win unless they form a team. And no team can succeed unless it shares common values, among them courage, discipline, resilience, respect, and an unmitigated passion for the game. In this highly acclaimed and bestselling book, Bill Bradley offers his vision for how the principles he developed playing basketball can be applied to everyday life, be it at the office, at home, in public life--indeed, in any situation where values matter.

In ten essays, filled with intensely personal observations and reflections, Bradley revisits the basketball court with the fire of the competitor and the eye of the writer and explores these qualities in action: the dynamics of teammates on the court and off, the individual courage to risk the last-second shot, the responsibility to teammates, coaches, and fans to stay in shape, play hard, and honor the game. Values of the Game is one man's vision for a better world, and is a lasting statement of principle and commitment from one of our country's finest leaders.
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Balancing Ethics & the Desire to Win

Whether you work primarily with individuals or with organizations, Bill Bradley's new book can be a great source of inspiration and enlightenment. Ostensibly this book is merely a set of ten essays on the values the former US Senator and Rhodes Scholar lived by when he was a star professional basketball player for the New York Knicks. However, Values of the Game can be read on another level: as an allegory on how one can balance ethics and the desire for achievement.

Bradley's ten values are the following: Passion, Discipline, Selflessness, Respect, Perspective, Courage, Leadership, Responsibility, Resilience, and Imagination. Each of these is presented through a series of personal anecdotes from Bradley's career on the court, surrounded by terrific photos of the sport's many legendary super-stars, both male and female.

One of the most moving photos is in the "Courage" essay, in which Michael Jordan is pictured at the end of the fifth game of the 1997 NBA Finals, when he led his team to victory despite playing with a high fever. Bradley weaves his text around this theme by telling stories of how players--including himself--learned perseverance and inner calm in the face of tremendous pressure and challenge.

Just having completed a year of study and reflection at Stanford's prestigious think tank, the Hoover Institute, Bradley's comments on leadership are eloquent and quotable: "Leadership means getting people to think, believe, see, and do what they might not have without you. It means possessing the vision to set the right goal and the decisiveness to pursue it single-mindedly. It means being aware of the fears and anxieties felt by those you lead even as you urge them to overcome those fears. It can appear in a speech before hundreds of people or in a dialogue with one other person--or simply by example."

Although Bradley has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in the 2000 election, he steers clear of partisanship and political grandstanding. Instead, we find a book that delivers a calm, consistent message on values through the lenses of an assertive, convincing and sensitive man. As such it can be valuable tool for one's self-development as well as for coaching others. Positive but not overly idealistic, packaged in a beautiful format, Values of the Game provides practical tools for right living.

4-0 out of 5 stars Values of the Game extend life beyond the hardwood.

There is complete silence in Madison Square Garden; suddenly "swish" Bradley leads the Knicks to another victory and the crowd is in complete pandemonium. Bill Bradley is no longer portrayed simply as a basketball player and a US Senator, he is now seen as a prolific writer. In his most recent book, Values of the Game, Bradley returns to the scene of his first career and is first great passion, basketball. Values of the Game is a wonderfully written book that is filled with some of Bradley's most intense personal reflections. Bradley revisits the basketball court with the fire of a competitor but, with the mind of a writer. Of course things have changed since Bradley's playing days, the shorts are longer and the salaries are higher but, what separates the winners form the losers remains very much the same. No collection of players no matter how good, can win unless a team is formed. No team can succeed unless they share certain values. Among these values that are displayed throughout the book are courage, resilience, discipline, respect and the most notable the pure love for the game. Bradley also discusses other qualities of the game such as the individual courage to risk the last-second shot, to face a hostile crowd, to say "I blew it." The responsibility to teammates, coaches and the fans in honoring the game. Values of the Games is also illustrated with dramatic photographs of players, coaches and archetypal games. Pictures range from legends such as Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Bob Cousy; through the brilliant Magic Johnson and Larry Bird years and the greatest player ever, Michael Jordan. Even if you are not a NBA or college basketball fan the book has references associated with other aspects of life. It is filled with life long lessons that doesn't necessarily deal with professional athletes but, things that mundane people can identify with. The quote "Fame, you learn, is like a rainstorm-it come-on fast and then goes just as quickly, often leaving behind a certain amount of destruction" refers to how one should have the right perspective on themselves. One must realize that in life sometimes you will be the hero but, other times you will be the scapegoat. Bradley lets the reader in on basketball's secrets, which turns out, extend to life beyond the hardwood court.

Joe Reed

5-0 out of 5 stars LESSONS FOR LIFE

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting book about a basketball legend
This book is about the values of basketball, and is divided into chapters with titles of values. There is a chapter called discipline, for example. The names of the chapters are passion, discipline, selflessness, respect, perspective, courage, leadership, responsibility, resilience, and imagination.

I really enjoyed this book because of it's easy readability and the wonderful pictures. There were many interesting anecdotes about basketball. Bill Bradley talks about his development as a player, and about the values of the game. The importance of teamwork and hard work is stressed. I found Bill Bradley's story fascinating, because of how the values of the game helped him win. This book related the values to many contemporary and old players, like Julius Erving, Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and many others. If you are a basketball fan, I strongly suggest this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, With Great Anecdotes and Photos
My father, a great fan of basketball, decided that I should read "Values of the Game" by Bill Bradley to learn a few lessons in life. In fact, he thought so much of the book, he passed around a half dozen copies that year to close relatives as Christmas gifts.

I, far less a student of the game, felt I might be at a disadvantage. Not so. Bradley's expertise of basketball is lucid, and his writing illuminates with clarity the salient aspects beyond my ignorance.

This is an inspirational book. It isn't the kind of inspiration found in a John Maxwell book, which is layered in points and subpoints. This is all much simpler than that.

It sums up to: "Play hard, practice often, have goals and never give up." Bradley does this with great photos, powerful anecdotes and a consistent message.

His examples are right on, with memories of great players of old, like Cousy and Chamberlain, as well as current stars like Iverson and Pippen. He even brings in a few Muggsy Bogues stories, and incorporates several pages highlighting WNBA players.

Occasionally, it comes off forced. Not every player he uses for his parables are squeaky clean, even though, as Phil Jackson cites in the introduction, Bradley himself is a committed Christian. This makes for carefully worded analyses of the situation like when referring to Dennis Rodman's famous get-the-ball-even-if-it-hurts rebounding attitude. Bradley merely acknowledges Rodman "isn't everyone's cup of tea" while he admires his tenacity.

Check this one out. The photos alone are worth the price, and you might feel the need to get out and shoot some ball.

Anthony Trendl ... Read more

43. Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big Train, Library Edition
by Henry W. Thomas, Ian Esmo
list price: $83.95
our price: $83.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786112069
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 2521962
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a pitcher! What a book!
One of the best baseball books I have ever read- easily on my top ten list and maybe even in my top five. I was not aware that the book was written by Johnson's great grandson until I began reading; this certainly gave the material a lot of credibility.
Walter Johnson was, without question, the greatest pitcher in baseball history. Along with Al Stump's work on Ty Cobb, Robert Creamer's work on Casey Stengel, and the recently published Cy Young biography (author's name escapes me), this book establishes a lasting legacy of Johnson on and off the field.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Big Book on The Big Train
Written from the heart, and it shows. Truly a magnificent piece of work from Henry Thomas. I loved this book from beginning to end. Follow Walter Johnson from beginning to end through the eyes of someone that actually cares about Walter Johnson, his grandson. I cannot say enough great things about this book. Such a teriffic treat about a wonderful character in the history of baseball.

5-0 out of 5 stars A BIG BOOK ABOUT THE BIG TRAIN

5-0 out of 5 stars Who's the best? Walter
Simply stated, this is the most detailed as well as accurate baseball bio, at least of a player from pre-WWII years, we have. Yet Thomas keeps the story moving, and we get the full picture of the man and his family life as well. Jack Kavanaugh's "Ol' Pete" (Grover Alexander), and Reed Browning's "Cy Young" make excellent relievers, but here's your starting pitcher, and Big Train didn't need bailing out very often.

2-0 out of 5 stars too much game description
I stopped after the first 300 pages or so, because the detailed game descriptions were just getting to be too much. I felt like I never got to know anything about Johnson the man, or his life, or the times that he lived in. If you like reading those expanded box scores that they usually have in USA Today during the World Series, and which tell every play in the game, then this is the book for you. ... Read more

44. And Then the Shark Told Justin: A Collection of the Greatest True Golf Stories Ever Told
by Don Wade, Nancy Lopez, Arte Johnson
list price: $22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574534335
Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
Publisher: Audio Literature
Sales Rank: 1003414
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Bestselling golf writer and golf historian Don Wade returns with an eighth collection of real-life stories from the greatest golfers ever to play the game. "And Then the Shark Told Justin . . ." brings together living legends, past champions, and current top-of-the-leader-board stars in one entertaining book of true tales. This heartwarming, off-the-cuff stories truly capture the essence of America's most popular event. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Humorous, Touching, and Incisive!
This book of true golf stories contains sections on such notables as Tommy Armour, Seve Ballesteros, Patty Berg, Julius Boros, Roberto de Vincenzo, Ben Hogan, Bernhard Langer, Nancy Lopez, Dave Marr, Byron Nelson, Jose Maria Olazabel, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Price, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, and Tiger Woods (among others). The sections are humorously illustrated with caricatures by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist, Paul Szep.

While not all of the stories were new to me, they are in the great tradition of those who love the game. This is a great book to have and to give as a gift.

My favorite story from the book was one that I had already known, but I was glad to be reminded of it. On Christmas Eve while visiting friends in Fort Worth shortly before her death, Babe Zaharias asked to be taken to Colonial. Once there, she got out weakly wearing pajamas and a bathrobe. She walked over to the green on number two, and lay down. She touched the grass, and said, "I just wanted to see a golf course one more time."

Many of the stories are quite light, and will make for good telling during your next round. Bob Hope asked Jimmy Demaret, "Jimmy, with my game, what do I have to do to be a consistent winner?" "Cheat," said Demaret.

Some of the stories just plain make sense. The short, 107 yard par 3 seventh hole at Pebble Beach can be tough when you have to tee off into a gale. After his companions lost ball after ball in these conditions during an exhibition round, Walter Hagen pulled out his putter and rolled the ball downhill near the green. He got up and down in two from there to make his par.

When the greats meet the greats, interesting things happen. John Jacobs was a fine touring pro who became an even better teacher. One day Peter Thomson (five time winner of the British Open) asked Jacobs to come give him a lesson. Jacobs waited while Thomson got a club. Thomson got into address position, and asked Jacobs what he thought. Jacobs approved, and the lesson was over.

Having known people who threw clubs, I was interested in the firm line that Arnold Palmer's father took when Arnie lofted one over a tree while a youngster. Nancy Lopez's father did the same.

A beautiful moment in the book comes when Arnie tells Tiger to wear the mantle of leadership with pride, passing on his own heritage as a great champion.

After you have finished reading and enjoying the stories, think about how you could share these stories with others to help them enjoy golf and life more. Most of us learn better through stories, and these are very good ones. Be sure to pick your time and place. Many of the stories relate to famous holes, and could be nicely combined with a pleasant round (at say, Augusta). That would be a wonderful use for this fine book.

... Read more

45. Hogan
by Curt Sampson, Tom Parker
list price: $39.95
our price: $39.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786113588
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 509097
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46. Golf in the Kingdom
list price: $22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553478435
Catlog: Book (1997-09-15)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 113468
Average Customer Review: 3.37 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The perennially bestselling golf title, Golf in the Kingdom, hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the "masterpiece on the mysticism of golf," is a wonderfully told romp through the Scottish links, the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in the world where, truly, anything is possible. This audio discusses the essential deep truths about the game of golf and also expands on some new and extremely unique approaches to golf instruction.

John Hannah, an accomplished stage actor, has appeared on television and in the films Madagascar Skin, The Final Cut and Four Weddings and a Funeral.He has performed the audio production of Michael Murphy's The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, also available from BDD Audio. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you're reading this line, read this classic!
A delightful journey through Eastern and Western philosophy and mysticism fashioned by the master teacher and acclaimed 'human potential' researcher/philosopher/writer from Esalen. The fine writing combines the simplicity and depth of Steinbeck with more than touch of J.P. Donleavy's raucus good humor. Don't miss the opportunity to laugh at yourself and the human condition with Murphy's wonderful characters. You may want to improve your golf score and succeed by reading this book, but this is a work with the potential to transform your perspective on life. Murphy delivers this jewel with an elegance and wit worthy of the wonderful game he uses to convey his message. Treat yourself to a classic. Thank you Michael!

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcends the golf-book genre
Michael Murphy is not simply a golfer, or golf writer, but a philosopher, co-founder of Esalen Institute and a thinker who has boldly gone where no other has before him -- or certainly not with such dash and wit. Shivas Irons is one of the great creations of golf literature or any other. I've read this book six or seven times, always captivated by the prose and the tale-spinning. I believe it every time! And the gems tucked in here: the dinner in which Shivas speaks in praise of golf is lifted from Plato's "Symposium," complete with the drunken intervention of Evan Tyrhee (Alcibiades to Shivas' Socrates) to make his speech in praise of his mentor. Excellent on every count, worth a read and a re-read every year.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow
I don't care how many times I read this book, I always walk away with something new. If you enjoy philosophy in a modern context without going to "new-age", this is a great book. I would also recommend Life of Pi.

1-0 out of 5 stars waste of time
First of all, brothers and sisters, this is just a pack of lies, he made it all up, it's a work of fiction. I think the author even admitted it later. It was the fad when this thing was written for hippie-dippies like Murphy or Carlos Castaneda to do this kind of thing, hoodwink the public and sell a zillion books. It worked then and it works now. Don't be a sucker.

Second of all, brothers and sisters, the Esalen institute drivel that Murphy and his ilk have been promoting for decades is transparently a load of hogwash. If you want real mysticism, read Krishnamurti or Gurdjieff. (And do be aware that this book only uses golf as a mouthpiece for outdated sixties-era pseudo-mystical junk.)

Third of all, brothers and sisters, golf has nothing to do with spirituality. Golf is an excuse for potbellied old rich guys to pretend they are athletes, while destroying about a hundred acres of nature in the process, and then pumping the groundwater full of poisons to kill all the bugs and the weeds they don't like to see on their little golf courses -- which is what they think of "natural beauty". If an evil sport ever existed, golf is it. It ranks up there with feeding Christians to the lions.

In other words, golf is a waste of time, this book is a waste of time, and you should find better things to do.

2-0 out of 5 stars the Truth is simple, this book is not
As a scratch golfer and a Christian, I was very disappointed with both of this acclaimed book's topics: golfing and spirituality. The first half of the book is fairly interesting, painting some of the joys and lows of golf in clear pictures. Murphy does a nice job describing the inner struggles inherent in all serious golfers, regardless of talent. The second half of the book, however, is a thinly veiled sales pitch for seemingly every convoluted spiritual theory ever invented by mankind. The whole spiritual sink is thrown in, and as such, it is muddy and depressing. Ease up on the whiskey, Shivas!

Some quick advice: want to make a huge breakthrough with the spiritual/mental aspect of golf? Read "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect," by Dr. Bob Rotella, and practice. Want to read about the inner battles we all fight on the course, written so tangibly you can taste it? Read "A Good Walk Spoiled" by John Feinstein. Want to find the Truth and have a life changing spiritual awakening? Read the Bible (the Gospel of John first, Romans second, anything else next), and practice!

Happy golfing, and happy reading! The Truth is simple, and It will set you free! ... Read more

47. October 1964
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679433384
Catlog: Book (1994-08-09)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 144438
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1989 David Halberstam wrote Summer of '49 which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. It was a compelling portrait of baseball in an America as yet unchanged by affluence, technology, and social progress.

October 1964 is Halberstam's exciting new audio about baseball -- this time about the last season of the Yankee dynasty. It is both sports and history, and it tells the story of an electrifying baseball championship against the background of profound social change. The Yankees, like most American League teams, reflect the status quo and, in contrast to the National League teams, have been slow to sign the new great black players. Though the Yankees boast such great names as Mantle, Maris, and Ford, it is an aging team. By contrast, the St. Louis Cardinals are a young, tough team on the ascent, featuring talented black players -- Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Lou Brock, and Bill White -- who are changing the very nature of the game with their unprecedented speed and power.

Halberstam has once again given us a portrait of an exciting season and a great World Series that reflects a changing era, not only in baseball, but in larger society as well. Filled with deep insight and importance, October 1964 is a truly great audio.

The Fifties and The Best and the Brightest, by David Halberstam, are also available from Random House AudioBooks. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Times They Are A-Changing
As an author with my first novel in its initial release, I am often fascinated with nonfiction works that read as if they are great novels. David Halberstam's OCTOBER 1964 is one such book. I loved this book despite the fact that my taste in baseball teams swings most often to the likes of the Red Sox, the Cubs, and the Angels. While my personal teams figure out new ways every season not to bring home a World Series crown, the Yankees and the Cardinals of 1964 represent two of the great championship teams in baseball history. Each, also, repesents much more than merely a team or a city. In Mr. Halberstam's book, the Yankees represent the Establishment. They are used to winning. They are securely implanted in America's moneyed and white power structure. It is expected that they will win because they have won so often in the past. The Cardinals represent change. The stars of the Cards are black--Gibson, Brock, and Flood. They are the rebels. Later in his life, Curt Flood became the man who challenged the baseball's reserve clause in court. Flood lost his case and his career, but he revolutionized the game. David Halberstam, one of journalism's best and brightest, brilliantly weaves the history of these two very different sports teams into the time period in which they faced off against each other in the battle for the championship of the world. OCTOBER 1964 is a great book. We know in 1964 that the establishment was still hanging on securely in power but that the rebels were gaining strength fast. Yet we do know which team won the World Series. You can look it up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Keep Baseball Alive, Even if Players Kill It
What to do with the rest of the summer of the Boys of Summer take their ball and go home? Read this book...

I'm not, by any means, a rabid baseball fan, but Halberstam paints fascinating word portraits of many of the sport's most famous players. Not only are the biographies interesting, the story their collective desires to WIN (not make money) is inspirational. In 1964, baseball led the way in accepting minorities into the fabric of American culture. Despite off-the-field distractions, the Saint Louis Cardinals fought and clawed their way into the World Series.

Bob Gibson kept the team focused. He was just plain mean on the mound. Opposing batters feared him. And in the end, Gibson's reputation and his ability to "psyche out" his opponents may have given the Cards that little extra edge that made them Baseball's World Champions in October 1964.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best baseball books ever written
David Halberstam is one of my all-time favorite writers, and this is one of his best books. The book deals with the 1964 World Series and offers a whole new insight to the classic series between the Cardinals and Yankees.

It's worth reading just for the stories about Bob Gibson, but there's so much more to the story. One of the biggest things the Cards had going for them was how well the team handled integration. This was only 17 years after Jackie Robinson broke in with the Dodgers and there were a few teams that had only integrated in the past few years. Halberstam says the National League integrated much more quickly and that was a big reason for the difference in the style of play between the two leagues.

He also shows how well the Cardinals dealt with the issue and how poorly the Yankees accomplished integrating their team. As a result, the Cards had a much closer team than the Yankees.

If you enjoy this book, you should check out Halberstam's other book about baseball (The Summer of '49). If you like these and are a basketball fan I would also recommend The Breaks of the Game (a look at one season for the Portland Trailblazers). If you enjoy any of these books and are interested in the media, be sure to check out The Powers That Be. If you like history, The Best and the Brightest is probably the best book ever written about Vietnam and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and The Children is an outstanding book about the fight to integrate the south during the 1960's.

5-0 out of 5 stars "OCTOBER 1964" by David Halberstam (1995
"OCTOBER 1964" by David Halberstam (1995)

Sometimes the best sports books are not really sports books, as is the case with David Halberstam's brilliant "October 1964", which tells the story of a changing America through the microcosm of two very different baseball teams.
Halberstam, one of the great living American writers, concentrates on events that occurred during tumultuous times. Halberstam examines the loser of the 1964 World Series, the New York Yankees, who represent the old America, and the winners, the St. Louis Cardinals, who represent the new.
The Yankees were the Republican Party, conservative, white, country club elite, old money, Wall Street, the status quo, featuring Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. Their style of play was to not take chances, and they only had a couple black players.
The Cardinals mirrored Berkeley rabble rousers, and they played "National League baseball"--aggressive, stealing bases, stretching singles into doubles. Bob Gibson-black, college-educated, a man's man with something to prove, was their undisputed leader. Curt Flood was another thoughtful black athlete who harbored quiet resentment over his treatment by rednecks in Southern minor league towns. Tim McCarver came from a well-to-do white family in Memphis that employed black servants, his only frame of reference, until Gibson asked to take a sip from his coke. McCarver hesitatingly handed Gibby the can, Gibby took a big old honkin' Samuel L. Jackson sip, flashed the kid a giant smile, and handed the can back. McCarver's lesson: Sharing with black's is just like sharing with whites.
Halberstam details the metaphor of these two clubs, in which the Yankees would fall from their lofty perch, only to rise once they changed their ways in accordance with the world around them, mirroring the Reagan Revolution. The Cardinals would win three pennants in the '60s, Gibson ascending to Hall of Fame status, while McCarver grew up to be the modicum of tolerance. Flood became the symbol of the union movement with a fall-on-his-sword lawsuit challenging the reserve clause, opening the door to freedom and riches for numerous players.

5-0 out of 5 stars baseball fans, especially younger ones, read this book!
This book started my fascination with 50's and 60's era of baseball. Halberstam does an excellent job covering the hundreds of people that made up the game during that time period. After reading this book, I had to go out and buy several biographies of some players that seemed so very interesting to me. Since I am a baseball fan that was born in 83 I wasn't around to experience those players, I just have to read about them. ... Read more

48. Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter (Nova Audio Books)
by Jennifer Allen, Susie Breck
list price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 158788156X
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Nova Audio Books
Sales Rank: 2843584
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

George Allen was a top-ranked NFL coach throughout the sixties and seventies, coaching in turn the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Washington Redskins. Raised in a home dominated by her three football-obsessed older brothers and her father's relentless schedule, Jennifer Allen came of age in a cauldron of testosterone and win-at-all-costs mentality.

Buffeted by the coach's tumultuous firings and hirings, the Allen family was periodically propelled to new teams in new cities. And while her French-Tunisian mother attempted to teach Jennifer proper feminine etiquette, the author dreamed of being the first female quarterback in the NFL. But as she grew up, she yearned mostly to be someone her father would notice. In a macho world where only foot-ball mattered, what could she strive for? Who could she become?

Allen has written a poignant memoir of the father she tried so hard to know, about a family life that was willfully sacrificed to his endless fanatical pursuit of the Super Bowl. What emerges is a fascinating and singular behind-the-scenes look at professional football, and a memorable, bittersweet portrait of a father and his daughter, written in a fresh and perceptive voice.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Personal Football Book
As an avid football fan, George Allen is one of the greatest NFL Coaches of all time. Throughout the book, Jennifer Allen describes they storybook life of an NFL coach from a footbal and personal perspective. George's rough-and-tough attitude made two winningless teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, into champions. However, his personality as a coach effected his role as a father, which created tension between him and his children. As the his only daughter, Jennifer tries to win her father's affection as she struggles of being a product of an NFL coach and well-known celebrity.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting.
As a lifelong football fan I was hoping that "Fifth Quarter" would include more about football than Allen puts into her memoir. However, the book is well-written and engaging. If you're looking for a book about George Allen, this isn't really the book to read. However, if you're looking for an interesting book detailing the childhood of a coach's daughter, "Fifth Quarter" might be the book for you.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a depressing Whine-fest
This entire story could have been written on the cover of a matchbook and saved me the time I wasted reading it. Endless complaining about her parents and siblings, If the peoples identities had been with held until the end, one might have expected to find out this was the childhood of a serial killer or some one else you might have expected to have a miserable childhood. Why would anyone even bother to write a book about people she seemed to care for as little as her family is beyond me except to possibly capitalize on her Dad's famous name and make a few bucks. A depressing read.

2-0 out of 5 stars This is a chick book, not a sports book
I was misled by a review in SI that said this was a great book. If you're an Oprah fan, then it's a great book. If you want to learn about the life of an NFL coach, the Washington Redskins or football in general, you're better off buying a subsciption to Sports Illustrated or reading the sports page.

About 80 percent of this book is about the struggle of the writer to get her father's attention and approval. Another 10 percent has to do with her mother, her brothers and the writer's life away from her house. Maybe 10 percent has to do with football. It is a maddening experience to put up with the "I was a girl, girls weren't important to my dad, someone please pay attention to me" anecdotes and thoughts in the hope of getting to, say, the Washington Redskins' 1972 season where the team finally made it to the Super Bowl, and then when you get there have Jennifer Allen say in almost these exact words, "I don't remember much about that the season the Redskins went to the Super Bowl." I almost hurled the book across the room.

It is unfortunate that George Allen essentially ignored his family in his obsessive quest to do what he believed he was born to do: coach. No kid should have to grow up with that kind of home life, and it's obvious that her father's inattention has left its mark on Ms. Allen. But darn it, this is an Oprah book of the month selection, not a sports book. Someone should be clear on that!

A few words about George Allen ... I am about Jennifer Allen's age. I am a lifelong Redskins fan and grew up in D.C. When Mr. Allen took the team to the Super Bowl, it was a highlight of my young life. I remember him licking his fingers, tugging his hat and mentioning milk as his drink of choice. I had no idea that he ignored his family. I'm sorry he did that, but I am also grateful that the man came to my hometown and coached my favorite team and finally made it a winner. I wish the book had a little more about what made George Allen such a successful coach and a lot less about the struggle of a little girl to get close to her daddy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Your dad would be proud
Yes, I'm an old Redskin fan and was mildly curious about the George Allen era. I was not prepared for this powerful story of George Allen the father and his arms length relationship with his daughter, Jennifer. Yes, the mother Etty and the sons, George, Bruce, and Gregory, are in here too, but Jennifer you finally have the starring role in the George Allen Story. This is a sometimes gripping and often humorous story of a daughter's search for self. My only criticism is of the title which suggests a sports book. It is not worthy of this well-told story about a daughter's search for meaning in her life and, coincidentally, her dad's struggle to make sense of his own life too. ... Read more

49. Everyone's a Coach: You Can Inspire Anyone to Be a Winner
by Don Shula, Ken Blanchard
list price: $16.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559947241
Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Sales Rank: 707594
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this inspirational guide, Don Shula explains how his coaching methods have made him such a success, then Ken Blanchard reveals how those same principles can be used to motivate any group, from a sales team to a Little League team. These two world-renowned successes inspire listeners not just to set goals, but to achieve them. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hits the Spot!
What makes this book so effective is that the advice offered is not only solid, but it can be applied immeditely. It's a "hands on" doer's guide. The strength Ken Blanchard brings is his strong Christian influence. Shula's credentials consist of his long term track record as an NFL coach. In this book Shula describes how he leads by example and thorough preparation.

One place this book separtes itself from books of this genre is that it emphasizes "follow through" as contrasted with goal-setting. That's an action focus. It puts the spotlight on doing something.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Coaching Legend's Leadership Lessons
Don Shula, the National Football League's all-time winningest coach, teamed up with Ken Blanchard, the internationally known and multiple award-winning author, educator, and management and leadership consultant, and together they co-wrote an outstanding book about leaders getting the best performance from the individuals and organizations they are privileged to lead. Whether you are responsible for the performance of multiple organizations, or for just one other individual, the leadership wisdom and insights in this book can help you maximize your coaching and leadership effectiveness.

The winning combination of the two separately distinguished leaders in their respective fields, and the complementary structure of the book were brilliant. Organized around the acronym C.O.A.C.H., the five coaching "secrets" that Shula had practiced and Blanchard has been teaching for over 30 years, the book alternated synergistic passages from Shula then Blanchard to explore and explain the acronym in theory and practice from the football gridiron to modern business situations, and ultimately to the game of life.

Here's how Shula and Blanchard define and think about the acronym C.O.A.C.H.:

Conviction-Driven: Effective leaders stand for something.

Overlearning: Effective leaders help their teams achieve practice perfection.

Audible-Ready: Effective leaders, and the people and teams they coach, are ready to change their game plan when the situation demands it.

Consistency: Effective leaders are predictable in their response to performance.

Honesty-Based: Effective leaders have high integrity and are clear and straightforward in their interactions with others.

Conviction-Driven: "Someone has said that a river without banks is a puddle. When I apply that saying to human interactions, it reminds me of the job of a coach. Like those river-banks, a good coach provides the direction and concentration for performers' energies, helping channel all their efforts toward a single desired outcome. Without that critical influence, the best achievements of the most talented performers can lack the momentum and drive that make a group of individuals into champions."

Overlearning: "To me a game doesn't end when the clock finally runs out. It ends on Monday, after we've analyzed every play and learned all we cana from it...Failure is successfully finding out what you don't want to repeat...Learning is defined as a change in behavior. You haven't learned a thing until you can take action and use it."

Audible-Ready: "Preparation means everything to me. I'm passionate about my players being ready for anything. Now, part of being ready is being able to shift your game plan at will. I see myself as a battlefield commander who has the guts to make the right moves to win. I want to be prepared with a plan - and then to expect the unexpected and be ready to change this plan. I must preserve the right to change - even to change at the last moment - as circumstances demand...Audibles aren't surprises - just new ways of doing what you already know how to do. Business people need to learn to call audibles, because in today's world, nothing stays the same."

Consistency: "Your team will soon learn what your standards are and perform accordingly. I not only insist on practice perfection, I'm there to see that it takes place. I don't miss practices. I need to be out there smelling out whatever isn't working. Even the slightest deviation from perfection needs to be noticed and corrected on the spot. Correcting and redirecting performance is strategically important - it's where we outstrip the competition. Some coaches will let little things go. Right there is where the difference is made. To me, it's not a matter of how many times we've done it or how late it is or how tired the players are. We'll do it until we get it right. Then we won't deviate from it in the game. I'd rather throw out a play or formation during practice than find out it can't be done correctly in the ball game. We seldom try anything on game day that we haven't been able to perfect in practice. If I'm asking our players to do something they can't do, I want to know about it now."

Honesty-Based: "I have a straight-up approach. I don't know how to go around corners or how to finesse. My players know this and they expect candor from me. Congruence is important to me. What you see with Don Shula is what you get. I don't play games. Effective coaches confront their people, praise them sincerely, redirect or reprimand them without apology, and above all are honest with them. Integrity pays, and integrity means being honest with yourself and others. This is a key ingredient in my coaching philosophy."

In his introduction to the book, Blanchard stated that he is on a search for simple truths to help leaders and managers be their best. With Shula's proven long-term coaching effectiveness as the foundation for this book, Blanchard has found and shared many simple leadership truths and complexities. This book would be a welcome addition to anyone's coaching or leadership collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Addition to Management Library
It is tempting to use all sorts of analogies with respect to business. Two of the most obvious are Warfare and Football (sailing is one of my additional favorites). Given that Football is itself metaphorical with respect to War, you can naturally expect to sole-source your analogies.

Coaching is a necessary aspect of personnel management (and one might wonder whether expecting a single manager to be coach, strategist, and resource manager should yield any better results than NFL coaches who have tried to run the whole show). Who better to address this essential aspect of management than a successful professional football coach?

While it's a little bit trite, the "COACH" acronym is actually fairly useful. Unfortunately, in practice, remaining Conviction-driven can be very difficult, particularly in that most managers will not have the luxury of complete buy-in to the corporate vision. Overlearning also seems to be disposed of in the "Fast Company" environment. Just as the salary cap has accelerated the ROI demands in the NFL, managers also have less time to develop and train employees. There's less time for practice when the game is always on. Correspondingly, Audible-Ready (adaptable) is even more critical in this economy. From my (brief) experience, the last two items (Consistency & Honesty) are the most critical with regard to personnel management.

The football stories throughout this book are worthwhile, and interesting just as a history (in the absence of a really good Shula biography). In any case, it's nice to have this book around to pick up now and then for ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
This is a must buy for every coaches library. Coach Shula explores all of the areas a coach is confronted with. He gives the reader his philosophy on coaching and relates it to life's teachings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent use of examples.
Of the 1000's of books written on leadership in the past 100 years, this one presents a very real picture of world we live in. Too many of the books I've read lately give us the magic formulas to follow, some leading us through a veritable mathematical maze to tell us what kind of leader we are. "Principle-Centered Leadership" by Covey and "The Platinum Rule" fall into this category. What Blanchard and Shula have done, and done quite successfully is to integrate theory with actual examples. While I don't agree with everything that Shula has done, I do applaud his efforts. I do absolutely believe in his philosophy of "Lead by example," and the necessity of developing trust. Both Shula and Blanchard emphasize this aspect of leadership as critical. There are too many so-called leaders in the corporate world who do not lead by example. They are quite willing to demand of you what they are unwilling to do themselves. On top of the quality of the reading, the book is very easy to read. I hi ... Read more

50. Knight : My Story
by Bob Knight, Bob Hammel, Robert Silver
list price: $25.95
our price: $6.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00021GLQY
Catlog: Book (2002-03-26)
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Sales Rank: 455132
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Season on the Brink—a book about Bob Knight—is the bestselling sports book of all time. Here is the only book that can surpass it—a book about Bob Knight by Bob Knight.

In college basketball, the name Bob Knight is synonymous with greatness and winning. Just take a glance at the Knight file. The numbers and achievements that prove what he has done, not only for Indiana University, but for the game itself, are there in black and white. In this riveting memoir, Coach Knight talks about his extraordinary basketball career, addressing both the public triumphs and the highly publicized controversies, often providing his side of the story for the first time.

His story begins with the most public and painful event in his life: his front-page dismissal as Indiana University’s basketball coach after 29 years in that position. But the story of Bob Knight is so much more than that. Above all, it is a story about one man’s tremendous success. How did he become the head coach at Army at the age of 24? How did he build a dynasty at Indiana? What principles has he lived by—and coached by—that kept the best players coming to Indiana to play for him?

Knight:My Story reveals a very personal and until now unseen part of Bob Knight’s life. His legions of fans will all line up to learn more about him.

Bob Knight has shown time and again that he is the most well-known coach in college basketball:

• He has won over 700 games (618 with Indiana University)
• He has been National Coach of the Year four times
• He coached ten Big Ten MVPs
• He is the only coach who can boast an NCAA Championship, NIT Title, the Pan American Gold, and the Olympic gold medal
• He was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991
• He graduated 98% of his players
• He maintains a remarkable .737 winning record
... Read more

Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars Selective and Subjective
What we have here is Knight's version of a "story" which began in 1940 when he was born in Orrville, Ohio. He played for Ohio State (starting only two games in three years but was the "sixth man" on an NCAA championship team in 1960), began his coaching career as an assistant at Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio), was head coach at the U.S. Military Academy, and then at Indiana University where three of his teams won an N.C.A.A. championship. Today, he coaches at Texas Tech University. As with all other memoirs, Knight's is both selective and subjective: selective in terms of what Knight remembers (or at least what he is willing to share with his reader) and subjective in terms of how he interprets that "what." Having coached varsity basketball in New England for 13 years at two different boarding schools, I was soon convinced that basketball is probably the most difficult game to officiate. Almost all of the calls are subjective. Officials do not call what happened; rather, they call what they think they saw happen. I suspect that Knight encountered a similar situation when writing this book with Bob Hammel. His account may not be in all respects exactly what has happened in his life thus far but I am convinced that what he offers in this book is what Knight sincerely believes happened. More revealing, to me at least, is his explanations of why he was involved in so many different controversies along the way.

According to Knight, he has almost always been a victim of circumstances such as when he was accused of assaulting a police officer in Puerto Rico and arrested (1979), of choking an Indiana player (Neil Reed) in 1997, grabbing the arm of an Indiana student (Kent Harvey) in 2000, and then verbally abusing the university's female legal counsel. Also in his opinion, he was victimized by the "stupidities" of Indiana University officials (notably President Myles Brand) and fired without just cause. Knight discusses these and other circumstances in this memoir. He is (with few exceptions) highly critical of journalists, especially sports writers, for unfairly exaggerating various incidents and thereby misrepresenting (if not totally misunderstanding) his intentions. For example, with regard to the incident in which he hurled a folding chair across a basketball court, he has explained with evident pride in his chair-throwing skill, that no one was in any danger. His nickname "The General" reminds me of George S. Patton who, until the day he died, felt victimized by the coverage of his soldier-slapping incident. (In fact, Patton slapped several whom he accused of cowardice and insubordination.) Among the recurrent themes throughout this book is Knight's strong sense of righteous indignation but keep in mind that all this is his version of what happened. Also why.

So what do I make of this book? As a former basketball coach, I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed accounts of various seasons and of especially important games. Also, in fairness to Knight, I am grateful (I really am) to share his perspectives on what has obviously been, until now, a highly complicated and controversial career. Knight helps me to understand why so many people love him, respect him, and support him. Perhaps without realizing it, he also helps me to understand why so many other people view him with contempt and even hostility. At least in one respect, Knight reminds me of Billy Martin and Woody Hayes who, when working with certain kinds of athletes (talented, obedient, thick-skinned, deferential, preferably reverential), consistently produced winning teams. Also like Knight, their behavior on and off the field of competition was highly controversial and both of them frequently expressed the same righteous indignation which Knight does in this book.

Even his severest critics concede that Knight is a great basketball coach. No one denies that he loves the game and coaches it with both passion and precision. These same critics also concede that there have been many instances in which Knight has demonstrated extraordinary kindness, compassion, and generosity with his players, albeit after they no longer played for him. And finally, his critics (albeit grudgingly) concede that he is highly intelligent, has a sharp wit, is wholeheartedly loyal and devoted to family members and friends, and (when so inclined) can really turn on the charm. However, they hasten to add that....

In the final analysis, Knight's "story" has many different versions. This is his.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great Coach -- Not So Great Book
Let's get my bias out of the way first: I like Coach Knight. While he has lost his temper at times, he is an honest person and a fine teacher of college men. The vast majority of players who have played for him claim that they are better people because of him and I believe them.

That being said, I can't get quite excited about this book as I can regarding Texas Tech's chances in the upcoming basketball season. While this book is full of many interesting anecdotes and stories, it lacks organization. This is especially true as you near the end of the book. Instead of following an outline or logical flow, the book jumps from issue to issue and story without logical transitions.

Overall, I would recommend it to people who are big Bobby Knight fans except that I would be surprised if there is anything in the book that would be all the surprising to a big fan. What I enjoyed was when he would share his opinions of other sports stars and coaches and even his opinions of political leaders. For example we learn of his friendship with Ted Williams and hunting trips with President Bush and Stormin' Norman but that comes mixed between some other topics that aren't as compelling.

There have been other books written about Knight such as Feinstein's that might not be as flattering but might be more compelling to read. I would recommend reading this book and one of the others and comparing them. It would make for an interesting contrast.

In short, I'll be rooting for the Coach again this season, but it won't be beacuse of anything that I read about it in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One for the ages
What a book. It is filled with info I never really knew. Never an Indiana basketball fam, I was always a Bobby Kight fan. I finished the book in one reading. I could not put it down. His love for fishing and hunting is explained in his book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Hoosier Must
I moved to Indiana near the end of Bob Knight's reign as the Head Coach at Indiana University. I was fascinated by the intensity and loyalty that the IU fans showed toward their coach and team. I personally have always appreciated Bob Knight as a coach, though I may not have always agreed with his antics. I do believe that college athletes need a coach who will teach discipline. His autobiography gives you an inside look at his life and perhaps a better understanding of how the coach really is. He definitely tells it as it is and does not pull any punches in this book. One of the strong points of this book is the emphasis the coach puts on in his coaching philosophies and his past accomplishments. You begin to understand, through the detailed recollections of important games, why the coach is revered by so many. He seems to take you there and let you know what was going through his mind and how he handled the situations. Also, the coach briefly addresses many of the "situations" he has been in over the years. Although they are his side of the story, you get the story as Coach Knight saw it, not how the media reported it. I thought it was particularly interesting when he discussed his firing from IU. He firmly believes that the school was out to get him, and for a brief moment, you may begin to believe him. I know that the media sure gave it a lot of attention here in Indiana, of course their spin on the situation was different then his. A common theme in this book is Coach Knight`s disdain for the media.
Overall, I think that the book is something that any "import" Hoosier should read. You begin to understand the idiosyncrasies that are Coach Knight. It also will help you understand why you see so many Texas Tech Red Raiders bumper stickers in Central Indiana.

4-0 out of 5 stars Straight from the general's mouth....
If you're a Knight fan, you will love this book. If you're not, you're likely to hate it. Coach Knight recounts many of the incidents that have made him one of the polarizing figures in sports. Find out what really happened in his final seasons at IU. Laugh heartily at his tales of run-ins with non-fans from New Orleans to Puerto Rico. Observe his relationships with colleagues (Parcells, Larusa, Woody Hayes), players (Jordan, Thomas, Alford, Cheney), and friends (Ted Williams, Dick Vitale). Best of all, appreciate how he uses basketball as a vehicle for teaching character.

My only disappointment was his neglect of the reported friction between him and some of his former players (who I also admire) like Alford and Krzyzewski. I wish he would have explained or dismissed the media's fixation on these supposed grievances. Instead, he ignores it.

If you are disgusted by the deluge of recent negative stories from the sports page, then read this and be confident that at least one man requires his players study, behave, and play hard. ... Read more

51. Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375406158
Catlog: Book (1999-02-02)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 299526
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

2 cassettes / 3 hours
Read by Edward Herrmann

In Playing for Keeps, David Halberstam takes the first full measure of Michael Jordan's epic career, one of the great American stories of our time. A narrative of astonishing power and human drama, brimming with revealing anecdotes and penetrating insights, the book chronicles the forces in Jordan's life that have shaped him into history's greatest basketball player, and the larger forces that have converged to make him the most famous living human being in the world.
From The Breaks of the Game to Summer of '49, David Halberstam has brought the perspective of a great historian, the inside knowledge of a dogged sportswriter, and the love of a fan to bear on some of the most mythic players and teams in the annals of American sport. With Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls he has given himself his greatest challenge, and produced his greatest triumph. The book is rich with Halberstam's professional signature: incisive, carefully woven human portraits of the major figures. We see the various players and teams the Bulls must overcome on their long, hard journey to six world championships, including Larry Bird and the Celtics, Isiah Thomas and the Pistons, and Magic Johnson and the Lakers. We get a rare insider's view of the dynamics between Jordan, the star, and the others who played critical roles in the championship seasons, including the shrewd, thoughtful Phil Jackson, the enigmatic Scottie Pippen, and the curiously shy Dennis Rodman. In addition, we see the bitter divisions between players and management on the Bulls, and the NBA's interior pressures and conflicts as basketball grows during Jordan's reign into a phenomenally successful big-time celebrity sport. This book is, as well, about fame in America, the forces that create it and its consequences. Among other things, we see how David Falk and Nike launched the campaign that sold Jordan to the world, abetted by a small Oregon ad agency, Wieden and Kennedy, and a struggling young Brooklyn filmmaker named Spike Lee.
The product of tireless on-the-ground reporting suffused with the wisdom and imagination of one of our greatest writers, Playing for Keeps is an AudioBook that, in defining Michael Jordan, also helps to define America in the Jordan Era.
... Read more

Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Sports books in recent years by a master!
When David Halberstam undertakes any subject, you can be absolutely sure that it will be exhaustively researched. Having read several other books by Mr. Halberstam I can tell you that once again that he maintains his excellent standards. He is more than fair to all parties concerned. Mr. Halberstam takes us to the board rooms, playgrounds, press rooms, restaurants hallways, corridors and offices where things were set in motion.

This book covers so much more than Michael Jordan and the Bulls. He brings to light so many different people and faithfully traces the current sports scene and it's precipators to the source. He does all this in a fascinating manner.

This was compelling reading. He covers angles missed entirely in other sports books. You are introduced to the major and the bit players, who are no less compelling.

If you enjoyed "The Fifties" and "Breaks of the Game" and are a sports fan. If you want to really know things got to where they are now. This is the book to read.

Mr. Halberstam is one of the literary treasures of our time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for Jordan fans and detractors
Mr. Halberstam's book on Michael Jordan is absolutely fascinating. While I have always admired Jordan's game, I never knew what sort of person he was until reading Playing for Keeps.

Halberstam's book is quite flattering, and he often describes Jordan as a great person. At the same time, Halberstam includes many unflattering details about Jordan's personality. This technique allows the reader to decide for himself or herself what sort of person Jordan is.

After reading the Playing for Keeps, I appreciate Jordan's game more than before (he beat Utah, my favorite team, almost singlehandedly), but have a more reserved opinion of Jordan as a person. At any rate, the book is incredibly interesting and a wonderful read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Playing for Keeps Michael Jordan and the Wolrd He Made
This book is the best Jordan book I ever read. Lots of great details about JOrdan was included. This is also my first time reading David Halberstam's book. After I read "Playing for Keeps Michael Jordan and the Wolrd He Made" I think I will read more books by David Hablerstam. This book not only showed about Michael Jordan's life but also mention about how NBA change over time in the 80's and the 90's. This book is just amazing so i highly recommand people to buy this book and read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars The best sports book I have ever read
This book doesn't just tell you why Michael was such a great athlete, it tells you why. From his ultra (and I mean insane) competitiveness to his landmark athleticism. I began to understand that Michael Jordan is an argument for theism. There seems to be no way Jordan could have existed without God specifically forming him to be a basketball player. Many people talk about Jordans jumping ability but few speak about his olympic-type speed. Combine that with the ulitmate desire to win and you have a guy that could remain the greatest ever for a LONG period of time.
But David Halberstam is in no way offering a book full of praise to Michael Jordan. There were times in the book where I felt almost sick to my stomach reading how incredibly psycho Jordan can be. But you come out realizing that Jordan is indeed the best and there is good reason for it.
What I like most about the book is that it reads at times like a scouting report. It tells of Jordan in high school when he was cut from Varsity. He dominated on JV, and when he moved up to Varsity, he dominated on varsity. Scouts are quoted in the book as saying that Jordan was the best high school player they had ever seen. So he wasn't as much a late bloomer as a well-kept secret. Then it goes into college and we know the rest of the story.
This is most informative and intelligent book on basketball I have ever read. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating non-fiction even for non-fans
I'm not a basketball fan. A friend of mine who is gave me this book as a present. Nonetheless it is an excellently written and riveting look at a very influentual aspect of American public life, society and culture. Halberstam delineates on-court and off-court intrigues expertly in a way that makes even the unitiated understand their significance. Jordan's early years are convincingly narrated as are powerful figures in his life, his dad, North Carolina coach Dean Smith, and Bulls coach Phil Jackson, compellingly portrayed. This isn't a private life though. Halberstam stays away from the wife and kids. ... Read more

52. Ted Williams : The Biography of an American Hero
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739309226
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 112830
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Life Of Ted Williams
Ted Williams is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His .406 batting average stands as of the game's greatest accomplishments and is still the benchmark average that modern players aim towards. Leigh Montvale's Ted Williams: The Biography Of An American Hero is the most extensive book about the Splendid Splinter. Despite the fanfare, the book is a disappointment. Mr. Montvale spends far too much time on Mr. Williams' life after baseball than his time within the game. To any reader of any sports biography, the most important aspect of the book should be the subject's athletic career. No one wants to read just an expanded stat sheet, but Mr. Montvale concentrates too much of the book on Mr. Williams' life outside of baseball. The 1941 season has some detail, but the 1946 is almost written as an afterthought. That season ended in Mr. Williams' only trip to the World Series in his long career. His two Triple Crown seasons of 1942 & 1947 are mentioned in passing. Mr. Montvale does do an excellent job of explained the bitter rivalry between Mr. Williams and the Boston sportswriters. But again, he spends too much time into the background of the writers (one doesn't really care about the life history of Mr. Williams' fiercest critic, Dave Egan, but we get that). Mr. Montvale does go into great detail about Mr. Williams' three marriages and his fishing life on the Florida Keys and Canada. This is interesting, to a point, but these aspects of his life should have been given the secondary nature that his career received. Mr. Montvale also conveys Mr. Williams as an impetuous, foul-mouthed crank and relays countless stories from acquaintances and loved ones who hammer this point home. Included is a word for word interview with Mr. Williams' third wife Dolores that was conducted in 1969 but never released that makes this point abundantly clear. Mr. Montvale ends the book with a sort of biography within a biography as he details the life and exploits of Mr. Williams' only son, John Henry. Again, this is interesting and shows how sad of an end that Mr. Williams' life had, but he goes overboard in his tales of John Henry's transgressions. This book is not without merit as it does provide some detailed insights into one of the 20th Century's greatest athletes, but it falls short of its potential greatness.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great biography, depressing ending
This is a fascinating and illuminating book about a talented baseball player, a military hero, and a cantankerous curmudgeon - Ted Williams. Montville does a terrific job of encapsulating the Splendid Splinter's eventful 83 years into a fascinating 500-page book, complete with nearly a hundred black-and-white photographs, many never before seen. If you're looking for a biography of Ted Williams this is probably the one to get; it covers his entire life, something that his 1969 autobiography doesn't do (obviously).

Montville doesn't shine much new light onto the Public Ted - any true baseball fan is already familiar with his battles with the media, his 406 average in 1941, his weak performance in the 1946 World Series, the two military interruptions to his baseball career, his storybook home run in his final at-bat, etc. We already knew that stuff. Where the book truly shines is in illuminating the Private Ted...

The selfish Ted, who'd drag uninterested wives along with him on fishing trips, and who'd rather be alone in a boat somewhere than be present for his children's births; his lustful enjoyment of his hobbies was more important than his family. The angry and blasphemous Ted, who'd spit at fans and frequently (and colorfully) take the Lord's name in vain with a smattering of the f-word and his favorite modifier, "syphilitic." The lonely Ted, who married three beautiful trophy wives, had teammates and friends all over the country, yet still lacked the unconditional love he desperately needed. Somehow Montville manages to paint Williams as sympathetic, lovable, and even heroic, while still telling the story of a bitter and cranky man.

Thankfully, there were at least a few caring people in Ted's life to help diffuse his negativity and give him unconditional love: Louise Kaufman, the grandmotherly woman who became Ted's longtime companion after his three failed marriages to younger women, and the male nurses who took care of him during his final decade on Earth.

Sadly, the book (like Williams's life) ends on an unavoidable down-note. Montville frightens us with the awful tale of Ted's money-grubbing son, John-Henry. Here the author fairly throws objectivity aside, painting the younger Williams in tones reminiscent of Shakespeare's Iago. John-Henry's underhanded machinations and obvious treatment of Ted as a meal ticket rather than a beloved father left me feeling sad and depressed at the story's end. Junior was more concerned with his progenitor's ability to sign and sell valuable autographs than his comfort and welfare during his declining years. The demon seed of Ted Williams kept his father's friends and loved ones from calling and visiting, and then - in an act which violated Ted's wish for cremation, as per his will - John-Henry had his father cryogenically frozen after his death. Thus began the fighting and infinite court proceedings between Ted's offspring - an embarrassing and surreal coda to a life otherwise lived with integrity and dignity.

A great book about a great man. As sports biographies go, it's surely one of the best - just like Ted.

(News update: John-Henry Williams, 35, died of leukemia in March 2004. Perhaps now the legal maneuvering will stop; perhaps Ted can at last be cremated and have his ashes spread across the waters of Florida, just as he wanted. Meanwhile, thanks to John-Henry, the decapitated head of Ted Williams remains in a frozen vat in Arizona.)

4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for Williams fans...
This book is a must read for Williams fans, Red Sox fans and baseball fans in general. I felt this book was one of the most balanced books I have read aboout Williams. Not only does it pay tribute to his success on the field and in the air during WW II and Korea, but also decribes his many faults. I have always been a fan of Montville and this book, simply put, is a great one.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good, honest look at a good, honest man...
I recently read Cramer's bio of Joe DiMaggio and thought this would be a good complement. And it was. While the more one finds out about DiMaggio during and after baseball, the less one likes him; the more one reads about Williams, the more one likes HIM. He was the anti-Joe with his time and genuine concern for people, especially those less fortunate (in particular, children and the Jimmy Fund in Boston).

For baseball fans, this book is not too deep on his accomplishments on the field. But then again, his career is so well-documented that baseball fans are probably very familiar with it. Montville does shed light on his early days in the minors, the majors, the .400 season, the service years, his bad relationship with the Boston sportswriters and his refusal to tip his cap when he homered in his last career bat. All things that we are familiar with, but about which it was good to know more.

For those who are not baseball fans, the book offers more of a look at this man who had achieved so much in his profession, served his country in the middle of his career (in two separate wars) and delved into the complex relationship he had with his family yet how easy it was to be his friend...on his terms.

I think the author gives a good and balanced account of how this man went from a not-so-popular player in his own hometown and even with some of his teammates, to the much-adored icon he was in the last 10-15 years of his life. There are some truly touching passages about his innate goodness that was sometimes overshadowed by occasional and irrepressible bouts of anger. Looking around at today's ballplayers, once hopes for someone like Barry Bonds to have the same fate. To be misunderstood and unpopular while putting up one of the best careers even seen in the game and to be redeemed in the later years of his life. Might be too much to hope for in that case...

5-0 out of 5 stars What a life Teddy Ballgame had!
This book describes greatness, a quest for perfection, deep and long-term friendships between men; heroism and personal sacrifice for country; some of the inside details of baseball, a deep love for the game, betrayal and exploitation; and ultimately one of the most bizarre aftermath's to the life of a legend. There is no doubt that Ted Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. In fact, it can be argued, something that I often do, that he was the best hitter to ever play the game. On that note, while he was blessed with incredible skills, like so many successful athletes, he practiced as if he was a religious fanatic and that was his daily devotions. He was also a very intelligent man, some of the facets of hitting that Williams discussed had never been considered before. He studied pitchers with a precision that probably has never been duplicated.
Under the social classifications now used, Ted was a Hispanic, his father was Mexican and his mother Caucasian. Growing up in San Diego, he was worshipping baseball and making it his field of study at a very early age. Unfortunately, his skill at hitting a baseball did not translate into maturity. He became a star at an early age, and he never managed to mellow a ferocious temper, which many of his friends said was the key to his success. Like so many people who accomplished so much, he was a perfectionist. He would hit a homerun and then criticize himself for swinging at a pitch that was not in the strike zone. Montville criticizes Williams for this, but it is not totally justified. A mistake that turns out right is still a mistake, and if you are satisfied with that, then over the long haul, the mistakes will sum to a point that will overwhelm you.
It is amazing to think that he pulled two tours of duty as a Marine Corps pilot, flying combat missions in the Korean War and having a plane shot out from under him. There is no greater testament to his hitting ability than what happened after he returned from Korea at the age of 35. Having almost no time to readjust to the baseball world, he managed to hit over .400 for the remainder of the season and have a slugging percentage over .900. A close second is when he hit .388 at the age of 38, which put him within a few hits of .400. Over the course of the season, that many hits would have been generated by legs even a few years younger.
His later years were spent in and out of baseball, fishing, hunting and enjoying himself. It is here where we also see the consequences of celebrity. His relationships with women were strained, often a consequence of the fact that he could have so many. Women seemed to roll in and out of bed with him at a regular pace and there is a somewhat substantiated rumor that he caught an STD while in Korea. His relationships with his children were poor, which led to his being exploited, manipulated and mistreated in his last years. Those who knew him best and had looked after him were shut out of his life when he needed them most. After his death, his body was frozen, something that was almost certainly the consequence of a forgery that was somehow accepted as legal.
Ted Williams did many things at the highest level. He lived fast, enjoyed the good life of women, fame, adulation and monetary rewards. At the end, it seemed that his only regret was that he did not build familial relationships. Which is probably correct, because he maintained close relationships with friends for decades, old buddies to shoot piles of BS with.
Montville captures Ted Williams as a great man with great flaws. Some criticized him because they could and because it sold papers. Nevertheless, Williams often went out of his way to antagonize others, spitting at and cursing fans and sportswriters when he felt like it. As is so often the case, the very qualities that make someone great also make their flaws great. However, he was also willing to help people in need. There are many stories of his charity work and how he would stop and give a total stranger a tip on hitting. This is a book that all baseball fans should read. ... Read more

53. The BIG SHOWCASSETTE : Inside ESPN's Sportscenter
by Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671576224
Catlog: Book (1997-06-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 987134
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars hilarious
A book about the show that revolutionized the sports tv show by the two guys who were the stars of the show. Funniest section is where they talk about those little catch-phrases everyone gets stuck in their head. You know like, "from way downtown...bang!!" and "he put the biscuit in the basket". Hilarious!!

4-0 out of 5 stars En Fuego Doesn't Start With 'N'
You'll have to read the book to truly appreciate the title of my review. Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman were incredibly great together on air, and they continue this trend with The Big Show.

Not only is this book hilariously funny (two different fonts was pure genius), but it gives you an incredibly in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes making of the greatest sports' news show on television. Yes, today most of topics in the book are outdated, but you can still relate to the athletes they discuss.

The authors also share their totally different stories of their respective rises to the top, as well as discussing larger sports' stories that have been well documented in the news. In doing so, they use easy-flowing descriptive language, intertwined with their vast knowledge of sports on the whole. This funny and insightful book is a must read for all sports fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best thing since sliced bread
Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick truly speak from the heart and give their inside approach to what they think of the sports industry. I've already recomended it to some of my friends and they love it also so BUY THIS NOW!

5-0 out of 5 stars This audio-book is simply "en fuego"
I bought the audio version of Keith and Dan's book in addition to the printed version. While the book contains a lot more material than the tapes, it's great to listen to Keith and Dan banter back and forth for three hours. Take this one in the car with you on long trips--it will definitely make the trip more interesting. This ia a must-have for any true Olbermaniac (like myself.)

4-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining look at 2 of the best sportscasters on tv.
This is one of those books that, becuase of Dan and Keith's style of delivery, is better heard than read. Both were very accurate in their rebuke of the baseball hall of fame selection process. The 3rd top 10 list was a little boring. Overall the book is very entertaiing. ... Read more

54. Putting Like a Genius
by Bob Rotella
list price: $13.00
our price: $13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743526333
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 620434
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Book Description

One of the leading performance consultants in America, Dr. Bob Rotella has tutored some of golf's greatest players including Nick Price, Tom Kite, David Duval, and Brad Faxon. Now Rotella, or "Doc," as most players refer to him, shares his wisdom on the most mental aspect of the game -- putting.

In Putting Like a Genius, Rotella tells you how to tune out extraneous factors such as anger, fear and other emotional responses that often cause you to leave the ball short or run it by the hole. Rotella's tips feature a series of exercises and techniques that will help you visualize success on the green and gain more cofidence in our putting stroke. And his conversational style and straightforward appproach make this audio program an indispensable tool for every golfer. Filled with inspiring stories and tremendous insight, Putting Like a Genius will improve your game, and make it more enjoyable. ... Read more

55. Be the Ball: An Audio Recording for Better Golf
by Sean Ryan
list price: $16.95
our price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0966361911
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Sophie Enterprises
Sales Rank: 822389
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The saying that golf is 90% mental is repeated often enough to make it a cliché but why isn't the amateur golfer listening? Author, Sean Ryan is out to change that. His latest recording, Be The Ball - An Audio Recording For Better Golf, released by SE Publishing, is a 40-minute cassette that teaches a straight-forward, easy-to-use method of incorporating relaxation, visualization and a "swing phrase" into the listener's pre-shot routine.According to Dr. Nick Rosa of Peak Performance Psychology "golfers at all skill levels can benefit from Be The Ball" which helps golfers get into the "zone" on command, lower scores and enhance their enjoyment of the sport.

Benefits realized from the tape include learning to relax and focus before each shot, freeing your mind from last second adjustments, being able to swing freely with confidence and utilizing a simple way to determine the speed of a putt. Side one of the recording details the complete method while side two offers an abbreviated version launching right into the pre-shot routine exercises.

The author, Sean Ryan, reviewed the wide-expanse of popular self-help material on the market and wanted to create a tape that would combine all the best techniques into a simple pre-shot procedure. He took ten strokes off his game using the tape and recommends listening to the recording before each round of golf and using the techniques before each stroke on the golf course.

Ryan has produced other highly acclaimed self-help audiotapes combining positive visualization and meditation techniques that focus the mind to achieve specific goals. It is estimated that 26 million U.S. golfers spend between 15-30 billion on the sport, which is largely known as a mind game, so at this price Be The Ball may be your best shot! ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Relaxation, visualization and auditory cues are used
Be The Ball presents the author's experiences as a weekend golfer who tries to improve his own game and bring the practice rang swing to the golf course. Relaxation, visualization and auditory cues are used in this audio to help guide listeners to pre-shot skills which will lead to improved scores. An intriguing application for meditation and learning.

5-0 out of 5 stars BE THE BALL is worth keeping!
BE THE BALL is worth keeping!

This 40-minute cassette recording is the perfect gift for all interested golfers.

The author Sean Ryan is an avid golfer and often can be found at the practice range near his New Jersey home.

Improve your skills by learning how to visualize the ball by listening to Mr. Ryan's auditory cues. This cassette is full of helpful techniques, which he cleverly transmits in a to the point and easy to understand manner.

Whether you are a weekend golfer, or an every day on your lunchtime break golfer--I'm positive that you will find this audio recording helpful, fun and just the right thing to help you relax, swing and get your first "hole in one!"

My husband, who is an avid golfer, and I, as a weekend golfer, found Mr. Ryan's cassette recording extremely rewarding. Clear your mind, learn to relax before each shot, develop a routine to get you in the "groove" so you can easily determine the speed of each putt, swing freely, and learn pre-shot skills resulting in an improvement of your game score.

I highly recommend this clever audio recorording..........

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I listened to it and knocked 5 strokes off my score the next day. The tape suggests subliminal keys to trigger positive thoughts or should I say eliminate negative thoughts. As a 9 handicap, I think it it's well worth trying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superbly produced and highly recommended.
Be The Ball is a superbly produced, forty minute, audiobook presentation on how to play a better game of golf. Listeners will learn to relax and focus before each shot; develop a routine to get into the "zone"; free their mind from last second adjustments; teach themselves to swing freely and confidently; discover an easy way to determine the speed of a putt; practice their mental game while relaxing; and incorporate positive talk into their golf game. Be The Ball is highly recommended for anyone seeking to improve their game, their ability to relax while playing, and to hone their pre-shot skills resulting in significant game score improvement. ... Read more

56. When Pride Still Mattered : A Life of Vince Lombardi
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671776290
Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 193035
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Pride Still Mattered is the quintessential story of the American family: how Vince Lombardi, the son of an immigrant Italian butcher, rose to the top, and how his character and will to prevail transformed him, his wife, his children, his players, his sport, and ultimately the entire country.

It is also a vibrant football story, abundant with accounts of Lombardi's thrilling life in that world, from his playing days with the Seven Blocks of Granite at Fordham in the 1930s to the glory of coaching the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. It is also a study of national myths, tracing what Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David Maraniss calls the fallacy of the innocent past, and an absorbing account of the mythmakers from Grantland Rice to Howard Cosell who shaped Lombardi's image.

By the time he died of cancer in 1970, after one season in Washington during which he transformed the Redskins into winners, Lombardi had become a mythic character who transcended sport, and his legend has only grown in the decades since. In When Pride Still Mattered, Maraniss renders Lombardi as flawed and driven yet ultimately misunderstood, a heroic figure who was more complex and authentic than the stereotypical images of him propounded by admirers and critics.

Using the same meticulous reporting and sweeping narrative style that he employed in First in His Class, his classic biography of Bill Clinton, Maraniss separates myth from reality and wondrously recaptures Vince Lombardi's life and times. ... Read more

Reviews (121)

5-0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest sports biography ever written
If you are thinking about passing on this book because you've read a hundred other things on Lombardi, don't.

I almost did. Amongst other things, I'm a football junkie, a bit of an amateur historian on the subject, and felt that I knew enough about Vince--regardless of how fascinating a subject he is. I bought the book on the basis of its good reviews, and let me tell you every other book I have about Vince has been replaced by this book.

It is probably the best sports biography ever written. First off Maraniss is a world class writer, and this isn't written at the Junior High level as many sports books are. Second, the quality of his research--the dates, details, quotes and interviews--is staggering. An objective look at Lombardi as a family man, a father gives us a real taste of his life. It puts the times and Vince's achievements into perspective, and I never once felt that the airing of what technically could be considered "dirty laundry"(although it is tame by 1990s standards) lessened Lombardi in my eyes. On the contrary, it made him more of a realistic, vunerable person who's life becomes all the more remarkable for it.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is not just a sports book or a book about sports
For football fans and non-fans alike, for men and women, for anyone with an interest in leadership, psychology, family dynamics, ambition, organization, and American culture, this is a book you will love. David Maraniss writes biographies that read like novels using the most powerful prose and beautiful language. As a woman who follows football, I thought I knew all the important facts about Vince Lombardi's life. Not a chance. Don't be daunted by the length; every page is laced with fascinating and dramatic details. The Ice Bowl chapter is one of the greatest pieces of writing (of any kind) I have ever read. While I knew the outcome, I was still riveted by the drama. It is compelling, intense and funny all at the same time. I actually felt cold as I was reading it, as though I was there all along. That's really the key to the entire book-you may think you know the Lombardi story, but Maraniss makes you feel like you were there with him...all along the way.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
As a long-time Packer fan, about anything substantative would have been an interesting and fun read. But this one surprised me because it eclipsed long-established accounts of the Packers successes and failures and took an especially thorough look at the man who made Green Bay famous.

Who would have known, for example, that the Coach's brother was gay. Or that he could relate one-to-one to his team and his players in a way he never could to his family. The book shares more of these insights than it does such strategic things as how Jerry Kramer and Ken Bowman combined to throw "the" block. In fact, the on the field tactics and discussions almost become a distraction in a broader book that emphasizes what made the man tick.

Like Wisconsin's other 1960s era sports hero, Al McGuire, everybody thinks they know everything about Coach Lombardi. This book lends an exciting perspective on a man dead now for almost 35 years. It's fascinating and long overdue.

5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic!
First, a few low points... While not written in the jargon of the field, Maraniss clearly approaches the subject of Vince Lombardi from a post-modern point of view. He opens with a contrived and somewhat galling introduction, in which he explains that he has borrowed the title from another author and uses it (of course!) "ironically." At various points throughout the book, Maraniss attempts to "de-construct" Lombardi, which is to some extent the mark of any good biography, but the author takes it too far at times, especially in his frequent references to the "fallacy of the innocent past." Moreover, this is not a political book, but because Lombardi was mildly politically active, politics enters the picture. And a subtle bias pervades Maraniss's discussion of politics. When lifelong Democrat (but always pretty conservative) Lombardi begins drifting toward Nixon and Republicans in the turbulent sixties, Maraniss attributes Lombardi's conservatism not to a heartfelt belief in those principles but to an inability to cope with rapidly changing times. The 60s is a favorite topic for Maraniss, as his latest book indicates, but his digressions into the protests, while tangentially important to Lombardi's story (particularly his philosophy of freedom), are overdone.

Nevertheless, despite those faults, I still give this book a five. Immediately after that disappointing introduction, Maraniss redeems himself with probably the most stunning first line I have read in any book of nonfiction (and perhaps in fiction, too): "Everything begins with the body of the father." It is a starting point for a discussion of Lombardi's immigrant father, but it brings together elements that appear throughout the book: family (especially Lombardi's relationship with his son); Catholicism; the physical violence of football. From his youthful desire to be a priest and his high school and college football career, Maraniss follows Lombardi to Fordham and beyond to his first coaching job at a small Catholic high school in New Jersey and to an assistant's job at West Point, under Red Blaik. It was then to the Giants, where he was an assistant with Tom Landry, and finally across the country to Green Bay, where the legend was born.

The book is not just a biography of Vince Lombardi; it is a look at American life and culture and at the history of professional football. It is amazingly written, and the descriptions of football games are wonderful--particularly the Ice Bowl, which another reviewer has mentioned. Flaws and all, this is a fantastic read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Power Sweep
_That William Verneli Wood was challengig for a place on the Packers at all was a meaure of his mental strength and perseverance. It also underscored the determination of Lombardi and his personnel man, Jack Vainisi, to ignore the prejudices then prevalent in most NFL front offices in their search for the most talented players...Wood was a black quarterback in an era when black athletes were seldom allowed the opportunity to play that position_ (p237). Willie Wood went on to play 12 seasons for the NFL Green Bay Packers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989 In this biography WHEN PRIDE STILL MATTERED, David Maraniss identifies _race relations_ as an issue that revealed Coach Vincent Lombardi's character.

I understood very little about the American version of football. Part of my confusion was that the foot is seldom used, and the object of the competition resembles a ball like no other. Even so, after reading WPSM, Mr Maraniss has provided me an appreciation for the athletes and the unmatched accomplishments of Coach Lombardi. Mr Maraniss chronicles football's mythical beginnings at US colleges in the first half of the twentieth century culminating in its zenith in the decade of the 1960s. The Packers were the team of that turbulent decade and Coach Lombardi became an icon.

I was not surprised by this aspect of the biography. I don't feel I am alone in anticipating a captivating telling of the history and personalities of the NFL. Where Mr Maraniss exceeds my expectations is in his ability to weave disparate details together as they powerfully manifest at a critical time. The Packer Sweep is the most prominent example. So too is the complex and often contradictory character of Coach Lombardi.

Mr Maraniss tells us that Vincent Lombardi had a rare quality of leadership that enhances the confidence of those around him. He was able to lift their spirits and they in turn responded with an effort that exceeded even what they themselves thought possible. This is a spiritual gift.

Part of this gift found expression when Coach Lombardi was intolerant of racial prejudice. _The Jim Crow discrimination that black Packers faced when the team played exhibition games in the South enraged Lombardi, and at the end of the 1960 preseason he decided that he would never again allow his team to be split by segregation; from then on, he said, any hotel that would not accomodate all Packers would get no Packers_ He applied the same standard to the establishments in hometown Green Bay, Wisconson.

Even before Willie Wood came to Green Bay, Lombardi brought Em Tunnell with him from the NY Giants, and paid for his lodgings, _Lombardi respected and needed Tunnell's experience that much_. (p240). Tunnell and Wood returned the respect. Wood said that Lombardi was _perhaps the fairest person I ever met_

Coach Lombardi carried this same attitude to the issues of homosexuality and pre-marital pregnancy. These are typically, emotionally laden issues for Christians. Whatever reservations Lombardi may have held personally, he let his team know that a gay player deserved respect, _if I hear one of you people make reference to his manhood you'll be out of here before your ass hits the ground_ (p471).

The coach's daughter and her fiance agreed to get married but they did not want her parents to know that she was pregnant. Their parish priest helped the young couple with the details of securing a marriage license and with their permission, contacted Vince and Marie Lombardi who were enjoying the success of a Super Bowl victory in Florida (GB 33 Oakland 14). Lombardi had become a national symbol of old-fashioned discipline and moral rectitude. Upon hearing the news, _at first, Lombardi was 'extremely angry, of course, but then calmed down and began drafting a game plan._ (p430). As soon as Vince and Marie returned to Green Bay, they paid a visit to the newlyweds. Susan remembers, _He stuck out his hand to Paul and said welcome to the family and asked him about his education and his plans_.

Mr Maraniss tells us of a complex Coach in this biography of Vincent Lombardi. There is never any doubt about his shortcomings. Through his unique determination Lombardi overcame these shortcomings and applied his will to hold a faith in the positive nature of us all. _Winning is the ony thing_ is the most famous quotation from Coach Lombardi, but winning was not the only thing at which Vincent Lombardi excelled.

PEACE ... Read more

57. Total Body Golf: Seven Steps to a Winning Game
by Jack Heggie
list price: $39.95
our price: $33.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1884605079
Catlog: Book (1997-03-01)
Publisher: Genesis II
Sales Rank: 760552
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Unleash the perfect golfer within you! Whether you are new to thegame or an old pro, these seven easy lessons will improve yourswing, your game and your score. Jack Heggie, internationally-known Feldenkrais. practitioner, teaches you how to use your whole body to most efficiently make every shot a winning shot. Achieve a truly balanced and centered stance, and a more powerful swing, which will lead to the elegant shots that characterize the genuine expert.4 Audio Cassettes in Binder ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Play better gulf!!!
During these easy lessons you will learn how to use your body efficiently, and how to play better gulf. The book will improve your balance and your shot. ... Read more

58. Rise & Walk: The Trial & Triumph of Dennis Byrd/Cassette
by Dennis Byrd
list price: $11.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559949481
Catlog: Book (1993-09-01)
Publisher: Harper Audio
Sales Rank: 1333842
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A football player tells about his struggle to walk again...
...after a carrer ending injury. This is a very touching book, with many sad and joyful parts to it. ... Read more

59. The Dark Side of the Game : My Life in the NFL
by Tim Green
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570424128
Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 987793
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very honest book about NFL football by a former player.
"When I meet people for the first time, and they learn that I played for eight years in the NFL, their eyes glaze over with that far away look of a person dreaming about what he'll do if he wins the lottery." With these lines, Tim Green begins his autobiography. I must offer Mr. Green my heartiest congratulations because it takes a lot for this history major to buy an autobiography in hard cover. The last one I did buy was Lewis Puller Jr's moving Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography, "Fortunate Son" before it won a Pulitzer PRize. Bottom line: iit akes a lot to convince me to buy a book, written by a livng person about themselves. .. such as the book being interesting enough to have read about half of it in the bookstore. With his fourth book, Tim Green, a former defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons, has written an amazingly funny, refreshingly honest book about life in the "Big Time " of football. This is a book for fan (Both rab id & non), and non fan alike, irregardless of sex. It details the highs, lows, follies and foibles of football, both on and off the field, explaining such mysteries as what players really say on the field to one another after, ("Hi Ttim, how are you?... Good Brett, how about you?... Good."), racism ("Whenever a team travels anywhere, two large buses are needed to move them. It's not uncommon for one bus to be predominatly filled with blacks, and the other with whites.") what players eat (anything edible that's not moving fast enough to get away.) what it's like to play at the Meadowlands, ("football in a can"), right on down to what football players wear under their uniforms, ("The hard facts are that protective cups, as they are known, are as uncommon in the NFL as painted toenails.") Guess that's why there are no Dennis Rodman's in football. This is not howerver, a book for stuffed shirts, especially those in the NFL who are more used to the game of football being treated with the awe and admiration usually reserved for a WWII documentary of aircraft carrier warfare in the Pacific or the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII. IF your're such a stuffed shirt you certaily won't want this book since it's not a hagiography. IT is definitely not a Steve Sabol film with it's glowing commentaries and beautifully filmed sequences. Far from it, this book is real, funny, and sad in places, such as in it's description of former players having to start all over agian trying to get along on the average person's salaary after years of having had credit cards with $50,000 limits, huge bank accounts and being spoiled and fawned over. In short, it manages to transform football from the usual two dimensional cutout sport seen on weekend TV into a three dimensional sport which can live on after the TV has been turned off. Most fans probably never thought about the constant pain that it takes to play this sport, or what happens t players after the fame and money are gone. They probably don't consider what Deion Sanders is like after the cameras and kleig lights are turned off, the effect of stingers or how to shake hands with an NFL player. Bassically this is the sort of book that tells it like it is and makes fans think of thinkgs they normally woudln't they way a good book should. It's the sort of book the NFL needs and it should not cause either the NFl or FOXTV which has a long term contract to broaddcst nfl games to either blacklist or fire Time Green. While this book has been called ane xpose, I for one disagree with the characterization. The term expose is more appropirately applied to the Inspector General's report on the goings on at the now infamous "Tailhook" convention that the Navy had in Las Vegas. When this report was published it changed the way the Navy addressed a lot of things, especially it's relationshiops between the sexes and the participation of women in combat slots in air warfare. This book while no haiography will not measurably change anything. And as for Tim Green, while he may never be Ernest Hemingway, this is an exceedingly well written book. (Sorry Big Guy... to many compound sentences, forget those commas, find a war, try for Alexandre Dumas,.... even better yet... Tim Green!) This book remind us that football is a game, big time entertainment, an even bigger business and something few people rarely even thing aoubt... a really physically demanding job. And he even managed to stay away from mentioning the cheerleaders. Enough T&A!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My only problems. with the book... too short and he never addressed the issue of the "meaningless pension plan".

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprising and eye-opening, a fine overview
I had hoped that Tim Green would've addressed some of the really dark topics of the game such as organized crime influence, throwing games, etc. But the subjects he hits on were very informative and give some good insight as to what it's like to play football in the NFL. He paints a good picture of all the ups and downs of playing and gives fair warnings to all young players fortunate to rise to the pro level. Alot of his opinions are colorful and relevant and the book is very readable with many short chapters each packed with unique information. This is a must read for anyone who loves the game.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting reading for NFL fans
If you follow the NFL or pro sports in general, you'll enjoy reading this book. There are no major revelations here - it does confirm some of what is speculated in terms of bending the rules with equipment, athletes pushing their bodies to the limit and then some, and players taking a range of medications to block pain and stay on the field. The best parts of the book give a glimpse of life in the NFL. Written before the HBO series on training camp, Green's book describes how tough the summer ritual can be and what it is like from week to week. He writes in a straightforward style and the chapters are arranged topically. Green wrote this nonfiction book before his series of fiction.

1-0 out of 5 stars The biggest waste of [$$$] ever
Want to know about a players life in the NFL? I'm talking about the real lowdown, all the dirt, the stuff you don't see on TV. So do I. Unfortunately, it's not in this book. This book would be just as interesting if all the pages were blank. It doesn't really tell you anything, not to mention it reads like a junior high book report. You'll get so bored of it, you probably won't finish. I left a few chapters unread, only after I forced myself to keep reading for a month (yeah, it took that long because this book is real easy to put down). It just ... . It doesn't draw you in...ever. Maybe if this was written by Emmitt, or someone who has actually accomplished something, it would be a little better. At least you could read about some great moments and carry something away from it. This was written by a guy who was basically the waterboy. It's a dud from start to.....well, whenever you quit. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Dark Side of the Game
The book "the Dark Side of the Game" was about the reality of the NFL and what athletes you see on TV have to go through every year, season, and day. It's a good book to read if you're a regular Fottball viewer, or just love the game. It goes into detail about trainning camp, physicals, and intervews. "Explains life in the NFL with out exageration" says Deion Sanders. It goes into great detail and brings you one step closer to the game, explaining strugglea with drugs, injuries, and women. There is even a chapter on how to shake a Football player's hand, saying that the way is not to show them your pwoer in grip, but to give a nice hand shake, for the hands of the NFL athletes are swollen and bruised all season. A new respect for the NFL athletes will be gained after reading this book, for the stories and conditions explained in the book are like none other. "If my boys were to not want to touch a football, i would be perfectly happy." says Green, knowing the game and the things that the players put up with, this quote is one to think about. Is the NFL really everybodys dream? Or just another dream that they'll be happy not pursuing? ... Read more

60. The Natural
by Bernard Malamud
list price: $39.95
our price: $39.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786104546
Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 663813
Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The classical novel (and basis for the acclaimed film) now in a new edition

Introduction by Kevin Baker

The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin’s comment still holds true: “Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology.”
... Read more

Reviews (68)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best I have ever heard!
Simply smashing! A number one success! You have seen the movie, now it's time to listen to the book. Blackstone Audio has a real winner with this audio version of a great novel about America's national pastime - baseball.

The five 1-1/2 hour cassettes recant the life of Roy Hobbs a promising young baseball prospect from that farmlands trying to make it to the majors. Hobbs is sideline by a woman with a deadly bullet and after 15 years his dream comes true.

The story tells about the ups and down of Roy Hobbs and the New York Knights baseball club. From the strange death of Bump Bailey to the wiles of sports writer Max Mercy, you be treated to a first class story and you'll find it hard to stop listening.

The ending was a true surprise and a real pleasure. I enjoyed the listening and would highly recommend this to anyone. Remember the movie is the movie and as is most cases movies often fall short of the books they copy.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Natural
In my english class I was told I had to read a book of my choice and write a review. So I chose this book just because I am a fan of baseball, and it was short. Let me tell you, I am glad I read this book. I myself hate to read but I couldn't put the book down. The inspirational story of how a baseball player lives out his dreams kept me captivated the whole time.

The story is about a young man, Roy Hobbs, who was on his way to try out for the Chicago Cubs and on the way he met a girl who took him back to her hotel room and shot him. The story resumes years later when Roy begins his brilliant come back and over comes adversity to become one of the best baseball players of all time. He wins the love and respect of the baseball community who at first thought he was to old to play, but once they saw him play the fans fell in love with him. I got so into the story I wanted to get out of my seat and go play. This is a must read whether you are a baseball fan or not, it is a great story and you should not pass it up.

2-0 out of 5 stars Rare case where the movie is better than the book
I read this book on the strength of the Robert Redford movie and not only because I was looking for a happy ending, either. It's usually the case where the movie adaptation of a book strips down the characters and pursues fewer plot lines than the book. But in this sad, bump-along novel, it's just the opposite.

The "Natural" doesn't stand the test of time. Maybe way back in the day you could have invented a Roy Hobbs and the anti-hero story would be received as edgy and avant garde. But it's hokey now and too simplistic: the would-be hero who can't prevail because he chases what's bad for him and ensures his own destruction in spite of tremendous "natural" talent. We're not surprised by the ending at all. We expect it. We get it. We saw it play out in the last presidential administration. We're sick of it.

It's one thing for a novel to be dark, it's another for that darkness to get in the way of the narrative, character development, and so on. Which is exactly what I loved so much about the movie. Remember those great scenes with Wilfred Brimley and the assistant coach? Remember when they were whistling to each other, playing "name that tune?" Those two characters have absolutely no depth at all in this book. The manager's reduced to a grouchy head of steam full of resentment and doubt for everyone. The assistant coach is just a box of fortune cookies come alive, kicking out hayseed credos and cutting the tension here and there. People we thought we KNEW by the end of the movie barely have any narrative power ripple over them in this book.

Some of the pitiful contrivances are out-of-this world corny, implausible, or irrelevant: Roy's chance meeting with Memo, his gargantuan appetite, his magic tricks. Pages which should have been devoted to developing Roy's internal crisis and his unpreparedness for the world around him are wasted with vaudevillian-style hijinks where one character "gets over" on another.

Hat's off to the writers of this movie. I didn't know they had to stretch this far to make such a great film. I've no problem with sad endings and disappointments, just don't play me "When the Saints Go Marching In" for 250 pages and call it "Ave Maria."

3-0 out of 5 stars A Negative Baseball Player
Why would a well-rounded baseball player bring down his team's chances of winning a championship game? Roy Robbs, the main character of the novel, seems to have reasons for creating this downfall. He experienced numerous, tragic flaws led to his downfall. Roy brings his team down, makes regretful decisions, ignores the coach, and chose to be around the wrong characters in the novel.
Being on a team does not mean one person does all the work. A team needs everyone to contribute and if one person lets up, it could bring the rest of the team down. In this book, Roy brings the team down in a couple of different ways. He started letting the team down after he replaced the best player on the team who had recently passed away. He did not care about being a team player as he said to Harriet, a lady he met on the bus, "I bet some day I will break every record for throwing and hitting"(pg.30). These dreams of wealth and power set him up for failure. Also, shortly after the team started winning, Roy had fallen into a major league slump and the whole team fell apart. This left them wandering if they would ever recover from their losing streak.
His decision making about women was less then desirable. Some of the decisions he made didn't make sense. First, he fell for a women named Memo Paris shortly after he noticed her for the first time. He didn't even know her and he was determined to meet her. After her boyfriend died, she hung out with him and blamed him for Bump's death. Throughout the book, she had been setting him up for disaster. All she wanted was his money and fame. He didn't even realize she was using him. Later in the book, he meets another lady named Iris, who helped him break out of his slump. She was very understanding and kind to him. But he insisted on dating Memo even though Iris was pregnant with his child.
Anther reason I think this book has a negative effect on readers is by the way he handled himself around his coach. His coach, Pop Fisher, gave him a significant amount of playing time. During the team's slump, the coach decided to hire a hypnotist to make the players focus better. Roy opposed the coach and said, "I might be on the team, but no medicine man is going to hypnotize me"(pg.75). So, the coach benched him and Roy became angry. They also had a disagreement when Roy refused to try a different bat during his slump. The coach said, "When will you get rid of that danged Wonderboy and try some other stick?" Roy replies, "Never"(pg.150). If anyone tried that in today's game of baseball, they would be assessed a harsh punishment. I disapproved when Roy thought he was above everyone else and thought he did not have to listen or answer to anyone. This showed that the coach had no control and he was taken avantage of by Roy.
I also disagree with the characters that were portrayed throughout the story along with the ending itself. When Harriet Bird, the women Roy met on the train, heard that Roy had a chance to be the best in the league, she decided to try and kill him by firing a bullet into his stomach. This had no relevance to the story and it seemed unusual.
I also didn't like the way the owner of Roy's major league team ran the organization. Judge Goodwill Barns, the owner of the Knights, tried to find an easy way to make money and loose the pennant. Roy said, "Twenty-five thousand dollars for dropping a game is not enough" and the Judge replied, "Thirty and no more"(pg.228). Roy did squeeze the money out of the Judge and he was satisfied. I think that was quite selfish of the owner to do this to his team by buying off a player.
At the end of the game, the little boy turned to Roy and asked, "Say it ain't true, Roy"(pg.262). He was unable to respond and felt guilty and realized he had lost everything again. The conclusion of the story had a negative impact when the Judge paid him to lose the game and when the boy approached Roy.
This book has negativity because of Roy's bad decisions, Roy inability to listen to his coach, unable to fit in and worked toward being a team player and chose to be around shady characters. Roy was unable to stay focussed throughout the season and he chose women and money over his morals. If had chosen a different major league team, he might not have experienced his downfall and loneliness.

4-0 out of 5 stars Malamud's Masterpiece
In the beggining of the story, Roy Hobbs is traveling to Chicago where he will try out for the cubs. His destiny is altered when a woman named Harriet Bird shoots Roy in the stomach leaving him unable to play the game of baseball for years to follow.
Fifteen years later, Roy gets his start on a professional baseball team called the Knights. During this time, the story reveals Roy's character flaws. Although he is seen by all to be one of the best baseball players that ever lived, his big ego, sexual tendencies, and large appetite set him behind in the game. In the end of the story, Roy loses it for the team on account of these flaws.
Important characters in this story are Memo,Pop,Max Mercy and The Judge.

Id have to say i thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Malamud's writing style is fast paced and an easy read. He uses metaphors quite often resulting in an in depth perspective. I wasnt too keen about the idea of reading a novel about baseball, but Malamud makes this story so much more than just that. ... Read more

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