Reviews for Eleven Rings : The Soul of Success

Booklist Reviews 2013 May #1
Phil Jackson won an unprecedented 11 championship rings as an NBA coach (6 with the Chicago Bulls and 5 with the Los Angeles Lakers). He begins this memoir with a brief exploration of his childhood as the son of two practicing ministers, an experience that laid the foundation for his approach to coaching. As a young man, Jackson realized he couldn't accept his parents' faith, but he explored any number of religions and consciousness-raising movements to satisfy his spiritual yearnings. To a casual fan, meditation, Buddhism, and Native American spirituality may seem an odd mix of resources with which to motivate highly paid, often egocentric professional athletes. Jackson, however, made it work, combining sincerity with a message of teamwork and trust; of course, a healthy dose of basketball acumen didn't hurt, either. Jackson's story, augmented by behind-the-scenes anecdotes involving Michael, Shaq, Kobe, and others, makes for great reading. Hoop fans: read this alongside Bob Knight's recent The Power of Negative Thinking (2013) and then determine which coaching style would motivate you more and improve your life outside of basketball. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #2

Jackson won 11 championships as an NBA head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, a feat all the more impressive, and complicated, given that he had to manage superstar personalities like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in L.A. and Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago, none of whom was eternally ready to embrace the group effort required in basketball. As a coach, Jackson's method was to encourage individuality within the team, a paradigm that required flexibility on his end, whether it was embracing the human id known as Dennis Rodman or sharpening his teams' focus by practicing mindfulness meditation. Jackson's seventh book, which traces his path from North Dakota ministers' son to his current legendary status, memorably describes how he tamed the delicate nature of a basketball team. While the book has a nice amount of material detailing the exhausting mental effort required to lead a team--things were so corrosive with Bryant early on, that the coach dreamt of spanking him--Jackson doesn't offer nearly enough of himself, so the book feels more like a marketing tool meant to polish his public profile as a sagacious Zen master of tall men. Readers looking for a motivational push will be most pleased; basketball fans hankering for insider stories on some historic teams will be disappointed. Photos not seen by PW. (June)

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