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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting Story about a Packer Great!, November 5, 2012
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This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
Being a Packer fan from birth, I knew that I would enjoy Mr. Davis's stories about the Glory Days of the Green Bay Packers. What was a delightful surprise about this book were the life lessons that I learned along with the stories. When you read this book, you get a recipe for how to be committed to your team, to your business and to yourself. Willie tells his story in a way that makes you feel very connected to him and I must admit, as he told the story of each championship season, game by game and sharing the behind the scenes observations, it took me back in time to those Sunday afternoons sprawled out on the floor listening to the games with my family - jumping up and down every time the Packers scored! And we sure spent a lot of time jumping around! I also enjoyed all of the stories about Willie shared by his friends and associates. This book weaves all of Willie's memories and achievements both on and off the field into a beautifully written tapestry of green and gold!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Wonder Those Packer Teams Were So Great!, October 27, 2012
By 
ericapp "ericapp" (Manitowoc, Wisconsin United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
CLOSING THE GAP: LOMBARDI, THE PACKERS DYNASTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE by Willie Davis, with Jim Martyka and Andrea Erickson Davis

To many, Willie Davis was "a football player for Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, who went on to have some business success after his playing career ended." In CLOSING THE GAP, the reader will learn that Davis was just as adept, successful, and respected in his business ventures as he was on the football field.

In CLOSING THE GAP, Davis delivers an entertaining account and perspective of his life and career - both football and business. The book is broken down into 30 chapters, starting with his pre-teen days, when he first became interested in business. The bulk of the book covers his football career, starting with high school, where he had to talk his mother into letting him play (she was afraid that he would get hurt), his college and NFL playing days. The last 10 chapters cover his business career. The book is well written with no major writing or editing errors. Being a Packer fan helps but any football fan or someone that is interested in running a business will enjoy this read.

Early on, it becomes apparent that Willie Davis is something special. At an early age, he took on the role of caregiver of his younger siblings in his fatherless home while his mother worked. This is when mentors - particularly his mother - first made an influence in his life. Willie realized early that obstacles would always be in his path to success, but they were not going to stop him from achieving his dreams; they would only make him stronger.

The football chapters cover high school; college; the pros, where he spent his first two seasons with the Cleveland Browns and his final ten with the Packers. The majority of the coverage is his time with the Packers. Although his early years were a big influence, it is lessons learning during the football years that made the biggest impact on his life. He credits his coaches, particularly Vince Lombardi, his teammates, and even his fans for his success.

The last ten chapters cover the business side of his life. This includes the ownership and rejuvenation of a Schlitz beer distributorship, the ownership of radio stations, and board membership of many prominent companies. Don't worry football fans; Willie doesn't stray too far from the gridiron, as he interjects lessons learned from his playing days into his businesses practices. The commerce chapters are just as interesting as those that covered football.

By the time I had finished reading the 30th and final chapter, I was really amazed by what Willie Davis had accomplished in his life - not only on the football field (no wonder why those Packer teams were so great!), but maybe even more so off of it. I had the privilege of meeting Willie twice, including a book signing for this tome. Both times he came across as a warm, caring individual, someone that I would enjoy working for. I could see why he was a success. One appendix at the end has 32 people from his personal life, his playing career, and his business careers speak of his success, accomplishments, and his influence. The reader will know that the accolades are well deserved and true.

Any Packer fan - or even a non-Packer fan - will appreciate this book. The great Packer teams of the 1960s were before my time, thus I never saw Willie Davis play, but I still enjoyed the book and do recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read, October 11, 2012
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This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
I just finished reading Willie's book. If you recall the early days of the Super Bowl, the Lombardi legacy, the Packer greats and the great NFL players they played against, you must read this book. It will take you back to an era that simply doesn't exist any longer. Willie's success on the football field carries over into his business success. A must read for all gridiron fans and business people alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, October 10, 2012
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This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
This book has a compelling story and details about the game of football. Willie Davis is an inspiring person. He has contributed so much to football and to the community. He also has a wonderful love of life that is infectious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davis is an inspiration, January 18, 2014
This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
Mr, Davis is an American inspiration. This book is well written and relives those exciting days of the Packers in the 1960s. His transition to business man is also astounding. I am not a Packer fan, but I am a huge fan of Willie Davis now that I read the book. The part about his mother is extremely tender. This big guy has a heart the size to match.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great read! Would make an excellent gift for any Packer fan, December 16, 2013
Having been too young to witness the Lombardi years live, you can't grow up in WI and not hear the older generations tell their stories about those great years. After reading this book, I now feel like I have something to contribute to the conversation. It was so well written, i feel like I now know why everyone is still talking about that time in Packer history. You will come away from this book inspired and informed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Willie one great defensive player, November 5, 2013
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Willie Davis did an excellent job of the coaching and mind set of Coach Lombardi. It was the best ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He earned it., June 26, 2013
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Great read. Despite all the issues with growing up in the South. Mr. Davis, investing in hard work and a great mothers guidence, succeeded in life. He worked hard to accomplish his goals. He did not play the woe is me card. He worked his way to stardom both on the football field and in business. Yes he did receive help from a wonderful mother and exceptional coaches but he understood that with this help it was up to him through hard work and talent to make it all pay off.
A book that leaves you with a very positive feeling about achievement in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all football fans, and especially fans of the Packer Glory Years, June 9, 2013
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This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
I have always admired Mr. Davis from afar. Now learning about how he grew up and the obstacles he had to overcome, he is even more of a hero to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Compelling and Inspirational, April 23, 2013
By 
Ernest Chu "Ernest Chu" (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence (Hardcover)
From Willie Davis' humble beginnings in Texarkana, TX., to his Hall of Fame career with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers, Closing the Gap by Willie Davis, Jim Martyka and Andrea Erickson Davis is as much a tribute to the late legendary Vince Lombardi as it is to his life principles of winning, giving maximum effort, focus and other life skills necessary to win in any field of life. We see this through the eyes of Willie Davis, a shy and humble black rookie from Grambling College who emerges into one of the best ever Hall of Fame defensive ends, an equally successful entrepreneur after football, and a pioneer for both black and white athletes to aspire to. More than just a biography, Closing the Gap is like In Search of Excellence meets The Blind Side.

The book's title, Closing the Gap, refers not only to stopping running backs at the line of scrimmage, or sacking the quarterback, but closing the gap of limitations and fear that keeps us from winning the game of life. Willie Davis shows us how. For an life-long NFL afficionado like myself, Davis' Packer war stories about his teammates, Coach Lombardi and key rivalry games with the Browns, Giants, Eagles and Bears etc. resurrect a host of nostalgic memories. The Packer greats come to life as human beings who "put on their pants one leg at a time," yet are still larger than life. I can almost feel the sting of the 20 below zero wind chill in Lambeau field, and hear the crescendo of the crowd roar as Jerry Kramer leads Bart Starr into the end zone for the winning touchdown during the waning seconds of the title game.

Closing the Gap is fascinating, compelling, and deeply moving at times. By the time you are finished, you feel like you've spent a few wonderful days with an old friend, and are all the better for it. This is one book you won't have to wait until the game ends to know that it is a winner! I recommend it highly.
.
Ernest D. Chu,
Best selling author, Soul Currency
Chairman, Green States Energy, Inc.
Motivational Speaker
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Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence
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