Customer Reviews


68 Reviews
5 star:
 (36)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound lesson with an economy of words
Lewis makes a remarkable statement: a person is not born with selfrespect, but earns it. A struggle to overcome fear and failure is necessary. There are those that try to instill these beliefs on children, even though the lesson is not appreciated immediately in their youth and the profoundly positive impact is not understood until later in life. This is what the book...
Published on June 26, 2005 by Barry Sosnick

versus
73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Coach
Despite the fact that I am always fascinated by whatever Michael Lewis writes about, I had not planned to read Coach. In the bookstore, it looked like one of those "inspirational" books they stock at the checkout counter, next to the gift books about angels and cats.

But then I heard an interview with Lewis on NPR radio. The book was originally a magazine...
Published on June 17, 2005 by takingadayoff


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Coach, June 17, 2005
Despite the fact that I am always fascinated by whatever Michael Lewis writes about, I had not planned to read Coach. In the bookstore, it looked like one of those "inspirational" books they stock at the checkout counter, next to the gift books about angels and cats.

But then I heard an interview with Lewis on NPR radio. The book was originally a magazine article in the New York Times Magazine. He summarized the story in a few minutes. A coach he had at his prep school (I didn't even catch what sport Lewis was playing) had changed his life by treating him, in a critical moment in a must-win game, as if he was the clutch player Lewis and every other kid dreams of being. Lewis rose to the occasion and the confidence he gained from the experience radiated to his academic work and beyond. But now, twenty-some years later, the parents at the private school are pressuring the headmaster to oust the coach. They say his heavy-handed ways are hurting their kids' self-esteem. Lewis ended his radio summary by revealing that publicity from the New York Times article had resulted in the coach keeping his job, although the school was now looking for a new headmaster.

What a great story. It was short and had conflict as well as a satisfying ending. But then I read the book, which is simply the article, unchanged.

In it, the coach has a temper that seems uncontrolled and frightening, even to the adult Lewis. Coach takes a second-place trophy his team won and smashes it on the locker room floor, indicating his disgust at not winning first. He refuses to drive home when the team has lost, obsessively walking miles through New Orleans at night (yikes) to punish himself for being a loser. When the team doesn't hustle enough, he makes them practice sliding headfirst on concrete-hard dirt until they are bloody and bruised.

Lewis's interviews with former students of the coach sound like Stockholm Syndrome sufferers, people who've been kidnapped and held hostage but come to sympathize with their captors. The former players speak with admiration as they describe how Coach intimidated them. Lewis tells of being on the mound in another clutch situation as Coach shouts ridicule at him from the dugout, distracting him enough so that he misses a grounder that hits him in the face, causing him to black out. But when Lewis regains consciousness, he loves Coach, just as Winston loved Big Brother.

Lewis mentions that when he was a young pitcher, the coach had him put Ben Gay on the bill of his cap, to use for spitballs when his fastball wasn't doing the trick. I'm not familiar with prep league play, but isn't throwing a spitball against the rules? The more I read, the less I admired the coach.

As usual, Lewis's writing is compelling, and once you start Coach, you won't be able to put it down. You just may not find it as inspiring as Lewis meant it to be.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound lesson with an economy of words, June 26, 2005
Lewis makes a remarkable statement: a person is not born with selfrespect, but earns it. A struggle to overcome fear and failure is necessary. There are those that try to instill these beliefs on children, even though the lesson is not appreciated immediately in their youth and the profoundly positive impact is not understood until later in life. This is what the book is about.

Lewis' high school coach drives them hard. The kids don't understand why initially. Over time, they learn that through hard work they can achieve their goals--not just in athletics.

Casual readers, based on earlier reviews, seem to think that the coach is obsessed with winning; they miss the point (just as Lewis did when he was in 7th grade). Lewis talks about a season when the team was 1-12: The coaches frustration is not with the win-loss record, but that they kids possess the drive to improve and compete. He is not preparing them to win baseball games, but obtain their goals for years to come in life.

The book is a criticism of a growing opinion among parents that kids are born with respect, instead of needing to develop it. Achievement builds selfrespect, not conception. Parents should be exposing their children to fear and failure to allow them to overcome these obstacles instead of protecting them from it.

The touching element is that a successful author living comfortably in the Bay area champions someone that people no longer believe in, because this person championed him when nobody, including Lewis, believed in himself. It is the ultimate strength of character that Lewis' coach successfully cultivated in Lewis and others.

As a subscriber to the New York Times, I get the magazine. Unfortunately I did not see this article when it was published. To say a book that is a reprint of an article does not have merit is to foolishly presume that everyone gets the Times and has the time every Sunday to devour it. A reprint of an article takes a concept from a select few to the masses. Shame on those who do not appreciate this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Target Audience Young Adults, September 16, 2005
By 
MWallace (Naples, Florida) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I differ with previous reviews lamenting the brevity of the book. Obviously, adults reading the book were thinking in terms of adults. I read the book thinking about my 12-year old grandson and felt it was a perfect book to send him at this stage in his life.

This is exactly the type of book you would want to send your grandchildren or have your own children read.

It sends a powerful message and being written by someone having been coached by this person at the age of 13 makes it even more valid.

It may be short, but that's the beauty of it. It keeps your interest, gets the point across and leaves you wishing for more or better yet, offers the opportunity for discussion with young adults.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons On Society Losing Its Way, March 12, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Best selling author (Moneyball, Liar's Poker, and the New New Thing), Michael Lewis has written a little (90 pages) jewel with "Coach." Lewis reflects on his life at Isidore Newman School and the impact that his baseball coach and teacher, Billy "Fitz" Fitzgerald, had in shaping his life.

Fitz entered Lewis's mind at age 12 and has stayed there ever since. Think about that rare teacher or coach that has stayed with you into your adult life; reminisce with Lewis as he rediscovers the attributes of this relationship and its impact on his life.

Lewis's catalyst for this book was hearing that a former player was organizing an effort to remodel the old school gym and have it named after Fitz. Current players and their parents were doing all they could to persuade the headmaster to get rid of Fitz, while at the same time, cash was pouring in from former players and their parents.

This conflict allows Lewis to contrast a time when Fitz worked tirelessly to give his boys a sense that their lives could be something other than ordinary with a time - today - when values and character are less important. Fitz's effectiveness ended when he could not adapt to the change - the culture of "kids being bestowed with a sense of self-esteem at birth."

The system of values he attempted to instill is no longer in alignment the parents nor with the culture. His system is no longer wanted - it is not "in" - and is no longer tolerated. Getting rid of him is the only solution.

"Coach" transcends the events surrounding Fitz and the gym, revealing the dark side of today's society which has lost its way, one no longer wanting to develop kids for a life filled with honorable values...and meaning.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works both as social commentary and portrait of one man, July 28, 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Michael Lewis has combined a healthy curiosity about how organizations behave with an engaging narrative style to produce the eye-opening Liar's Poker, Moneyball and New, New Thing, among other books.

In this short portrait of his high-school baseball coach, Lewis merges a study of that individual with an affirmation of the effect of his values on the boys who played on his baseball team at a toney prep school, along with an essay as to why such a manly, hard-core method is pretty much forbidden by the realities of parental pressure today.

The book fundamentally expresses gratitude for the author's good fortune to have been at an elite high school in a spartan era. It does not fully explain the basic motivation of the coach, but leaves a melancholy impression that his type of dinosaur is needed now more than ever, just when the system seeks something different.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good book from Lewis, January 16, 2007
By 
Gordon (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read this after finishing Michael Lewis' The Blind Side. It's a very short read -- basically an extended magazine article -- but well worth the ticket. I thought Lewis conveyed this retrospective on his high school athletic experience very well, and there are some interesting observations about the changing world of high school sports. Every coach, athlete, and parent would benefit.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will leave you wanting this coach for your children!, September 6, 2005
MONEYBALL by Michael Lewis was one of the best baseball

books that I have ever read . . . so when I saw the author

had another book out, COACH, I made it a point to get

and read that one too . . . and I wasn't disappointed, though

it is radically different from his earlier effort.

MONEYBALL dealt with the economics of professional

baseball as it is played today . . . COACH is the story

of the author's coach when he was in high school who now--because

he hasn't changed his approach--isn't completely understood by

his players or their parents . . . in fact, many even want to

see him replaced.

And that's a shame because as Lewis notes, [he was] "a man trying

to give boys a sense that their lives could be something other than

ordinary."

Others have that same opinion, too, including Peyton Manning who

might be the highest-paid player in pro football:

"As far as the respect and admiration I feel for the man, I couldn't put

it into words. Just incredibly strong. For me, personally, he prepared me

for so much of what I faced at the college and pro level. Unlike some

coaches--for whom it's all about winning and losing--Coach Fitz was

trying to make men out of people. I think he prepares you for life. And, if

you want my opinion,  the people who are screwing up high school sports

are the parents. The parents who want their son to be the next Michael

Jordan. Or the parent who beats up the coach, or gets into a fight in the

stands. Here's a coach who is so intense. Yet he's never laid a hand

on anybody."

My only complaint about COACH is that it is quite short--only

91 pages, in fact, in a 5" x 7" format . . . it left me wanting to read

more about Lewis' high school days and how he described

them . . . such as in the following passage:

Graduating from Babe Ruth to the varsity with only the slightest physical

justification ( I now resembled less a scoop of vanilla ice cream than a

rounder Hobbit) meant coping with an out-of-control hormonal arms race.

A few of our players had sprouted sideburns; but the enemy retaliated

by growing terrifying little goatees and showing up at games with wives

and, on one shocking occasion, children. I still had no muscles, and no

facial hair, but I did have my own odor. I smelled, pretty much all the time,

like Ben-Gay. I wore the stuff on my perpetually sore right shoulder and

elbow. I wore it, also, on the bill of my cap, where Fitz had taught me

to put it, to generate the grease for a spitball that might just compensate

for my pathetic fastball. Everywhere I went that year, I emitted a vaguely

medicinal vapor; and it is the smell of Ben-Gay I associate with what

happened next.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more, July 31, 2005
By 
Moneyball was a genius book in my opinion - an examination of baseball statistics that challenges the historical significance of sacred stats such as RBI and batting average. However, it appears that Mr. Lewis was banking on the success of that book when he hurriedly put together this short memoir of a high school baseball coach that seemingly impacted his life in great ways. Mr. Lewis manages to package that nice story up in barley 70 pages.

The thought was nice, however, it very much lacked any kind of character development and real substance. Just as we get to meet his "Coach" the book is almost over.

This is a nice little read that you could get through in an hour or less, however, if you have a hearty appetite and want to sink your teeth into a meaty book, this is not for you. Skip it and read Tuesday's With Morrie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Parents, Athletes and Coaches...(In That Order!), May 25, 2005
By 
H. A. Scott III (Spartanburg South Carolina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having previously read Moneyball, I was keenly interested in Michael Lewis' tribute to his high school baseball coach. He did not disappoint. It is a brief, almost essay-like book that gives us snapshots of his coach and himself that reveal worlds about life, coaches, athletes, parents and rising to meet the challenge.

He contrasts very effectively the experience he had with the experience of present-day players, and sets the coach and his ways in graphic relief against both. His admiration for his coach comes through the telling of the story, and not through a simple list of his accomplishments.

The book does give important lessons on the game of life, thus fulfilling the promise of its' title.

One of the book's strengths is also a weakness. It is too brief! This will make it more easily accessible for many, but this reader was left wishing for more...but isn't that the grand goal of most good authors? Michael Lewis has given us another gem.

Highly recommended for athletes, coaches, and especially parents of athletes! Read, enjoy, learn...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas - A little short and undeveloped, August 22, 2005
By 
I liked Mike Lewis' basic premise in the book, but I just thought the book was awfully short. It was more like a magazine article than a book. It was only 100 (very small) pages and a bunch of those pages were photographs. But I did agree with the basic sentiment of the importance of "battling one's way through all the easy excuses life offered for giving up" and that now we bestow self-esteem on children at birth rather than have them earn it through accomplishments attained with hard work and sacrifice. I hope that parents everywhere take an hour and read this short book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life
Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life by Michael Lewis (Paperback - April 17, 2008)
$11.95 $9.47
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.