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Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success Hardcover – May 21, 2013
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"Part sports memoir, part New Age spirit quest, part pseudo-management tract...But the primary thing with Jackson — as with all the old bards, who were also known for repeating themselves — is the voice."—Sam Anderson, The New York Times Magazine
"The legendary Bulls and Lakers leader's new book finally enlightened me to Jackson's lifelong dedication to the game."—The Atlantic
"He tells you at different times to see beyond what is seen and to hear the unheard...applicable to groups in any walk of life."—The Bleacher Report
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Top Customer Reviews
There are a few points I found most interesting. Jackson discusses the limited similarities between part of a winning sports team and part of a tight-knit military unit. He also discusses the difference between championship teams and less successful teams, and even the variences between championship teams he has coached or played for. Since I have had the privilege of living both experiences (not at the professional sports level), I found the comparisons and contrasts effective. He rightly points out that playing basketball is not the same as being willing to smother a live grenade to save a comrade's life, but that the best teams, in any walk of life, develop trust and love for each other. Their ability to perform at the highest levels goes beyond purely technical skill or physical talent and approaches the spiritual.
Jackson talks frequently about Kobe Bryant and there are some comparisons to him and Michael Jordan made in the book. I found all of the comments Jackson makes about the many players he's coached to be interesting because he recognizes each had particular challenges and gifts, as do we all.Read more ›
For a lifelong basketball fan with a deep interest in spiritual practice, creative improvisation, managing talent, and eliciting outstanding performance, it's a heady mix.
The book backfills my memory of the great games I still replay in my mind, going back to a limping Willis's unforgettable two shots in the final game against the Lakers in 1970. But it is more than an intimate history of the game from a brilliant analyst. You get to follow the growth of players like Jordan, Pippin, and Bryant, people who were great to start with, as they into something beyond mere skill and athleticism. You understand the delicacy with which Jackson handled someone as flamboyant and ornery as Rodman, successfully converting his eccentricities into consistent contributions at the highest level.
But the book is also a toolbox filled with brilliant how-tos: How to fuse gifted individuals into what Jackson calls a "tribe;" How to instill confidence and independence in fragile egos; how to elicit consistently great performance from every member of the team, from the stars to the role players coming off the bench; how to manage "the elephant," (i.e. Jerry Krause). There are even simple but effective instructions in Zen Meditation.
Eleven Rings is a lucid exposition of the ways it is still possible to function originally, creatively, and responsibly, while working with others. He reminds me of Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson in that respect. Both were filmmakers with a religious dimension, who were known for their creative collaborations. But they worked at one remove from the commercial mainstream. Jackson seems to have succeeded under the glare of the bright lights and the pressure of the big bucks.
I feel he was as transparent as he could have been and related the essence of his winning formula in a way that was simple and practical. Great read!
If coach Jackson happens to read this review, I want to say thanks for not putting superficial stuff in the book and adding depth to the manuscript.
Very much appreciated!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was amazed by how an NBA franchise is similar to a software business. While I still think M.J is the one and only it seems that Phil Jackson is the master mind behind that great... Read morePublished 16 days ago by TheStarMan
Great book, with many good stories from the Bulls and Lakers eras. Always inspiring to read about Phil Jackson's unique approach to the game.Published 19 days ago by jc florenson
The tricks behind the success of the Zen Master of basketball. Many of the lessons legendary coach Phil Jackson taught as a coach transcend the sport into any aspect of life. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Luis Ruiz
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success is OK, but not great. I really enjoyed reading more about about Jackson's own playing career, and his time coaching Michael's Bulls with all the... Read morePublished 29 days ago by YB
I loved this book, it was entertaining and thought provoking. It also contained some elements of Eastern wisdom. Will most definitely read it again.Published 1 month ago by J
I really enjoyed reading this book. It had quite a few profound lessons. It was fun taking a trip down memory lane when Phil referred to some of the teams he coached. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Karren Ross-Fortunet
There was much less about practical coaching and management wisdom than I hoped for in this book. It's not evident that Jackson is reading and learning from other management and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer