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Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success Hardcover – May 21, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

"Through candor and comprehensiveness, Jackson writes a convincing revisionist take, in which he emerges as an excellent coach...highly readable...reflects Jackson’s polymathy."—The New York Times Book Review

"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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594205116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594205118
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 111 people found the following review helpful By 30YRVET on May 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
11 Rings: The Soul of Success is Phil Jackson's newest book and an interesting look inside the mind of one of the greatest American professional sports coaches in history. The entire book is filled with interesting quotes, historical and personal examples, relevent analogies concerning his theories on coaching, leadership, and teamwork. I find Jackson's mind to be very fascinating, and in a way, much less organized than John Wooden's more disciplined approach to life, leadership and coaching. I am reminded of the differences between an artist and an engineer, if I was generalizing.

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.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Sue Ellen Skeens on June 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a mom who spent 12+ years watching my daughter play volleyball, basketball, and throw discus/shot put, I have seen my share of coaching styles. Some were awesome, some should have been fired, one was fired. Throughout it all, I always knew it could be more humane and motivating without the degrading, intimidating, and negative approach many coaches used. I always loved watching Phil Jackson coach the Bulls and read some about his coaching style at the time. But his book has great information that can be applied to any job, including parenting. Clearly, championships can be won while coaching a team respectfully and influencing them not just as a player, but as a human being. Every coach, teacher, camp counselor, parent would learn from this book. All athletes/children of those who do, will benefit greatly. I bought it for my Kindle, but just bought it in hardback too, as I want to highlight some parts and get all the book referrals he includes.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Carl Lehmann Haupt on May 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It's a perfect storm in reverse: every good thing about it is enhanced by all the other good things that surround it.

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.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By affiliateagle on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered the book and received it on the 21st of May. This is a side of Phil Jackson I didn't know existed, I knew about the Zen side of what was reported by the media, but I was especially pleased he shared some minor intimate things about his childhood and the players he coached. He even leaked out a few methods he's used to coach at a high level.

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!
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