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Finding the Winning Edge Hardcover – December 7, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Sports Publishing Inc.; First Edition edition (December 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571671722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571671721
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.1 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #553,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You don't win three Super Bowls with luck. Bill Walsh, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers during the great Montana years, provides an inside look at his tenure with a team that will be remembered as one of the era's most dominating professional sports organizations. It's all here: the West Coast Offense made famous by the 'Niners; the incredible attention to detail in the locker room and on the field; the clutch play-calling that resulted in timeless sporting moments such as "The Drive" that defeated Cincinnati in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXIII. Walsh took over a team in trouble and transformed it into a force to be reckoned with. In Finding the Winning Edge he reveals the methods behind this transformation, including his program for hiring and developing a staff; evaluating and acquiring key players; building a game plan; and overcoming the mental barriers that frequently plague talented teams; Walsh spares no details. Serious football fans and coaches will find this to be an invaluable resource for understanding the highest levels of the game.

About the Author

About the Author After studying chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, James Peterson fell in love with food while picking grapes for a winemaker in the south of France. He studied in France at Le Cordon Bleu, and later worked at the then three-star restaurants Le Vivarois and Chez La Mere Blanc (now Georges Blanc). Peterson returned to the United States in 1979 and was partner and chef at Le Petit Robert in New York's Greenwich Village, and has also taught and developed curriculum at The French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and taught at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School. Peterson has translated six French books on pastry and baking, and is the author of Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, the first edition of which was The James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year in 1992. He also wrote Splendid Soups, which was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award in 1994, and Fish and Shellfish, winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Julia Child Award for best book on a single subject. His latest book, Vegetables, appeared in the spring of 1998.


Billick is head coach of the Baltimore Ravens.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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A brilliant book by pro football's best mind.
Nicolas S. Martin
Every serious coach has heard of Bill Walsh and understands the role his innovative offensive philosophy plays in modern football.
Joshua Kotelnicki
Great information on the entire process of building an organization and team.
William McClay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Kotelnicki on September 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In his book, Bill Walsh goes through football from A to Z. Everything, and I mean everything that you would ever want to know about football, from offensive and defensive philosophy to the role of the "head of football relations" to what to tell a team after a disappointing season is covered. Every serious coach has heard of Bill Walsh and understands the role his innovative offensive philosophy plays in modern football. Now read his exact ideas for yourself.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Bill Walsh along with Brian Billick and James A. Peterson have written an amazing book which is destined to become the standard by which all fooball coaches run their football programs. This is a reference book where you can find anything and everything. From how to conduct yourself as a head coach and understanding the role, developing and organizing your staff, designing a winning game plan and preparing to win against any type of opponent, making right decisions and overcoming mental barriers, dealing with the media, to evaluating and developing players, dealing and handling different types of players. It also has samples of team lectures, practice shedules, workout criteria for all positions, and assistants job descriptions. There are over 130 play schemes beautifully designed and explained. Among many other aspects of football. This book is a must have for all coaches at any level.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Walsh's previous book, Building a Champion, was sort of a topical, overview, easy-read version of this book. In this one, Walsh fleshes out ALL of the details of all of his philosophies on how to run a football organization from management to players. He outlines the job descriptions of everyone in the organization from the GM down to the office secretaries. He covers every esoteric subject like Who should drive a prospective player back to the airport after interviewing with the team. There's also tons of real (as opposed to administrative) football here. He describes what to look for when evaluating players. How to construct offensive and defensive game plans, and plenty more. This book is a NFL Head Coach's blueprint, bible, and handbook. However, there's plenty here for the fanatic knowledge-hungry fan to take their understanding of the game up several notches. Not for the "only casually" interested.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Moody on June 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This was the most complete book on football that I have ever read. I continually review this book as a reference. From the moment that I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down. This book is a must for ALL coaches who wish to further their careers. From organizing a staff to the salary cap, to picking talent, this book is the one. It should be required reading for all staff members, from coaches to administrators. This bok is great. I would like to thank coaches Walsh and Billick for this book. It's the GREATEST.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on September 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The famous NFL coach explains how to go about recruiting, building and administering a winning team. It took me a while to be able to get a copy of this from Melbourne Sports Books, as the AFL coaches kept buying them.

A master who has built more than one team, and come up with new systems and adaptations of playing styles to suit changing conditions, or to give him, as he says, the Winning Edge.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have seldom seen anyone as detailed, as thorough, or as organized as Bill Walsh. This book should be a measuring stick for every coach, administrator, general manager, owner, or businessman. Walsh provides readers with virtually every situation a coach could experience. It is the most complete football book I have ever seen. The Genius leaves nothing out.
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Format: Hardcover
"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." -- James 1:4 (NKJV)

This book cannot be too highly regarded for providing a valuable template for football coaches and showing how to thoroughly and effectively organize any complicated undertaking. Bill Walsh reveals a combination of intelligence, character, integrity, and attention to detail unequaled in my experience.

As much as I admired watching Bill Walsh coach the 49ers, I think the on-the-field results were never nearly as impressive as this book is in explaining the foundations for all of that success. Many people succeed for either the wrong reasons or due to circumstances. Bill Walsh clearly succeeded due to intense and careful preparation. It's fascinating to consider how much thought and effort went into his coaching methods.

Having attended more football training camp sessions than I would care to admit, I learned more about what was supposed to be going on during such a practice by reading this book than I have by attending all those practices.

If you want to know where you stand as a person, as a coach, as a leader, and as a role model, compare yourself to what you find here. You won't like by how much you fall short, but you'll surely know how to improve.

In my case, the lesson is that I'm lazy about developing the details and drilling them into others. I need to change that, and I will use this book as a guide ... even though I don't have any intention of ever coaching football. You will also benefit, if you will but give yourself a chance to make such comparisons.

Bravo, Bill Walsh!
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