Anyone who's seen you talk knows that you must have kissed the Blarney Stone, for you are a powerful motivational speaker, and I was excited to get a copy of your newest book as a gift for graduation. But I was disappointed on opening the book to find out that your only advice in MOVE WITHOUT THE BALL gets repeated in innumerable ways for about 150 pages too long. Yes, it is for student athletes, but I don't think any of them would profit from your tips. This time you are moving with the ball, it is clenched between your arm and your ribs and it seems you are frozen in one rhetorical posture. TEENS CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN was a livelier book with more of an edge, and seemed to capture the dynamism of your speaking style. My mother always used to say, "Listen to Stedman Graham, because any man who could woo and win Oprah Winfrey must have a lot on the ball," and Mom is always right. However, the writing in MOVE is very flat and limp. You profile a lot of athletes and never hint that any of them are leading less than a perfect life. We know too much about the pains and troubles of life to believe you, life isn't easy even when you're moving without the ball. I believe you would like to boost the success ratio of kids, but empty words and promises are not going to do it. "Be honest," you say (on page 102). Why not tell that to Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi instead of to the young people who have never lied to you or to the American public. "Do the work that is required," but Stedman, we all know plenty of kids who do the right thing all the time and yet they are treated wrongly by the systems that prevail.
I like one piece of your advice, "Take the time to see things through," and I advise you to take more time, before you produce your nest best-weller, for my gut feeling is you are trying to write too many books too fast and the quality is suffering. You can't churn a book out like a tub of butter.
This book should become required reading for all students in our high schools who have visions of a career in sports as well as other venues such as music, theater and otherwise that the road to these careers are not necessarily paved as exemplified in the media. It takes a lot of hard work, practice, practice, practice. Even then those who make it are few and far in between as Mr. Graham relates. As a young man I had visions of becoming a concert pianist but a wise and talented music teacher gave me information such as one will read in this book that I need to go outside the box and perhaps study something from which I could make a living. I studied accounting. I still play piano but in the privacy of my own home; I work in accounting and have worked ever since. (The copy of my book has a collating error in it. At what should be page 123, pages 75 thru 106 are repeated so that there are 31 pages of Stedman Graham's wisdom not there, however the rest of the book is an outstanding read).
I'm an adult and a founding board member of a sports leadership program for high school athletes. The book is dead-on for helping not only young athletes, but any youth to understand and meet the challenges ahead (as a leader.) The stories were good and applicable. Although I found that the beginning of the book didn't pull like I'd want...Stedman provides solid guidance and useful information later on. It's an easy and quick read that could become a reference for its market. I intend to present the book to my organization to see if they'd like to look into purchasing it for our students. I understand Stedman has also created a program to put action to the intent of the book, and I'm looking into that as well. Mary Kurek