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Reach for the Summit Paperback – March 2, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Pat Summitt has been called a living legend. As head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, Summitt has taken her NCAA Division 1 women's basketball team to back-to-back national championships in 1996 and 1997, and five titles in a 10-year span. In Reach for the Summit, with the help of former Sports Illustrated writer Sally Jenkins, she draws from 24 years as a successful head coach to provide motivational advice for anyone who wants to succeed in sports, business, and life in general. Structured around her Definite Dozen system, each chapter covers one of her 12 commandments of achievement by interweaving personal anecdotes, strategies for success, and basic ethics. A lot of people can win once, she writes. They get lucky, or follow their intuition, or strike on a good short-term formula. But very few people know how to repeat success on a consistent basis. They lose sight of their priorities, grow content, and abandon their principles. Summitt's book is about building a system of principles and sticking to it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"If you want to understand what makes a champion, in any field or on any level, read Pat Summitt's story."
--John Feinstein, author of A March to Madness

Pat Summitt is "a genius of a coach."
--New York Times

"[Pat Summitt is] one of the best coaches in basketball history--male, female, college or pro.  .  .  .  [She has] an extraordinary combination of grit and tenderness."
--USA Weekend

"If you want to learn about winning and the elements for success, Pat Summitt can provide all the data to tell you how to win at any level.  To put it in Vitalese, she is awesome, baby, with a capital A."
--Dick Vitale, ESPN sports commentator

"As a manager and master motivator, Pat Summitt transcends sports.  The most experienced CEO can learn from her contagious work ethic and ingenious methods."
--Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One-Minute Manager

Runaway New York Times Business Bestseller

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (March 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767902297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767902298
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As I read through her book, I find myself alternately admiring and feeling a bit sorry for Pat Summit. I admire her because there is no "secret" per se to her success. As the reader learns, you acheive success by working harder, preparing better, and wanting it more than anyone else. This book is not for the person who believes in the "get rich quick" idea of success. Although she has adapted her techniques over the years, at her core she is her father's daughter, and that is where my feeling sorry for her comes in. Every one needs encouragement and praise, just as they need a kick in the backside every once in awhile. As we find out in her book, more often than not, Summit is on the receiving end of one of those kicks. That type of childhood, where praise is seldom handed out can do one of two things: it can make you strong,ambitious, and eager to acheive or, it can break your spirit. In the case of Pat Summit, it is the former. She is definitely driven to succeed. One might question at what kind of cost. I read this book right on the heels of reading Phil Jackson's book, Sacred Hoops, and it is very interesting to contrast the two styles. For Phil, it's the journey; for Pat, it's the destination. Be that as it may, I still admire Pat Summit, the woman, the coach, and her book for its "tell it like it is" sytle. She is definitely "old school", and there is a lot to be said for that kind of mentality. A lot has been accomplished in the world because of that type of thinking. You just have to be careful that it is not at too great a cost. In Pat's case, she seems to be able to balance coach, wife, and mother well, partly because she is married to a man who isn't threatened by her success. All in all, the book is an interesting snap shot of the woman and what makes her tick. There aren't any real surprises. With Pat Summit, what you see is what you get.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No one basketball coach in the history of the game -- man or woman -- has won more games or been more successful than Pat Head Summitt.

And whether you happen to like her -- or not -- you just have to give this home-grown Tennessee gal her due.

Published in 1998 and written in conjunction with renowned sportswriter Sally Jenkins, this book chronicles Summitt's personal recipe for success, as described in the subtitle as "The Definitive Dozen System for Succeeding at Whatever You Do."

Today, seven years later, I seriously doubt if Summitt has altered her recipe one bit.

The Summitt system applies not only to basketball, or to coaches, but to anyone interested in reaching higher, to succeeding, or just plain winning.

I recently took a graduate level project management leadership class, which included Myers-Briggs and Kiersey personality typing. I happened to belong to the ESTJ type, as does Coach Summitt, which made her particularly interesting to me.

I am a coach myself, and a basketball fan, though not necessarily of Tennessee, which can best be described as the New York Yankees of women's college basketball. I follow the Stanford Cardinal, who enjoy a particularly healthy rivalry with the Lady Vols, and have watched Coach Summitt pace the sidelines up close and personal. A few years ago I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at a local bookstore here in California, thousands of miles from her home turf, and couldn't help but walk away impressed.

And when I'm not cursing Summitt, I'm loving her. Who can't? A master motivator, tactician and self-confessed workaholic, there's not a Fortune 500 CEO alive who couldn't learn a thing or two from her competitive spirit, winning methodology and ethical excellence.
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Format: Hardcover
"Principles are anchors; without them you will drift." This concept proves to be the underlying theme in Pat Summitt's Reach for the Summit. Summitt, along with Sally Jenkins, describes her numerous experiences as a basketball coach and truly connects both emotionally and mentally with the readers. The various influences Summitt has been affected by, the assorted methods described, and the simple style allows this motivational book to be both effective and inspirational.
In Reach for the Summit, Pat Summitt, head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, draws upon twenty-four years of experience as a triumphant coach to provide motivational advice for those that want to find success in all areas of life. Structured around her "Definite Dozen" system, each of the twelve chapters covers one rule of achievement. Personal anecdotes, basic ethics, and numerous strategies are used throughout the book to provide a solid foundation for her system. One of the most apparent themes that is stressed throughout the book is the fact that very few people know how to achieve success repeatedly. Many people can win once by getting lucky, following their intuition, or practicing a semi-effective short-term formula. Because people have a tendency to lose sight of their priorities, grow content, and abandon their principles, Summitt's book accurately describes how to build a system of effective methods and stick to them. This book will have a lasting value because of its applicability to almost any situation.
Through her amusing stories and few painful memories, Summitt reveals her failures and truimphs as an amateur basketball player, as an Olympic athlete, as a Division I coach, and as a mother.
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