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Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself Paperback – September 13, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Todd Hillard is a free-lance writer from San Antonio, Texas. He lived in Turkey for two and a half years and has written more than 15 books. Todd regularly blogs at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400315158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400315154
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

As founder of Hoops of Hope, Austin started what is now known as the worlds largest Free-Throw marathon. Austin's Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5M to help orphan children in Africa. Austin also serves as Co-Chair of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Youth Council. As a highly sought after speaker, Austin has spoken and shared his heart in venues around the world. In 2009, Austin was selected into the Caring Hall of Fame as one of the top 10 most caring Americans.

Austin's first book, "Take Your Best Shot" shared stories that captured readers hearts and won a Moonbeam Award. Austin's second book, "Live to Give" will be released by Thomas Nelson in August 2012 and can be pre-ordered on Visit Austin's Author page to view a video about one boy whose life was changed.

For information on booking Austin or general inquiries, please visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marine Corps Nomad VINE VOICE on November 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
At age nine, Austin Gutwein watched a 4 minute video about the AIDS orphans in Africa. In an instant, his life was changed and a long journey began. After watching the video, Austin felt the Lord stirring in him a desire to do something to help these orphans. He didn't know what, but he knew that he wanted to listen to the Lord's leading.

Take Your Best Shot follows Austin's journey to help the AIDS orphans. But, the book isn't just about his journey and his passion. He wants to help others to find their passion, their vision.

"I don't want you to finish this book and walk away with just a cool story. I want you to walk away with a burden on your heart. But not just any burden. I want you to be pursuing the purpose God has put on your heart-it has to be your vision.... My prayer for you is that God will give you your own vision of how you can take your best shot to make a difference in the world around you."

Each chapter shows a glimpse into his life and his journey. He shares scripture and insights into how you can find your vision. The chapter closes with "Take Your Best Shot", an interactive study guide. Each end of chapter study guide features a scripture passage, questions, online experience, and a take action activity.

This book was an inspiring read. People of all ages could benefit from reading about Austin's experience. The truth is if we had more children (and adults) who followed the Lord's vision for their lives, the world would be a better place.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. McCurdy on December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback

Austin has left me with a sense of anticipation to see just how God will use my family as we begin to simply take our best shot!!!

In his first book, Austin Gutwein tells the story of how Hoops of Hope began when he was just 9 yrs old! Austin is the founder of Hoops of Hope....THE FOUNDER!!! He founded Hoops of Hope at the tender age of 9!!!

Austin blew me away in the introduction when he said, "...I'm a normal kid who heard, 'Austin, God wants to use you' enough times that I started to believe it." He tugged at the very heart of my being with the statement, "Kids are really trying to make a difference in the world."

Yes, dear Austin, that is exactly what they desire to do!

My own precious daughters have warmed my heart as they have given from within themselves...and they are not alone. Austin says it so well, "They're reaching out to people in need, and they're stepping out of their comfort zones....They want to do something bigger than themselves."

Austin's heart was touched when he watched a video of a girl named Maggie that lived in Africa. Watching the video started a fire in his heart, one that he could not extinguish...and didn't! With his parents support, his family began sponsoring a child through World Vision. However, it didn't stop there....

Austin wanted to do more for the aids victims in Africa and as I read his story, I was shaken to the core to see how God used the gifts a 9 yr old boy could bring to change so many lives in a far off continent! This book...the Hoops of Hope organization...they aren't about Austin, and he knows it. They are about reaching out to the orphans and those less fortunate, just as God calls us to do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Stevenson VINE VOICE on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
The moment I cracked open the first few pages of Austin Gutwein's TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT, I knew I was in for something all right. I had heard vague stories about a kid who had done something with basketball to help the AIDS crisis, and I knew that this book talked all about that. I'll be honest, charity stories always hit me with a slight bit of cynicism -- wondering if the money is really going to the place they say. So I went in wondering if this was going to be one of those books that makes me feel guilty for not sponsoring a child or for not living in the depths of Africa feeding starving people. But I was wrong. This book didn't make me feel guilty at all -- it made me feel hope.

Austin, only 14 years old at the time of this review, started with a deep desire to want to change the world -- in some way, somehow. And that started his organization Hoops of Hope -- which raises funds for kids in Africa who have been orphaned by AIDS. In TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT, Austin tells his story of visiting Africa, starting out with Hoops of Hope, and what all of it means for us as people living our day to day lives with the things we need: food, shelter, clothing.

Each chapter focuses in on different aspects of Austin's personal journey, and tying it into the larger picture -- taking the reader through almost a devotional-like atmosphere with thoughts from Austin, famous and non-famous people, the Bible, and personal stories from Africa. At the end of the chapters are a few questions to keep you thinking about the topic of the chapter, which makes it ideal for working through as a daily sort of devotional.

Teens who have read books like DO HARD THINGS by the Harris brothers or DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE by John Piper, would really enjoy reading Austin's story of hope and encouragement to get out in the world, do something to change it -- it doesn't have to be big, all you have to do is what Austin encourages from the outset: just take your best shot at it.
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