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The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results [Kindle Edition]

Bob Knight , Bob Hammel
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, a classic bestseller, has inspired an optimistic perspective for millions of Americans. Now, in an inspirational and entertaining rebuttal, the legendary basketball coach Bob Knight explains why “negative thinking” will actually produce more positive results, in sports and in daily life. Coach Knight, the second-winningest coach in NCAA history with 902 victories, explains that victory is often attained by the team that makes the fewest mistakes. His coaching philosophy was to instill discipline by “preparing to win” rather than hoping to win. That meant understanding the downside and drilling his teams to prevent the things that could go wrong. And when his teams did win, he made sure they didn’t dwell on their success, but rather looked immediately to the challenges of the next game. He applies this lesson to business strategy as well.

Coach Knight has long been inspired by his grandmother’s words, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” As the first person to teach Knight about the power of negative thinking, this book is dedicated to her pragmatic spirit.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Knight’s success as a college basketball coach is unquestioned. He was college basketball’s Coach of the Year five times and won three NCAA championships. He’s currently a basketball analyst for ESPN. Knight’s success was built on preparation. Recognizing that offensive success could be fleeting, he always emphasized defense, which he describes as making the appropriate response to the negativity one can encounter on offense. So negative thinking about offense leads one to focus, as coaches and players, on defense. See? It’s a conceit that lends itself more to a catchy title than an application in sports, life, or business. What we’re really left with here is solid, commonsensical advice on preparation—how to move quickly from one success to the next challenge rather than basking in the afterglow, as well as how to use losses (failures) as inspiration while moving through life. Knight sprinkles personal anecdotes throughout to illustrate his points and concludes each chapter with a couple aphorisms he calls “Knight’s Nuggets.” (For example: “One more beer can’t hurt . . . unless you’re driving.”) This is an easily digestible self-help book by a very successful man. The advice is generally useful, except for the Nuggets. Hold the Nuggets, next time, Mr. Knight. There’s a negative you can build on. --Wes Lukowsky


“It’s an antidote to America’s kiss-the-booboo Little League moms — and psycho bleacher dads, too.”—New York Post

“If the book could be summed up in one sentence, it’s probably the short, italicized one found in the introduction: 'Victory favors the team making the fewest mistakes.' But, such a digest would preclude any discussion of theology, turkey mating calls and the upside of being hard to please.”Indianapolis Star

“Brightly anecdotal. Legendary college-basketball coach Knight sings the praises of negativity [in] a quick, negative-to-achieve manifesto.”—Kirkus

Product Details

  • File Size: 551 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing (March 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009RRHTM4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,036 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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136 of 145 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embrace Negative Thinking February 5, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have never been a basketball fan, so I went into reading The Power of Negative Thinking wondering if I would "get it." I knew who Bob Knight was (even as a non-basketball fan, how could you not?), but had no idea what to expect. I'm happy to report one need not be a basketball fan to thoroughly enjoy this lively, accessible, conversational-style look at the power of overcoming positivity with negative thinking.

There has been a backlash over the cult of positive thinking over the last few years, and with good reasons. Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America is one of the first books I read on the subject. And over the years, a great deal of research has come out warning about the dangers of unfettered optimism. But usually, optimists dismiss discussion of negative thinking as being depressing, pessimistic, or just giving up.

Knight starts his book with a very simple premise that overcomes this objection. Negative thinking is not about giving up or being a pessimist. Instead, it is about NEGATING everything that can get in the way of victory. Winning isn't about who wants it more. Winning is about who is most prepared. And being prepared is about honestly assessing strength, weaknesses, and developing a plan that negates mistakes and anything else that can get in the way. Or, as he sums it up:

"Having the will to win is not enough. Everyone has that. What matters is having the will to prepare to win."

Another point Knight makes is to not push people to do what they can't do, but push them to do what they can.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved every line June 10, 2013
English is my second language, so excuse my grammar.
I listened to audible version of this book.
this book is along the same line of thoughts as Succeed (by Halvorson), but at more practical level.
Americans are positive thinkers (compare to South Koreans from my experience). They are so skewed to positivity, they fail to recognize the obvious.
I used to read "Think and Grow Rich", "Master Key to Success" and Tony Robinson's book and other Think-Positive books. I am embarrassed to say I indulged in the book called, Secret a few years ago. I practiced them time to time, only to end up blaming myself because I couldn't stay positive or focused more than a few days. But, now I realize, I have been doing everything wrong thanks to Halvorson and Bob Knight.
There are two frames of thoughts - positive and negative (from my own words). If you think in the positive frame of mind, you can become delusional about your ability and become complacent. The negative frame of mind always doubts and questions. that's where self-improvement comes in.
Bob Knight is a great motivator. I read a book on John Wooden, and I find there are more similarities than differences between Wooden and Knight.
You have to be self-critical, analytical, and work on what you have, not hoping for miracles.
Bob Knight even go so far as warning becoming too negative. He warns perils of being positive but he doesn't go too far toward being negative either. His teaching is very well balanced.
I am sure if Americans are negative thinkers, Bob would have written "power of positive thinking 2".
This book is what Americans and other positive thinkers need.
it gives right balance in their thought process, and even if you are a negative thinker, this book will guide you to clear your thought process.
This is one of the great books that I've ever read.
I highly recommend it to any seeker of success.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Bob Knight is a realist- Sure, Positive Thinking helps boost the ego and propel the person forward in their quest for -- winning, perfection, achievement -- but the reality is that unless you know where you CAN fail, and unless you know WHAT IT IS that you are doing or could end up doing that is going to send all your desired positive results crashing down on your head -- then you are not fully engaged in the reality of the project you are undertaking - OTHERS depend on you -- be they a team member, a soldier, an expedition member, a student. The list can go on and on.

Bob Knight states that the concept of Positive Thinking is not to be totally debunked, but the hard reality is that you ARE going to fail somewhere along the line and unless you and your teammates realize what their individual and group weak points are (on the playing field, the basketball court, in battle or in any other type of situation where people depend on others to achieve the expected results and sometimes save their lives), they will be performing at LESS than capacity. And why should they perform at less than capacity?

Discipline is the buzzword here. STRICT discipline and the will to learn. "Fun" is not stressed -- "Fun" playing basketball? Maybe in a pickup game, but not at practice or in a tournament. Pain and sweat, focus, concentration, communication, diligence is what is constantly needed to keep the GOAL in view. Discipline is needed as a focal point, as the strength to correct weaknesses, as a personal quest to be the best you can be.

My own mother stressed discipline and the ability to either learn from your mistakes or know what pitfalls lie ahead and avoid them. Mom Sylvia even woke up to the sound of "Reveille" on her alarm clock.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Saw him speak - wanted more!
I saw Bob speak and I just had to have more. Some good, inciteful common sense for your personal and business life.
Published 1 month ago by David S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good solid read
Overall a good solid read. I enjoyed the thoughts and philosophy behind it. A little worn towards the end but overall I a would recommend this book.
Published 1 month ago by Thomas J Thiede
3.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Doesn't Score With This One
While I have always been a Bobby Knight fan, I was looking for more basketball tales; and what I got was a history lesson and repeats of his basic philosophy.
Published 2 months ago by Loraine H. McKeever
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't stand out
He takes a different approach which at first was refreshing, but got to be redundant in my mind. Didn't finish, but I did gather some new insights so wasn't a waste of time.
Published 2 months ago by Brad
4.0 out of 5 stars Guide to thoughtful planning
I admired Knight's no-nonsense approach to coaching and the book reflects well his emphasis on thoughtful preparation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
great read
Published 2 months ago by elaine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by G.C.
3.0 out of 5 stars Great material for coaches and wannabe coaches.
The parts about his approach to coaching were excellent. Descriptions of various games were also excellent.
Published 2 months ago by John M Meagher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by GLENN MITCHELL
3.0 out of 5 stars I have been a critical care nurse over 40 years and found in my line...
I don't care for the title of Bob Night's book: The Power of Negative Thinking. I have been a critical care nurse over 40 years and found in my line of work that one must be aware... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sea Cindy
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More About the Author

In college basketball, the name Bob Knight is synonymous with greatness and winning. He is among the youngest head coaches to have won 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 and 800 career games. He was the first men's college basketball coach to have reached 900 wins and until recently was the only member of this exclusive club. When he was 62-years old, he became the youngest of the four coaches to ever reach the milestone of 800 victories. Coach Knight earned his 880th career win at Texas Tech on January 1, 2007 with a Red Raider win over New Mexico (70-68). Coach Knight completed his coaching career at Texas Tech on February 2, 2008 with a 67-60 win over Oklahoma State University and announced his retirement soon after.

A native of Orrville, Ohio, Knight is a graduate of Ohio State where he was a member of the Buckeye hardwood teams that won Big Ten titles in 1960, 1961, and 1962 and the NCAA in 1960 while posting an overall record of 78-6. Many of the Big Ten team records that Knight's Indiana teams shattered were those he had a part in making as an OSU player. After graduating with a degree in History and Government, Knight was an assistant coach at Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) High School one year before entering the U.S. Army where he was assigned to assist Coach Tates Locke at West Point.

Bob Knight is the father of two sons. Tim is a 1986 graduate of Stanford University, and Pat, who played for him at Indiana University from 1991-95, is now the head coach at Lamar University. Bob Knight and his wife, Karen, were married in 1988. He is currently an analyst for ESPN College GameDay.


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