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You Cannot Be Serious Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 31, 2002


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 31, 2002
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (May 31, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0399148582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399148583
  • ASIN: B0000DK5BA
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,471,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his new role as TV commentator (and in his short-lived run as Davis Cup captain) McEnroe has tried to make the unlikely switch from tennis enfant terrible to tennis elder statesman. Judging by the welcome he has received from both the cognoscenti and the American public, it has been a largely successful transition. This memoir of growing up (or not growing up) on the men's tour tracks the same course. Unfortunately, when shifted to the page, the reinvention produces a much more muddled result. All of the career highlights and lowlights are here his idolization of Borg, his seminal matches with Connors and at Davis Cup, his clashes with the British press at Wimbledon, his romantic perambulations. But while appealingly self-aware ("For me, the relief of not losing has always been just as strong as, if not stronger than, the joy of winning") and consistently honorable, the effort feels a little dull. McEnroe's sincere pronouncements lack the cojones that might have made the book entertaining, and yet for all his openness, he engages in too much self-justification to seem truly vulnerable or poignant. The book grew out of a profile Kaplan wrote for the New Yorker two summers ago. That piece managed to present McEnroe as affable without diluting what is essentially brash and true about the star, and one wishes a little more of that boldness would have crept in here. For McEnroe, the persona hinted at in public remains more interesting and complicated than the person he gives us in this book. While the champion would no doubt argue, it appears that he has hit this one a little wide.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

McEnroe, the feisty New Yorker whose brilliant serve-and-volley style of play was at times overshadowed by his on-court antics, captured 17 Grand Slam championships during a 15-year "wild ride" on the professional tennis tour. Now, he and journalist Kaplan take a candid look back at this colorful career. Smashing racquets and screaming tirades against linesmen and umpires only cemented McEnroe's role as the explosive bad boy of tennis. Yet the Hall of Famer shows surprising insight here. He explores why matches were constant battles against "the other guy and myself," admitting that the relief of not failing was at least as strong as the joy of winning. McEnroe fully details his most significant triumphs and losses (e.g., the 1984 French Open final, in which he held a two-sets-to-one lead over nemesis Ivan Lendl, and the classic Wimbledon five-set defeat by Bjorn Borg). His three Wimbledon and four U.S. Open singles titles were special, but perhaps his proudest achievement was the five Davis Cups he helped to secure at a time when other top players were more interested in the money to be made in tournaments and exhibitions. McEnroe also writes openly about his turbulent former marriage to actress Tatum O'Neal, and current status as father to six and husband to pop star Patty Smyth. Readers will be happy to learn that his anger-management counseling seems to help him defuse "certain situations" effectively. Recommended for sports and general collections.
- Howard Katz, New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It is very entertaining and informative.
D. Cortner
He also is as smart as all-get-out, so he is careful not to tell too much or too little--he's always straddling that elusive line.
ROGER L. FOREMAN
Born in Germany in 1959, John McEnroe must surely be considered one of the great tennis players.
Craobh Rua

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chernick on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
John McEnroe was a freshman at Stanford during my last year of graduate school. He joined the top ranked team in the nation and as a freshman became the star of the team and led them to a national championship and an undefeated season. He left to turn pro after his freshman year. Yet this could have been expected. Before arriving on the scene at Stanford he made a miraculous run as a junior reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon! All this and more is detailed in this book.
The book is basically a look at McEnroe's life, how he was involved in sports at an early age and actually liked team sports like basketball better than tennis. This and his natural patriotism explain why he played Davis Cup so much and encouraged others to do the same.
Most of the book deals with his childhood friendships and his ascension in the tennis ranks to his run as the number one player in tennis. He describes his great matches and you get an inside look at what led to his great victories and his agonizing defeats. He even replays as best he can his terrible fold to Lendl in the only French Open he really should have won.
Part of his purpose in writing this book is to give you a look at what was going on inside him when he had his infamous tirades on the tennis court. He reveals the New Yorker inside of him and his inability to control his temper. Contrary to what many think this was not something that he did for advantage. McEnroe felt that these outburst hurt his matches as much as it helped him. He also usually felt bad or guilty about it afterwards.
John McEnroe is an intelligent and complex person and that comes out if you read this book closely. Late in the book you get a glimpse at his personal life. His marriage to Tatum O'Neill and the problems that led to their stormy divorce.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
McEnroe is an enigma. He was certainly one of the greatest tennis players of all time, a joy to watch in his prime for his extraordinary skill. His behavior was abominable sometimes, just plain out-of-line by most standards. Many people have written him off as worthy of no respect for that reason, yet he really was a great player, is now the best male commentator on TV (in my opinion), and a very altruistic person, (he is one of the top charity fund raisers in the tennis world.) If I remember correctly, he was honored as father of the year in his native New York recently.
In this book, he speaks for himself. He doesn't forgive his behavior or suggest it was appropriate, and he does apologize. Yet, it is easier to see his many sides. He talks about being so alone on the tennis court. He loved Davis Cup partly because it was a team sport. I've always thought he was such a strong person, able to take the unpopular stand on things, but reading his own words, he comes across as remarkably insecure and craving approval. The public adulation of being #1 was his motivation more than an innate love of playing tennis. I find that amazing.
I am a tennis player and fan, and I try hard to separate great achievers from their personal beliefs and private lives. This book helped me to understand the man, the person, the little boy, the young adult with extraordinary skills who found himself pulled into a fantastic world where he was supremely successful but lacked the character to achieve greatness in all areas. At least he is open about that. This is his point of view, and he deserves his say. The book is well written, I feel like I just had a nice long conversation with this remarkable person.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you're a tennis player and have been following McEnroe since he was a kid, you might enjoy this book. I am, I have, and I did. But for most people, the book may be slightly disappointing. It's pretty heavy on recounting the results of past matches, and doesn't have as many interesting insights as I would have expected, especially considering that I find McEnroe as a commentator to be uniquely insightful and compelling.
I got the sense that, while McEnroe did write about some personal stuff, like his marriage to Tatum O'Neill, he was less open than he could have been. I don't blame him for wanting to hold back -- I wouldn't want my life to be an open book. But if you're writing a book about yourself and your life, that's sort of the point.
So if you would share McEnroe's nostalgia about the Port Washington Tennis Academy and his various matches up and down the ranks of the tennis world, go ahead and get this book. But if you're not a serious McEnroe/tennis fan, you might be better off just listening to McEnroe on TV.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Chernick on January 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When McEnroe was a freshman at Stanford, I was in my last year of graduate school there. He joined the top ranked college tennis team and became the star as a freshman. He led Stanford to another national championship and an undefeated season. Then he turned pro after his freshman year. This was disappointing at Stanford but should have been expected. Before arriving on the scene at Stanford he made a miraculous run at Wimbledon reaching the semi-finals as a junior tennis player! All this and more is discussed in detail in this book.

This book basically takes a not too serious look at McEnroe's life, how he was involved in sports at an early age and actually liked team sports such as basketball better than tennis. His natural patriotism explains why he played Davis Cup so much and encouraged others to do the same.

Much of the book deals with his childhood friendships and his ascension in the tennis ranks all the way through his run as the number 1 player in the world. He describes many of his classic matches and you get a glimpse of what was going on in his mind during his great victories at Wimbledon and agonizing defeats (e.g. Lendl at the French Open).

Part of the reason for writing the book was to give the reader an inside look at what was going on during his infamous tirades on the tennis court. He reveals his New York upbringing and his inability to control his temper. Later on in the book we get to see some of the personal side. Inspite of the stormy divorce to Tatum O'Neal, John does not display animosity toward her in this book and he actually accepts part of the blame for the break-up. But he definitely wants to dispell the notion that he tried to hold her back in her acting career in favor of her supporting his tennis.
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