Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Subscribe & Save Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Indie for the Holidays in Prime Music Shop Now HTL

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2012
When I think of Shawn I think of a great athlete with a bubbly personality and a big smile. As a gymnastics fan I would've liked to read more on her dealings with other athletes, coaches, us gymnastic staff, travels, etc. I realize she was still competing while she worked on this book so maybe that played a factor. She did share some stories of her adventure in Beijing and they were fun tales.

I did find the 2nd half of the book (post Olympics) surprising and honest, a lot of highs and lows for a young woman. Although I think she is probably 15-20 years too young to write a memoir on life lessons this is a decent book for a 20 year old athlete and is a fairly entertaining read.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
"I was an interesting combination of nerd, tomboy, and girlie girl," Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson writes in Winning Balance. Shawn knows what it's like to be a girl who doesn't always fit in, who isn't part of the cliques, and who can't always figure out what life is supposed to mean.

She also knows what it's like to lose the gold medal everyone expected her to win--and then to win again where she least expected it.

Winning Balance might best be categorized as an inspirational memoir. With co-author Nancy French, Shawn describes her struggles and successes in finding true balance in life. This is the story of Shawn's journey from her childhood in Des Moines, Iowa, to her introduction to gymnastics, her growing love for the sport--and its competitiveness--and finally to international fame and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Along the way, though, Shawn tries to follow two competing desires--"I wanted to win, and I wanted to be just like everyone else."

My biggest quibble with the book? Since much of its promo material focuses on Shawn's 2008 skiing accident, I expected the book to address this and her recovery process more in depth. It does highlight how Shawn struggled to find purpose and direction after her win--and how the injury actually helped Shawn refocus on her priorities--but don't expect a lot of detail.

Still, I found Shawn's story to be encouraging and enjoyable. The book is an easy read, and each chapter ends with a short thought for reflection. Enthusiasm seems to win out over depth in places, but overall, I found Shawn to be an engaging role model. She talks openly about the pressures she faced and her family's attempts to keep her sane in the midst of an intense training schedule. I liked her sincerity and vision, and I would recommend this book to any teen girl to read.

[My thanks to Tyndale for sending me a review copy of Winning Balance, in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.]
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2012
Shawn Johnson was a 2008 Olympic gymnast who won three silver medals and one gold and also captured the heart of America. Her energetic smile, pint size body and precious heart attracted many and know she is here to tell her own story. Her story is not the typical Olympic medalist story at all and its not a chronological autobiography either. Winning Balance is more of a memoir filled with lessons learned and how Shawn learned to keep balance in her life. Nothing about her life was typical but at the exact same time she was your typical American girl. She went to public school, participated in school activities, dreamed about her future, but all while she was doing your typical things she was falling in love with gymnastics. She never thought about going to the Olympics till she was older and thought that it was possible. Through it all she was able to live her dreams and more, but had to re learn many times what it takes to keep balance in her life and what really is important.

I can't even tell you how much I loved this book. To be honest I had never heard of Shawn Johnson before I saw this book was coming out (I missed watching the olympics 2008)and I have always been fascinated with the sport. I just knew I had to read her story and I was not disappointed at all. I fell in love with Shawn and her story and find her raw talent and passion to be so encouraging. Shawn drew me into her story so much that I finished the book within 24 hours! Since reading the book I have enjoyed going on and watching her many gymnastic performances and her dances from Dancing with the Stars. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves gymnastics, wanting to be encouraged by her strength and faith, and anyone who has already loved her and wants to know her story!

*I received this book through Radiant Lit and Tyndale for the purpose of this review!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
Few books have I read in a single sitting, but Winning Balance was one I couldn't put down. From hearing Shawn Johnson's stories of her Olympic training and trials, it offered an insider's perspective on the life of a professional gymnast.

Johnson combined many elements in her writing. Not only was it filled with her experiences in gymnastics, but also her relationship with God, family, friends and boys. She also discussed a lot of her experience on Dancing with the Stars as well.

A great read for people of any age, I quickly passed it to a young aspiring gymnast who ate up what Johnson had to say. I definitely recommend Winning Balance to anyone looking for inspiration to balance a seemingly impossibly imbalanced life!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2012
There probably are not many of us who have not heard of the pint-sized, gold-medal-winning gymnast who won over the heart of America at the 2008 Olympic Games. If her name is not familiar from the sport that she excels at, then you probably "met" her on the eighth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars (which she also won). This book is a journal of sorts that she has written for her fans about her life so far - her growth in maturity and her faith; the lessons life has taught her and getting back to the place where she is more happy - and healthy. It is rare that I read books in which the celebrity name emblazoned on the front shares their life's story. My tastes seem more suited to fiction but I do not regret having read this book in the least. Not knowing much about Shawn's private life so much as her professional one (even that is limited), I enjoyed getting to "know" her as a person and not a mere celebrated figure who's spotlight was made bright by her appearance at the Olympics - and subsequently her gold-medal win. If you've followed this athlete, I'd wager that in reading this, you will learn a lot of things about Shawn you didn't know. Some that may even surprise you.

Perhaps the most insightful parts of this book are Shawn's profession about her family's faith - their belief in God but infrequent church attendance. Biblically, we are told that Christianity is a hard maintain without gathering with others at Sunday services but I don't believe that someone cannot have a genuine relationship with Christ if they don't attend church. Within these pages, Shawn shares about her growing faith in a heartfelt way that makes the reader believe she enjoys nothing less than a daily walk with Him. Raised with the "basic" knowledge of Christianity (she writes about her parents being strong Christians), it wasn't until she was a teen that Shawn began to crave knowing her Savior more than as just the God she was taught was the Creator - she wanted to actually know Him. I found this a really hard read to get "into." I was impressed with its easy writing style - Shawn is in fact, a poet (the style was simple with favorite quotes opening each chapter and 'lessons learned' to close) but it seemed I had to push myself to read more than a chapter or two at a time. That first 70-some pages were such a challenge because much of its focus is in gymnasts terms - the techniques they use and what makes a perfect performance - and although everything is explained, I found myself more confused than not. Given that, I was surprised that the last third of the novel went so quickly - before I knew it, I had basically read the rest of the book in one afternoon. And let me tell you, I enjoyed every minute of it.

To be honest had Tyndale (thanks!) not offered this novel, I am not sure I'd have read this in the foreseeable future It was a joy to read and to feel a renewed sense of excitement and pride at the prospect to again root for Shawn at the upcoming summer Olympics. Unfortunately - and ironically, just the day after I finished reading this, Shawn announced she wouldn't be at the London Games to compete; her knee injury wouldn't allow it. Good for her! No matter how fun it may have been to root for the girl who was once told she had no talent in her sport, I also respect that she knows her body - and is actually listening to what it is telling her. In Winning Balance, Shawn shares everything from her struggles to maintain a healthy image, what it was like to be in Hollywood at DWTS (a section I particularly liked, of course *grin*) and its affect on her, the emotional support of her prince charming (a college football athlete), trials of the travel her engagements demanded and that at heart, she is a country girl from small-town Iowa. Anyone who followed her career, or likes a good read will find this book worth their time. Its `winning' story makes it one fabulous read.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for reviewing purposes

© Copyright 2011-2012 Scribbles, Scripts and Such
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2012
At 20 years old Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver gymnast, a national and world champion athlete. She is also a popular role model to all ages. In 2009 she won the Dancing with the Stars competition, and is no stranger to hard work. Though, she lost the gold medal in a competition in which she was the favorite to win. She had worked on gymnastics all throughout her childhood. But later just when she was going to head back to that world, she suffered a potentially career-ending injury while skiing. It forced her to halt everything and rethink what was really important, to reevaluate who she was and where she was going.

This memoir by Shawn Johnson was quite good. I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and the details of events that have happened throughout her life. I love watching the gymnastics when they are on during the summer Olympics, and even though I'm not a diehard fan of gymnastics, I really loved reading this book. Seeing her perspective on everything that has gone on while competing and even while practicing really gave great insight into how life in the gymnastics competing world is. This would be a great novel to read even if you just followed Shawn Johnson during Olympics, or even if you have a teenage daughter. It's just a great read no matter what.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
I have had a love for Shawn Johnson for many years watching her during her gymnastics career that brought her from a little girl growing up in West Des Moines, Iowa to her quest for gold at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. After the Olympics we cheered for her on the road to winning the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the Stars! Here in the Midwest we still catch glimpses of her smiling face on commercials and on cut-outs in our local Hy Vee grocery stores.....we were disappointed when a knee injury kept her from the 2012 Olympics. We love her spunky demeanor and infectious smile. So you can imagine that I was excited to get her book "Winning Balance". It was a joy to get a "behind the scenes" look into her life as a gymnast. Her passion for the sport, the love for her family, and her faith in God are brought to life in this book. It is an honest look at what she went through during the many years of training. Parts of the book were a bit slow......perhaps relating more to a teen reader. I definitely recommend this book.

I was given a copy of "Winning Balance" by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an open and honest review.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2012
By Wendi Kitsteiner: I recently had the opportunity to read and review* Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson. I know I am not alone in my love for watching gymnastics. In fact, I am already counting down the days to the London Olympics which will allow me to watch more of this fascinating sport!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Shawn Johnson's story, she rose from a virtually unknown to a gold medal hopeful in non-traditional fashion. She spent almost half as many hours in the gym as her counterparts, trained away from the glitz and glamour, but still managed to earn a spot on the 2008 Olympic team. Favored to possibly win 4 gold medals, she ended with 1 gold and 3 silver. She then retired from the sport, participated in and won Dancing with the Stars and then tried for a return to gymanstics. She hoped to be in London this summer but injured her knee skiing and was forced to retire again.

While I enjoyed Shawn's book and found it an easy and interesting read, I think that it is much more pertinent for young girls -- teenagers and even young college-aged women. Shawn is a fantastic role model for women of our society who are inundated with unhealthy images of beauty and success. Shawn's work ethic, faith, focus, and ability to balance her social and athletic lives is second-to-none ... as is the books secondary messages of the dangers of Hollywood and unhealthy body images.

However, I couldn't help but thinking, despite all she went through, "Okay, but she's twenty years old. She's let a pretty easy life. Do I really have anything to learn from her?" In addition, her tales of boyfriends and first loves caused me a little bit of eye rolling. I don't consider myself old, but I suppose fifteen years puts me a whole generation ahead of Shawn. And this book made me feel that.

But young girls need look no further than Shawn Johnson for a quality role model. If my daughter were to grow up with the character, integrity, and work ethic of this young woman, gymnastics aside, I would be thrilled. These are the types of sports heroes that we need more of.

*Tyndale Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2013
I just finished reading this book. I'm not a Shawn Johnson fan but I love reading about gymnastics. Overall, the book is not very well written. I do not attribute this fault to Shawn, because the book covered a lot in her short life and there is candor about her weight problems, injuries, flirtations and disappointments however the writer glossed over these things. The book does go in depth on her experiences in Beijing and Dancing with the Stars which makes it a somewhat worthy read. I don't think that the book is worth buying unless you are a fan, however it doesn't hurt to take it out of the library. The book contains a lot of poetry by Shawn Johnson which is not half bad.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2012
After reading several recent autobiographies filled with stories of abuse and drug use, how refreshing it was to read Shawn's account of her happy childhood and her success in gymnastics. She shares all the ups and downs of training and living away from home at a very young age, as well as what it was like to come so close to winning the Olympic gold medal. She certainly has her head on straight and her priorities in order. This is truly an enjoyable book and one that I am happy to add to my personal library.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Grace, Gold, and Glory My Leap of Faith
Grace, Gold, and Glory My Leap of Faith by Michelle Burford (Paperback - November 26, 2013)

Balancing Act: The Gymnastics Series #1
Balancing Act: The Gymnastics Series #1 by April Adams (Paperback - December 25, 2012)

Letters to a Young Gymnast
Letters to a Young Gymnast by Nadia Comăneci (Paperback - November 8, 2011)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.