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Be Quick - But Don't Hurry: Finding Success in the Teachings of a Lifetime Hardcover – March 13, 2001
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John Wooden was named ESPN's Coach of the Century for the way he led his UCLA basketball team to the top of the sporting world in the 1960s and '70s. Andrew Hill was a rebellious and sparingly used reserve on the squad before becoming a successful television executive. While it's doubtful that either would have predicted it at the time, the lessons imparted on the court by Wooden eventually helped Hill reach the top of his profession. And in Be Quick--but Don't Hurry, named for one of the legendary coach's ubiquitous aphorisms, the now-grateful protégé translates that sage advice into 21 "secrets" that may help others realize similar accomplishments. Like the title, the counsel can usually be boiled down into short expressions that are deceptively simple. Examples include "Focus on effort, not winning," "Balance is EVERYTHING," "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail," and "The team with the best players almost always wins." To show their relevance and power, Hill fleshes them out with solid examples from the hardwood as well as the business world. And with the track record Wooden has compiled, who are we not to take them seriously? --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
When Hill, a television executive, played basketball at UCLA during the 1970s, he became one of only 200 men to play for Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history. The two constantly engaged in verbal sparring (e.g., on his first day, Hill suggested that Wooden cancel practice in protest against the Vietnam War, and Wooden retaliated that Hill could choose not to come to practice that day or ever, but only Wooden would decide whether to cancel a practice). Some 20 years later, Hill had an epiphany and began visiting his old coach, developing a deep friendship reminiscent of the one described by Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie. For Hill, it yielded new revelations based on Wooden's famous "pyramid of success," constructed of precepts such as "keep it simple" and "teamwork is not a preference, it's a necessity." Hill's writing is clean and clear, and his respect and admiration for Wooden are apparent. But as a tribute to a coach, the book will have limited appeal. As a life and business mentoring book, it falls short because the advice isn't particularly insightful or original. Hill neglects to explain to his readers how the principles build upon each other, and the examples focus only on Hill's professional life without discussing other business arenas. Although Wooden's name and the book's price make this an appealing gift, sports fans and business leaders interested in Wooden's "pyramid of success" will benefit more from Brian D. Biro's Beyond Success (Forecasts, Dec. 4). Agents, Christy Fletcher and Chris Silbermann, Carlisle & Co.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
After I read "Wooden" by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, I bought and read this book. I was initially disappointed with Hill's less-than-stellar, yet brutally honest, portrayal of a man for whom I have the deepest respect. I even thought about throwing the book away in disgust. I am glad I decided to keep it and read it all the way. I would have missed out on a truly fascinating and entertaining opportunity to learn many things that are helping me be a better person. I believe the same opportunity exists for anyone who reads this book.
You'll be shocked to read the first 1/4 of the book, where the former player reveals all the bad things about Coach Wooden. Hill was the anti-war rebel who fought team rules and here he portrays the coach as a backwards right-winger who didn't care for anyone but the top starters. At one point the author even goes out of his way to write, "It is important for you to have a clear picture of this seemingly simple man who many have made out to be almost saintly. John Wooden is not a saint."
What, then, is the purpose of this book? Hill steals the basic Pyramid of Success foundations that Wooden taught and applies them to business management. So even though the author has a great dislike of the coach (at one point even calling it "hate"), as an adult Hill had an "epiphany" where he could use everything the coach taught him and turn it into a book.
It's disgustingly ego-centric. The author was a nothing basketball player on Wooden's team who barely ever played, but he sets himself up as one of the few people in history to ever "play" on three national championship teams (though almost all of it was sitting on the bench and fighting with the coach). He went on to work for CBS--no surprise since the attitude of pretty much everyone who ever worked there is that of an egotistical jerk. There is absolutely no humility on the part of the author, which was one of the keys to Wooden's success.
There may be some lessons to be learned from some of the examples given in the book, but how Wooden ever agreed to be a part of this book will be beyond anyone who reads the first 60 pages. This isn't a loving tribute to a favorite coach--this is an initial hatchet job on the coach with analysis throughout as to the validity of the coach's philosophy. Hill could have handled it with much more class and self-introspection because in most of the examples given the immature, know-it-all Hill was the one causing his own bad situations.
It's difficult to listen to the valid points that are made when the author has shown himself to have so little character. Yes, in the end Hill reconciles with Wooden and says "thanks" to him--but that's as successful TV executive who still acts like he knows more than the coach. At one point near then end he again slams Wooden saying, "I've found it emotionally cathartic to learn that one person who knows that John Wooden was not perfect is Coach himself." OKAY, HILL--we get it already! You think Wooden wasn't perfect! Now what about yourself--can't you step forward and admit your own failings or put yourself down instead of insisting on condemning him??? The problem when the author played for UCLA wasn't the coach, it was the 20-year-old disrespectful jerk who uses faint praise in this book to get the coach back thirty years later.