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Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievement Hardcover – August 21, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A book certain to stir debate among sports business experts and fans alike." (Boston Herald)

"The season's best book so far gets right to the heart of the game's survival at the organizational level." (The Boston Globe, April 2, 2006)

"A compelling examination of the national pastime as seen through the prism of the commissioner's office." (The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2006)

"Andrew Zimbalist, a man who has become a go-to guy on matters of sports economics, uses an academic approach to explain - and, perhaps surprisingly, defend - Bud Selig's 13-year tenure as commissioner of baseball." (New York Daily News)

Certain ballgames, no matter how important, turn out to be just plain dull. You want to be kept on the edge of your seat, eager for the action, but it doesn't happen. This book is like that kind of game. It's unfortunate because Andrew Zimbalist has a rich subject in Bud Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner and former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. Many changes, both for good and for ill, have taken place on Selig's watch. And Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College who has written and consulted extensively on sports, is no rookie. But this book, his fourth on baseball, rarely captured my attention or my interest.
For a book that's subtitled "The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig," it takes a long time -- 110 out of its 218 pages of main text -- to get to its ostensible subject, and only five of its nine chapters deal with him exclusively. Some of the early baseball history is intriguing -- from 1910 to 1912, when Ty Cobb hit .385, .420 and .410, he was paid $9,000 a year; and players sent down to the minors had to pay their own way (now that hurts) -- but far too much space is given to Selig's eight predecessors, from Kenesaw Mountain Landis to Fay Vincent. It was amusing to read about what a strange old bird Landis was, and that Selig, as head of the search committee in 1983, was "smitten" with Bart Giamatti, who left the presidency of Yale to become commissioner and died of a heart attack just five months later. But neither of these sections does much to advance the author's thesis that Selig's reign has been revolutionary.
In fairness, it should be noted that when Zimbalist does get around to Selig's performance as commissioner, he asks the right questions, including:
Why did Selig wait so long to sell the Brewers after he became commissioner? Did he move quickly and effectively in dealing with the steroids scandal? How much merchandizing is too much? Is Selig acting "in the best interests of baseball" when he makes cities pay for building stadiums as a condition for getting a team (sound familiar)?
Unfortunately, Zimbalist's questions are better than his answers, although quite a bit of added information can be found in the 18 single-spaced pages of notes, many of which contain facts and opinions that would have enhanced the main text. To his credit, in response to Selig's handling of the steroid crisis, Zimbalist writes, "Thus, as in other areas, Selig might have acted more aggressively, more consistently, and more persuasively than he did. However, arguing that his actions were short of ideal is different from arguing that his actions were wrong or devious."
Zimbalist's prose only becomes smooth and readable when he writes about the economics of the game. And then there's his fondness for peculiar words or phrases, such as labeling an action of Bowie Kuhn's "bumptiously dirigiste" or writing that Selig "cathected" two separate elements (cathect, in case you were wondering, means to invest emotional energy in something or someone), or using a redundancy such as "rudimentary pro formas." Speaking of pro formas, each of the commissioners who preceded Selig gets a similar bio bite. For example, "Young Kenesaw, born in 1866, was the sixth of seven children to Abraham and Mary Landis"; "Chandler was born on April 18, 1898, in Corydon, Kentucky. His family was poor"; "Ford Frick was born in 1896, one of five children to Jacob and Emma Frick."
Distracting writing is bad enough, but when a supposed authority gets basic facts wrong, that's disturbing. Zimbalist says Selig fell in love with the game at "Old Orchards Field, where the triple-A farm club of the Chicago Cubs played." But the park was called "Borchert Field." And the Brewers were a farm club of the Boston Braves, and before that the Detroit Tigers, not the Cubs. Those kinds of mistakes make a reader worry about the accuracy of other details, major as well as minor.
In his introduction, Zimbalist writes, "I had developed a reputation for being one of Selig's and baseball's harshest critics." You wouldn't know it from reading this book. For example, in a late chapter, he writes, "Finally, some people claim that baseball has been too good to Bud Selig. Major League Baseball opened up handsome new offices for Selig in Milwaukee where he conducts most of his business. The New York staff and the team owners often have to make special trips to Milwaukee to meet with him. In 2005, MLB also opened up its Western office in Scottsdale, Arizona. When Bud sold the Brewers in January 2005, his son-in-law, Laurel Prieb, who had been working as a Brewers executive, was without a job. Major League Baseball announced the opening of its new office and that Laurel Prieb would run it. The Western office may have been needed and Laurel Prieb may have been the perfect person to fill the job, but for outsiders, at least, this move evoked some skepticism." Yes, but what did it evoke in this "harshly critical" author? We are left to guess.
Given the commissioner's power, perks and pay -- "a base salary of $6 million annually, with bonuses raising his total yearly compensation to between $10.2 million and $12 million" -- one could say, mimicking Bill Dana's comic character Jose Jimenez, "Baseball has been bery bery good to Bud Selig." Based on the evidence contained in this book, it appears that Bud Selig has been good to baseball, too. But whether he has been good for baseball, whether his tenure has been in the best interests of the game, awaits a fuller and more concentrated analysis. (The Washington Post, July 12, 2006)


"Andrew Zimbalist has written an insightful and thought provoking book that peels the cover off the ball of the position of the commissioner to see the threads inside. I highly recommend it."
—Maury Brown, chair, SABR’s Business of Baseball Committee in The Hardball Times

"Andy Zimbalist's book is a thoughtful and objective analysis of baseball's labor and economic policy evolution. The book is interesting, relevant and a good read."
—Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, former chief labor negotiator for MLB

"I read In the Best Interests of Baseball? start to finish in one evening. Zimbalist has provided a tour de force. It’s an incredibly interesting read that ends with a vision for the sport that is on squarely on target and a clarion call to our industry."
—John Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, member of MLB Executive Committee

"Andrew Zimbalist has done a very credible, eminently readable and engaging job describing MLB's commissioners, particularly Bud Selig, who easily has become the most significant figure in baseball in decades. While Selig will not necessarily share all of Zimbalist's views about the game, In the Best Interests of Baseball has thoughtfully, and perhaps uniquely, tracked many of the thorny issues that Selig confronted during baseball's new golden era."
—John Moores, owner of the Padres and member of MLB's Executive Council

"Baseball books, like the game itself, are often replete with errors. But Andrew Zimbalist has written a carefully researched yet lively review of the record of the nine commissioners that is both fair and accurate. It is long overdue and a superb read."
—Fay Vincent, former commissioner of baseball

"I always thought Yogi Berra was the wisest source on baseball, but Zimbalist has hit a grand slam here."
—Tom Werner, owner of the Red Sox, former owner of the Padres

"Tremendously enjoyable and a must read for baseball fans. Guaranteed to raise the level of discourse on sports-talk radio."
—Jim Bouton, former 20-game winning pitcher for the Yankees and author of Ball Four

"By looking at baseball from the perspective of the commissioner's office and its many challenges, Professor Zimbalist has been able to use his scholar's eye and his fan's heart to see the game as an ongoing enterprise that needs refreshment. The fair but unsparing portrait of Bud Selig he paints is of a man who is nobody's fool, and nobody's tool--and now, those of us who love the game need him to start the rally that will restore baseball in America's esteem."
—Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday and author of Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball and Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan

"Once again, Andy Zimbalist proves that no one understands the mysterious inner workings of the best game on earth better than he does. With energy, thoughtfulness and passion, he has parsed the complicated world of baseball and shown how important its business side is to its soul -- and its survival."
—Ken Burns

"Zimbalist is a consummate and impeccably credentialed outsider, and this splendid book is the real deal. Those who are determined to have Selig's head on a stick will be disappointed; rational baseball fans will rejoice in this tough but fair view of a decent man in a thankless job."--John Thorn, editor of Total Baseball


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471448583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471448587
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In recent years, Tracy has written a series of self-help and
motivational books based on his life-time of helping
individuals and businesses to achieve goals and improve
results. In my opinion, this is the best of the group. (One
of his earlier books, "Create Your Own Future," is also
The central theme is that over time, "we usually get what we
think about most." While many things factor into our success,
one of the most critical is the accuracy and power of our
thinking. In general, if we think clearly, we tend to get
better results. If we are optimistic, creative, determined,
resourceful and strategic in our thinking, we will achieve
more and better results than if we are negative, fuzzy and
confused. That seems obvious.
But too often, we forget the obvious. We allow our thinking
to focus on daily annoyances, or petty distractions, or the
latest fad. We get confused by the news, or lose our
confidence when we are criticized or experience a temporary
Here are two key points from the book:
A) If we don't take charge of our thinking, other people and
events surely will.
Every day, advertisers spend a fortune to focus our attention
on their products. News organizations are determined to get
us to think about the latest disaster, tax increase or virus.
People around us want us to focus on THEM and THEIR problems,
rather than our own goals and priorities.
B) Your future will reflect your dominant thoughts.
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Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of Brian Tracy's best books, if not the best, and should be included in anyone's library if they are interested in the subject of personal achievement. For those new to the field who need to know the basics it is possibly the best introduction you could get. For those who are well informed it does contain important information not found elsewhere.

It is hard to believe some critics of this book have actually read it. Check it out for yourself. I am an avid reader of Brian Tracy and have led seminars myself on many of the subjects he presents. This is clearly one of his best. Here are some facts:

While this book does repeat many of the ideas you will find in his other books, there is excellent new material as well, and in many cases he adds to previous concepts--sometimes short but exciting ideas that offer a potential to help people make dramatic improvements in their lives.

One feature of this book that is not as common in his other works is the reference to numerous studies by universities and other research groups that demonstrate the validity of the concepts presented. It is helpful to know the basis and validity of these ideas.

The chief value of this book when compared to Brian's other books, or to other books in the field, is that it focuses on the key concept for all thinking about successful living and personal achievement--how you think determines everything. Other works focus on goal setting, time management, and other topics in a somewhat isolated way. This work discusses these but in the context of a person's attitude toward them as the key to success. This is a subtle but important concept.
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Format: Hardcover
The late great Earl Nightengale was famous for saying "You become what you think about." In the bible it says; "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." So how important is thinking? It determines your outcome. Change your thinking and you will change your life and let Brian Tracy show you how.
Great book. MAybe his best.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great "how to" book for success. It gets right to the point and all the topics are broken up into short sections. These are easily readable and if you are a fan of Brian's audio programs you'll recognize a lot of the stories and concepts. The book has been a great refresher for me and I plan to use it as a reference guide as I work on my goals and success plan.
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Format: Hardcover
There is an abundance of self-help books on the market. Some have been around for a long time, reissued on a regular basis. Others are new, but deliver the same wisdom in a new package.
Brian Tracy is internationally known for his work as a motivational speaker and sales trainer. He has earned the respect of his colleagues because of his ability to translate the ancient wisdom and obvious truths into forms that help his customers build better lives for themselves. His speeches, seminars, books, tapes, training packages, and more have enabled thousands and thousands of people to improve their lot in life.
This book delivers that proven wisdom-and some thought-provoking ideas-in a short-burst format. Readers will find a lot of old material here-seasoned material handed down through the ages. Before you discount it, remember that we all forget that advice-no matter how simple or obvious-that we don't review frequently. A spin through this book will stimulate some old memories that may inspire you to do something new and different to make some changes in your life.
Don't expect the lightning bolt of dramatically new material. It's not here...and you probably don't need it. You still have plenty of room to grow from application of the advice you've heard before but haven't acted on.
This is the kind of book that makes great reading for the airplane or the bathroom. Short explanations-easy to read a little, then put the book down to pick up again later. Why not put it on your bedside table to read-and think about-one piece of wisdom as you drift off to sleep.
There are exercises in the book to guide you in some applications, but you can create these practice sessions on your own.
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