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The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life Paperback – August 1, 2009
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From the Back Cover
What does it reallymean to be a winner? Are there certain qualities that winners inherently possess that make them natural difference makers? How can you measure such a thing? The book you're holding is my attempt not only to answer these questions but also to distill the heart of a nearly four-hundred-page handbook I have been handing out to my players on the first day of spring practice for more than twenty years. We call it The Winners Manual-a personal playbook for success, filled with insights on what it takes to be a winner in the game of life from some of the greatest coaches, athletes, writers, thinkers, and leaders in the world. We developed it to help our athletes become the best players and people they can possibly be. The principles in this book have been passed down to me from my father; from coaches I have had the privilege of knowing, working with, and competing against; and from hundreds of former players, who have taught me a great deal about success, adversity, winning and losing, hope, love-basically, the stuff of life. I think you'll find the information in this book is not so much about football as it is about life and what it really takes to succeed-physically, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally. These principles have been absolutely invaluable to me over the years, and I hope they will be for you as well. A portion of the proceeds from this book will go to the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library campaign at The Ohio State University.
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Over that time period, coach Jim Tressel has utilized such a manual for his Youngstown State and Ohio State teams. And this book is the guide presented to players at the start of each season.
The main source that inspired Tressel came from the home; his father, Lee, was a long-time head football coach and athletics director at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Lee was nationally-renowned in the coaching community for his work with young people. But Lee also had a "head coach" in reaching out to others.
"She (Lee's wife, Eloise) typed the practice schedules for my dad's teams, because at a small school the athletic department didn't have money for a secretary. She sewed the players' names on the back of their jerseys at Baldwin-Wallace College for many years," writes Tressel, in a section on living with an attitude of gratitude.
"And her service was always motivated by a perspective of gratitude," he continues. "She was grateful that her husband had a chance to coach and to have an impact on all those young men. Because of her service and her involvement in the community, she was selected as an outstanding citizen in the city of Berea long before my dad was."
Each day will bring additional challenges, which may lead someone to tackle new avenues and goals. "(I)f a player says, 'I really want to excel at football, but I feel that medicine is my life's calling,' we help that player map out a plan to make it to medical school. It might be medical school, law school, or some other career path, but we want to help every player achieve his goals," writes Tressel.
"Executing a plan to reach our full potential takes a lot of preparation. We must first uncover all the hidden things that can help or hinder our putting that plan into action. Excellent preparation takes tremendous commitment, focus, and discipline," he adds. "The willingness to do what it takes to execute that plan will yield excellence, but it doesn't just happen. Achieving excellence requires a great deal of hard work."
With proceeds from the book to benefit the renovation of The Ohio State University main library, Tressel is making sure that a foundation in books will be available to every OSU student and researcher using the college's vast library system.
Tressel is a successful coach who has led teams to five national titles. But the book is an inspirational guide to strive to be the best in any situation, on and off the field.
I'm West Coast born and raised. Too often we fans, and sportswriters, get caught up in regionalism and bias. We may call it "loyalty", but that's a nice word for what often comes across as petty whining because our coach, team or region isn't constantly praised by the media. It's nothing terminal, that is, until we take those perceived slights personally. In the writing of my book about former Cleveland Browns' star safety, Don Rogers, I had the opportunity to gain an insight into what I will admit was a foreign people: football fans of Ohio. So it was with a slightly more enlightened perspective than, say, I would have had some years ago, that I read "The Winners Manual" by Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel. Never mind that the proceeds from the book go to the school's already amazing library. That's just the icing on the cake. The book is a how-to manual for organization, and road map into the mind of Tressel, a man who excels in one of the toughest jobs--including being in the highest levels of politics--that a person could ever have.
I believe we bend ourselves toward our goals, and it isn't any one thing that gets us there. If you're looking for insight into the great Jim Tressel, this book will help. But if you're looking for a guide in which to help you live a better, more organized life, The Winners Manual is a must-read, along the lines of some of John Wooden's best books, and books by the best and brightest CEOs this country has produced. Learn from, and surround yourself with winners, and success will follow.
Ohio is the country's center in so many ways, but I've come to know it's football fan base as, by far, the most loyal and informed in the country. And in every sense, Tressel is the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation that insists on excellence performed under a powerful and exacting microscope. I think he succeeds admirably. And this book can both help you understand how he does it, and how you too might get the most out of your life, as well.
As far as the book goes it was decent. The idea behind the book is that all Ohio State players receive a winner's manual of their own filled with inspirational thoughts and information on how to be the best person that they can be in all aspects of life, not just sports. This book is based on that but shortened down, apparently quite a bit.
There were quite a few parts of this book that really hit me. It is a generic manual on how to retrain your brain to what is important in life like family and faith. There wasn't anything I have not heard before, but it doesn't hurt to hear those things again.
My biggest complaint is that it seamed to repeat itself quite a bit and was a little longer than I would have liked. I read this one a while ago, so the details have left me a bit, but don't be scared away from it if you do not like sports. Yeah there are a lot of sport references, but the inspirational ideas are applicable to all walks of life. The best part of the book everyone can enjoy are the quotes that are spread out throughout the book.
If you like my review and want to read more of them I have a blog chronicaling my first year with my Kindle. I would love your suggestions and comments. Check out my profile for the website.