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on December 31, 2016
The idea behind media interviews for books is to move product. It worked for at least one copy of "One on One."

I stumbled on John Feinstein's interview with Mike Francesa on the YES Network one day. I heard them talk for 20 minutes, and wasn't the least bit tempted to change the channel.

Feinstein has written some of the biggest-selling and best sports books in the last 30 years, starting with the fabled "Season on the Brink." At this point in his career, he explained how he wanted to tell some of the back stories involved collecting information for those books, as well as catch up with some of the subjects from relatively long ago.

Some of Feinstein's anecdotes were funny, some were poignant, some were surprising, but all were interesting.


Having now read the actual book, it's probably best to separate my reactions into professional and personal. On the professional side, there are many, many good stories here. It's probably as close as Feinstein will get to writing a full-blown autobiography, so it has a personal side to it. And all of the material doesn't deal with books; there's a gripping section about how Feinstein wound up in Kladno, Czechoslovakia,, one day being questioned by Czech authorities while talking to Michal Pivonka's mother for a newspaper article.

There's plenty of other good stuff here, though. If you are writing a book on golf, and Arnold Palmer invites you to his workshop for company when he works on clubs, you go. If you have the chance to have dinner with Tiger Woods, one on one, you go. Same with a late-night snack at Denny's with Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. There are plenty of other interesting characters here that readers of other Feinstein books will enjoy hearing from again.

Two books certainly shine through here as the author looks back. Feinstein probably would be the first to agree that a year with Bobby Knight at Indiana wasn't always "enjoyable," but it was always fascinating. Feinstein's book on the Army-Navy game, and the players in it, was clearly a labor of love. It's not surprising, then, that these might be his two best efforts.

Again, speaking professionally, there certainly will be plenty of people who haven't read all or most of Feinstein's books and thus won't identify as closely with some personalities. Therefore, this is more of a "second read." "One on One" also checks in at more than 500 pages, which is a lot of reading and might be overdoing it for some. Most sports fans, however, will find more than enough to keep themselves entertained.

As for me personally... I loved it. I plowed through it in a few days, couldn't wait to get back to it when I put it down.

One of the best parts of journalism for me is the chance to sit around with other reporters and compare notes, opinions and stories. It can make a morning hockey shootaround fascinating with the right mix. This is like sitting down with Feinstein and letting him talk about the greats and near-greats he's encountered.

"One on One" worked perfectly for me. I'm probably in the minority here, so I don't want to get anyone's hopes too high with a five-star rating. If you like Feinstein's other work, you'd join me in elevating the personal rating below from four to five stars.
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on March 27, 2014
I am not an American, but I love sports. The book is sometimes funny, but sometimes a little boring and too long. John Feinstein is very honest about his feelings towards people. If he does not like one - he is very critical and sometimes unfair. I don't have to like a person, but I have to acknowledge his achievements. If John does not like you, he will try to find something even in your best moments. On the other hand, if he likes you, he will defend you even if the case is not defendable.
All in all, if you are sport junkie-then grab the book and read it.
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on March 2, 2012
Wonderful insight to the workings of one of the premier sports writers of our times. We get to"see" and "hear" how Fienstein has interviewed and followed... watched and at times cheered during diverse sports from Wimbledon to the Army Navy game. He confirms my assessment of Bob Knight as a bully and the courage of the young men who guard our country and play in one of the great rivalries. Long after the details of the stories and faces of the people fade... I will remember "I lay me down to bleed for awhile, but I will rise again."
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on February 13, 2013
Feinstein is just great. I read the Red Auerbach book (Let Me Tell You a Story) and being a casual non-celtics sports fan it was a great read. Mr. Feinstein is a very gifted storyteller and I felt like I was sitting right next to him as he relives stories from his past. I'm about halfway through this book and just loving it. If you're a casual sports fan you won't regret picking up this book.
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on February 8, 2013
I had never read a John Feinstein book before, and now I am a little upset. I am upset becuase now I have to purchase more books. This guy is incredible.
I am a former college basketball player and I grew up when Bobby Knight was still a coach at IU. This book gives you the behind the scenes of the year that Feinstein spent with Coach Knight. It is very interesting

If you are a sports fan BUY THIS BOOK
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on July 4, 2016
John Feinstein has a gift of making me feel that he is talking with me not to me about what he experienced to get the book done. He does not under estimate his reader and think Mr. Feinstein that he is the only smart person in the room
He finds the heart of his subject showing them an athletic skill is only part of who you must be you must also be human.
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on August 27, 2017
nice gift
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on February 15, 2012
John Feinstein has demonstrated over many years and books that he is one of the best sports writers ever.
His readers cannot help but wonder how he gets so much "inside stuff" from his subjects. Now we are given an insight into one of the reasons for John's greatness: The trust and confidence his subjects have in John.
One On One takes us through what it was like to do those books, and in the process even more fascinating and enjoyable material is revealed.
Clearly one of John's best.
You will not be able to put it down.
A great gift for yourself. A perfect gift for those whom you know that need an introduction to John's books.
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on January 15, 2012
"One on One" is a wonderful collection of John Feinstein's experiences writing books about Army-Navy football, college basketball, and pro tennis and golf. His descriptions of the subjects of his books are both funny and touching, particularly the connections he made with the players that he met doing research for the Army-Navy book. His stories about getting the access he needed to write his books make you feel like you are with him every step of the way. His insights about both well-known people (Dean Smith, Jim Valvano, Mike Krzyzewski, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, among others) and others whom you never heard of are outstanding. I've read several of his other books and now I want to read others that I missed. Loved each and every word.
2 people found this helpful
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on December 9, 2016
As the title explains- behind the scene stuff that's well written- another great book by Feinstein
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