Top positive review
One of the best writers in America does it again!!!
Reviewed in the United States on November 9, 2006
This is the same author that wrote the "Best and the Brightest", a book that I read decades ago, that is even more compelling today in view of our country being stuck in Iraq, which is not all that different than Viet Nam. That book was the story of the men that John F. Kennedy chose to accompany him on that magnificent journey of a 1000 days, a journey that ended in the sad destruction of Lyndon Johnson's administration. Whatever subject Halberstam chooses to write about becomes compelling after reading just a few lines of the book.
Here he tackles the subject of Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, and how this man has created a sports dynasty in an age where all the rules were designed to discourage such a creation.
The author's words flow like poetry. Even if you are uninterested in the subject of the book, it is still compelling. There are a number of reasons to read a book like this, which may be far removed from your own area of expertise, and even normal interest.
Great learning sometimes involves people going outside their expertise. In doing so, it can make for great discoveries, and finding a fascinating idea or concept that a person would never think of for themselves in their daily work. Whether that work is being a Nobel Prize winning researcher in string theory, or a gent that builds cars, the bottomline always seems to be the same. These people can then bring these new ideas, and learnings into their own circle of competence, and appropriate it for what it is they are doing on a daily basis.
In this book, you learn about getting the edge on your fellow competitors. You learn about dedication, focus, and execution. We may talk about execution in business, but in business or government, it might take years before you know the results of the project you are working on. Not so in the world of sports. You make an adjustment on a football team like Coach Belichick, and you might know in 30 seconds if you look STUPID.
Usually wherever I am I have a selection of books with me. I read on average, about a book a day. Fortunately, my work allows me this luxury. Actually when I think about it, I am better at my work for the reading than if I did something else. This is probably true for you also. We read because we are compelled to read. I read the Education of a Coach while flying cross-country, and literally couldn't put it down, that's how Halberstam GRABS you as a reader.
What is absolutely fascinating to me is Coach Belichick learning at his father's knee about football. The father was a scout who really did not make it as far as he should have in the world of football. He did have a studious and willing son who is the subject of this book. The child was desirous of learning everything his father could teach him. I am reminded in many ways of the relationship that Tiger Woods had with his own father.
Just listen to a few words that Halberstam writes of the values that the father instilled in the son, "You worked hard. You saved. You did not waste anything. If possible, you grew your own food. You did not complain. You did not expect anyone to do anything for you. Discipline was not so much taught as it was lived, as an essential part of life for which there was no alternative."
This is reading folks, compelling reading. Learn how a masterful football coach learned the game, and taught a team how to play the game. This is the real thing, and Halberstam is at his best, when writing about what's real. You will love this book, even if you don't like sports.