Top critical review
For basketball fans ONLY.
Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2013
Don't buy it unless you love professional basketball AND it's on deep sale.
Bob Knight's life experience has been limited, by choice, mostly to the study of professional and college basketball. The game is well understood. The rules are well defined. The best strategies are studied, rather than developed. It's no surprise that he thinks games are lost by mistakes rather than won.
Life is not like playing basketball (with some rather obvious exceptions).
The rules are not always clear. The playing field isn't always clear. The referees are often absent, or not even trying to appear impartial. But most of all, we are not constantly at war with one another with only two possible outcomes: win or lose. More often, we work together or separately to achieve our common or individual goals. If the only way to succeed in life were to beat Bob Knight, somebody would have already hunted him down and eliminated him. Happily, Bob's success does not limit my own freedom to succeed, or that of anyone I know. (And I hope that doesn't change in a future world of: one internet search engine, one internet store, one physical store, one chip maker, one...)
I'm glad somebody has written a Captain Obvious book showcasing how some negative thinking is helpful and therefore important to success. I'm sorry that the writer was Bob Knight, who's lived in such a specialized little slice of the world all his life. His manic concentration on winning basketball games has been great for him, but is nearly as helpful as he thinks for teaching people how to get along with one another and live life to its fullest. This mindset SEEMS to be the sort that allowed coach Joe Paterno to ignore one of his assistant coaches raping young boys. It SEEMS to be the mindset that encourages excellent basketball players to ignore their other life skills so much that two thirds of the pros are broke within a few years of being cut from their teams. In short, it SEEMS to be a rotten mindset. But great for winning basketball games.
I only got 17% of the way through this book. All the general advise seemed blindingly obvious. All the applications of the advise seemed related to basketball, baseball, or when applied to real life, were dubious and/or vague. "Sometimes you only get one chance" to beat your Dad or your son at pool? Yeah. So that needed to be included?
But if you want to know how one extremely successful basketball coach thinks, give it a try.
Edit: Bob even disparages mother's kissing away hurts to make it all better. Living in the real world needs to start before kindergarten!