A Life Plan for Team Players
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 Winning, if demanding, prescriptions for success from one of the NBA's best coaches. Drawing on his experiences in and out of professional basketball, Riley (Showtime, 1988) takes a hard-line approach to personal growth. By his anecdotal account, achievement is more reliant on cooperation, diligence, positive thinking, preparation, resilience, respect for authority, and other bedrock virtues than on tricks of the trade. Not too surprisingly (in light of his vocation), the author puts a premium on teamwork, notably on its highest manifestation--unselfish willingness to subordinate individual goals to the good of a group. Using object lessons learned during his near-miss as well as championship seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, Riley provides cautionary insights on withstanding pressure, the perils of complacency, the frustrations of playing not to lose, and the roles to be played by superstars and lesser lights. Having spent time in the trenches (e.g., as a no-name coaching assistant), he values and commends apprenticeship as an opportunity to develop skills--and perception--in arenas where physical or intellectual gifts are merely starting points. He also endorses occasional, calculated outbursts of ``temporary insanity'' as an effective means of jolting sports or other organizations in need of wake-up calls. Throughout, however, the writer and coach maintains an impressive sense of proportion, to be seen in vignettes of a family friend who survived a racking bout with breast cancer; the combat vet responsible for getting the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., built; his own father-in-law (a WW II submariner); and others whose triumphs have little to do with athletic glory. Engaging, down-to-earth advisories from a master of the game.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13839-0
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993