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Open: An Autobiography Paperback – Aug 10 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Aug. 10 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307388409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307388407
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A New York Times Notable Book and a Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post Best Book of the Year

“Agassi may have just penned one of the best sports autobiographies of all time. Check—it’s one of the better memoirs out there, period. . . . An unvarnished, at times inspiring story [told] in an arresting, muscular style. . . . Agassi’s memoir is just as entrancing as his tennis game.”
Time
 
“Fascinating. . . . Inspiring. . . . Open describes Agassi’s personal odyssey with brio and unvarnished candor. . . . [Agassi’s] career-comeback tale is inspiring but even more so is another Open storyline. It could be called: The punk grows up. . . . Countless athletes start charitable foundations, but frequently the organizations are just tax shelters or PR stunts. For Agassi helping others has instead become his life’s calling. . . . Open is a superb memoir, but it hardly closes the books on an extraordinary life.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Honest in a way that such books seldom are. . . . An uncommonly well-written sports memoir. . . . Bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily, Agassi’s is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete.”
The New York Times
 
“Not your typical jock-autobio fare. This literate and absorbing book is, as the title baldly states, Agassi’s confessional, a wrenching chronicle of his lifelong search for identity and serenity, on and off the court.”
Los Angeles Times

“The writing here is exceptional. It is can’t-put-down good.”
Sports Illustrated
 
“An honest, substantive, insightful autobiography. . . . The bulk of this extraordinary book vividly recounts a lost childhood, a Dickensian adolescence, and a chaotic struggle in adulthood to establish an identity. . . . While not without excitement, Agassi’s comeback to No. 1 is less uplifting than his sheer survival, his emotional resilience, and his good humor in the face of the luckless cards he was often dealt.”
The Washington Post
 
“The most revealing, literate, and toes-stompingly honest sports autobiography in history”
—Rick Reilly, ESPN
 
“Much more than a drug confession—Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversity. . . . His tale shows that success is measured both on and off the court.”
New York Post
 
“Not only has Agassi bared his soul like few professional athletes ever have, he’s done it with a flair and force that most professional writers can’t even pull off.”
Entertainment Weekly
 
“[A] heartfelt memoir . . . Agassi’s style is open, all right, and his book, like so many of his tennis games, is a clear winner.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“Hard-won self-knowledge irradiates almost every page of Open. . . . Not just a first-rate sports memoir but a genuine bildungsroman, darkly funny yet also anguished and soulful. It confirms what Agassi’s admirers sensed from the outset, that this showboat . . . was not clamoring for attention but rather conducting a struggle to wrest some semblance of selfhood from the sport that threatened to devour him.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“A riveting and reflective memoir by a man who rose to the top of his sport—despite hating it.”
San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Celebrity tell-alls have rarely been this honest and this interesting.”
Baltimore Sun
 
“A vivid portrait of the internal battle faced in some measure by every athlete.”
—Bloomberg News
 
“Articulate. . . . Expertly rendered.”
The Morning News (Boston)
 
“Refreshingly candid. . . . This lively, revealing, and entertaining book is certain to roil the tennis world and make a big splash beyond.”
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Andre Agassi played tennis professionally from 1986 to 2006. Often ranked number one, he captured eight Grand Slam singles championships. Founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, he has raised more than $85 million for the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy for underprivileged children in Las Vegas, where he lives with his wife, Stefanie Graf, and their two children.
 
Visit the author's website: www.agassifoundation.org


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4.6 out of 5 stars
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Acy on Nov. 18 2009
Format: Hardcover
To quote George Vecsey of the New York Times "the lesson is that sometimes people are vastly more complex than we think, and capable of great growth and change". Agassi made me a tennis fan. I was drawn in by the intensity of his emotions, how clearly you could see exactly what he was feeling--the opposite of "poker face". The extreme ups and downs. I enjoyed learning more about his dramatic struggles with his demons. And the people who helped him overcome them, to become "a Zen master". A well-written very enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catchlight on Jan. 12 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had two novels on the go and a pile of Christmas gift books waiting, but after reading the first few pages of Agassi's memoir I put the others aside to finish "Open".

The first strength that I noticed is the precision, economy, quality of the writing. There's no mention of a ghost writer, and Agassi admits that he left school in grade nine, so he has drawn upon his intelligence, keen powers of observation, and natural fluency as a storyteller to make "Open" a finely-detailed, literate, and compelling read.

The book also delivers honest insights into the fascinating and, at times, bizarre world of tennis at the top level. Particularly interesting were the glimpses he provides into the personalities of the many tennis greats he battled on the court, and a few others he encountered who were either too young or too old to play him during his career.

Along with his success in eventually overcoming a harrowing childhood as a tennis prodigy dominated by an overbearing father, what will stay with me longest from this book is Agassi's revealing descriptions of how a fit, ideally-prepared athlete can inexplicably lose to a lesser opponent on a given day, and how an injured or hung-over competitor can beat a higher-ranked adversary on another day.

These accounts reminded me that regardless of the sport in question, elite and amateur athletes are human, and subject to all the inconsistentcies, negative self-talk, and self-defeating behaviours that the rest of us must face and try to overcome in whatever we do. The difficulty for tennis players is that the court offers absolutely no place to hide when a match is going badly, and no teammates with whom to share the blame for an ugly loss.

I recommend "Open" as an unusually well-written and revealing sports autobiography.
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By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
Right from the first page when Andre Agassi describes the scary dragon tennis ball machine his father constructed for him, you'll be hooked. It must of took tremendous guts for Agassi to reveal pretty much all that is in this book. On the one hand he reiterates that he "hates" tennis but on the other he has enough willpower to keep playing despite the physical and mental tools especially when he falls so far off the computer rankings and ends up on the Challenger (think minor leagues of the tennis tour) circuit to try to claw his way back up the rankings.

I enjoyed learning about his off-the-court crew and his two high-profile romances (with ex-wife Brooke Shields and current wife Steffi Graf). Be prepared to learn a lot of the inner turmoil and triumph on those scores.

Mainly, though, it's a great book to learn about how the tennis tours (both men and women's) operate. I had to laugh at his coach Brad Gilbert and Bud Ice being his beer of choice. Given he was a former pro and traveled the world, this is the beer he appreciates the most? I love Gilbert, especially now as a tennis commentator on TV, but that and Agassi's love of fast food seem to sum up the "uncultured" aspect of tennis at the ground level. It really is a sport, although international in nature, is one of the hard working classes...and, boy, did Agassi work at it.

The book will blow your socks off especially about characters like Nick Bolliteri who runs a famous Florida tennis school ("prison" according to Agassi) or the tipping habits of Pete Sampras. There's much more both good and bad on players such as Tarango, Baghdatis, Becker, Rafter, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
1. Because Andre has angst (he has always hated tennis, since the very beginning - see point 4), and angst is interesting. Agassi doesn't ever skimp on the fast food binging, drug doing, getting love wronging details;

2. Because at heart this is a love story. And Andre, for wife and the school he set up for underprivileged kids, has a hell of a big heart;

3. Because like in any great book (fiction or non) you CARE about the characters. And really, who gives a crap about a meat-head musclebound trainer named Gil? Me. You fall in love with Andre Agassi's physical trainer the way you fall in love with Mickey, Rocky Balboa's trainer. Hint: it has to do with loyalty;

4. Because Andre's father is your worst nightmare of the athlete parent bastard breed and 'father was a bastard' stories are interesting, especially when Daddy was this callous, selfish, wrong, complicated. 'Father was a bastard' stories are even better when son of said bastard becomes a world champion tennis player and not a bastard himself; and

5. Because the book is aptly titled. Andre gives every Brooke Shields-doubting-the-marriage (even while making the proposal) details. His gives of all the details, tells the stories you'd want to hear. Anecdotes like this one:

Agassi and his coach, Brad Gilbert, are having dinner at a favourite Italian restaurant after a match. By chance, Pete Sampras and his entourage are also at the restaurant, on the other side. As Pete leaves he comes by to say hi to Andre and Brad. After he goes, Brad tells Andre he'll bet him anything Pete didn't leave more than 5 bucks to the valet parking guy. Andre isn't as keen on finding out but Brad pushes and asks the teenager valet how much Pete gave him.
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