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Success Is a Choice: Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life Paperback – Mar 2 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (March 2 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767901320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767901321
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.8 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Wildly successful hoops coach Rick Pitino takes a time-out from the rigors of the NBA to outline his approach and techniques for motivating individuals. The paperback edition contains an all-new foreword written since Pitino's departure from the Kentucky Wildcats and the 1997 national championship season. His plan for excellence in all aspects of life, including sports and business, is more than goal achievement; this is the guidebook for goal overachievement! Pitino presents 10 crucial steps for success, drawing examples from his 20-plus years in the basketball trenches to inspire readers.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

When I became the coach of Providence College in the spring of 1985, I was inheriting a program that had been languishing near the bottom of the very competitive Big East Conference ever since the conference began in 1979.  I had been an assistant coach with the New York Knicks at the time, and there were people who warned me that the Providence job was a graveyard for coaches.

In one of my first meetings with the team, I listed four categories on the blackboard: basketball, school, work ethic, family.  The four supposedly most important parts of my new players' lives.

"How many of you want to be professional basketball players someday?" I asked.

Virtually every hand in the room went up.

"Well, since you've had a losing season last year and there is no one here in this room who averaged at least ten points a game last year, it's obvious you are not a success in the basketball part of your lives," I said, erasing one quarter of the blackboard.  "And since I've seen your grade point averages, it's also obvious you aren't successful in school either."

The room was silent as I erased another quarter of the blackboard.  Then I turned to the trainer and asked him how many players had been in the gym every day since the season ended.  I wanted to know how many had been working on their games.

"No one, Coach," the trainer said.

"So it's obvious you don't work hard either," I said, erasing another quarter of the blackboard.

Then I started raising my voice.

"Let's see," I said.  "You aren't successful in basketball, you aren't successful in school, and you don't work hard.  What's left?"

I paused for emphasis.

"Well, hopefully, you're a close team," I finally said.  "Hopefully, you care about each other."

"Oh, we do, Coach," said a player named Harold Starks.  "We're a close team."

I pretended to think for a minute.

"Okay, Harold, how many brothers does Steve Wright have?"

Starks slowly shook his head.

"What does Billy Donovan's father do for a living?"

Harold now looked like a deer stuck in the headlights.

"So you really don't know anything about each other, do you?" I asked.

No one spoke.

I made each player stand up and talk about himself and his family.  Then something wonderful happened.  What had been twelve individuals suddenly had become a cohesive unit.  The makings of a team.

Twenty-two months later that collection of individuals--now a team--would be in the Final Four, the greatest stage in all of college basketball.  The message I tried to communicate had started the players on the road to becoming a cohesive, hardworking group of people whose change in attitude about themselves as individuals had made all the difference.

Fiery speeches and locker-room dramatics can be effective and certainly have their place, but you have to remember that their message is essentially short-lived.  True motivation must go way beyond that; it must make people understand the process required to achieve success.  In this case, that message was the bonding of individuals sharing the same dreams and goals.

But the must important thing I learned was that the keys to performing well--on or off the court--were the same for all of us.  Whether it's a college athlete playing at a level he never thought he could, or a salesperson striving to break records, or anyone taking more control of his or her life, the formula is the same.

Hard work and togetherness help us to soar to the next level.

Success means different things to different people.  For some, it's money.  For some, it's power.  For others, it's the respect of their peers, or it's self-satisfaction.  For many, it's the desire to have better relationships with the people in their lives.

Everyone wants to succeed, no question about that.  Even people who are the most cynical and pessimistic.  We all want to be more productive.  We all want to feel as though we are reaching our full potential.  We all want to feel as though we're controlling our destiny, that we're not being controlled by it.

I have often been approached to do a motivational book.  Although I was convinced that I could tell people the correct way to go about achieving goals, I had always refused.  Over the past several years, I have witnessed many rags-to-riches stories and have been around so many athletes who have gone on to accomplish things that even they once thought were impossible.  Yet I have also seen promising people get swept up by victory and fall back into laziness and complacency.  I have seen people face tough times and give up, shielding themselves with excuses you will never hear from people who are true lifelong winners.  It is the knowledge I've gained from watching both these groups that makes me feel that I'm now ready to share what I've learned.  You see, from these experiences and various efforts, it has been proven to me over and over that success is truly a choice for people, and there is a formula for a lifetime of successful behavior.

That can't be stressed enough.

We want to reach our dreams but often lack the proper direction necessary to see those dreams come true.  We seem to be forever floundering without knowing why, our good intentions wasted, all but programmed for failure.

We all want to be recognized for what we do.

We all want to feel we have value.

The problem is that many of us don't know how to get there.

Most of us, of course, don't have a coach following us around in our lives to make sure we're on track.  I hope that this book will be your own personal "coach" or tool for success.

It will show you how to create discipline in your life, establish a work ethic, create a sense of self-esteem in both yourself and others, learn how to fight through the inevitable adversity we all encounter in life, and be able to accomplish things you never dreamed possible.

All these goals are attainable, but each requires action and commitment.

It's up to you.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Winston Churchill's rallying cry for the British people during WW II was simple and succinct: hoping and praying for victory was fine, but deserving it was what really mattered. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At first glance, the book "Success is a Choice" seems to be just another informative guide to success. To a degree, this is true, but reading the book in this way does not reveal its true potential: The real power of the book is not as a passive informative piece of literature, but as an active companion which guides and motivates you through your projects.
Putting it simply: "Success is a Choice" is a coach. It is full of motivation talk as well as constructive criticism that Coach Pitino gave to his players in real situations. It also lists and analyzes quite a few Pitino's own mistakes and fumbles, and this gives you the feeling of candid nonpatronizing approach. In short - this book is the next best thing to having Coach Pitino himself by your side, coaching you to success... and the guy sure is a great coach!
The only bad thing I can say about this book, is that it doesn't look like a coaching book at first glance. As stated in the beginning of this review, the book seems to be just another "success guide", and I suspect this prevents many readers to realize its full potential.
Overall, a highly recommended book for anyone who wants to get gain more control over their lives.
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Format: Audio CD
If you are lazy, like sports, and enjoy business, then Success is a Choice by Rick Pitino, is the book for you. Rick Pitino was the coach of the Kentucky Wildcat basketball team and now is the coach for the Boston Celtics which is an NBA team. He has won two national titles for the University of Kentucky and knows how to coach and teach student athletes. Rick uses ten steps to teach overachieving in business and life. He explains each one and gives examples from his life experiences. Many of his experiences come from his basketball coaching career. Rick is a very inspirational guy and has taught me many life lessons from his experiences. This book was easy for me to read because I have played basketball in my life. This book does not compare to any other books that I have read before. As I said before, this book contains a lot of advise and lessons to become successful in business and life. The only thing that I can even compare this book to is a "how-to" which tells us how to be successful. This book serves as an identical twin to my writing because most of my metaphors in my writing contain the theme, hard work=success. A quote to support this from the book is on the very first page where it says, "According to Churchill, victory comes only to those who work hard and long, who are willing to pay the price in blood, sweat, and tears. " This is exactly what I use in my writing. The plot of this book really dealt along the line of something implying to success. All of the ten steps that Rick uses all have a certain connection with success. The main theme throughout this whole book was that it is up to yourself to become successful. Someone can't just do everything for you, you have to work for it was along the line of his theme.Read more ›
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Format: Audio Cassette
There are few individuals on the planet that have as much fire and focus as Rick. When I heard he had a book out of this content, I had to get it, and was very glad I did. This guy really understands how to treat people, and get the most out of them. This book is great for anyone, especially for basketball fans. I enjoyed the constant examples he gave to back his points, such as his dealings with Marc Jackson. The only thing I had a bit of a hard time with was some of the testamonials. I mean, they were okay, but it seemed like he was trying to say: "See everybody? I am a great guy! This is proof you should listen to me!" Plus, some of the people he got to give such testamonials were truly no-namers that such a high profile "been around" guy like Rick, well, he should have gotten people to speak up that would have actually made us say "wow! that IS impressive, John Thompson (or whoever) said that?" Any moment I was expecting to see a testamonial signed by "the janitor at BU that knew the 12th man's little brother from junior high school." Other than that, GREAT book! Rick can also teach a few lessons on how to overcome adversity; something most of us (including myself) really need to work on.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Years ago, channel surfing in Providence, RI, I came across a TV show hosted by then-unknown Providence College basketball coach Rick Pitino. Expecting to hear a half hour of coach-speak about winning the next game, I instead saw one of the most intelligent, detailed analyses of basketball strengths and weaknesses that I ever heard in my life. Thinking that anyone this prepared and disciplined could succeed at nearly anything, it was no surprise when he guided a previously obscure team to the Final Four that year.
In Success Is A Choice, Pitino again succeeds in transcending the standard eat-your-vegetables advice about working hard and succeeding. His ten steps to success are all things you've heard before, but are coupled with the same intelligent analysis and passion that helped Pitino grab his own personal brass rings. His anecdotes from life on the basketball court translate well to the shop floor or the boardroom, and show a depth of understanding human motivation that goes far beyond slogans. This is a guide that will make you hungry to get started doing the hard work it takes to succeed. -- Rich Gallagher, author of Smile Training Isn't Enough.
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