You Can Observe A Lot By Watching: What I've Learned About Teamwork From the Yankees and Life Hardcover – May 1 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Notorious for his run-ins with the English language, baseball great Berra has become an improbably prolific author. He and coauthor Kaplan follow up 2002's What Time Is It? You Mean Now? with this charming, if meandering, book about teamwork. In anecdote after anecdote about his legendary career with the Yankees, his not-so-legendary career as a manager, and his days growing up on the streets of St. Louis, Berra shows how respect and cooperation made him a success on the field and in life. Lessons include the importance of punctuality, owning one's mistakes, and a positive attitude. For better or worse, nuggets of wisdom ("Never give an opponent added motivation") are buried beneath a mountain of less-than-insightful sports ephemera (Derek Jeter is "a good leader because he always knows and does what's right"). Still, Berra's optimism and wry, absurdist sense of humor make it a fast read that should resonate with fans; as one would expect, Berra includes plenty of well-meaning advice in his signature, well-near-meaningless style: "Unless you have an excuse, there's no excuse."
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""...[it] offers nearly half a century's distilled wisdom on the subject of teammates and the value of team play from the biggest winner (14 pennants and 10 World Series rings) in baseball history..."" (YouCanObserveSyn, April 13, 2008)
""...[it] offers nearly half a century's distilled wisdom on the subject of teammates and the value of team play from the biggest winner (14 pennants and 10 World Series rings) in baseball history..."" (Post Dispatch (St Louis), April 6, 2008)
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It is a great book, well worth the time to read.
The subtitle `What I've learned about Teamwork from the Yankees and Life' is the primary rationale for the book. The material is pretty basic, lacking depth, mainly because Berra appears to see the good in everyone or at least is not prepared to rip on too many people. Lessons mentioned in the book include Find your Role, Making Everyone Better, Respect your Team and Not Over Till It's Over. All the lessons are supported by hagiographic examples and references to his almost universally wonderful Yankee team mates.
One of the surprising things about the book is its general lack of humor. My favorite lesson in the book refers to an exchange Yogi had with baseball legend Joe DiMaggio who seeing the author down on himself during a game shouted, "Get running, Yogi, start running. Always run out to your position, it doesn't look good otherwise. Can't get down on yourself. Can't let the other team think they got down on you." One good lesson per book makes a book worthwhile. A pleasant light read.
Spot the book's cover, and you see vintage Yogi, all smiley...and holding a (National League yet!) baseball. You quickly figure this book's going to be about Berra's brand of baseball: inside the game, the outside, the players, the stories, what's bad about today's baseball, what's good. But no! He's mostly held his tongue and delivered Baseball Lite.... Now, I don't want to be too hard on him, but Yogi tells us about a myriad of "team" players and managers who, over the years, learned "playing as a team" probably as well as Berra ever did. Was he some kind of standout "teamer"? -Never noticed.
Amid all the "team" clutter, gone are the sharp Berra witticisms, Berra game insight, and his unchecked (sometimes convoluted) commentary that we've come to know and love. -And expect. He settled, instead, for a washed-out book about "team unity." Indeed, the inside skinny on childhood-hero teamwork is not quite what most baseball fans long for.
It's not exactly a sports book, although the setting is clearly baseball. So, it's an easy-reader, but Yogi's overdone it with his mind-numbing, over-use of the word "team" [and all its possible variants!]...along with his never-ending reminders of how wonderful it is to play as a team. Ok already! It's like preaching that rain falls downward -over and over again....
We know! Baseball "teams" win. -Not exactly unheard of. Then maybe this is some kind of motivational business book; but if it is, any veteran company CEO could surely have written a better one. Team this. Team that. Team up. Team down. "Team" is everywhere! In the 1st chapter alone [just 27 small pages], entitled "Team Player," Berra uses the word "team" and its variations 118 times. (!) Who was this book written for? -The fan? Say it ain't so, Yogi....
One bright spot, though, is how the book shakes the mind into images of baseball gone by. Casey, Elston Howard, Bobby Murcer, Phil Rizutto, Mickey and Roger, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Grimm, Gene Mauch, Gil McDougald, Gil Hodges, Bobby Bonds, Clete Boyer, Don Larsen, ... just a handful of the dozens and dozens of big-name, former players and managers mentioned throughout the book. Only Berra does none of these guys or their stories justice, as he recounts lean anecdotes about each of them (and their "teamplay," of course!) in all-too-brief one, two, or at most, three-lines of memories.
-An easy, friendly, non-compelling read that's wide of the plate. -as told to Dave Kaplan? ...for Mr. Berra didn't pen much of this smoothly-written, non-baseball baseball book all by himself. Even the title borders on a counterfeit Yogi-ism, surely thought up by someone else. All in all, his writing "team" should have instead come up with "Yogi Berra's Real Book about Major League Baseball," a classic even CEOs would like.