Success is a Choice SC Ten Steps to Overachieving Rick Pitino Broadway 1997


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Success Is a Choice: Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life Paperback
by Rick Pitino (Author)


For Rick Pitino, the first coach to bring teams from three different schools to the Final Four, success isn’t about shortcuts. Pitino’s secret–and the reason he has become both a great coach and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the nation–is his strategy of overachievement. Now, in Success Is a Choice, he takes the same proven methods that have earned him and his teams legendary status and gives you a ten-step plan of attack that will help you become a winner at anything you set your mind to:

– Build your self-esteem
– Set demanding goals
– Always be positive
– Establish good habits
– Master the art of communication
– Learn from good role models
– Thrive on pressure
– Be ferociously persistent
– Learn from adversity
– Survive your own success

An inspiring program that is as fun to read as it is practical, Success Is a Choice can make the difference between achievement and failure in your own life.

Success Is a Choice draws on Pitino’s 17 years as a college and professional coach. In a friendly, one-on-one style, using anecdotes from his superstar career to drive home his message, Pitino presents a concrete, 10-point program for achieving success in every aspect of life, including:

How to make winning seem inevitable
How to achieve things that even you don’t think are possible
How to subordinate your own ego and individual agenda for the common good
How to get people to work as a team
How to thrive on pressure
How to feel better about yourself–and improve the way you relate to others

“So much more than another Armani suit, Pitino has done a job of psychology and salesmanship that should serve as a how-to manual for his profession.” –Chicago Sun-Times

“Pitino’s track record is extraordinary . . . his personal style is also winning.” –Time

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown Business

Rick Pitino is a coaching legend in basketball. He led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to an NCAA championship in 1996 and he has the distinction of being the only coach in college history to take three different schools to the Final Four in playoff competition: Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville. He has also served as head coach of the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics in the NBA where he helped to rebuild the programs at these two professional basketball franchises.

Pitino wrote this book in 1997, following the national championship season with the University of Kentucky Wildcats. He wrote this as a self- help guide intended to help individuals overachieve and reach levels of success they never thought imaginable. He lays out his plan in a ten step process, emphasizing the fundamentals that must be in place if one has any hope of achieving lofty goals.

Most of what Pitino talks about in this guide is common sense and it’s the type of motivational material we have all heard countless times before. We all know, for instance, that a positive attitude and sound communication skills are critical on the path to success. We also know that persistence and learning from mistakes are important components of success and that anyone who fails in these two endeavors isn’t likely to make it very far.

Self- help and motivational guides are usually very dry and ordinary, but while some of Pitino’s words certainly fall under this designation, other things he advises are more unique and offer a fresh perspective. I haven’t read a large number of self- help guides, but certain parts of Pitino’s advice do manage to step outside the box. One thing that stands out the more than any others is Pitino’s advice (warning is more like it) not to readily embrace success. When I first read this, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about and it seemed very nonsensical. But after reading more, I can understand where Pitino is coming from. What he is talking about is the tendency of successful people to become very lax once they reach a goal. We have seen it happen many times before- both in business and in sports competition- where someone reaches the goal he/she set for himself/herself and then decides to step back, take it easy, and bask in the limelight. Pitino feels that “embracing success” is the greatest poison of all because if one does this, he/she will eventually be trampled over by others who have decided to continuously learn and who are striving to overtake those who are currently on top. This is good advice and it makes sense when you read it. But it is surprising how many people adopt this contented attitude and end up flat on their faces a short time after their goal has been achieved.

Another piece of advice I like in this guide is the importance of continuous improvement. This stems from the advice about embracing success and it takes it a step further by recommending that we constantly strive to better ourselves regardless of what we have currently achieved. Pitino feels that change is inevitable and it must be embraced if one expects to continue to improve and achieve goals. What worked last year likely will not work anymore because the methods that led to previous success are already known and are likely to be emulated by aggressive individuals who want the same taste of victory. Pitino parallels this with his coaching career, showing how other coaches quickly discover what makes another coach successful and proceed to imitate the winning coach’s strategy. Thus, to continue to succeed, new methods must be constantly sought after and embraced.

Another thing I like about this book is the way Pitino stresses hard work as the main foundation of success. Like Pitino says, too many people nowadays are looking for that “quick fix” in life. They want to reach the goals they set overnight, without working for them and without any plan of action in place. Rarely does this type of achievement become reality, and Pitino is correct when he emphasizes how critical it is to work hard toward a goal. The one in a million chance of becoming successful in a couple of days or weeks is too rare to worry about. Just work hard, as persistently as possible, and the rewards will follow over time. Pitino’s own success in coaching came about this way, and it can work for anyone, regardless of profession.

Speaking of coaching, Pitino makes mention of his coaching success throughout this book, and this is to be expected. Basketball coaching is, after all, where Pitino has achieved his greatest deal of personal success. But Pitino is quick to point out that what works for him on the basketball court can also apply to business and other professions. These steps toward success- sound communication, positive attitude, persistence, adapting to change, etc.- are universal and following them can help lead any person toward greater personal achievement.

Each chapter in this book is easy to read in follow. And each one ends with a quick summary of the key points discussed for easy reference. At the beginning of each chapter is a short piece written by someone who has been influenced by Rick Pitino in one way or another- either through working with him as an assistant coach or by playing under him as a member of one of his teams. Some of the contributors to these intros include Jim O’Brien, Glenn Consor, Bernadette Locke- Mattox, Donnie Brown, and others.

I have read several self- help type books in the past and have found most of them to be rather monotonous and common- sense oriented. Is Pitino’s book any different? In many ways, it does contain common sense advice but in other ways, it sheds some new light on the attitudes and practices necessary to reach the highest levels of one’s profession. It doesn’t get unrealistic like other self- help guides. It maintains an element of practicality and realism as it discusses ways to reach for the stars. And it does this while continuing to emphasize the importance of hard work and taking incremental steps toward the highest goals.

Reaching important goals and overachieving in life are two areas where basketball coach Rick Pitino has excelled beyond the level of most of the competitors in his field. Even if you don’t have an interest in coaching sports, the advice given in this guide can come in handy. It can apply to anyone in any profession and while the book may be several years old now, the advice it gives is timeless. It shows how you, the average Joe or Jane, can reach your personal and professional goals and outperform the competition. All it takes is discipline and determination to set you on the path toward greater success.

Yellowing to edges. Writing on the inside front cover. 0-7679-0132-0.

Green Mansions Hardcover
by W. H. Hudson (Author)

Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest (1904) is an exotic romance by William Henry Hudson about a traveller to the Guyana jungle of southeastern Venezuela and his encounter with a forest dwelling girl named Rima.

Green Mansions is a sort of fantasy romance set in the jungles of South America. The author, W. H. Hudson, was a naturalist early in his life, doing research in the flora and fauna of the frontier near his birthplace in Argentina. His parents were British and Irish. After he settled in England in 1874, he began organizing and reporting on his research findings. He also wrote a number of books reporting on and extolling the English countryside.

His background as a naturalist is evident throughout Green Mansions, as he describes the terrain and flora of his jungle setting, as well as its birds and wildlife.

The story revolves around the wanderings of Abel de Argensola, a Venezuelan. When a plot against the government, of which he is a part, is thwarted, he slips into the jungle, ostensibly to document the flora and fauna, as well as the culture of the Indians, but really to avoid retribution. Travelling alone, Abel meets Indians, wins their trust, and is soon sharing life with them. He learns that a particular area of the jungle is strictly avoided by the Indians because it home to and guarded by “the daughter of Didi,” a mystical girl who speaks to the birds and animals in a lilting, musical voice. Two Indians, hunting together in that jungle, saw this creature, and one shot a poison dart at her. It hit his companion, killing him. The shooter swore the creature caught the dart and threw it back at the hunters. Hence, the Indians fear her powers and stay clear of “her turf.”

Abel, of course, ventures boldly into that jungle, hears and sees the creature and is enchanted. Before too long, he actually meets her, learns her name—Rima—and meets her “grandfather,” an elderly, white-bearded Venezuelan named Nuflo. The time Abel spends in Rima’s forest riles the Indians, who now distrust him.

Rima speaks repeatedly of her mother and the region where she died. To win her favor, Abel persuades Nuflo to lead him and Rima back to the mountain where he rescued the pregnant mother. After the rescue, Nuflo had carried her to a village with a priest, where Rima was born. The mother, who is never named, cares for her daughter and teaches her to communicate with the birds and beasts. Ultimately, she fades and dies. Nuflo and Rima travel to the area in which Abel has found them. With Nuflo persuaded, the arduous trek is made. In their absence, the Indians discover they can hunt with impunity in the forbidden forest.

Hardcover: 358 pages
Publisher: NY, International Collector’s Library
Green faux leather “Louis XVI” binding with intricate gold borders on front and spine, green endpages and a satin ribbon placeholder.

Hudson, a noted naturalist during the Romantic/Victorian periods, grew up in the wild Pampas, and this book reflects a fascination with nature that most likely began during his childhood. Themes of civilzation vs. savagery and the untouched beauty of the tropics vs. development are found throughout Green Mansions, but these issues are encased in a love story that holds notes of mystery, fantasy, and romanticism.

While the novel provides a good introduction to the naturalist writings of this period (and a much easier read than most of the more scientific prose being written at the time), I thought that the ending was not as developed as the rest of the book, in addition to being highly unsatisfying. The novel does, however, offer wonderful descriptions of the wild forests of the region, and develops fantastical characters, particularly in the case of Rima, the primary female character.

Spine is coming apart from front cover. Nothing a piece of tape can’t fix. Otherwise in excellent condition.

Spine is coming apart from front cover. Nothing a piece of tape can’t fix. Otherwise in excellent condition.Spine is coming apart from front cover. Nothing a piece of tape can’t fix. Otherwise in excellent condition.