I've listend to Pat Riley speak on Charlie Rose's show on PBS and have been impressed with his ability to discuss the concepts of teamwork and leadership and obviously his winning record with different teams speaks for itself but somehow this book was unsatisfying. Oh, I think he has identified a number of significant areas in regard to team play like the "Disease of Me" (selfishness that ruins team play), the team's Core Covenant (which can be both good and bad -- how many of us work in environments whose only core covenant is "cover your a#$"), and complacency (when teams begin to taste success) but what got me was his use of the Lakers of the 80s to illustrate his points. What I couldn't help thinking was that Riley wasn't using his theories (The Egg) to shape his leadership of the Lakers but rather he used his experience with the Lakers (The Chicken) to create his theories. So which came first? Everything he outlines in his theory is matched by an experience he has had with his team. Doesn't this sound a bit too much like revisionist history? I particularly found it hard to swallow when he rationalized his leaving of the Lakers as a moment when a "team player" must go solo (Moving On). I had the sense that had he stayed with the Lakers his book would have added another chapter on perservering rather than leaving. A good theory informs and influences our practices. I think Mr. Riley has gone in the opposite direction and used a good practice (experience) to inform his theory. Unfortunately, I think this makes his book MUCH LESS APPLICABLE to all of us who want to learn how to lead teams and become winners. Just maybe, Pat, you won because of guys named Magic, Jabbar and Worhy rather than any theories about winning . . . What do you think?
Maybe if I am going to coach the Lakers , I'll pick this book up again. Then again maybe not. I don't even like the Lakers and Magic isn't coming back again. Or is he?. You know, I have Phil Jackson's Sacred Hoops book on my shelf and I am afraid to begin it because it might be just like this one.