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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forty Facets of Effective Cooperation Shine Brightly!, 30 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Beyond Basketball: Coach K's Keywords for Success (Hardcover)
All Duke fans and alumni should be proud to have such a sterling person to represent their school and team. I have seldom read such a humble book from such a successful person . . . not to mention the value of the timeless wisdom in the book.

Coach Krzyzewski is joined in this easy-to-read and hard-to-apply book by his daughter, Jamie Spatola, who is an example in several of the book's segments.

This book has an unusual concept. Be sure you understand and like that concept before you buy and read the book. Coach Krzyzewski likes to focus his team's attention. Rather than leading into a game with a long speech, he will put one word up and ask the team to keep that word in mind. It will be a word that reflects something needed to keep the team's focus and performance in balance. This book is organized much the same way. There are thirty-nine essays that explore one or two words in 2-3 pages . . . followed by a conclusion that looks at the essence of great team play. Each of the thirty-nine essays begins with explaining what the word means and why it is important, and then goes on to provide an example from Coach Krzyzewski's life. The examples are particularly charming because Coach Krzyzewski seeks to make others look great . . . while he plays the straight man.

As I read this book, I was reminded of a comment Larry Bird made about one of the Celtics coaches who liked to direct everything the team did. Bird noted that it's hard to start a fast break if the whole team is watching the coach to find out what half-court play the coach wants to call.

Coach Krzyzewski obviously tries to stay out of the way of his players' genius and tendencies. I loved the sections where he learned better methods of playing from many of his great players.

What are the thirty-nine words and word combinations? Here they are (in alphabetical order): Adaptability, Adversity, Balance, Belief, Care, Challenges, Collective Responsibility, Commitment, Communication, Courage, Crisis Management, Culture, Dependability, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Failure, Family, Friendship, Fundamentals, Giving Back, Guidance, Imagination, Integrity, Learning, Love, Motivation, Next Play, Ownership, Passion, Poise, Pressure, Pride, Respect, Selflessness, Standards, Trust, Will, and Work. The conclusion focuses on The Fist (the team's focus on five core concepts of cooperation: communication, trust, collective responsibility, care, and pride).

The best way to gain from this book is to start by reading the words that you don't think are important . . . then move on to the words you think are important. You'll deepen your understanding in both cases. Then re-read this book at least once a year to reinforce these positive lessons.

My favorite examples in the book didn't have anything to do with basketball (although the ball is always in the background). But there are also wonderful examples of behind-the-scenes moments when Coach Krzyzewski took action to deal with a challenge and create a better effort . . . or a success.

However, the whole gleams with a special shine . . . like a highly polished diamond with 40 perfect facets.
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Donald Mitchell
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