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Publisher's Summary

During his storied career as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of professional sports. Even more important, he succeeded in never wavering from coaching his way, from a place of deep values. Jackson was tagged as the "Zen master" half in jest by sportswriters, but the nickname speaks to an important truth: this is a coach who inspired, not goaded; who led by awakening and challenging the better angels of his players' nature, not their egos, fear, or greed.

This is the story of a preacher's kid from North Dakota who grew up to be one of the most innovative leaders of our time. In his quest to reinvent himself, Jackson explored everything from humanistic psychology and Native American philosophy to Zen meditation. In the process, he developed a new approach to leadership based on freedom, authenticity, and selfless teamwork that turned the hypercompetitive world of professional sports on its head.

In Eleven Rings, Jackson candidly describes how he:

  • Learned the secrets of mindfulness and team chemistry while playing for the champion New York Knicks in the 1970s
  • Managed Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the world, and got him to embrace selflessness, even if it meant losing a scoring title
  • Forged successful teams out of players of varying abilities by getting them to trust one another and perform in sync
  • Inspired Dennis Rodman and other "uncoachable" personalities to devote themselves to something larger than themselves
  • Transformed Kobe Bryant from a rebellious teenager into a mature leader of a championship team.

Eleven times, Jackson led his teams to the ultimate goal: the NBA championship - six times with the Chicago Bulls and five times with the Los Angeles Lakers. We all know the legendary stars on those teams, or think we do. What Eleven Rings shows us, however, is that when it comes to the most important lessons, we don't know very much at all. This book is full of revelations: about fascinating personalities and their drive to win; about the wellsprings of motivation and competition at the highest levels; and about what it takes to bring out the best in ourselves and others.

©2013 Phil Jackson & Hugh Delehanty (P)2013 Penguin Audio

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Zen of coaching

Basketball, leadership, and life lessons from coach Phil as he molds the competing larger than life egos into the right teams for the team at the time. Always looked for how to get the most out of each player and pushed them constant on and off the court evolution. The stories of the different players with the demons they fought and the different game strategies for key match ups made for an absorbing read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Brock
  • DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain
  • 06-01-13

Not as deep as I hoped for

I was hoping for a look inside Phil Jackson. I love the way a good memoir sheds so much light on who the person is and what events have made them who they are. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that Phil didn't really open up and bare his soul, it's just not the kind of guy he is.

The book was basically a summary of Phil Jackson's playing and coaching career. He recapped the major games and personnel moves his teams made each season, but that was it. When I purchased this book I thought he could go two directions in it. He could reveal the deep personal journey it was for him as an NBA coach, or he could delve into the strategic X and O elements of coaching that made him stand alone as the coach with more championships than anyone else. I thought it would be great whichever direction he went. Instead, this book just scratched the surface of both elements, and was pretty much of summary of his career. He's lived an incredible life so it was interesting, just not awesome.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Listener Beware

Phil Jackson is the "Zen Master" and the narrator, Matt Walton sounds like "Monster Truck Dude." The number of names mispronounced should be embarrassing to not only the narrator himself, but to everybody who put their stamp of approval on this audio project. It was actually distracting!

Also, I would bet a fair amount of coin that Matt Walton has never played a sport in his life, which is not a requirement to do good voice work, EXCEPT WHEN YOU NARRATE A BOOK CENTERED AROUND SPORTS! When reading the team's record, he would take what is written in the book, 21-5 for example, and read it as, "The team's record was twenty one five", instead of saying twenty one and five!

I enjoyed the book, was able to power through Matt Walton's shortcomings to get Phil Jackson's messages. My big takeaway was that it was an excellent coaching book, even without any x's and o's. I bought a few of the hardback copies for myself and a some fellow coaching buddies.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Thanks, Guru Phil!

This book was an absolute pleasure to listen to. Completely entertaining, edifying, and insightful. So much more than a basketball story of one coach's phenomenal success. Full of delicious gems about Michael, Kobe, the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, and championship teams. It was about leadership, Zen, and how to build a team out of individual egos. A triumph of sports writing, even transcendent of sports itself, Phil wrote about how to train & teach young men, and how to "surrender to what is".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Zen Master

I would recommended this book to any sports fan, coach, or someone seeking leadership. It was a great read and I feel much more knowledgable on events in basketball history. From another perspective, seeing Phil deal with so many egos and figure out ways to mesh them so many times is inspiring. Hearing first hand the comparison of Micheal vs Kobe is one of a kind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • San Jose, CA, United States
  • 06-01-13

Feed your soul

"The soul of success is surrendering to what is" - Phil Jackson.

This book's soul is a success. Whether you are looking for leadership or a good sports story, you will find in here.

The book chronicles the two time frames in Phil Jackson's life as a couch which has touched multiple generations. Whether you know him from the Bulls/Jordan times or the Lakers/Kobe, you will recognize a time period in your life and remember it. It talks about his leadership principles and management styles on both teams. You get insight into his mind and how he viewed the whole.

If you are looking for a pure "star" story, you won't find it here. It's about the team. While MJ and Kobe are central figures on both teams, you will quickly learn that wasn't what made Phil as successful as a leader, couch, and in life. You will find many stories about personalities, dealing with adversity, and strategy.

You will also find a sports fan dream in getting a glimpse into two of the most historical teams in sports of all time. This is a quiet dream of most that have ever played or been fanatical about the team. It actually answers the fabled and constantly screamed question, "WHY DID HE DO THAT!?" during a big game.

Matt Walton did a great job as a narrator. His speaking is well paced and his tones are enjoyable. He actually seems to blend well with the words and at no point does his narration take you out of Phil's stories.

This book is one of my new favorites and will read it again. Do yourself a favor, feed your soul and pick this up. You won't regret it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Unexpected Delight

This book is more than just about basketball. It is a book that is relatable to life. We all have our ups and downs but it is important to keep moving forward. You can't revel in your past achievements or failures, nor is it wise to focus too much on the future. The deal is to focus staying present in the moment. Phil Jackson is more than just one of the winningest coaches of all time, he is also a teacher and a wise man. I truly enjoyed this audiobook. AMAZEBALLZ!!!

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Good for business and sports

I have always considered Phil Jackson to be a great leader and I study great leadership and this is a great example of great leadership but it's also a great story about many different basketball dynasties

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Great book

What a great book about basketball but also about life and spiritual outlook. I really great read!

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How's your "locker room "?

As a senior business leader I found great wisdom and actionable ideas for leading our team to break down walls of doubt and mistrust with goals of gaining the kind of trust that can make our team the best we can be.

I'd suggest that each of us has a "locker room" that's representative of our families too.

How much better could our families function if we could break down communications barriers creating opportunity for real trust and collaboration to thrive?!

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