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Publisher's Summary

How money, guts, and greed built the Warriors dynasty - and then took it apart

The Golden State Warriors dominated the NBA for the better part of a decade. Since the arrival of owner Joe Lacob, they won more championships and sold more merchandise than any other franchise in the sport. And in 2019, they opened the doors on a lavish new stadium.

Yet all this success contained some of the seeds of decline. Ethan Sherwood Strauss' clear-eyed exposé reveals the team's culture, its financial ambitions and struggles, and the price that its players and managers have paid for all their winning. From Lacob's unlikely acquisition of the team to Kevin Durant's controversial departure, Strauss shows how the smallest moments can define success or failure for years.

And, looking ahead, Strauss ponders whether this organization can rebuild after its abrupt fall from the top, and how a relentless business wears down its players and executives. The Victory Machine is a defining book on the modern NBA: it not only rewrites the story of the Warriors, but shows how the Darwinian business of pro basketball really works.

©2020 Ethan Sherwood Strauss (P)2020 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"The Victory Machine isn't a romantic look at the Golden State Warriors dynasty, but it gets to the human core of success and asks the reader to question everything he or she knew about sports." (Bomani Jones, cohost of High Noon)

"Strauss skillfully captures a team peaking as change is taking place all around them, and pulls the curtain aside on the often unsavory realities of what it means to succeed in the NBA." (Library Journal)

"The Victory Machine is The Breaks of the Game of its era. Strauss pulls the curtain back to reveal the ambitions, insecurities, and riches that propel one of the most interesting sports leagues in the world. Most sports books are either idea - driven or character-driven - but Strauss has accomplished both. This is a book I'll come back to again and again for its insight and wit." (Kevin Arnovitz, NBA writer, ESPN the Magazine)

What listeners say about The Victory Machine

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mediocre book

Few interesting insights, but mostly generic story telling.
Probably half of the pages would have been enough to tell the same story, therefore I wouldn’t recommend this read.

1 person found this helpful

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So much detail but underlying tone was weird

I loved the stories and details of the warriors run but all seemed very negative and juiciness focused. Maybe I’ve read Ethan too much but his jadedness reads through a little too clearly in this book. Amazing read with lots of great anecdotes aboht all the organozations folks

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic Inside Look

I’ve been a Warriors junkie for 30 years and consume huge amounts of Warriors coverage, but I still learned a ton from this book and Ethan did an incredible job giving insight into the minds of these people. Also the sneaker element to basketball decisions was an awesome angle.

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For GSW fans and curious Durant observers

Good, quick read, but this honestly felt like a long essay that was then turned into 60% of a book. I'd have liked to see more on Durant, more on the GSW organization, maybe a few years of retrospective before writing. Like, having the 20-21 season in this book would have been a quality juxtaposition to the highs of 16-19 & the lows of 20. I'd recommend to basketball fans overall.

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Really enjoyed!

The book shows us deep inside how the organization works, since before Joe Lacob acquired the franchise to the dynasty days.

The funniest part is the conversation he had with Iguodala while Kevon Looney was giggling on the side!

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Fascinating!

I like sports books, especially basketball books, & this book opened my eyes to some of the “behind the scenes” events that impact the business of the game. (Why DON’T GMs make as much as coaches???) I have new respect for the individuals who pulled together the original OKC Thunder & made it work. The author narrates & there were times he tried to mimic other people’s voices—failed attempts, mostly—but I found it amusing & endearing & not at all annoying. I loved this book for the subject, the content & the scrutiny which I found to be nonjudgmental. Good job!

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Glad I challenged myself to branch out

I’m not a sports person. I jokingly call whatever sport my husband is watching “sportsballs” as though they’re all the same to me. But I wanted to branch out and listen to a book I’d never think to read. I’M SO GLAD I DID! This was a captivating account from a very talented writer of a remarkable period in the life of a business. One that just happens to be in the business of sportsball. I highly recommend this to anyone who appreciates great writing whether you think of yourself as a sports person or not. (The same way I recommend Tina Fey’s Bossypants to all men.)

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Solid listen

Interesting and insightful perspective into the warriors dynasty and the inner workings of the NBA.

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  • PJ
  • 09-21-20

Not what I expected at all and thats a good thing!

Really enjoyed learning so much about the behind the scenes of the NBA. Very well done. Really enjoyed it.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Insightful, but lacks structure

If you’re a basketball fan or a business person you’ll love the in-depth look at how Joe Lacob snuck his way into purchasing the Golden State Warriors and created, what many revere as the greatest basketball team ever assembled. It’s entertaining and insightful with plenty of personal accounts, but the structure of the book is a bit choppy and incoherent. It was more of a compilation of things that’s a consistent thread, which I was surprised by. Maybe I’m just tired of hearing about KD’s wining. Overall great book and Ethan’s reading is 5 stars