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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Great Eight...Review

About the book:
Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares his eight secrets to finding happiness in the face of a life filled with challenges, difficulties, and career-canceling odds.

With never-been-told, behind-the-scenes stories from the skating world, personal challenges including testicular cancer and a brain tumor, as well as divine miracles, Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares the secrets to his lifelong journey to find the silver (and gold) lining in the clouds of life. His life principles, fashioned into eight secrets that begin with the rote of learning to skate the figure 8, are the keys. Scott says, "Skating taught me how to be happy. I have always kept these eight as my own private, personal secrets that I practiced daily with repetition, focus, and discipline. Now I want to share them with the world."

I have always liked and admired Scott Hamilton. I loved watching him skate, and like many others, I remember his 1984 Olympic Gold Medal win in Sarajevo. Scott's struggles in his life, especially his sickly youth, are well-known. He's also a two-time cancer survivor, and a happily married man with two children.

When a person first learns to skate, they learn the compulsory figures. They trace a figure eight, over and over again on the ice. It's slow, tedious, repetitious work, but it trains and builds the skaters muscles in ways that strengthen them and allow them minute control over their movements on the ice. Scott is very open about the fact that it was his proficiency in the compulsory figures that ultimately won him the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal.

Playing on the figure eight concept from figure skating, Scott shares with us, the eight secrets that helped him find happiness. Scott is open and honest, he doesn't have any airs or attitudes here. He shares that your challenges can also be gifts: how you deal with your challenges defines you, not your challenges themselves. One of my favorite chapters was the concept of keeping the ice clear: communicate and deal with problems and issues as they happen, don't let your frustrations fester.

Scott also says, "I'm a big believer that smiling--and its first cousin, laughter--can get you through the toughest times." When you fall during a figure skating routine, jump right up and go back into the routine, smiling. Rolling your eyes and pointing out the mistake makes it all the more profound and ultimately can make the judges focus on that mistake alone, rather than everything else that was perfect. People around you are the same way and will overlook a lot of flaws and issues when you're smiling and positive.

Scott believes that happiness in life is a choice, and I agree with him. Overall, a wonderful book. Easy to read, entertaining and often profound. Look at your life, focus on the good, think positively and like Scott says, "Smile like Kristi Yamaguchi".

Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to review this gem. You can learn more about Scott here. Purchase your own copy of this terrific book here.

Read 5/09

* * * *
4/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. I remember Scott Hamilton's skating routines - I loved the ones where he does the back flips! I never realized that he was that seriously ill though! I'll have to pick this one up.