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Monday, June 20, 2011

A Game of Character...Review

About the book:
The eagerly anticipated inspirational memoir from Michelle Obama's brother, celebrating the extraordinary family members and mentors who have shaped his life.

When he stepped into history's spotlight at the National Democratic Convention, Craig Robinson recalls that nothing could have been more gratifying than introducing his sister, Michelle Obama, to millions of Americans. Within minutes, he won the hearts of the nation by sharing highlights of growing up in the modest Robinson household, where the two were raised by devoted parents who taught them the values of education, hard work, and the importance of reaching far beyond what even seemed possible.

Those lessons of character were fundamentals in shaping Craig Robinson's own remarkable journey: from his days playing street basketball on Chicago's Southside, while excelling academically, to admission at Princeton University, where he was later named Ivy League Player of the Year, twice. After playing professionally in Europe, Robinson made an about-face, entering the competitive field of finance. With his MBA from the University of Chicago, his meteoric rise landed him a partnership in a promising new venture. But another dream beckoned and Craig made the unusual decision to forego the trappings of money and status in the business world in order to become a basketball coach. He soon helped transform three struggling teams - as an assistant coach at Northwestern, then as head coach at Brown and now at Oregon State University. In his first season at OSU, he navigated what was declared to be one of the nation's best single season turnarounds.

In A Game of Character, Robinson takes readers behind the scenes to meet his most important influences in his understanding of the winning traits that are part of his playbook for success. Central to his story are his parents, Marian and Fraser, two indefatigable individuals who showed their children how to believe in themselves and live their lives with conviction through love, discipline and respect. With insights into this exemplary family, we relive memories of how Marian sacrificed a career to be a full-time mom, how Fraser got up and went to work every day while confronting the challenges of multiple sclerosis, how Craig and Michelle strengthened their bond as they journeyed out of the Southside to Princeton University and eventually, the national stage.

Heartwarming, inspiring, and even transformational, A Game of Character comes just at the right time in an era of change, reminding readers of our opportunity to work together and embrace the character of our nation, to make a difference in the lives of others and to pave the way for the next generation.

I am, admittedly, not a fan of our current president.  I did not vote for him.  I do not hold him in high esteem and I don't agree with most of his politics and ideals.  So, when I was approached with the request to review a memoir written by the President's brother-in-law, I was a bit apprehensive that it would be an Obama love fest.  I do like memoirs, however, so I agreed to review A Game of Character and I'm really glad I did.

Craig shares the story of his beloved parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, and the manner in which they raised Craig and his sister Michelle.  Fraser and Marian sound like ordinary, everyday people who managed to do extraordinary things.  They weren't prosperous or wealthy, but they instilled family values and the importance of hard work into their children. They managed to send their children to Ivy League schools and supported and encouraged them in every activity.  Fraser Robinson believed in the importance of a person's character and he passed that on to his children. 

The Robinson/Obama family has a high opinion of itself, which is something that many highly successful people have.  Understandably, Craig is very proud of his sister and brother-in-law.  I appreciated that the political tones were simply because Barack Obama is part of his family and, therefore, the election and his being President of the United States is simply a part of their family life.  Craig can't help that and he didn't use this book to preach about his brother-in-law's policies, which was refreshing.

Craig likens everything in the book to basketball. His writing style is very conversational and easy to read. The analogies, the lessons learned and the jargon are all basketball related.  I like basketball and have a more than rudimentary understanding of it, but where the endless basketball analogies might annoy a non-sports fan, I think the lessons learned will resonate with everyone.

Thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Craig Robinson here. You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here.

Wednesday, May 18th:  Gunfighter
Monday, May 23rd:  The Cinco Mom
Wednesday, May 25th:  Books Like Breathing
Monday, May 30th:  Knowing the Difference
Wednesday, June 1st:  My Book Retreat
Friday, June 3rd: Suko’s Notebook
Monday, June 6th:  Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, June 8th:  Book Dads
Friday, June 10th:  Bibliosue
Monday, June 13th:  The Brain Lair
Tuesday, June 14th: Silver and Grace
Wednesday, June 15th:  The Loop 21
Thursday, June 16th:  Chefdruk Musings
Monday, June 20th:  2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 22nd:  The Black Bar


Read 6/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. Great review. Since I agree with everything you said about not being a fan of the current president, nor voting for him, I liked that you said the book was not about that. Sounds like a must read. Donna
    I am a GFC follower. My Life. One Story at a Time.
    I will tweet about it. @MyBookofStories
    Email: dkmtheriot@yahoo.com

  2. I'm glad this one turned out to be better than you expected! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. didn't realize this book was even out there--it sounds like a great read! i love memoirs but alas, only have a po box. i'll look for this one at the library. thanks for the review, the tip, and for hosting the giveaway! :)

  4. This sounds like a good read. I would be interested in learning more about the Obama family from the author's point of view. I hadn't realized he had written a book! Thanks for the review as well!

  5. I would love to read the book

    trustjesus7771 at yahoo dot com

  6. This book sounds interesting. I hope I win!
    diamond in the ruf 31 at gmail dot com

  7. sounds like an interesting book
    robinlscott4 at hotmail dot com

  8. follow you on gfc
    Robin Scott
    robinlscott4 at hotmail dot com

  9. I follow you on GFC and would love to read this book!


  10. Thanks for the giveaway, I would love to read this book.
    I'm a new GFC follower
    tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/HendyMartin/status/89873613536231425
    hendymartin1 at yahoo dot com