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Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby

My Rating of “Michael Jordan: The Life” by Roland Lazenby: 9 / 10

"Michael Jordan: The Life" book cover.

Michael Jordan – the epitome of hard work, competitiveness, focus, a unique dark side and winning. Roland Lazenby tells the Michael Jordan: The Life story by touching on each one of those aspects and how it has driven both Michael’s successes and failures.

This is the second time I’ve read Michael Jordan: The Life. The first time was with my “fan hat” on. I learned about the Jordan’s journey from a high school basketballer to cementing himself as the best basketballer in the world. I’ve watched countless games, read many books, devoured lots of documentaries on Michael Jordan; I’m a big fan. Yet I came back to this book for a second run in order to learn more about what made Jordan tick. My focus this time was on his competitiveness and dark secrets which have made him so successful. One interesting takeaway were the externalities of his success. For example his outlets of gambling, lifetime grudges he has held on people and simply pushing (or even cutting) people out of his life.

This book can certainly be consumed in many ways. One can learn about the man we know on the basketball court. Conversely you can learn about the man not so known off the court. It is an excellent read and glad I picked it up a second time. My next Lazenby book I’m starting today is on Kobe Bryant. I’m sure it will be just as good.

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. Jordan’s ability to negotiate the deal of a lifetime. He receives 25% royalties of every pair of Jordans sold by Nike. At the time the contract was signed, it may have had limited upside. Today this deal has helped cement Jordan as the world’s first sports personality billionaire.
  2. Everybody has a dark side. You’ll not always know what it is but it can drive some people to incredible heights and success; sometimes at a toll.
  3. Showing up each and every day and listening to your coaches. I remember reading this the first time. Jordan was very hibitual, turning up to practice early than others, putting in 100% and listening to the experts. Something quite profound about always listening to others advice given he is argubly the best basketballer of our lifetime. The trick here is to listen as you don’t always need to take it on board.

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