Glass alcoholic drink wine antique books in front warm fireplace.

Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehany 


Phil’s basketball journey is addressed throughout the book. It starts with his playing days, covers his start as a coach, and of course the successes he had with the Bulls and the Lakers. The ending of the book is after the Lakers lost their playoff series against the Mavericks. Throughout he relives some game time moments, describing what happened in certain games and in a variety of playoff series. Phil has always been more well known for his philosophy of zen and bringing his players together to play well-rounded basketball. He discusses his various approaches to doing this, sitting quietly, doing yoga, meditation, and different ways he’d communicate with the team. At times he mentioned various zen, or Buddhist teachers and intertwines those lessons with what the team or he as an individual were going through. He gives an inside look at the behind the scenes issues and concerns that would arise and his thoughts along the way.

Influence on me:

The simplicity of the attitude in the book struck me. There are times when there was great success or failure and Phil had a very matter of fact attitude. Instead of dwelling or letting it get carried away each event was treated as just an event. Even with this approach, there was not a lack of emotion. He would say when he was angry or sad and cried. These are just events and they do take place. If we want to let them constantly be a part of us and weigh us down then we will. Also as individuals we all constantly learn and grow, and sometimes we want to learn and grow how to be strong in difficult situations, or how to not let anger or rage overcome us in situations, but unfortunately, the only way to test and see if we have grown is to go through such trying times. To me, it seems that even when things seem taxing and difficult, it really just enables us to have an opportunity to see how we are in that moment, and to learn from it. The other main concept was being in the moment. This idea of chopping wood and carrying water. Those are simple tasks and other emotional things may happen around it, but in the moment it’s not beneficial to be elsewhere, instead, we need to be in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

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