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The Outsider: A Memoir

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  952 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
Jimmy Connors is a working-man's hero, a people's champion who could tear the cover off a tennis ball, just as he tore the cover off the country-club gentility of his sport. A renegade from the wrong side of the tracks, Connors broke the rules with a radically aggressive style of play and bad-boy antics that turned his matches into prizefights. In 1974 alone, he won 95 out ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Harper (first published August 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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BrokenTune
Dec 03, 2014 BrokenTune rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Not much to say about this one: I have never been a big fan of Jimmy Connors and his autobiography has just confirmed that I never will be.
Kitty
Jul 16, 2013 Kitty rated it it was ok
My opinion of Jimmy Connors did not change after reading this. I wanted to like him and at times actually felt sorry for him. I came away with the thought that because someone is blunt and in your face, it does not necessarily mean they are honest. (He, in fact, boasts all through the book of his absolute honesty)

Tennis needed Connors like The Indy needs a wreck. I give him kudos for making the game interesting but grabbing his junk, demeaning the officials and foul language in a punk street lik
...more
Douglas Perry
May 07, 2013 Douglas Perry rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
For Andre Agassi, tennis was famously about "the journey," about figuring out who he was and what he wanted -- and maybe, just maybe, growing up a little along the way.

No wonder Jimmy Connors, in his new memoir "The Outsider," calls Agassi "nothing but an act."

Because Connors doesn't believe anyone can change. You are who you are. There's no personal growth to be had, there's only pushing forward, trying harder.

Read the rest of the review
Lisa Neal
Jun 30, 2013 Lisa Neal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love tennis, but I've never been a fan of Jimmy Connors. I thought I would enjoy this book because of my love for the game. Nope! This book just reiterated why I never cared for him as a player. He is just as much a pompous jerk in this book as he was on the court. It's amazing to think he actually faults himself for nothing. The only reason I stuck with this narcissistic tale was to see his take on tennis. If you really like tennis, don't waste your time. Read Andre Agassi's book or John McEn ...more
Kay
Jul 10, 2013 Kay rated it really liked it
With Connors you get what you see. This book is no different. If you disliked Connors totally then you will not like this book. He disparages opponents, talks big and skips around a lot.

On the other hand, if you want to know what being a kid learning tennis, a pro playing all over the world and a retired sports figure is like then this is a good book.

Having been a big fan of tennis in the Connor's era and also living in St. Louis I was really interested in the story. It did not disappoint me at
...more
Virginia Albanese
Jun 30, 2013 Virginia Albanese rated it did not like it
Boring book with little human interest. But as Conners would say about my opinion "Who gives a shit and f...k off".
Hundeschlitten
Apr 05, 2016 Hundeschlitten rated it liked it
More than any athlete, other than possibly boxers, tennis players seem to define themselves within the contours of individual will and personality. A lot of tennis greats have written bios in recent years, and each of them seems to have this seminal moment early in their lives that encapsulates how the player sees himself and how he approached the game. Often it takes the form of a tension between the player and the gentility of the greater tennis world. For John McEnroe, it was getting on the s ...more
Rob Duford
Jul 23, 2013 Rob Duford rated it it was amazing
Jimmy Connors was a childhood hero of mine. When I picked up tennis in the 7th grade I became addicted to watching him, McEnroe, Edberg, Becker, and Agassi bring tennis to the front page of the sports section.

This book is written just as though Jimmy were speaking. It's not always grammatically correct, but it sure does get the point across. He's vulnerable, humorous, and opinionated. I loved getting a front row seat to both his tennis and personal world.

I didn't want this book to end. I wish t
...more
Kay
Jul 14, 2013 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having really been into tennis during the Jimmy Connors era and being from St. Louis where we heard more about his family than most I really enjoyed his book. Don't get me wrong, I am not a huge fan but I think this book really opens up the world of tennis of all levels to the outsiders. It really took me back hearing all those names from tennis in the past.

Jimmy's family life was also interesting. His relationship with his mother was well known but also this book explains more about his father
...more
Paul Groffie
May 22, 2013 Paul Groffie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a fantastic book to read for several reasons. First it gave me an understanding of his life and all that went into his budding tennis career. The book allowed me to see the back story not just what we saw on TV. Second, reading about his career and professional relationships fascinated me mainly because every opponent was part of my tennis-following life. In today's game there is no personality - no desire to root for any single player. It is not and will not ever be the same. Third, his ...more
Phil
Jul 03, 2013 Phil rated it really liked it
he writes the way he played - straight at you. He was the seismic shift that brought the game to the boomer generation.

I wish he and Ashe hadn't had such a rocky relationship. They were both my tennis heroes. Ashe taught me how to act, court courtesy, sportsmanship
Connors showed me how to play your heart out. - Never quite, grind in out!
Karen & Gerard
I always enjoyed watching Jimmy Connors play tennis, so it was a no brainer that I would read his memoir called The Outsider. I especially liked reading about his young teen years and found his comments on his fellow players interesting. The part with his on-again, off-again relationship with Chris Evert was very good also.
(Gerard's review)
Jonathan
Sep 19, 2013 Jonathan rated it liked it
Overall, the book moved quickly and was easy to read. Despite its length I read it in about a week. He definitely lays bare his vices and indiscretions, along with those of some of his friends. I was on the fence about giving it three or four stars, and if I were more of a tennis fan I probably would have rated it higher. He gives a lot of good detail about his preparation and strategy.
Barbara Hale
Jul 18, 2013 Barbara Hale rated it liked it
I gave this book 3 stars because it was like a train wreck and I just couldn't stop watching the carnage. This is definitely a no holds barred memoir and if you ever pissed off Jimmy Connors, you are probably mentioned in this book.
Jenny
Jun 17, 2013 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I got to follow Jimmy Connors in the second half of his tennis career, so it was interesting to read about his family life and tennis "history." The book had a lot of name dropping and did not go into as much depth as I would have liked about some of his career highs.
Darlene
May 20, 2013 Darlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave this two stars instead of one because he did something I didn't think was possible...he proved he's more of an a$$hat than I could have imagined.
Carol
Jun 15, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
Great book. I could relate to so many of his experiences as I played during that era and was a ball girl for him and many others mentioned.
Jeanne
Jun 15, 2013 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
It was a good book for anyone who watched Jimmy Connors play tennis!!
Marianne Fanning
Jun 09, 2013 Marianne Fanning rated it it was ok
Bit of a whiney-baby!!! He is definitely pompous and egotistical.
Kevin
Aug 30, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not much here...read "Open: An Autobiography" by Andre Agassi...much better
Lauren
May 19, 2013 Lauren rated it it was ok
He should just stick to tennis.
Bob Ryan
Jan 27, 2017 Bob Ryan rated it really liked it
The picture on the book jacket tells you a lot about this book. Connors, in his fifties, siting squarely in front of the camera, with an expression that is almost a smirk. That's the style of this memoir. Straight at you, no opinions let unsaid, few left unoffended.
Its hard not to compare this with the autobiography of Andre Agassi, who's book was written several years after Connors. The beginning of both are the same, the description of a tennis match both thought were memorable, although most
...more
Mark Megaw
Nov 26, 2016 Mark Megaw rated it it was ok
Connors writes a documentary style like he's a tennis player, the same way writers might come together to play some pedestrian tennis. No great prose, just a recitation of facts with no meaningful self-reflection, no insiders look at the tour or his inner game. No sense that with his gifts he has responsibility. He even acknowledges that he was an ass on and off the court, but then claims he had choice. No revelation there- he's still unaware. That doesn't mean he wasn't among the best ever, it ...more
Jim Barber
Learned a bit more about Connors, especially his family life.
rishita
Apr 22, 2014 rishita rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, tennis, non-fiction
I think Connors' The Outsider is a good read for a tennis fan, and for those who remember his epic run to the US Open semi-finals at 39!
The book is an interesting {if sometimes eyeroll-inducing} look at tennis in the time of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe & some of the other greats of tennis. It contextualises the sport today and how it has grown and shifted over the years; how {despite people criticising the professionalism of players today as 'too professional'} it is a sport buil
...more
John
Jul 09, 2013 John rated it it was ok
Jimmy Connors is a jackass and an asshole and he knows it. He even revels in it to a certain extent. And most importantly, to him anyway, he is not sorry for being am asshole, for competing hard. That's the theme of this book, perhaps even the theme of Connors' life. It's not, however, enough theme to sustain the entirety of the volume.

I found this unsatisfying as a book and as a sports bio. As a book, Connors' ghost writer should have been better. Adverbs abound abundantly and with redundantne
...more
Tom Stamper
Nov 21, 2014 Tom Stamper rated it it was amazing
I had always imagined that Jimmy Connors was a fascinating person behind the public face. He was my favorite player growing up, although I was a bit too young to have been aware of him until around 1980 when he was third in the conversation behind Borg and McEnroe. His upbringing in East St. Louis wasn't exactly the club atmosphere that creates champion tennis players, but he was blessed with mother and grandmother that could really play the game and they had him playing it from an early age.

It'
...more
Surreysmum
Nov 29, 2014 Surreysmum rated it liked it
As a fairly regular viewer of tennis in the 70s and 80s I remember wondering whether all of the on-court Connors belligerence was real. From this account, I get a curiously mixed answer. It was, apparently, real enough in the moment, and the hostility towards many of his opponents - on and off the court - was also apparently quite real. On the other hand, Connors and his best mate Nastase were also perfectly capable of playing the whole thing up for yuks. Obsessed as he was with that marker of p ...more
Ballyroan Reads
Jimmy Connors took the tennis world by storm like no other player in the history of the game. A working-class kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he was prepared to battle for every point, to shout and scream until he was heard, and he didn’t care whom he upset in doing so. He was a brat. He was a crowd-pleaser, a maverick that was loved and hated in equal measures. Along the way he won more tournaments – an astonishing 109 – than any other man in history, including eight Grand Slam singles t ...more
Lucy Hannigan
Sep 10, 2013 Lucy Hannigan rated it it was ok
Jimmy is just a couple of years older than me and as I teenager I loved watching tennis (not playing--I tried one time while I was visiting my cousin at a small college in southern Utah and my serve went into the next court and hit some guy on his behind--embarrassing to say the least). I was an Arthur Ashe fan...and then Bjorn Borg hit the courts! But I digress...

As a teen, I was not a Connors fan. His game was good, but I thought his shenanigans on the court were generally disgusting and total
...more
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