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Season on the Brink: A Year with Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,663 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
A Season on the Brink is the gripping, inside story of one of the most controversial and driven figures in sports: Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. Features a blockbuster bonus chapter--not included in the hardcover--on the 1986-87 Indiana season including their NCAA championship win!
Paperback, 353 pages
Published December 1st 1987 by Pocket Books (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 02, 2008 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people without TVs that are forced to read about basketball games instead of watching them
This book proves 2 things without a doubt:

1. Bob Knight is an asshole
2. You can read about a game or see it live, but basketball is best enjoyed on TV in the comfort of your own home.

The end.
Dec 11, 2014 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not an athlete nor a huge sports fan, but I do read a wide variety of genres and have enjoyed some athletic nonfiction previously. This book came to me highly recommended, but in the end fell a bit short for me. I was curious about why I didn't find this book as good as others had said and spent a fair amount of time reflecting on that. In the end, I think it is because I struggled with the story itself, and not with the telling of it. I did learn some new things about Bobby Knight, about h ...more
Conner Verdugo
Apr 25, 2016 Conner Verdugo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Atkinson
Bobby Knight, love him or hate him, has left an indelible mark on the face of college basketball. Long time investigative journalist,John Feinstein, took the ride for an entire season, into March Madness, with Knight and his intrepid Hoosiers. Another recommendation from my father, I read this in high school, and again recently. The genius of this book is that anyone could write an entertaining book about Coach Knight's antics; Feinstein takes a different more seaonsed approach. He shows the psy ...more
Jim Thomas
Jan 28, 2016 Jim Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
One of the great books on sports. All about controversial basketball coach Bobby Knight, one of the best coaches of all time in any sport. Volatile, frustrating yet as brilliant a mind ever known to the sports world. Bobby knight is many things but one of them is he is never dull. This should be read by anyone who thinks of Knight as only a chair throwing bully. A man of almost shocking loyalty and compassion for the young men he coached. Virtually all who played for him experienced hell and yet ...more
Mar 16, 2007 Billy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
stop the presses!
Bob Knight is an asshole......
Carrie Shaurette
Feb 10, 2015 Carrie Shaurette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
Being a big Indiana fan, I may be a biased audience, but I think this is an amazing sports book full of insights into the daily grind of college basketball and the psyche of one of the most controversial coaches. Feinstein alternates between writing about interpersonal relationships, basketball history, and exciting play-by-play. I still have complicated feelings about Bobby Knight as a coach and person, but I'm glad he gave Feinstein the access to write this honest and inspiring book. Unputdown ...more
Jan 25, 2013 Kelsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it's interesting how many people say this book just confirms that Bob Knight is an asshole, when I really don't think anything could humanize him more than the stories Feinstein tells about Knight's passions and insecurities. If anything the book might be a too-sympathetic portrayal; Feinstein mainly represents Knight as being driven by love of the game and desire to win, when in reality his main concern was with himself, namely how he was treated and how he was represented in the media. ...more
Al Young
Oct 03, 2013 Al Young rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been going back and reading some of the great all-time sports book. This is among the best-selling sports books of all time, and follows the 1985-86 Indiana Hoosiers basketball team and their colorful coach Bobby Knight.

Feinstein has since become a fixture on sports talk radio, and a keen observer on sports (especially college basketball and golf). Knight at the time was a God among mortals where College (and high School) Basketball was the local religion. I spent quite a bit of time in t
I liked it because it was about Bob Knight, a figure I have been fascinated by for many, many years. I used to tell people I decided to get my undergrad degree at Indiana University because of Knight (in a past life I was an inappropriately obsessed basketball player, against all odds at 5'1"). This was, of course, before I learned of his hilariously out-of-touch sexism. But still, his style of basketball was my bread and butter. I can't believe I hadn't read Feinstein's book sooner--it is still ...more
Jun 03, 2008 Talia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultnon-fic
If you know anything about college basketball, you know who Bobby Knight is. But few people can pinpoint the reason why Knight is the way he is and why he is known as one of the best coaches in college basketball history. “A Season on the Brink” chronicles the 1985-1986 basketball season, a year after the infamous chair-throwing incident. In this book, author John Feinstein was somehow allowed to shadow Knight and the team throughout the year, witnessing both the good and bad with the Indiana Ho ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
Yes, Bob Knight is a jerk. However, there is something admirable yet tragic about a guy who pursues perfection with the doggedness that he does, and in doing so puts relationships in jeopardy. Even though some of his methods are deplorable, isn't that the passion we look for in all our stars? LeBron James was one of the top 3 players - if not the best player - in basketball in the 2010-2011 season but was widely regarded as a disappointment because he did not live up to his infinite potential. A ...more
Nathan Mullins
Apr 28, 2016 Nathan Mullins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Feinstein gives an in-depth look at a basketball season and all of the stuff that goes into it, including the behind the scenes things that most people, even basketball fans, barely know about. Guess I didn't realize all the blood, sweat, and tears it took to play basketball, especially under someone like Knight and his "system". His tirades throughout the book are funny and send me rolling on the floor. 8/8 would read again
Matt Moran
Feb 23, 2015 Matt Moran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book for getting a sense of who Bob Knight was, but an even better book at the rhythm of a college basketball team from October 15 - March 15.

When Feinstein sticks to describing the man and the team, when he is doing his fly on the wall reporting, there is a lot here that was great.

Feinstein is not a great writer, although this was his best effort. He likes to comment on the evolution of Knight's personality without having a sufficiently wide angle lens to do so with authority.
Sep 18, 2012 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
I had really high expectations for this book, which weren't met, but I think that stems mainly from that fact that when this book was published in the late 80's, it probably was revolutionary. Today, though, social media has made the behind-the-scenes stuff in this book relatively mainstream. I applaud Bob Knight for allowing Feinstein to follow him around for a year - that takes guts, especially if he was going to act the way he did. There are parts of Bob Knight's coaching philosophy that I ad ...more
Phil Hill
May 09, 2016 Phil Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
An excellent account of one of the best coaching minds in college basketball, Bob Knight. The reader is able to feel the intensity of his coaching and personality in every page. You will walk away either appraising him or detesting him. A very complex individual he is and anything can set him off into one of his tirades which have sadly defined the man. But yet, he shows his soft side in helping and assisting not only his friends and players but the many fans who seek the opportunity to meet a t ...more
David Ward
A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein (Fireside 1986)(Biography) follows Coach Bob Knight of the Indiana Hoosiers through the 1986 and, in abbreviated form, the 1987 college basketball seasons. What a sad, sad man. Why any kid would want to spend four years with him is beyond me. My rating: 6/10, finished 4/10/14.
Jd Ehringer
This book is what made me really get into basketball as a kid. I feel like it could do the same for someone else. Definitely suited towards upper elementary grades because of the length and some of the words being a little complex, but definitely one I would recommend a student to read if I felt they could handle it.
Jan 30, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really could have been called "A Tale of Two Knights". The out of control, chair throwing Knight, and the Knight who is as loyal to his friends, players, and others who are courteous approaching him. This was one of the few Feinstein non fiction books I haven't read. I have to admit part of the reason was how I felt about Bobby Knight. Sometimes I liked him and sometimes he irritated me. But I really did enjoy this book. As a former ref I would never want to work his games. That would be really ...more
Richard Lister
Jul 21, 2016 Richard Lister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the one that launched John Feinstein, and may well be the benchmark for all of his work--though most of his successive efforts have come close or matched this. It would be hard to top spend a season inside Indiana Basketball with Bob Knight.
Apr 07, 2012 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very in-depth look at a year (and more) of the Indiana University basketball program coached by the unpredictable Bob Knight. I was impressed with the amount of detail with which Feinstein wrote this book. All the traditions and routines were very fascinating and bring the reader closer to what is going on.

After reading this book, one gets the impression that Bob Knight is a man who, although he has issues with controlling his temper and actions, cares very much about his players and program a
Diane Wachter
Mar 01, 2016 Diane Wachter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers, John Feinstein, HB-B, @ 1987, 4/88. The title says it all. Very repititious. Not a real fan of Bobby Knight's coaching style, so I didn't care much for the book.
Daniel Nelson
A thought provoking book on a basketball season with Bob Knight. The book pulls not punches as it covers the good, bad, and ugly of Bob Knight. You're not surprised by a lot of the stories in this book many, in fact, have become legend. It's an entertaining read, but what I found most interesting was the context the entire story gives to what you've heard about Bob Knight. At times he is a raging maniac, overly critical yet he's also highly successful, charitable and kind. It offers a juxtaposit ...more
Truman Devitt
Apr 21, 2014 Truman Devitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Season on the Brink is possibly the best sports book I have ever read. If you are a college basketball fan, this is a book for you. Over a three week period, I could not stop reading it. I highly recommend this book.
Xander Echt
Apr 04, 2013 Xander Echt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great book. John Feinstein has shared many great things that I didn't know about Indiana basketball. I loved the Indiana Hoosiers. I watch them every time they play. I wish I could see Bob Knight coach my team. In the book now it is November 1985. It is just before the Indiana Hoosiers have started there season. They have been having some trouble though. Some players are having rouble with getting to class. Also some players are having trouble with the NCAA if they the team wants ...more
This book was, pretty much, exactly what I expected. Bobby Knight yelling. Bobby Knight belittling. Bobby Knight screaming. Bobby Knight sympathizing. Bobby Knight eating. Bobby Knight bitching. Bobby Knight loving. Mixed in is John Feinstein providing colorful commentary and history to the season before The Season on the Brink. Special props to Cleveland State whom I totally forgot knocked the Hoosiers out of the first round. All in all, it was a mildly enjoyable read, especially when they disc ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Wade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this is a decent look into the ups and downs of college basketball with one of the most winning and polarizing coaches ever, it fell short for me with too much focus on the mood swings of Bob Knight and too little involvement in the development and progress of the student athletes. I lost count of how many times I read that "Steve Alford was just Steve Alford" for a wrap up on one of the great players of the game and then have minimal insight into his reactions to the coach's tirades. O ...more
Robert Sparrenberger
Jun 14, 2015 Robert Sparrenberger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm biased in my review because I'm a Hoosier and an Indiana university graduate. I grew up watching the Hoosiers on tv along with The General. I always considered him a hot head that made the university look bad.

Having said that I really enjoyed his book. Bob Knight was incredibly mean and derogatory to his players but at the same time once you were in the club he was extremely loyal and your best friend.

The only complaint I have with he writing is the author's spoiling some of the games by t
Here's the remarkable thing: I finished it. And I not only dislike college basketball, I am completely ignorant of it. The only reason I read this book was because I heard the author interviewed on a nationally-syndicated radio show and found him to be an engaging storyteller. Since he was promoting the re-release of this book on its 25th anniversary, I thought I might like to read his writing. It's a tribute to John Feinstein's story-telling ability that I hung in there to the end. If you like ...more
Bob Quesal
May 16, 2016 Bob Quesal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Feinstein - a dishonest hack - made his career on this book. Worth reading if you were a Bobby Knight hater.
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John Feinstein is one of the nation’s most successful and prolific sports authors who has written 24 books to date. His most recent work Are You Kidding Me? , written with Rocco Mediate, was released on May 18, 2009, and is presently on the shelf at bookstores everywhere. In addition, he is an award-winning columnist and regular contributor in both radio and television.

John Feinstein is a 1977 gr
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“I feel like if they can handle me, they can probably handle any crowd on the road or any kind of adversity that may come up in a game.” 1 likes
“He’s the reason I have so few rules on my team. He told me not to make any rules because that way if a bad kid screws up you get rid of him. If a good kid screws up you do what you have to do and let it go at that. Rules just get you in trouble.” 0 likes
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