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Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,447 ratings  ·  287 reviews
Twenty-year-old American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. Yet Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Tyndale Momentum
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Rachel Yes! I am not that far in to it, but so far it's a great book. However, it's not an autobiography, it's a collection of experiences that she learned…moreYes! I am not that far in to it, but so far it's a great book. However, it's not an autobiography, it's a collection of experiences that she learned from in her life (personally that makes it better)(less)
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Dawn
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2012
Honestly, it was just okay. Shawn Johnson seems like a lovely person, who really seems to care about giving back and being a good role model to younger gymnasts. And that's who I think this book is for, younger (teen and preteen) kids who look up to Shawn. The lessons she learns are very cliche and can be found in numerous self-help books or "change my life" memoirs, so they didn't really resonate for me. I felt like she didn't go into depth about her life or training, just doling out the barest ...more
Natalie Vellacott
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received this book free. As an Auto-Biography it was okay although I stopped reading it for a while as another book looked more interesting. As a Christian Auto-Biography it fell short.

Shawn Johnson describes her early childhood and experiences leading up to her winning Gold and Silver medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. A lot of the book was about her training as a gymnast which I didn't relate to but I'm sure would be of interest to other gymnasts. I liked her honesty and descriptions of
...more
Bethany
3.5 stars. Ever since I had heard about Olympic gymnast, Shawn Johnson's new book, I looked forward to reading it. I love watching gymnastics, and Shawn's no exception as she is clearly gifted in the sport. Since I love reading memoirs, I was very eager to read this one. While their were a few things I didn't really relate to, or would have done myself, (such as her Dancing With The Stars experience, I personally would want more modest dances and attire, but that's just me) I enjoyed reading her ...more
Aura
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Being a gymnast, Shawn Johnson has become one of my biggest idols and huge inspirations. I watched her win her Olympic medals in Beijing 4 years ago, and then watched her be the youngest competitor on Dancing with the Stars and win the championship trophy with Mark Ballas. She isnt just my idol, but is an idol to many other gymnast and people all over the world. In her new book, she describes her successes and failures in her life of being an Olympic gymnast. Her first coach told her mom that ...more
James
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012, memoir
Gets an extra star because I'm a fellow Iowan and Shawn really is one of the best ambassadors of Iowa we could ask for.

For everyone else, it's probably a 3-star book. Shawn opens up and lets us know what it was like behind the cameras during the Olympics and during "Dancing With the Stars". (Short answer: not as glamorous as the rest of the world was probably led to believe.)

She includes some of her poetry, which again gives us some perspective into her emotions and thoughts during various
...more
Marisa
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book by an Olympic gold medalist whose wisdom, joy, and inner light are every bit as awe-inspiring as her athleticism.

A real highlight is the section on her floor routine in Beijing: after glimpsing Nastia's score and calculating that the gold was no longer within her own reach, she went on to give the performance of her life, winning the all-around "in the way that meant the most to [her]." Afterward, a reporter had the gall to ask how it felt to lose. She replied, "I didn't lose.
...more
Emma Gaughan
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my third time reading this book, but I'm still as inspired by it as if it were my first time reading it. Shawn Johnson includes relatable life lessons at the end of every chapter and inspiring quotes at the beginnings. It's so amazing to think that almost everything she writes about in that book happened to her when she was younger than I am right now. The sentences sometimes were a little short or oddly strung together but that didn't take away from the message of the book.
Melissa Marie
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Cute and semi inspirational but lacking in depth of experience.
Emily
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I mean...this book wasn't really that great. But if you're a fan of Shawn Johnson, curious to hear about her experiences, and don't care about particularly beautiful or insightful writing...then you'll enjoy this. I did. :) However I wish we'd gotten a few more details. Most of the book was surface level description of events.
Andrew
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In Winning Balance, Shawn Johnson has written about her successes and failures in her life of competing in the Olympics. Shawn started practicing gymnastics in a small town in Iowa. The first gym coach she had told her mother that her daughter had no talent in gymnastics. Eventually her mother decided to move her to another gymnasium. Shawn stepped into the place she was intended to be. Chow became her new coach and he began teaching her the proper way to handle and compete in gymnastic. Chow ...more
Becky
First sentence: The first score I ever received was given on January 19, 1992, at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines.

Premise/plot: Winning Balance is an autobiography of gymnast Shawn Johnson. Most of the chapters conclude with a 'lessons learned' feature. Partially this is a spiritual autobiography as well. Johnson includes in her life story her spiritual testimony. How much is 'spiritual' and how much is plain and simple biography? I'd say the spiritual aspects of it are like the toppings on
...more
Samantha Berman
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Winning Balance, is written by Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson. When I first picked this book up, I don't think it ever left my hands. This book is meant for all ages because Shawn talks about chasing after your dreams and I believe that anyone can still chase after their dreams no matter what age you are, anything is possible.

Shawn takes you through her life in West Des Moines, Iowa, which includes her training practices, life at home, and life outside of the gym. As the reader, Shawn
...more
Lili
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
To my parents, for never leaving my side. You have always believed in me, supported me, picked me up, and brought me back down to earth when I needed it. Shawn Johnson. Winning Balance is a biography written by Olympic gold medalist, silver medalist, and Dancing with the Stars champion, Shawn Johnson. Winning Balance is a good quick read for gymnasts or Summer Olympic lovers. This book is about the road to the Olympics for Shawn and what she had to sacrifice to get to her main goal, the ...more
Kate
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
The authors hope and dream is to compete professionally and then onto the Olympics in the sport of gymnastics. When she was just a tot her career began at Chow's Gymnastics and Dance Institute. At home in Iowa she was a normal girl whose life was balanced, she kept a journal, watched cartoons and had a pet named Dude. She loved every aspect of gymnastics and she possessed the dedication and fortitude to succeed.

I enjoyed reading about what a typical day was like for a gymnast and the rigorous
...more
Elizabeth Johnson
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Before I read this book, I had known Shawn Johnson only as the Olympic Gold Medalist. When I saw that she had written a book, I immediately wanted to read it. However, whenever I went to the bookstore, I couldn't find it. This went on for a while, and I eventually forgot about it. But just recently, I got my hands on a copy at Barnes and Nobles. So I got it. I read it in just a few days, and loved it. It's really interesting to see more than just the gymnastics side of Shawn's life. It was ...more
Amanda McGill
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Background: My fiancé is a huge fan of Shawn Johnston fan. He even watched her on Dancing with the Stars! When Shawn was kicked off Celebrity Apprentice a few weeks ago, I thought that she wasn't revealing her true self and I wanted to know more about her. When I found out that she had an autobiography, I immediately reserved it from my library.
Review: I did enjoy the background stories about the Olympics and Dancing with the Stars. However I didn't learn that much about Shawn Johnston. I found
...more
Emily
Dec 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I found this book easy to read and very enjoyable. It was great to get a glimpse into the life and mentality of a young gymnast. I remember watching and cheering for her in the Olympics - she was my favorite gymnast that year. She was very honest and open about her doubts, fears, and disappointments - both before and after the Olympics - which made you feel like you were sitting at a coffee shop talking with her. I was surprised by how much of the book was about her life after the Olympics. It ...more
Amy
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's so refreshing to read about a mid-western girl, make it to the big leagues, accomplish her goals, overcome her downfalls & still keep her mid-western, small town attitude & show her love for family & God. These are the people that deserve all they have been blessed with. This book told a story of the ups & downs if both fame & being an unknown. Shawn Johnson is truly an American role model for all kids & some adults could learn a bit too;-) Cuddos to her parents for ...more
Hlyan Htet Oo
I've never been this much inspired by a book before. This (book) is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced. Sometimes smiling, laughing, exciting, sometimes feeling tears in my eyes, sometimes feeling deeply inspired, I got the life lessons Shwan wants to give. Thank you to Sanntint who recommended this book to me. I'm confident that I can also recommend Winning Balance to everyone.
Melissa
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love gymnastics so I had a feeling I'd love this book. Great story about a girl who found an outlet for her energy. I love how her parents always supported her but never pushed. This is a fun and entertaining read.
 Crystal
Aug 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Although the insights into Shawn's training and competitions were interesting, the entire book reads like a twelve-year-old's Bible camp scrapbook, including prayer/poetry bookends and a "Lesson I've Learned" after each chapter, of which there are many.
Wendy
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Before I read this I thought that Shawn Johnson was an amazing young women and I only believe that more after reading this. I am so sad she had to retire from the sport but I can certainly understand why. She is a good idol for all the young ladies to look up to.
Erin
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Liked the book at first...but it got old after awhile. The book is probably better suited to the younger crowd.
Kayla
Nov 20, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madz
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved that she always had a good attitude and that she pushed herself hard to follow her dream and make it come true. I loved all the good quotes in the book.
Keryn
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Would give it 3.5 stars if I could. Quick read.. she seems like a sweet girl who has accomplished a lot yet remains grounded by her family and faith.
Victoria
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A) ABOUT
Reviewed by Victoria Morales

The autobiography of Shawn Johnson was the book I chose to read for the month of October. It was written by Shawn Johnson herself who is currently still living. I was supposed to read this book for the month of September but i wasn't to committed to finish reading it, therefore I finished it for this month's reading. I read about 2 chapters a day and I mostly read it on my way to school or before going to bed.

From this book I learned the following:


1)
...more
Callie Studer
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the story, Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson an autobiography about Shawns life. Shawn lived West Desmoine and grow up there. When Shawn was little her parents put her into Gymnastics as something safe and for her to release energy. They never thought that it would go any farther. When her parent realized that this was something that Shawn wanted to pursue, they needed to go somewhere were they believe in what she was capable of doings. That when she came to Chows. They owners were a married ...more
Makayla Pope
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response
Personally. I thought that Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams was a great book. I really loved how Shawn talked about God a lot because I can really relate to her on that. When I read that Shawn had a stalker, I got so scared, even though it was in the past. The one part that I did not enjoy about this book was that Shawn had a different boyfriend. I did not like that because I know that Shawn is married to somebody else now and
...more
Ella S
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Winning Balance
By: Ella Stoneberg

Shawn Johnson the best gymnast in 2008 winning gold at the olympics. The book Winning Balance is a true story that she wrote. I think the book was really good and some parts taught me a lesson and were very inspirational. Her book made me believe more in myself and also never give up on my dreams. It's an inspiring story of a little sized american gymnast with a big smile and a even bigger heart.
This book is my favorite book that I have ever read. The book is
...more
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Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Motivational Books: The gold-medal gymnast and author of the memoir Winning Balance offers her top five inspirational books for peak p...
10 likes · 5 comments
“ As long as you've done your best, making mistakes doesn't matter. You and I are human; we will mess up. What counts is learning from your mistakes and getting back up when life has knocked you down.” 32 likes
“Everything about ypur movements precision and timing, which is what gymnastics is about.” 13 likes
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