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Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  12,497 ratings  ·  945 reviews
During his storied career as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of professional sports. Even more important, he succeeded in never wavering from coaching his way, from a place of deep values. Jackson was tagged as the “Zen master” half in jest by sportswriters, but the nickname speaks to ...more
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Published May 21st 2013 by Penguin Audio
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To get this out of the way first. I'm a Knicks fan. So, in the words of ESPN's Stephen A. Smith: "This damned Phil Jackson, man!"

I've not picked up this book because I'm a fan of Phil, obviously. I also didn't pick it up to hate on him, though. And there's no denying that Phil Jackson – the coach, not the executive – was incredibly successful. He lead two extremely talented teams, first the Bulls and later the Lakers, to multiple championships, when, prior to his arrival, they had trouble gettin
Jimmy Williams
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good quick read. Different look at all 11 championship runs. It always amazes me at how much preparation, energy and thought go into a single game or series. This book shows how mental the game of basketball is. This is refreshing these days considering our country celebrates mediocrity and stupidity (don't believe me watch TV). It is also interesting to see his perspective on players like Jordan, Pippen, Kobe, and Shaq. His ability to find various ways to motivate each player on his teams is wh ...more
Lucy Gray
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
I can't exactly recall where I heard about Phil Jackson's book... maybe on NPR or late night TV. At any rate, I am not a huge basketball fan, but was intrigued about learning leadership lessons from this incredibly successful coach. I think there are some pointers to be gleaned from this book that would particularly be helpful to educators... looking at each person on your team (or class) as an individual and figuring out what makes them tick, finding common ground and treating others who are di ...more
Deacon Tom F
Sep 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful sports but that is chocked full of action from one of the greatest coaches of all time.

His comments about stars like Jordan, Pippin, Rodman, Shaw and Kobe were impressive. They also had me meandering back to those incidents and had me remembering where I was for them.

Additionally, his life advice is valuable.

A very good book

I recommend
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Some quotes from this illuminating book on leadership:

As far as Tex was concerned, the genius was in the details, and it didn't matter if you were Michael Jordan or the lowest rookie on the team: Tex would badger you until you got it right. Every year Tex, who loved inspirational sayings, would recite to the team his favorite proverb about the importance of learning the details:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
Carl Lehmann-haupt
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's a perfect storm in reverse: every good thing about it is enhanced by all the other good things that surround it.

For a lifelong basketball fan with a deep interest in spiritual practice, creative improvisation, managing talent, and eliciting outstanding performance, it's a heady mix.

The book backfills my memory of the great games I still replay in my mind, going back to a limping Willis's unforgettable two shots in the final game against the Lakers in 1970. But it is more
Michael Scott
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, sports
This latest installment of Phil Jackson's war stories presents his sports career, first as a double NBA champion with the New York Knicks, then as an eleven-time NBA champion (the current record) with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Shaquille O'Neal/Kobe Bryant's LA Lakers. The book covers this phenomenal career, but also focuses on Phil Jackson's life philosophy--a combination of Zen Buddhism, Native American (animist? tribal?) beliefs, and bits and pieces of common sense. Overall, good for ...more
Effie Moss
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
As somebody who grew up in the UK, basketball isn’t a sport I was surrounded by. My husband however is a huge fan and after watching “The last dance” with him and finding it really interesting, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the man who lead the Chicago Bulls to multiple successes. (It’s the entrepreneur in me)

This book is a great read and provides such profound insight into leadership and spirituality and what an important part they play in gaining momentum and achieving success.
Justin Tapp
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
There was much less about practical coaching and management wisdom than I hoped for in this book. It's not evident that Jackson is reading and learning from other management and leadership works himself, or other coaches other than those who have already been with him for years. He quotes a few Buddhist works or proverbs but that's about it, so I found him to be pretty intellectually shallow despite being famous for giving his players books. "The soul of success is surrendering to what is" is su ...more
Fernando Suarezserna
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the most important books I've read in my life. Phil Jackson is the "zen guy", the hippie man that talks about being selfless, meditation and mindfulness while swimming with sharks; he would be the easiest guy to parody, except he happens to be the most successful NBA coach in history. Eleven rings: 6 with the Bulls, 5 with Lakers. Besides the amazing story, Jackson did an amazing job in explaining his life philosophy. It's easier to try to be a good guy after watching the steps (and misst ...more
Connor Anderson
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this book is amazing. Lots of philosophy, religion, psychology, and how it informed his approach to leadership. Second half pivots to a more straight forward re-telling of his championship runs, with bits of his philosophy sparsely peppered in. Still really enjoyable for any fan of the NBA.
Ali Farnoud
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Phil Jackson gives a great lesson in leadership with his book, Eleven Rings. His willingness to take risks and use the concepts of Zen and native American greatness in his leadership is inspiring. Jackson talks at length about harmony and team integration, but less about how individual players practice and make themselves ready for the game. While one is a prerequisite to the other, he only focuses on one of them. Regardless, it is a great book and his knowledge of Zen concepts shows itself and ...more
4.75 Stars - The Zen master himself, a man I thought I knew a considerable amount about already. Boy was I wrong. Phil Jackson is a life poet, a man of compassion, empathy on a level most people aren’t even aware exists in other people. Always measured, never arbitrary forever cogitating on what it is he can do to be more to others, to grow as near a man in shoes that’s both long since perished or that is long yet due. Whether it’s Native American culture & lore or understanding the fluidity of ...more
Megan Moss
Jun 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Whoo wheee I loved reading this book. I found it so interesting and was also very entertained.

I grew up watching Phil Jackson coach the Bulls against my beloved mid-late 90’s Utah Jazz. I looked at him as little more than the opposition and had lots of preconceived ideas about what he must be like as a person and coach.

A few years ago, I heard him interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and realized Phil Jackson was way different than I thought he was. Nicknamed the “Zen Master,” Phil integrates a variety
Nov 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I never would have thought a book about the jewelry what a man wears on his finger could be so inspirin. the book made me want to be a part of Jackson's bulls or Jackson's lakers so as I could have some rings too. I know some men that have rings only they just have wives to show for em and they complain all the time about the things they're wives say to em' like"pick up the kids at the dang basketball practice" or "don't leave the toilet seat up no more." But see the toilet is a ring just like t ...more
Aaron Bright
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership, top-10
Absolutely incredible book. I highly recommend it to anyone venturing into a leadership role or anyone that would like to further their thoughts on spirituality and it's role in building a team. I can't say enough about how important this book has been for me at a very pivotal point in my career. ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog, sports, basketball
Phil Jackson has proven with his previous books that he is as skilled a writer as he is a basketball coach, and he shows it again with “Eleven Rings.” This book is mostly a recap of his coaching stints with both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He talks about what he had to do to take these teams that were loaded with talent and make them blend together into a cohesive team in order to win all those championships.

There are some aspects of leadership that books about business lead
Tim Larison
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success was just the right book for me to read. Two of my passions are learning about spirituality and following professional sports. Long time NBA coach Phil Jackson discusses both these topics in depth in his new autobiography, giving a behind the scenes look at Jackson’s eleven nba championship teams.

On the basketball side, I enjoyed reading stories of Jackson’s rise from a high school basketball player in North Dakota to the NBA’s New York Knicks, and his coaching s
Christopher Litsinger
This book couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Is it a management advice book? A book about Jackson's weird blend of Buddhism and Native American spirituality? A book that just recounts 11 runs at a title? I've just finished it and I'm not really sure what he was going for.
Probably what frustrated me most was Jackson's unwillingness to explore or extract lessons from his mistakes. Even his tone when describing losses is shockingly self-centered and unwilling to admit fault: "...I was ejecte
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm a born & raised Chicagoan who grew up in the Michael Jordan era so I love Phil Jackson. I was very curious to read something about Phil because his nickname is Zen Master and that's something I desire to be whether in actuality or just perception of peers remains to be seen.

I highlighted a lot in this book and I also saved numerous book titles to my "to-read" list. So in that way, the book was completely worth it for me. I must say I kept thinking to myself "there's probably so much more he
Tony Zale
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The experience of watching the 90s Chicago Bulls defined my understanding of sport. Year after year, we religiously watched the NBA playoffs. The poise of Michael Jordan and his supporting cast made victory feel inevitable. After each, we made a pilgrimage to a makeshift championship t-shirt stand in the ballroom of Skokie's Holiday Inn, returning with the latest"big head" or "ring" shirt design.

Phil Jackson's reputation as "the zen master" solidified during this period, but my understanding of
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
In a way, this book served its purpose because it helped demystifying the relationship between Phil Jackson's spiritual mumbo jumbo and his incredible success as an NBA coach to me. Of course it doesn't make sense to fans and bystanders, because we've never had anything at stake together. Truth is, when you perform at that level, against such an insane level of opposition, you look for every possible edge you can gain on the opposition, by thinking differently and forming a collective consciousn ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've been a basketball fan for the last 20 years, there isn't a lot of new material in this book from that perspective. The stories of the evolution of the Bulls and Michael Jordan from one man band to dynasty, the squabbles of the Shaq-Kobe Lakers and then the renewal of the Kobe-Pau Lakers have been well documented. However, what's most interesting about the book is gaining an insight into Phil Jackson's skills as a manager. This is a book more about teamwork, management, leadership and m ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Phil Jackson coached some of the NBA's greatest players (Jordan and Kobe) and some of its most mercurial (Rodman) but had unparalleled success by helping his teams find themselves. It's not clear how Jackson found his own spiritual calling, drawing from eastern philosophy and religion as well as Native American culture, but he channeled it to manage big egos. You've got to be interested in detailed accounts of basketball games to love this book, but anyone interested in leadership can learn some ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good read & I think all basketball fans would enjoy it whether or not you like(d) the Bulls or the Lakers - As a big basketball fan, particularly of MJ & the Bulls' 90s dynasty, I've always been a Phil Jackson fan. With 11 championships, he's obviously done some things right. This provides a look at each season as well as some simply stated but effective leadership lessons Phil learned and applied, which can be applied in other non-sports situations as well. ...more
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
As coach of the Chicago Bulls and then the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won a total of eleven NBA championships. Eleven Rings is both a memoir and a self-help/management book. However, Phil doesn’t go into much detail on his personal life. He mostly mentions it when it directly relates to what was going on with his basketball life at the time. The main focus of the book is his coaching philosophy and what has influenced it. Phil is a student of many teachers. He reads a lot and seems especia ...more
Mike Mackley
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Phil Jackson is such a brilliant coach. Having coached and got the most out of arguably the two best players to ever play the game. His ability to bring teams from good to great is very impressive as is his ability to manage egos.

I really took from this book that in coaching a team there is no one right philsophy. Every individual responds in different ways and as a coach you need to find what makes each of them tick. That you need to be an authority figure and demand respect,
Brian Sachetta
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Phil Jackson is a sports legend. This book traces his basketball journey all the way from high school to the end of his tenure with the Lakers — including the eleven coaching titles he won on said journey.

It’s a fun ride accentuated with tidbits of ancient wisdom. Here, Jackson draws parallels between the ups and downs of his teams and the founding principles of Buddhism, Daoism, and the like.

In a lot of ways, this book is like the written, extended version of the recent, popular TV series, “The
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
For those of you who don't follow basketball (are there any of you out there?), Phil Jackson is known as "the Zen master." He played on two championship NY Knicks teams in the early 1970's, but is probably better known as the man who coached the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls to six trophies and the Shaquille O'Neal/Kobe Bryant (and later just Kobe Bryant) LA Lakers to another five. As it's NBA tradition for owners to gift commemorative rings to the members of their championship teams, Eleven ...more
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Philip Douglas "Phil" Jackson is a retired American professional basketball coach and former player. Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

His reputation was established as head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1989 through 1998, during which Chicago won six NBA titles. His next team, the Los Angeles Lakers, won five NBA

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