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

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  7,146 ratings  ·  142 reviews
"A Season on the Brink" chronicles the basketball season that John Feinstein spent following the Indiana Hoosiers and their fiery coach, Bob Knight. Knight granted Feinstein an unprecedented inside look at college basketball -- with complete access to every moment of the season. Feinstein saw and heard it all -- practices, team meetings, strategy sessions, and mid-game ...more
Paperback, 337 pages
Published November 15th 1989 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1986)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  7,146 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Actually a pretty well-written book, but two stars because after 308 pages I have no idea why Knight was such a good coach. I know he's extremely emotional, dictatorial, self-centered and obsessive while also being a pretty good-seeming guy, but I have no idea how he became the winningnest coach in D1 college ball history.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
stop the presses!
Bob Knight is an asshole......
Robert Poor
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers" by John Feinstein is a remarkable book. Remarkable for the breadth and depth of access Bob Knight granted to a journalist and remarkable for the behind the scenes look at, despite his profanity, bullyness and mercurial mood swings, one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. "Season" follows Bob Knight throughout the tumultuous 1985-1986 season, a year before Knight and IU again win the NCAA tournament, and a year ...more
Joseph Stieb
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
A good listen for college basketball nuts. Covers the Indiana Hoosiers in a fairly unremarkable season in classic Feinstein fashion. I think my understanding of Bob Knight didn't change so much as it broadened. He would still be probably the last famous basketball coach I would choose to play for. He has reprehensible views on gender, and no one should be surprised that a faux-macho guy like Knight gravitated to a fraud like Trump. However, there are things about Coach Knight that make him ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I came in with low expectations of this book, perhaps something to take a peek at a few pages and kinda leave it there. Instead, I consumed the entire book in one sitting, as it was an absolutely enjoyable read and kept me interested throughout.

The book itself is basically a documentary of the 1985-86 Indiana Hoosiers, who had disappointed mightily in the year beforehand, and thus, needed a makeup season, not just for the school, who expects their basketball team to contend for national and
Parker Dalton
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
So fascinating to read this book about Bob Knight. 2nd most wins in college in college basketball history, just behind his former player Coach K. He is such an enigma. Fiery temper, little control of his emotions, demanding perfection, and he gets the absolute most out of his teams ability and heart. Despite how unbelievably hard he is on his teams, most former players say he is the best college coach ever. Reading this book reminded me a lot of Walter Isaacson's book on Steve Jobs. In fact, ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Considering there was an ESPN movie made about this (that I never watched), I assumed the book was better. The book is about Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers the year after they flamed out in 1984-85. This book shows that Bobby Knight is a toxic person who played mind games with his players, didn’t praise players until they were gone (and that was to put down players currently on the team), and he also was incapable of driving his son the same way. The book tries to show his positives, his humor, ...more
John Rose
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good read on Coach Knight. Lets you inside on the everyday interactions of a division one basketball team. While Coach crossed the line with some of his actions, there is no doubting he is perhaps the greatest college bball coach of all time. He never cheated, never had the best players, but won the majority of his games. A true teacher of the game and its fundamentals, and I believe these translate directly to life lessons. As a former college bball player I only wish I would have been ...more
Danny Theurer
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Brilliant concept - I cannot imagine just dedicating myself to one team for an entire year to produce a single work. This book was engaging and worthy of the hype it's gotten throughout the years. Why didn't I rate it higher? My issue with it is the same as the TV series Breaking Bad: Every time you want to begin pulling for someone, they become a villain or too pathetic to defend. I felt as though I knew a lot about Bob Knight before this book and now, I could never cheer for the success of a ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why one star? Feinstein gets an A for sports writing and an F for psychological insight. Bob Knight is obviously homosexual and Feinstein either recognizes it and refuses to write about it or missed this obvious fact entirely and failed as a biographer. Too bad that both were raised in a pathetically paternalistic culture that can’t accept and celebrate the exquisite diversity of the human race.
Jeff Alexy
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting look into what college basketball is really like under Bob Knight. The yelling, the cursing, the mind games. The book doesn't hold back at all.

The books gets a little repetitive, but I think that is just the nature of this type of book. They practiced, the coach screamed, the team played a game, they practiced, the coach screamed, etc. But overall, I think it was a good book and I found it very interesting.
Paul Allan
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Believe this book was ground zero for sports teams allowing embedded authors. Was between books and wanted to read it again as it's been a while. Bobby Knight allowed John Feinstein unparalleled access and the book lifted the curtain on what was going on behind the scenes with the University of Indiana men's basketball program. Looking back on Al McGuire's forward was telling as to what might transpire for Coach Knight down the road. The book was just as good the second time around.
Brian L.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it did not like it

I’d always heard about this book, but never taken the time to read. I can’t understand the hype. Very boring and repetitive, with little insight into the players, or Knight.

I would place this one notch above reading the box scores for the season. I kept waiting for it to get better.

Essentially, it is a one paragraph recap of each game, followed by details about how Knight was mad, what type of practice they had, etc.

Bradley Aden
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A look inside the Indiana program in the 1980's and head coach Bob Knight. The book explores his interesting ideology of fear base coaching and the overwhelming success which it breeds. A detailed look at a true winning coach inside a basketball crazed state. While Feinstein enjoyed unreal access to the team, you can tell that the majority of Knight's worst moments were left out of the book. Still worth a read.
Christoffer Sorensen
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting perspective of leadership. An old school style of military and discipline which is similar to military. A look at the gray area of discipline and motivating properly and taking it too far.
Bob Adolfson
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nothing too surprising and think I would have LOVED to play for him
Joe Wentzler
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. Sounds cool to me.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Closer to 4.5 but still incredible.
Dustin Griffin
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great fly on the wall look inside the locker room of one of the most secretive and revered locker rooms in college basketball history.
Eric DeGroot
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible the access that Feinstein had. Clear concise writing that made me not want to put the book down.
Brendan Crowley
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sport
‘A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers’ by John Feinstein (1986)
I could spend months simply reading John Feinstein sports books such is quantity of high quality books he has produced over his career. Perhaps more than any, A Season on the Brink, is the book most would point to as both Feinstein’s breakthrough and most enjoyable work.

Feinstein followed the Indiana University basketball team through the entire 1985/86 season – the ups and the downs as the team
Kelsey Landhuis
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was ok
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
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
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disclosure - I am an unabashed IU fan and alumni. I watched Bob Knight and the Hoosiers fanatically in the 1980s. I enjoyed the 1981 NCAA championship on the streets of Bloomington as a college senior. It was an amazing time.

This book slipped by me until 2016 and I read it with great interest. I knew he was a man of passion, energy, focus, and competitive drive. I knew coach Knight was always looking out for his players and making sure everybody graduated. He recruited one of my high school
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Conner Verdugo
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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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
“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.” 3 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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