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How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In September 2008, Northern State University men’s basketball coach Don Meyer stood on the brink of immortality. He was about to surpass the legendary Bobby Knight to become the all-time NCAA wins leader in men’s basketball. Then, on a two-lane road in South Dakota, everything changed in an instant.

In How Lucky You Can Be, acclaimed sports journalist Buster Olney tells the
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by ESPN (first published January 1st 2010)
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Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Over Christmas I read "How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer" by Buster Olney.

Early on in the book Olney glosses over the Meyer/Lipscomb split: "a disagreement on principle with the administration." I was worried that would be all it said on the subject, but later in the book it was addressed with some detail: the late nineties, the administration began considering a move to Division I-A - a switch that Meyer vehemently opposed.

He believed that the university would have extraor
I will start this with a disclaimer. While I am a big sports fan, I am not a huge basketball fan, though I have a son who eats, sleeps and breathes the game. But I am, however, a Buster Olney fan. After winning this book through Goodreads First Read, I admit to holding onto it for awhile. I am so sorry that I did.

This was quite possibly one of the most inspirational stories that I have ever read. Having been a big sports fan my entire life, and having 3 sons who think that there is only one chan
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of course I was there for much of this.
Bennett Gavrish
Jan 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Grade: C-

L/C Ratio: 40/60
(This means I estimate the author devoted 40% of his effort to creating a non-fiction work of art and 60% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)

Thematic Breakdown:
40% - Overcoming tragedy
30% - Coaching
20% - Basketball
10% - Midwest community spirit

I consider Buster Olney to be one of the top sports reporters in America, so when I heard he had spent months writing a book about a Division-II college basketball coach, I assumed it was a story I couldn’t afford t
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, sports
I'm a Buster Olney fan, primarily because I like his work on ESPN and ESPN Magazine about baseball. And baseball writers know how to tell a story. Once they've written about a few thousand ball games, a good baseball beat writer knows what it takes to construct a story that both informs and entertains. That's what Olney does with this story.

It's not baseball; it’s about a basketball coach. Basketball coaches are a strange breed. Don Meyer is a very successful coach though he coaches on a small s
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sy Ewoniuk
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I have read How Lucky You Can Be by Buster Olney. This book is a biography. I finished this book on 12/12/12. What I liked about this book is that it was realistic. Every word I read felt like I was acutely there with everybody. The words just spoke to me. I could not stop reading this book. I would use the words realistic, amazing, funny, and sportstastic. Yes I would totally read more books by this author if he would have made more. I have learned that you should be thankful for what you have. ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
2. This book was an amazing book to read. I chose to read it as a college English assignment because I was familiar with Buster Olney’s style of writing. In my eyes he is one of the best writers that ESPN has. In every one of his stories, including this one, there is always that heartwarming or feel good feeling for the main character. Going into the book I had no idea who Don Meyer was. Now after reading this book I believe that Don Meyer is one of the most outstanding role models in all of spo ...more
Dec 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and I look forward to reading "Playing for Coach Meyer" soon.
I took away many great nuggets, quotes, and moments. But I also felt good about the message of this book: finding purpose in tragedy can lead to amending one's life.
Another of the major themes of this story is that it' OK to do what you love and not chase status. Meyer could've coached at any level he wanted, and his peers at the highest levels know this. But he CHOSE to coach small school basketball because he knew
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
So far this is pretty interesting. Not being a huge sports fan, this book is keeping my attention. Can't wait to finish. I have a feeling the end will be pretty good.

Update: I am a little more than half way through this book. I am really struggling to finish it. I am wanting so badly to give this book a good review as thanks for receiving the book for free, but I just can't. The author writes this book like a research paper. It is obviously written by a male sports fanatic. There really isn't a
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I nearly loved this book. Buster Olney's storytelling was absolutely superb and I found the book exceptionally easy to read for a non-fiction story. The story of coach Don Meyer is at once inspirational and heartbreaking, and at times forces you to call into question your own interactions with your family and friends.

Sadly, the only bits that I found off-putting were the heavy religious undertones. I say sadly because these simply do not resonate with me, yet it was this conviction of faith that
Jordyn Roesler
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I think my reading experience would have been a lot better had I known who Don Meyer was before this book. [This book actually belongs to my husband, a big sports fan – I never would have picked it up if we didn’t already own it]. However, I can still appreciate a well-written book with heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories about an incredible coach and person. Very inspiring.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion Buster Olney did an excellent job. There were times during my reading I didn't want to put the book down, I laughed and cried. Any sports coach, players, and fans especially basketball would enjoy this book. It gave an indepth look into Coach Don Meyer's life from beginning to the end, the type of person he was and how just one thing in your life can change your outlook on life and being committed to yourself, family, and friends. I recommend this book it's definitely a MUST read! ...more
Levi K
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was very inspiring and it shows you that nothing is as hard as you think. I personally thought this book is the best book of the year in my opinion. I really enjoyed the life story of coach myer. I really enjoyed his jokes to. You do not have to be a basketball player to read this book you just have to have self pride like coach does. This book tells the story of his childhood all the way up to his adult hood and the horrible accident he was in how it came out in a good way. ...more
David Sanders
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I borrowed this book from a friend. I don't think Olney is much of a writer, but this story is great. I could not put it down. This is the story of David Lipscomb University's former coach, Don Meyer. The book relates the life of Mr.Meyer, one of the most successful coaches in basketball history, after a horrific car accident resulted in the amputation of one of his legs. Always a man of faith, Mr. Meyer took this opportunity to let people who were close to him know how he really felt about them ...more
Kiyokawa Kai
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
How Lucky You can Be was a pretty good book in my opinion. I really liked the book because it was a realistic book. There were places in the book when it was funny or sad and sometimes had a mix of emotions. Any sports player, coach, and fans of sports would really like this book. From the beginning of the book it took us indepth of the life of Coach Meyer from the beginning to the end. It talked about how life changing events are very hard on the people around you. This was a really good book a ...more
Dale Stonehouse
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Being in the midwest, Don Meyer was in the news locally when he was going to break the all-time record for college basketball wins. Not much was written about his crippling auto accident and subsequent resignation, and this book fills in the gaps. The scope is a bit limited, so don't expect a full biography. But the details of Coach Meyer's effect on players, family and friends, along with how that changed after the accident, make this a worthwhile read, basketball fan or not.
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I finished How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer by Buster Olney. I thought that this book gives a good book obout his life and what he has done and what he has been thourgh in his life. I thought that the beging was the best because it felt like that you were in the book living the car accident and everything. My favorite part was when he took paper and asked how long it would be until he could coach.
Thomas K
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is great. I read it on the Ipad while I was on vacation. I almost ran down the entire battery. It was great to see a book about about a man from SD. The book had flashbacks and that made the book WAY more interesting than just talking about how he got in the car wreck and the cancer. It made the book almost 3d rather than 2d.
Tom Gase
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it
A pretty good book by Buster Olney on the car accident Don Meyer was involved in and his comeback he had to get back to coaching. Pretty inspirational story. My only problem was the religious undertones were a little too much at times, but all-in-all a good story. Seems Olney can write about more than just baseball.
Scott DeShong
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Story of college basketball coach Don Meyer who was in a horrible car accident and then found out he had terminal cancer. The book outlined his relationships with his family and how drastically his perspective changes as he deals with these tragedies.
Donna Frasor
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
An interesting story of a successful small college basketball coach who suffers a life altering injury from a car crash. Although it deals with overcoming adversity and facing new obstacles, it helps if the reader understands and appreciates the world of college basketball.
Devin Koslowski
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is the best book I have ever read in my whole entire life. A good review for this book will be next. This book really realizes how lucky you can be, the title really fits the book. My favorite part is when he gets nominated for the ESPY award Jimmy V award for perseverance.
Jonathan Stefanopoulos
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book about Don Meyer. I learned a lot about being a leader, teacher, and coach. I loved the way he handled his players. He was brilliant and was not out to get fame and recognition. He just loved the game of basketball.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
Get this book and read it!
Jan 21, 2011 marked it as dnf-or-not-for-me
This sounds like such a great story, but I'm so back logged on books to read I'm passing this one on to another reviewer to read.
Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of those books that makes you want to be a better person.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really good...for those that do not coach as well as those that do.
Robert Mclain
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
You need to read about Don Meyer. Incredible story about an incredible coach and man. Inspirational.
Dec 21, 2012 added it
Absolutely fantastic!
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