Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review Friday: Assisted


Assisted: An Autobiography by John Stockton with Kerry L. Pickett
Foreword by Karl Malone
From an intensely private person comes the remarkable story of a life well lived.
At 6'1" John Stockton was an unlikely choice for an NBA star, but looks can be deceiving.  In this autobiography Stockton describes the choices he made and the assistance he received as he used determination and hard work to become a world-class athlete.
Stockton tells his whole story, covering the entirety of his life including his parents and heritage, his school years, his siblings, early sports training, his romance with college sweetheart and now wife of over 25 years, Nada Stepovich, their family of 6, and his 19 year career as a guard for the Utah Jazz.  His personal insights reveal a remarkably humble and grateful man who was able to keep his head and his humility as he rose to the top of his profession by focusing on family, faith, hard work, and giving back.
Stockton's co-writer is his friend, coach, and business partner Kerry L. "Coach" Pickett.  Pickett coached Stockton's 6th grade basketball team in 1973.  Later he directed the basketball camps that Stockton established, now he is director of the Warehouse, a community sports facility in Spokane, Washington also established by Stockton as a way of giving back to his home town.
John Stockton was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts the same year as C. Vivian Stringer, David Robinson, Michael Jordan, and Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.
An excellent choice for sports fans or someone looking for an inspirational well-written biography with no tell-all scandals required.  Of special interest to basketball fans and anyone interested in the Olympic Gold winning dream teams in 1992 and 1996. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review Friday: Destiny of the Republic

I have a confession to make.  This may be the first book I have finished this year.  I've started several, but this is the first one that's held my interest long enough to make me want to finish it.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, an the Murder of a President by Candice Millard is a riveting account of the assassination of the United States' 20th president, James A. Garfield.  Millard uses primary sources including letters, newspaper articles, and medical records to reconstruct what happened that fateful summer of 1881.  She uses an engaging narrative style that makes the history come alive as she describes Garfield's early life as well as the life of is assassin Charles Guiteau and leads the reader along the path as Garfield served in the civil war, rising to the rank of general and then came out of nowhere to win the Republican nomination in 1880.  Interwoven through the story of the assassination are vivid descriptions of the politics and politicians of the time and curiously, the story of Alexander Graham Bell, who's obsession with invention and innovation led him to try to create a device that might have saved President Garfield's life.

I listened to the audio book, narrated by Paul Michael.  Michael has an excellent voice and the narration is excellent, although I found some of the "voices" he used for the various characters distracting, the overall presentation of the materials was good.