OPEN - Autobiography of Andre Agassi
9/10 I don’t know who Andre Agassi is and I don’t watch tennis. So you can imagine that I would have never picked up this book on my own. It was recommended by a friend who has thus far never failed me in his recommendations, so I gave it a go. Side note: he also doesn’t watch tennis.
Result? Absolute banger of a book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading every single page, eating up the words like they are candy. What made it so good is that it delivers both on content and on the packaging. It’s basically a heroic story of loosing, suffering and triumph written in snappy, easy-to-read style. Very early in the book you realize that Andre hates tennis. He actually hates it with passion. Yet, it’s the only thing he can do well. So he keeps doing it. This aspect of his life makes the entire book very relatable as life is often filled with doing exactly those things that we (kind of) hate. And so although the book is a lot about tennis and about his career, it’s not really about tennis at all. It’s about the reflection of how he got to the absolute top of his profession, what it took and how it wasn’t a straight path at all.
A little boy from Vegas absolutely hates tennis but his dad has long ago decided that he will one day be the world’s No. 1, so he has no choice. Despite hating tennis his whole life, he goes on to achieve what his father set him out to achieve - and he actually does much more than that. This book is the story of that boy, his hardships, his self-loathing, his ups and downs, his friends and girlfriends, his losses and finally, his triumphs.
- … I’ve been let in on a dirty little secret: winning changes nothing. Now that I have won a slam, I know something that very few people on earth are permitted to know. The win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad and the good feeling doesn’t last as long as the bad. Not even close. (p. 167)
- some people are thermometers, some are thermostats. You are a thermostat. You don’t register the temperature in the room, you change it. (p. 315)
- I play and keep playing because I choose to play. Even when it’s not your ideal life, you can always choose it. No matter what your life is, choosing it changes everything. (p.359)
- while reading this book I have had a surgery to remove a tumor from my spine. I was reading it right before and right after. I basically spend several days in the hospital with Andre, looking at the cover picture, talking to him in my thoughts. I think I will remember this one for the years to come…