May 12, 2009

Book Review: The Great Eight

I'm a HUGE figure skating fan, and Scott Hamilton is one of my all-time favorite skaters. I think the reasons are because he seems so full of joy, his routines are entertaining, and he makes me laugh. I even enjoy his skating commentary, which is saying a lot, because although I love watching skating on TV, I find the commentators pretty dull. Scott Hamilton is the exception.
In The Great Eight, Scott Hamilton shares his secrets to happiness and success in life, work, and relationships, despite what may seem like insurmountable obstacles. Prior to reading it, I had no idea how many physical obstacles Scott had experienced in his life. I knew he'd had cancer, but he also suffered from a serious childhood illness, and later in life, a brain tumor!
As a foundation to his skating instruction, Scott's early childhood lessons were centered around mastering a perfect figure eight. For several hours each day, he had to practice this one skill, over and over again, until he could perform it flawlessly. Although at the time he didn't understand why, he later realized that this built the necessary foundation of his skating proficiency, and was ultimately the main reason he won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympics.
In this book, he proposes that learning the fundamental skills of anything in life, whether it be skating, teaching, marketing, writing, etc. is vital to reaching your potential. He goes on to outline, his eight keys to reaching your goals in life and gaining happiness.
I found this book very inspiring and uplifting. From Scott's first childhood skating lessons (during which he had to wear a feeding tube due to his illness), to losing his job with The Ice Capades, to battling cancer, to dealing with a brain tumor, to finally finding the woman who would become his wife (while in his forties), he remained optimistic and inspires others do so as well.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to feel more optimistic!