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Open: An Autobiography

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

This book will change you. In a good way.

So you're thinking this might be one of those recently retired famous people books aren't you? One where a celebrity, or a Politician, or a sports star cranks out hundreds of pages of self-serving, history-correcting drivel in order to cash the big advance check. A book...
So you're thinking this might be one of those recently retired famous people books aren't you? One where a celebrity, or a Politician, or a sports star cranks out hundreds of pages of self-serving, history-correcting drivel in order to cash the big advance check. A book you can't even bring yourself to finish; better than a tranquilizer at bedtime.

Well, this is certainly not that book. "Open" is a journey that I predict will stay with you for a very long time. It's a completely unexpected trip to places you've never been. I'm not one of those quasi-professional reviewers you see on Amazon. But this book practically made me write about it.

Interestingly, Open starts not at the beginning and not quite at the end. Second round, US Open, 2006.

Not the final match of Andre's career--but the one right before that.
Against a competitor you'd never heard of before or since.
The battle was against the guy across the net, and also Andre's hatred of tennis, his failing body, the demons that he harnessed to get through the unending heroic contest that seemed destined to continue until both just fell into a heap on the court. And it is so well told.

After 20 pages, I knew that this was unlike any other biography I had ever read. Couldn't put it down. Couldn't stop thinking about it. Agassi dug deeper inside than most of us ever will have to, to get to core of what made him so powerful as a player and so conflicted as a person. It is all conspicuously real: The small moments, the outlandish triumphs and the friendships that sustained him and/or corrupted him. The gauntlet he had to run through to arrive at the balance and joy he has today. It's transformative.

The headlines about this book have mostly related to Andre's drug use when he was at his lowest. But honestly, although it marked the place from which he recovered and flourished, it's only an incidental part of this story. The story is actually about perseverance, intelligence and raw talent all baked together into a very, very large American life.

If Open doesn't win a Pulitzer Prize, something is terribly wrong. Can I nominate it?

P. A.

http://www.tradexmind.com/

posted by PARR on November 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing

I wish that I had not read this book. I have been a huge Agassi fan from the beginning of his career and now feel let down. I hope that he found healing in writing this book because it did nothing to endear me to him. If your a fan, don't read it so you won't be disa...
I wish that I had not read this book. I have been a huge Agassi fan from the beginning of his career and now feel let down. I hope that he found healing in writing this book because it did nothing to endear me to him. If your a fan, don't read it so you won't be disappointed. Keep the immage he was able to pull off in spite of his personal attitude towards the game as well as the competition/competitors.

posted by 1978318 on January 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2009

    This book will change you. In a good way.

    So you're thinking this might be one of those recently retired famous people books aren't you? One where a celebrity, or a Politician, or a sports star cranks out hundreds of pages of self-serving, history-correcting drivel in order to cash the big advance check. A book you can't even bring yourself to finish; better than a tranquilizer at bedtime.

    Well, this is certainly not that book. "Open" is a journey that I predict will stay with you for a very long time. It's a completely unexpected trip to places you've never been. I'm not one of those quasi-professional reviewers you see on Amazon. But this book practically made me write about it.

    Interestingly, Open starts not at the beginning and not quite at the end. Second round, US Open, 2006.

    Not the final match of Andre's career--but the one right before that.
    Against a competitor you'd never heard of before or since.
    The battle was against the guy across the net, and also Andre's hatred of tennis, his failing body, the demons that he harnessed to get through the unending heroic contest that seemed destined to continue until both just fell into a heap on the court. And it is so well told.

    After 20 pages, I knew that this was unlike any other biography I had ever read. Couldn't put it down. Couldn't stop thinking about it. Agassi dug deeper inside than most of us ever will have to, to get to core of what made him so powerful as a player and so conflicted as a person. It is all conspicuously real: The small moments, the outlandish triumphs and the friendships that sustained him and/or corrupted him. The gauntlet he had to run through to arrive at the balance and joy he has today. It's transformative.

    The headlines about this book have mostly related to Andre's drug use when he was at his lowest. But honestly, although it marked the place from which he recovered and flourished, it's only an incidental part of this story. The story is actually about perseverance, intelligence and raw talent all baked together into a very, very large American life.

    If Open doesn't win a Pulitzer Prize, something is terribly wrong. Can I nominate it?

    P. A.

    http://www.tradexmind.com/

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Bio

    I knew that Andre Agassi had a compelling story to tell. I didn't know he would tell it so skillfully. As an editor, I appreciate literary talent, and this was written to showcase Agassi's sense of humor, insight, and powers of observation. I blew through it in two evenings (lost a lot of sleep but totally worth it). Fantastic read!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    A Tennis Twist

    In Andre Agassi's memoir, Open, he shares his feelings and experiences as he grew from a young tennis star to the best player in the world. At first, I thought that this book was going to be about a tennis player who developed into a Grand Slam champion. However, within the first five pages I was shocked to learn there was much more to his story. Andre, a former number one tennis player in the world, told his father, "I don't want to play anymore. I hate tennis" (54). Andre is part of the small percentage of outstanding athletes that hate the sport in which they excel. Imagine LeBron James hating basketball, but only playing the sport because he was forced to by his father. Andre's story is inspiring because he had a very difficult life being poor, playing a sport he hates, and has to hit 3,500 tennis balls every morning. His father put such an emphasis on tennis that sometimes he takes Andre out of school to practice hitting balls. Andre's father tells his friend, "He's going to be number one in the world" (53). Andre's father is serious when he says that, and every day he wakes up believing that he is going to do anything it takes for Andre to be the best tennis player. Reading Open helps teenagers realize that there are others like them, who receive pressure from their parents. Parents will find this book intriguing because they will understand that Andre's father is only forcing Andre to play tennis because he believes that Andre has the potential to be very good. From Andre's life story, you will learn that sometimes you have to adjust to unforeseen situations in life. I recommend you read this book when you have the opportunity, to understand how a tennis legend that hated the sport, worked hard and overcame obstacles to become the best player in the world.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Page Turner

    Could not put this book down.. It is such an honest look at the reality of his life. I must admit I was an Agassi fan for years and years.I greatly admired his ablitity as a player and as a human being. Watching him develop into the man he is today from where he came from is simply astonishing and meant not only for Agassi fans, like myself,but for anyone who can appreciate what a person can achieve and become with only a ninth grade education.. The book is not meant just for his fans but for anyone who is intested in the world of tennis and how one individual can somehow motivate himself when his heart was certainly not in his career. He had no choice, and no dream to pursue, all he knew was tennis. His over bearing Father made sure of that.I thank him for his honesty and for the revealing facts about a man we never really knew.. He should not be faulted for his mistakes but praised for his honesty.. A true page turner for anyone interested in reading about a person with a complicated child hood. Hitting 2500 balls a day at age 7 is truly abusive behavior. His destiny was known the day he came out of the womb...Pooh

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    OPEN is.... OPEN

    The title aptly describes the spirit of the book. It is extremely well written and Agassi tells his story forthrightly, with wit and precision, which is pretty much how he plays tennis. One of the best things about the book is the way Agassi continually clarifies the distance between his inner psyche and his outer persona, a dilemma that is gradually resolved over the course of the book, until his insides and outsides are more closely aligned. The descriptions of the tennis matches are wonderful, keeping the reader on the court with Agassi, across the net from his talented rivals, and in the stands with his evolving 'team'. Agassi wisely enlisted the help of J.R. Moeringher, a wonderful writer, to help him shape and articulate his story. The journey Agassi describes, while very specifically his own, is one that is recognizable to anyone who has had to grow past the demons who take up residence in childhood.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The life of a talented athlete,so much we didnt now....Everything!!!!!

    Last summer was the first time i ever watched a tennis match, and i am 39 years old,ive known of andre agassi through-out my life. 2 weeks ago i was in Barnes and Noble Christmas shopping. Something just nugged me to buy this for myself, im going through life's struggles and the book is getting good review's. Not knowing what to expect,i open it just before bed,(a nitetime ritual)I end up on chapter nine at 4am yes, its about tennis, (in a way) but it's about life and choices and failures and joys, and things people just go through. Bottom line, if you want to read a r great book about "life" this is it,look no further you found it. Great job,an excellent read....10 stars!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous Bio!

    So far as sports biographies go--this is a five-star read. With a Pulitzer-prize winner for a ghost, Agassi has put together a well-told tale of his life. There is some uncalled for meanness--against Brooke Shields (there were bits that made me cringe), and short-shrift is given to Pete Sampras who comes across as a clod. I was struck no mention was made of Mevedev's gracious overturn of a bad call which set the stage for Agassi's French Open victory. One also gets a tad tired of Agassi on Agassi, and yet . . . there are some powerful moments. I was brought to tears twice (opening and closing) and it was a joy to see the inner workings of a great player's mind as he navigates the game and life.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    What a human being Andre Agassi

    In my opinion Andre Agassi was the best stroke for stroke tennis player that has ever played the game of tennis. As a player and a fan of tennis it was so frustrating to watch Andre play in his youth because his mental game and focus had a lot to be desired. When he finally got his mental game together I believe he was past his prime. I think if his mental game and physical game were together in his peak Andre would have been the best that ever played the game. "Open" gave me an insight of the distractions and hurdles that Andre had to overcome just to be able to play at that level. To be that good at something you hate reveals a lot about a person's character.
    Andre takes you through the journey of his life which gives the reader an understanding of his struggles growing up and the struggles he has throughout his life. It also gave me an understanding of his mental game when he was younger, and how difficult it would have been to be able to concentrate. The choices that he had to make to be the person he is today.
    The gift that Andre gives to perfect strangers is a gift he does not have for himself. It is amazing that a person that only knew tennis growing up understands how important an education is to have. After reading this book I can make this observation: Tennis history will hold Andre as a great tennis player, but his deeds off the court will make him an even better human being.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    Not a fan of tennis but now a fan of Andre

    I know nothing about tennis, but love to read other peoples stories. This book is definately worth the read. I have a whole new respect for Andre Agassi. As far as all the media frenzy about him doing meth, it was a very small part of his life and book. The book is about so much more, I think anyone who has ever done anything for their parents happiness vs. their own will appreciate this book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    Fantastic! I was never an Agassi fan but I loved this book.

    I was never an Agassi fan, as a matter of fact I think tennis on TV is so boring. This book is the best. I was looking for things to put on my Christmas list and I read the reviews on this book and they sounded so good I thought what the heck I would put it on my Christmas list, since none of my favorite authors had anything new out. Wow, I was so glad I did. This is a great book. It was one of those I couldn't put down. I loved the details in it and the irony that Andre ended up so happy and in love with Steffi Graff. I actually felt sorry for him a few times in the book and now understand how hard it is for a kid who has a parent who pushes them into something they don't want. Believe me this is WELL worth the read. You will love it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Grabbed Me at the First Page

    I rarely read autobiographies, and certainly not anything written by a sports figure. This caught my attention when I read that in the book Andre Agassi talks about his hatred for tennis. What?! How could anyone hate something that's made him millions? I started reading. I couldn't stop. From start to finish it was an addictive read. Mr. Agassi writes of a childhood under the domination of a father determined to make him a tennis star, keeping him at practice every day for hours by the time he was seven. The book goes on to detail his rise through the ranks from youthful prodigy to aging star playing (and winning) through incredible pain as his body deteriorates. He battles a period of depression and shaky confidence as he ages. His romantic life is often as checkered as his career, but eventually he finds love with perhaps the only person who could understand his love-hate obsession with tennis - another star player. Stefanie Graf's quiet love and support help him to and through a stunning comeback at an age most tennis players are retiring. So powerful is the prose that it felt as though I were on the court with him through every triumph and every agonizing defeat. This is a fabulous and deeply moving story of a man's journey through the pressure-cooker of high-stakes pro tennis. I highly recommend it - whether you're a tennis fan or not.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Tiger Woods should have befriended Agassi and saved himself some troubles.

    In this day and age when our adored athletes grow up to be immature, self-indulgent adolescents, reading through Open was a relief. It taught me a lesson about raising a son. Rather, how a son raised himself. How he made his choices and protected himself by surrounding himself with people who actually cared about him. How he would consult his friends in search for fatherly advice once he realized his father and mother failed to raise him. How he was loyal to them by hiring them by his side and making them a part of his success. His reluctance to buy into Hollywood's superficiality respectfully displayed in his description of his failed relationship to Brooke Shields. (He was very kind to Brooke Shields as compared to John McEnroe's depiction of his ex-wife Tatum O'Neal and her dad Ryan in his autobiography. Not too respectful of Jimmy Connors though.) Was it his Iranian ancestry that led his quest to self-discovery? I wonder what he knows about his father's heritage. About his mother's? His loyalty to Vegas, to friends, to a restaurant, even to his parents. I wish he would have said more about how his relationship with Barbra Streisand influenced him. Omissions also say a lot about his character. More about his thoughts as a father. I was very disappointed about the sensationalist emphasis the media placed on the very brief admission to using drugs. This book is so much more than that. It is about the choices he made. The choices a famous, wealthy young man has to make. Andre does not need a publicist as the book will sell itself because it is a good life story nicely told. I recommend it to anyone who is raising boys today, to international tennis fans and to my son. Thank you Andre and Stephanie and good luck to you. I for one am hoping for a chapter two... or better yet a movie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Absorbing Read!

    I couldn't put this book down! I thought that his honesty and detail was really refreshing. I played competitive tennis for a lot of my teenage years and saw smaller versions of this with many of the kids I knew. I felt like I was really well introduced to the world of being a world #1 athlete: the hours, the pressure, the struggle, the insecurities. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in sports or elite performance. I've read three books since finishing it and have yet to be as engaged as I was while reading Open. Read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    I loved this book

    Tennis fan or not - Andre Agassi's book is a gripping read. I particularly loved the behind-the-scenes look about the tennis world and professional tennis culture -- i.e. what goes on at the famous nic bolleteri tennis camp, the relationships of the players on tour, etc.
    I was enamored by the story of Andre and Stephie Graf's courtship...so genuine, boy-likes-girl - the nervousness, the first date...good stuff.
    This book made me want to know Andre personally, and true to its title, its open, honest, and so well done.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    Agassi enlightens and inspires in "Open."

    As a tennis fan but more importantly a book fan, I was extremely pleased with this book. Agassi writes about being pulled toward the finish line in a match, and books work the same way. At the end of his career he didn't want it to end, and as the book progressed, I didn't want it to end.

    Tennis fans will enjoy the recounting of Agassi's career from start to finish, seeing how he was forced into the game at a young age, spent many years finding and developing his identity, and then embraced the game and himself in the later stages of his career. Along the way we get interesting snapshots of many people, some famous and others not so famous. Fans of Jimmy Connors and Brooke Shields should proceed with caution, as their flaws are exposed for all to see. What is refreshing about the book, however, is that Agassi is honest and revealing about his own flaws and strengths, and he does try to balance the portraits of others.

    The voice and writing of the book are friendly and engaging, and Agassi comes across as someone I'd love to sit down and talk with over coffee. We learn a number of themes and lessons such as the sometimes frightening power parents have over children, the importance of having a "team" of friends, and the most important idea that we are put on this earth to help others. Agassi sees numerous contradictions in his life and in his relationship with tennis, because he was forced into the game in infancy and never had a choice in his career growing up. Naturally, a resentment, even hate (his word) developed toward the game. Yet as he grows up, he learns that positives can come from negatives, as his skill at the game and earning potential allow him to create a school to help underpriviliged children realize the dream of college.

    We also learn the importance of loyalty as evidenced by Agassi's relationships with his brother, friend Perry, and trainer Gil. And of course, there are romantic elements in the book, culminating with his pursuit, courtship, and "happily ever after" life with Stefanie Graf.

    The one criticism I have of the book is that the last quarter or so seems to move too quickly for my taste. A lot of time is spent on the early years, and understandably so, but when we hit 2002-2006 it seems like each chapter is just galloping through the tennis year, without as much insight or depth into his thoughts. All in all, though, if you grew up with Agassi as I did (we were born in the same year) or simply love tennis and/or a good story, this book will not disappoint. As an English teacher, though it is not fiction I can place it in the coming-of-age and growing up traditions. "Open" it up and you will not regret it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    Great Book!

    I enjoyed this book. Agassi's honesty and humor kept me interested in this book. Excellent example of overcoming adversity to achieve greatness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    An extremely well written and heartfelt self assessment of Agassi's professional career and life engagements with all that surrounded him. We glean a lot about the man via his troubling acceptance of the destiny cast upon him to be a tennis star.

    One of the most engrossing auto-biographies I've ever read. Agassi's story of love and hate for a sport transcends into the wild ride that develops and destroys relationships along the way to stardom as tennis' most shining diamond in the rough.

    His truthful self assessment leaves the reader with a better understanding of his seemingly erratic behavior as a tennis star, friend and companion/lover.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    Great insight into Andre's world

    As a tennis player this was a very interesting read. My heart goes out to this man and what he has lived through in his life. He lived a life that few knew even existed. This is one of the few autobiography's that I have read cover to cover.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely loved it...

    Andre Agassi's career (and life) certainly transcend the game of tennis. While not raised in a tennis environment, I grew to love the game largely watching him. His heart-on-his-sleeve approach and often inconsistent play made him seem more than a celebrity/athlete - as if we really knew this vulnerable, fallible, seemingly tortured guy. But even more, I saw him as comforting contemporary evolving, aging (hair and all), surviving the 80's and 90's together. His autobiography is an engrossing, inspiring page-turner; I read it cover-to-cover in a few days, something I haven't done in decades. Despite the media hype, none of his personal revelations seemed shocking given the life forced upon him. And Connors always did seem like an @#!&%!!! to me. This is a terrific read. Kudos Andre and J. R. Moehringer!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Great read!

    I did not expect this book to be so engaging. I am a fan of tennis, but did not have strong feelings about agassi. His thoughtfulness is impressive and inspiring.

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