The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares his eight secrets to finding happiness in the face of a life filled with challenges, difficulties, and career-canceling odds.

With never-been-told, behind-the-scenes stories from the skating world, personal challenges including testicular cancer and a brain tumor, as well as divine miracles, Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares the secrets to his lifelong journey to find the silver (and gold) lining in the ...

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The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable)

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Overview

Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares his eight secrets to finding happiness in the face of a life filled with challenges, difficulties, and career-canceling odds.

With never-been-told, behind-the-scenes stories from the skating world, personal challenges including testicular cancer and a brain tumor, as well as divine miracles, Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares the secrets to his lifelong journey to find the silver (and gold) lining in the clouds of life. His life principles, fashioned into eight secrets that begin with the rote of learning to skate the figure 8, are the keys. Scott says, "Skating taught me how to be happy. I have always kept these eight as my own private, personal secrets that I practiced daily with repetition, focus, and discipline. Now I want to share them with the world."

“For the past twenty seven years Scott Hamilton has been a mentor and good friend. I’ve seen first hand the struggles he has had to endure and how he has continued to persevere with a confident attitude. He lives his life as a champion. Everyone needs the positive message of this greatly inspiring book.”
-- Kristi Yamaguchi
 Olympic Gold Medalist

“I know and love Scotty Hamilton. You will too after you read this book.” 

--William Shatner

 “Scott Hamilton is a champion in more ways than one. In addition to being one the world’s greatest ice skaters, he has mastered adversity and a multitude of challenges. The Great Eight is an inspiration to us all.”

--Donald J. Trump

“Scott's outlook on life continues to influence me in a very positive way, encouraging me to look at challenges in a larger context.  Within the metaphors of his skating career, the wisdom in this book is not only very inspiring and easy to grasp, but surrounded by great story telling.  I'm so glad he recorded it for the rest of us.”  

--Brad Paisley, Grammy Award-winning Artist

“It’s like my bud Scott says…”you can’t just skate through life and expect to be happy!” So anyone choosing not to buy this book is choosing not to be happy.  Shame on you.”  

--Kevin Nealon
Actor, Comedian, Saturday Night Live Alum

 "A gold medal literary performance from a true Olympic star."

Richard D. Lamm, Governor of Colorado

For twenty five years I have been a close friend and business advisor to Scott.  He is an inspiration to all who know him.  I cannot imagine anyone better suited to write on the topic of happiness than Scott Hamilton.  Through a lifetime of facing incredible odds he has learned the secrets to maintaining a positive attitude and can-do spirit.  Spend time in the pages of this book and you will walk away truly inspired.”


Bob Kain
Former CEO, IMG
Current Vice Chairman, Cleveland Browns

“After a myriad of setbacks, Scott speaks eloquently about survival in the face of adversity. This book deserves a ‘ten’ and a ‘Personal Best’ too! Bravo!”

Dick Button, Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Emmy Award-winning skating analyst

“In each successive chapter and challenge in his remarkable life—as Olympic champion, as cancer and brain-tumor survivor, as devoted husband and father and man of faith—Scott Hamilton has forged ahead with unquenchable spirit and uncommon joy, always emerging wiser than before.  This warm and insightful book will allow its readers to experience the blessing I’ve been privileged to enjoy in person: a delightful, practical, bracingly-honest conversation with one of our national treasures.”

 Ken Durham, Ph.D., Senior Minister, The University Church of Christ at Pepperdine University

 

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418573300
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 654,538
  • File size: 478 KB

Meet the Author

Scott Hamilton is the 1984 Winter Olympics Gold medal men's figure skater, four-time World Champion, and four-time United States Champion who went on to become a producer, performer, broadcaster, author, actor, and spokesperson for cancer research. But Scott is also a survivor and optimist extraordinare. He and his wife Tracie are blessed with two beautiful boys, Aidan and miracle Maxx.

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Read an Excerpt

The Great Eight

How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to Be Miserable)


By Scott Hamilton, Ken Baker

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 Scott Hamilton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4185-7330-0



CHAPTER 1

Fall, Get Up, and Land Your First Jumps


The first time I ever skated, I fell flat on my back. As a matter of fact, the same could be said for the start of just about everything I have tried to do in my life: I fall down.

Whether learning to skate, to love, to succeed in business, or more recently, to play the drums, I have a good track record of making a total fool out of myself. But I've never let a losing start discourage me from trying to have a winning finish. It just takes committing to the task and being willing to fall down—a lot.

Of all the things I have tried in my life, skating is the best example of the happiness I have found after sticking to something, even when the beginning was a profound disaster.

Anyone who claims to have been a "born skater" is either lying or a one-in-a-million exception who, frankly, I have yet to meet. And I've met a lot of skaters! The simple truth is that the first time we step on the ice, we all end up on our backsides, not to mention in some level of pain.


A Slippery Start

My introduction to skating came on a frozen driveway across the street from my childhood home in Bowling Green, Ohio. I was four years old, and it was the dead of winter in northern Ohio. There's not much for a kid to do in that part of the country during the winter. The frozen driveways in our neighborhood provided the only semblance of a playground for kids.

My neighbors across the street had the smoothest sheet of ice on their driveway. My parents, wanting me to get out of the house for a little while, bundled me up in a warm jacket, mittens, a wool hat, and a tiny pair of skates with double runners—the skating equivalent of training wheels. My parents figured I would have fun and, since the blades (two on each skate) were so wide, even a fragile and sickly child like me couldn't do much harm to himself.

Well, they were wrong. After watching other kids cruise around the driveway with ease, I figured, Hey, I can do that! So my parents stood me up on the ice, let go of me, and I eagerly set off for my first skating experience. After a few moments of tentative skating, I fell backward!

My skates went out from under me, whipping my body back violently. I toppled backward, crashed onto my upper back, and then the back of my head landed—smack!—onto the concrete-hard ice like a dropped bowling ball.

I burst into tears, absolutely howling. I just wanted my mommy to take me home. I cried and cried and cried. Forty-five years later, I can still remember being that little kid and bawling my eyes out. Safe to say, I never wanted to get back on the ice. And according to my parents, I vowed to never, ever put those stupid skates on my feet again!

A violent spill like that would be traumatic enough for any kid, but the inglorious launch of my skating career was especially scary because, up until that time in my life, I had already experienced a lifetime's worth of physical and emotional trauma. In fact, I had been falling down in life for as long as I could remember.


Fighting for Life

As a child, I suffered through what can only be described as a mystery illness that prevented me from digesting my food normally and, ultimately, kept me from growing. My doctors in Bowling Green couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. No matter what remedies they offered, I only got worse. I wasn't eating, wasn't growing, and my strength was weakening every day. Because I was adopted and had no medical history provided by my birth parents, the doctors didn't have any genetic clues to my mystery malady.

Most of my childhood memories are a blur of undergoing medical tests, spending nights in hospitals, swallowing foul-tasting medicines, and being driven to hospitals all over the country by my mom in search of a cure for my illness. When the doctors in Bowling Green couldn't help me, my mom took me to the medical center in nearby Toledo. When they didn't know what to make of me, I was taken to the children's hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where my parents were told the best doctors certainly would be able to cure me. After spending several days giving me tests, exams, feeding me through a tube, you name it, the physicians and medical staff there came to a conclusion: they had no clue what was causing my problems. The best they could find was that I was suffering from malabsorption syndrome, meaning that rather than digesting my food, my body would reject it and get rid of it as fast as possible.

I was almost nine by then, and I had not grown since I was about four and a half years old. I was half the height of my peers and was very underdeveloped muscularly. Pale and weak, I also had a distended stomach because I was malnourished from not being able to absorb nutrients into my body.

Most embarrassing of all, I had a feeding tube in my nose. My parents had to feed me a liquid mixture of vitamins, but because it tasted so chalky, the only way to get me to take it was through a feeding tube. The supplements tasted so gross that I would go to the toilet and gag after eating them. Sometimes I would run to the bathroom and secretly spit them out in the sink so I wouldn't have to put that horrible-tasting stuff in my body. So the only way my parents could make sure that these vitamins and supplements went into my body was to hook up a bottle of this junk to a tube that went up my nose, down my esophagus, and directly into my stomach. That was how they fed it to me. As you can imagine, it was not a pleasant experience, though I realized that the tube was enabling me to stay alive.

A few of the dozens of doctors my parents consulted suggested I suffered from extreme food allergies (I had to run to the bathroom minutes after eating almost anything), so my parents put me on a very restricted diet of no wheat, no flour, no sugar, no dairy. Yet my condition was only getting worse. My parents feared they were running out of time.

The top doctor at Ann Arbor's University Hospital concluded, "If things don't change soon, I don't think he will survive much longer." Now that I have two precious children of my own, I can't imagine how horrible it was for my parents to hear that grim diagnosis.

However, one of the many characteristics I learned from my parents was a never-take-no-for-an-answer attitude. Lucky for me, they decided they'd had enough of hospitals with no answers. Rather than accept my morbid fate, they were determined to reverse it.

That's when we went to Children's Hospital Boston, where a well-respected doctor named Harry Shwachman had done a lot of research on children who had trouble digesting food and experienced stunted growth. He had even named the illness Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. Of course, no parent wants his or her child to be diagnosed with any disease, but in my case, my mom and dad were hoping that Dr. Shwachman would diagnose me so that, perhaps, I could start getting proper treatment.

In Boston, Dr. Shwachman put me through every test you could imagine. He concluded that I didn't have Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, I didn't have cystic fibrosis (which I had previously been diagnosed with by another doctor), and I also didn't have any of the myriad of diseases that various doctors suspected I was suffering from.

He told my parents, "I can't find what's causing this, so let's just go under the assumption that we're overtreating and panicking." The doctor's counterintuitive approach made sense to my parents, who had grown frustrated by getting nothing out of trying everything in the book!

Dr. Shwachman suggested, "Go home. Take him off the restricted diet. Help him live a normal life, and see what happens. We have nothing to lose."

By that point, my parents were exhausted from all the traveling, medical care, sleeping in hospitals, restricted diets, and everything else. Now that I am a parent, I cannot imagine the fear, anxiety, helplessness, and heartbreak my parents endured watching me suffer every day.

Back home in Bowling Green, my parents tried to follow Dr. Shwachman's prescription to let me live and eat like a normal kid ... and see what happens. Our family physician, Dr. Andrew Klepner, knowing my mom and dad were near exhaustion, said, "Look, to give you guys the morning off once a week, why don't you send Scotty skating with my kids?" It was November 1967, and a new skating rink at Bowling Green State University had just opened. Dr. Klepner's daughters, Pam and Sandy, had just started a kids' skating class on Saturday mornings.

My parents, as much as they loved me and as much as they wanted me to get well, could not restore my health. They knew that if I had even the slightest chance at overcoming my illness, at saving my life, it was a fight I would have to win by myself, for myself. It was a hard lesson, a profound lesson, but ultimately the one that turned my life around.


A Miracle Cure?

Given my painful introduction to skating on the neighbor's driveway, my parents and I were—safe to say—reluctant to take up his offer. But Dr. Klepner insisted, "He'll be fine. It's just skating, let him just learn how to do something and interact with other kids."

So that's what I did. I showed up, tube dangling out of my nose. The other kids, of course, said, "Eww!" upon seeing my plastic feeding tube snaking out of my nostril. Even so, skating turned out to be a lot more fun than it was four years earlier, when I fell backward, hit my head on the driveway, and insisted that I would never skate again. In fact, I soon discovered that skating was something I could do as well as the other kids.

At the time, other kids would pick me last for everything. I was always the smallest and weakest kid in class. I was different because I couldn't eat with the other kids because of my restricted diet. I wasn't allowed to have birthday cake or ice cream. I wasn't even allowed to have milk in my lunch box. I was just different. But I didn't like being different. So when I started skating, I liked it a lot because it was something I could do with other kids and also something I could do at my own pace. I could take as many chances as I wanted without some other guy inflicting his overpowering strength or athleticism on me. I tested myself and found that I really enjoyed it.

My parents kept me in it. I grew stronger. My stomach settled down and my lungs, which had been filled with phlegm, began to clear up. My overall fitness level improved, and I felt stronger. Within a few months, my feeding tube was even taken out!

The moist, cool air of the rink seemed to soothe my lungs, and my physical symptoms gradually started to dissipate. My parents felt they'd found a miracle cure.

I even started growing again, and it was amazing. The difference was night and day. My mom would say, "Oh, look how big you are growing! Your legs are getting so long!" And I'd say, "Oh, Mom, cut it out. That's so embarrassing." But I loved being fussed over. I loved how freeing it was to be on the ice, knowing that I was getting better and better. I loved knowing that I could finally do something as well as the other kids.

I kept going to skating lessons every Saturday, and soon the coach told my parents that I was good enough to start taking private lessons. It was a new feeling, participating in a physical activity that I wasn't losing in a competition to someone bigger, stronger, or faster than I was. It was just me and the ice. Me testing myself and learning at my own pace, seeing what I could do. And time just flew.

It was great to have a focus, a repetition, a challenge. Hang on the wall; step away from the wall; hang on the wall; step away from the wall. I wanted to learn how to skate forward, how to stop, how not to fall down, how to skate backward. The repetition took my mind off my problems, and for the first time in my life, I felt happy. Everyone has the potential to find something they enjoy as much as I loved to skate, and if they do, it can transform their lives.

During those Saturday lessons while I was learning the fundamental skills of skating, the coaches made it fun. If I started to get bored or bumped my knee, they would try to make me laugh. I loved getting that extra attention.

Another thing I liked about skating was the girls. There was a pretty girl named Tammy Edwards who was involved in the program, and I really liked her. One time I fell and almost completely knocked myself out, but instead of quitting and running away in tears, I got back up on the ice again because I didn't want to cry in front of her. In that way, skating helped me learn how to deal with my mistakes in a responsible way. And something about simply going to the rink day after day helped me eventually overcome my fear of falling.

There was the play aspect of skating, which was really enjoyable. You would play tag, or you would see who could do this jump or do that turn. And then there was the competitive aspect of skating where you could try to do it better than everybody else.

All of the things that brought me to skating and kept me coming back for more—the things about skating that made me happy—are the same types of things that can make you happy in your own interests or hobbies. Think about it: why do you do that hobby or sport or activity? Chances are, the simple pleasure of the activity itself helps you reach that healthy place of happiness. As we get older, we perceive some things as more complicated than they really are. Even today, I am training to get myself back into good enough shape to perform again. Some days I feel like there's no way I can get my fifty-year-old body to do all the spins and jumps I did when I was young. But when I start seeing the glass half empty, I step back and realize it's just skating. I've done this before. My body remembers how to do everything; I just have to not let my mind get in the way. Sure, my body is less flexible, and my jumps aren't going to be quite as high, but because of my years of experience, skating is not overwhelming for me.


Learning How to Get Up

I think back to my first days of going to the skating rink. It was so simple back then: all I had to worry about was not falling down. And I got better at it with each session. But it all started with the simple act of going to the rink, day after day.

In skating, the first thing you learn is how to get up from a fall. Trust me, you will fall. It's as certain a fact as it will be freezing in northern Ohio in February. Coaches teach you how to get up: first, push up on all fours like a dog, then kneel on one leg and push yourself up with your hands to standing. It's not that hard. In fact, it is easier to get up than it is to skate. So why fear falling?

It saddens me that a lot of people don't try new things because they're afraid of falling, whether literally or figuratively. It's a shame. As long as you know how to get up, you have nothing to worry about. It doesn't matter what the challenge is—athletics, business, romance, health, academics, the arts—the rule for getting up is the same: you just get up!

Then, once you learn to move forward, skating coaches teach you how to wiggle your hips and move faster. It's a slow process, but as you learn, your body gets used to this movement over the ice. Once you're able to stand up, move forward, move backward, glide a little bit, and stop, now it's time for your blades to leave the ice—little bunny hops, toe spins, pivots, and other tricks.

For a lot of my friends, skating was one of many sports they participated in, along with soccer, kickball, baseball, clarinet lessons, and other activities. They would skate for a while and then move on to other sports. But I was too sick to participate in most sports and activities. Skating was the be-all and end-all for me. It was something I wanted to stick with for a long time. I was growing taller and getting healthier. And for the first time, I had self-esteem.

Hundreds of kids all over America enroll in the kind of skating clinics I started in, but within a few years, participation dwindles. Often, after a few painful failures, kids move on to something else. The skaters who stick it out are the ones who get the double jumps, and the ones who stick it out through the doubles get the double axels and then the triples. The ones who become triple jumpers are the ones who compete at the higher levels and really get a lot of personal satisfaction out of the sport.

Usually there's some pain involved. Perhaps the skaters took a big fall and don't want to do it again. Or they think skating is too difficult and convince themselves that they will never get good at it, deciding they would rather be doing something else. Fear of falling, fear of failing—fear rears its ugly head at some point in any champion's life. Certainly, if you want to be a champion of happiness in your life, you will face some obstacles. But as actress Dorothy Bernard once said, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton, Ken Baker. Copyright © 2008 Scott Hamilton. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

An Optimist's Introduction, xi,
Chapter One: Fall, Get Up, and Land Your First Jumps, 1,
Chapter Two: Trust Your Almighty Coach, 21,
Chapter Three: Make Your Losses Your Wins, 51,
Chapter Four: Keep the Ice Clear, 67,
Chapter Five: Think Positive, Laugh, and Smile Like Kristi Yamaguchi, 91,
Chapter Six: Win by Going Last, 121,
Chapter Seven: Learn a New Routine, 139,
Chapter Eight: Stand in the Spotlight, 163,
Acknowledgments, 179,
About the Author, 181,

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    Being Strong in the Broken Places

    This is an amazing story of a person mainly known to us for success and fame in the world of ice-skating. Few of us know of the many struggles that the author of this autobiography and inspirational book had to face from childhood on. From a serious and mysterious childhood illness to battling cancer twice in adulthood, we are made aware of ways of coping and conquering that can be truly helpful in any difficult circumstance. Especially encouraging is the fact that even someone successful and famous has had to deal with seemingly overwhelming challenges that we often mistakenly think only affect the common person.

    I gave it as a gift to a friend having two months of highly technical proton therapy for a very rare form of brain tumor. This book surely gives hope to persevere over the long haul.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 25, 2009

    Scott's Great Eight

    I recently read a book entitled "The Great Eight -How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason To Be Miserable)" by Scott Hamilton. As a gold medal Olympian figure skater, Hamilton opens up in this book to share his eight happiness-producing secrets.
    Scott Hamilton shares many stories and experiences from his own life in the book, which makes it much more enjoyable to read. As a young boy, Hamilton was adopted. He suffered from illness after illness, leaving both him and his parents to wonder what would become of his little life. After a time, Scott discovered that he loved to ice skate. Miraculously, the more he skated, the better off he became. His health improved along with his skating skills. The book is full of insider information about his formative years of skating and competition up into adulthood, when he suffered with testicular cancer and a terrible brain tumor.
    This book is funny and witty at times, but also moving and terribly sad as you experience some of the joys and pain this Olympian has experienced in his lifetime.A gander through The Great Eight gives the reader a fresh outlook on life and a greater understanding of the man named Scott Hamilton.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 21, 2009

    Skating circles of eight

    This is a book about the love of finding something that moves your spirit and soul.
    It is not a biography of one mans awesome skating career but of one man finding his true career and having that make him whole.
    Scott Hamilton is one great man, not just due to the fact that he has won many medals, entertained and inspired generations to take the ice and then overcome personal battles of cancer. He now has taken the time to write this down and explain to us all how he managed to survive with grace.
    I truly felt inspired by this book to do better in my own life.
    I found the middle few chapters harder to read as they made me very emotional.
    A good read for anyone that loves ice skating and over coming life's challenges.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What a Guy - Love His Attitude

    Scott Hamilton is an Olympic Gold Metal winner, and amazing skater. Life looked like it had been easy for him. Not! I loved how gut level honest he is in this book and was surprised at all the challenges he had overcome. We can survive hard times or thrive in them. He reminded me the only thing you can count on is CHANGE in this life. If we had NO change in life, there would be NO hope. Without hope we can't thrive-we'd just survive. God didn't intend for us to merely survive this life; He gives us the ultimate "hope" so we can bloom and grow in any situation. The choice is ours.

    Scott found God to be his ultimate life coach. God is his biggest cheerleader. He unexpectedly found happiness and healing in skating. It was so fascinating to read how he started skating and how that dramatically changed his life forever. I loved when Scott said, "There is always going to be suffering. Its how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it that will define you." He talks about falling down in skating, falls he made in life and about picking himself back up again. His insight into this was profound.

    "All challenges are really just opportunities to learn more about yourself, to reach a greater understanding of self, of your mortality, and to be happy with that balance." Scott shows how God's ways are not our ways, but how we have everything to do with our attitude and how we deal with the changes that come our way. Scott says,"I strongly believe that the only disability in life is a bad attitude." Amen!

    Scott shares stories of his wins, life's struggles, marriage, children and overcoming cancer and a brain tumor. I have so much respect for this man. He can smile and laugh at the face of a challenge. He says he?s been told ,"I was too short, too bald, and too goofy to win a gold medal." He used humor in his skating skits and in life to help deal with the hard times. I really needed to read this book. Scott is inspirational, funny, hopeful and honest. It's a breath of fresh air. You'll smile as you discover treasures you can apply to your life which will help you achieve the balance and the happiness God wants for you. I highly recommend this book.

    www.psalm516.blogspot.com

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Great Eight

    The Great Eight How to be Happy
    (even when you have every reason to be miserable)
    Scott Hamilton with Ken Baker
    2008
    Thomas Nelson
    Non-Fiction/Self-Help/Personal Growth/Happiness

    Reviewed by Cindy Loven

    The Great Eight is a book of a journey, a journey to happiness, but ultimately a journey to God, the Almighty Coach as Scott calls Him. A sickly child, to the point of death, not growing and developing, in and out of hospitals, with no diagnosis, and sent home to just be, Scott was re-introduced to skating, and it became a 'cure' for his illnesses.
    This book will take you through Scott's life as he searches for the right coaches in his career, as he searches for answers to his problems and as he battles illnesses and as he finds happiness. It is a journey of life that Scott takes, bringing him to the conclusion that happiness is unique to you, that nothing can match the happiness of doing something you love. Also you will find out that coincidences are just God scheduled opportunities, and learning to accept that will brighten your outlook and infuse you with a greater sense or purpose, direction and confidence.
    This was a wonderful story of Scott's life and discovery, I did find it a bit confusing, in how he often jumped from his early years of training, to his later years of illnesses, but all in all it was a great book and I give it a 4 star rating. 183 pages $24.99 US

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2009

    It was interesting at least

    Ok Honestly, I thought The Great Eight was not so great. Not bad mind you, but not great. It was chock full of personal stories about Scott Hamilton, most of which I found interesting. All of which were at least somewhat relevant to the point he was trying to make in any given chapter. The basic of the book is how to be happy. And Scott says that there are 8 rules to live by that will put you in place to be happy regardless of the circumstances. Who wouldn't want to know that right?! The great 8 are derived from lessons he learned while learning to skate and through difficult times during his life. They are:
    1)Fall, get up and land your first jumps
    2)Trust your Almighty Coach
    3)Make your losses your wins
    4)Keep the ice clear
    5)Think positive
    6)Win by going last
    7)Learn a new routine
    8)Stand in the spotlight and do your best.

    All of these are very good principles to live by and ones that I think are valuable for people to learn. Scott Hamilton is a phenomenal skater and a very courageous person and you really get to see that come through I thought that it seemed like he was trying too hard to be a writer, which he isn't. All in all there were some really great lessons to be learned from reading this book, though I wouldn't suggest it all in one reading. This is one of those "digestible" books. And I wouldn't expect a gripping read or a masterpiece.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    I'd give it a bronze

    My latest choice from Thomas Nelson was Scott Hamilton's The Great Eight: How to be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason Not to Be)

    I've grown up watching figure skating. Despite thinking I knew a lot about the affable Scotty Hamilton, I actually knew very little about him. I thoroughly enjoyed learning that he was adopted, that ice skating was the cure to a mysterious childhood illness, and all the ins and outs of the skating world.

    Each point on how to be happy is tied into ice skating. Although I am not a skater at all, I was able to understand each point and the allusion to the skating world thanks to Scott's clear elucidation and explanation of skating terminology.

    Scott has no problem poking fun or laughing at himself, which makes his book a lot more transparent than I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed laughing through reading about his experience with Will Ferrell while taping "Blades of Glory", where Scott played his announcer self.

    Although there were no startling revelations or secret keys to becoming happy revealed in the book, I definitely enjoyed Scott's easy-to-read and very uplifting book on happiness. Anyone who has enjoyed watching or participating in ice skating in any way, shape, or form would appreciate receiving or reading this book.

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

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    Skating Through Life

    I grew up watching Scott Hamilton skate, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review his new book, "The Great Eight," co-written by Ken Baker, and published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

    In the book, Scott uses skating as a metaphor for life, and makes eight points that help us understand his optimistic outlook. In fact, the subtitle of the book is: "How To Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable)."

    Scott has lived an amazing life as an Olympic gold medalist and professional skater, but like the rest of us, he has faced his share of difficulty, including cancer and a brain tumor. The book gives us a biographical look at his life, but moves past that to share what he has learned through the challenges of life.

    In spite of his bouts with life-threatening illness, Scott maintains that "...the only disability in life is a bad attitude." With authenticity and self-deprecating humor, he challenges the reader to rise above difficulty by addressing topics such as: commitment, faith in God, being content, turning losses into wins, honesty in relationships, forgiving yourself, not taking yourself too seriously, putting others first, learning from others' mistakes, and embracing change.

    I loved this book, and found it very helpful on a personal level, as a reminder of how a positive outlook can help anybody. Since the book is not organized chronologically, it can be a bit disorienting at times, but the book is well worth the read.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    Scott Hamilton-Inspiring as always

    What young girl of the 80's didn't dream of growing up and ice skating with the likes of Scott Hamilton and Katerina Witt? His book shows us incredibly talented figure skaters search for happiness just as you and I do. Scott struggled with depression, guilt, trying to be perfect, cancer, loss and so much more-just like you and I.

    As you read this book, you feel as if Scott is in the room with you, just having a conversation. He brings many analogies from the skating world into Christianity, even calling God, his "Almighty Coach". He also talks about the disappointments and trials in his life. Scott tells us in looking back, he sees how God was in control of his life all along.

    The subtitle to the book is "How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable). Did you know that for most of Scott's childhood hospital visits, medical tests, and foul-tasting medicines were the norm? A simple suggestion by the family doctor led him to skating lessons where he grew healthy and strong. Scott has battled cancer twice. He did not let the trauma of surgery, chemo, or radiation crush his spirit. As he faced death by cancer again, he focused not on living to win, but on living to not lose! What a good lesson for us.

    Scott was born on August 28, 1958 and he has always considered "8" his lucky number. How ironic that it was his figure eights that really won him the gold medal in 1984! He says, "It takes years of dedication and practice for a skater to create a perfect figure eight, and it's no different in one's pursuit of happiness." Today people think we have to work more, make more money, live in a big house to be happy. Scott shows that happiness is more than what you own.

    His eight rules for being happy are the eight chapters of the book. "Fall, Get Up, and Land Your First Jumps", "Trust Your Almighty Coach", "Make Your Losses Your Wins", "Keep the Ice Clear", "Think Positive, Laugh, and Smile like Kristi Yamaguchi", "Win by Going Last", "Learn a New Routine", and "Stand in the Spotlight". Each one was filled with anecdotes and lessons learned. The chapters show how he dealt with and conquered his problems.

    If you have ever watched Scott Hamilton perform his trademark backflip on the ice, if you have ever enjoyed his sports commentaries during the Olympics, or just loved watched him skate to crazy routines, you will enjoy this book. If you just need a pick-me-up from someone who has been where you are, you will enjoy this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

    A Must Read....

    I love to read and when I had the opportunity to read such an inspirational book, I couldn't pass it up.

    As you all know who Scott Hamilton is - beloved Olympic skater who suffered through testicular cancer and a brain tumor - he has a story to tell and it's not just his battle with these devastating illnesses, but how his faith, his profession and these experiences have given him peace...happiness.

    He wrote this book in a sit-down-and-chat-with-you kind of way and to me, this is the best way of hearing his story...

    On the cover of this book it says: "How to be happy even when you have every reason to be miserable." He has found his own way to happiness and put it down in such a way as not to be a guru or teacher, but through stories of his career and how what he learned from skating was his inspiration for overcoming life obstacles, of maintaining healthy relationships, and how to live a life of happiness.

    In his story, you find he had suffered through the horribleness of testicular cancer first. When it seemed he was illness free, he resumed 'living his life' sans cancer, which he believed was his comeback, and even wrote a memoir of his life to this point in 1999. Devastation struck him again in 2004 - a brain tumor.

    Through his highs and lows, he developed The Great Eight outlining what he found to be his fundamental secrets to being happy and wrote this book in hopes that these eight will be ours as well.

    His story can be an inspiration to all. Even when things are going bad, or you are in a down time of life, happiness can still be found.

    The key to all our success and happiness is to trust our Almighty Coach, Jesus Christ. Scott had to trust his coach's judgment, and instruction. He could not have succeeded on his own.

    The best part of this book is his honesty. He isn't out to gain a buck off his trials and successes. He's telling his story and sharing it in hopes to inspire others - plain and simple.

    I highly recommend this book for yourself or as a gift. It's uplifting, encouraging, sometimes devastating and sad, but most of all, it's a wonderful nonfiction that anyone - in good times or bad - can connect with one way or another.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Skating Your Way To Happiness

    Scott Hamilton, one of the greatest male figure skaters of our generation, has written a book that documents his pursuits of life, struggle, triumph, and dreams. In The Great Eight, you find yourself finding out the magic formula for how Scott maintains his happy persona.

    He offers eight great pieces of advice to help anyone pursue a life of happiness. Happiness is a state of mind - one that has brought him full circle in his pursuits of excellence. He battled on the ice, off the ice, and learned how to adapt and grow with the help of key mentors in his life.

    Scott states "Happiness is a fundamental, spiritual commitment to dedicating yourself to the things in life that bring you the most joy. That is why a lot of relationships fail: people forget they are committed" (p.18). He details his commitment to his marriage, his life-long passion of skating (which almost did not happen), the sacrifice that his parents and mentors made on his behalf, the triumph over his cancer, and most importantly his passion for his Lord. Scott's happiness is rooted in every experience he has gone through and this book is a living, breathing testament to his success and commitment, it is a must read.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Entertaining but not life-changing

    I remember seeing figure-skater Scott Hamilton years ago at the Colorado Springs World arena. I was in awe that a few rows in front of me sat a world-class skater. Anyone who is older than 30, will remember the attention Scott brought to the sport.



    So when I chose my next book from Thomas Nelson Publishing, it was Scott's that I chose.

    I blazed through The Great Eight in just a couple hours. The book was exactly as I predicted it would be: a pleasant read, but not earth shattering in its ability to change me.

    The subtitle of the book is How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable). Scott offers eight smashing ways to find happiness. And he ought to know considering he suffered from a mysterious childhood illness, testicular cancer, a brain tumor, and the rollercoaster of fame, in addition to balding (that last mention is meant to be funny).


    I barely remember the eight points that bring about happiness - one was smile like Kristi Yamaguchi - but I still enjoyed the book. I love reading stories of people's personal journeys, and I always wonder when people find their way to God. That's what makes the book a delight.


    Scott shares the ups and downs of his skating career, how he found love, and the heroes in his own life. Scott's point of view is often very humorous; he's learned how to laugh at himself. I would definitely recommend reading it.

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  • Posted March 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Great Eight

    What I remember best about Scott Hamilton was every time he finished a performance he left the ice with such a huge smile covering his face, I couldn't help but grin back at the television screen. It's fitting that he's written a book about achieving happiness.

    The Great Eight covers eight principles to overcoming adversity. Scott Hamilton parallels this strategy with his own experiences on and off the ice. These experiences include his journey into professional skating, his struggle with disease, dealing with loss, relationships, and finding faith. The book is inspiring, insightful, and best of all, humorous. (The chapter on humor was my favorite).

    The style of the book is a bit of a contradiction in that it covers Scott's strategy using the bullet point method, yet rambles on a bit as Scott applies his personal experiences to each topic. It's an enjoyable read though, and since I'm a yakker who enjoys exploring word tangents, I found this to be fun approach to serious subject.

    I highly recommend, The Great Eight.

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  • Posted March 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable book

    I remember watching Scott Hamilton skate on television in my younger years. I looked forward to reading his new book The Great Eight How to be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable) from Thomas Nelson Publishers.
    The Great Eight has eight chapters, each focusing on a different tip for happiness in life. Scott Hamilton applies lessons he's learned on the ice to other aspects of his life and encourages readers to do the same. These tips can be applied to relationships, financial struggles, health issues, job situations, etc.
    Hamilton is known as an Olympic gold medal world champion figure skater. He has experience in practicing these tips for happiness while he's battled both cancer and a brain tumor in recent years. Through facing some rough times, he has remained optimistic in his outlook. By following his example with these eight tips the reader can be optimistic too. These tips include putting others first, letting go of grudges, trusting God, and turning losses into wins.
    Here is a line that stuck out to me: "Every stage of life has something different to offer...But you've got to let go of your twenties to enjoy your thirties, to let go of your thirties to be satisfied in your forties.." We face changes in life and need to learn to accept changes instead of trying to hold on to how things used to be.
    At first it was hard at first for me to get into this book. Parts of it didn't seem to flow well to me as I was reading. Overall, I did enjoy this book though.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Nuggets, nuggets, nuggets!!!

    Nuggets, nuggets, nuggets. Reading The Great Eight is like panning for gold and getting fourteen karat nugget after nugget. Each page has a piece of gold to carry away and enlist as a life lesson.

    Scott Hamilton, the world famous figure skater, shares his life stories as evidence of the importance of leading a positive life. He's battled cancer not once but twice and still believes in the value of living with a positive attitude.

    The Great Eight are Hamilton's eight principles for leading a happy life, when you have every reason to be miserable. He talks about the importance of falling and getting back up, trusting God in every situation, turning negative situations into positive ones, communicating with others and making your feelings known, thinking positive, laughing, and smiling, putting others first before yourself, not being afraid of the unknown and learning a new routine, and finally learning to stand in the spotlight.

    These eight have a lot of similarities to Cury's Think and Make It Happen. The difference is that Hamilton has lived the life and doesn't feel the need to convince you that he knows what he is talking about. Anyone who has seen the man perform or even interviewed can see he lives what he is writing about. That being said, it was so refreshing when in the last chapter Hamilton admitted that he too finds it difficult to live a happy life and focus on the positive. As he shared his own disappointment, I felt renewed in my own quest to live a happy and positive life.

    Hamilton is honest, open, and inspiring. His Great Eight are within grasp of any person who sets their sights on living a happy life, even when they have every reason to be miserable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2009

    The Great Eight - Book Review

    I recently had the opportunity to read the book: The Great Eight, by Scott Hamilton.

    Though one might believe this Olympic gold medalist ice skater experienced nothing but fame and fortune, this book reveals an entirely different side to Scott. He is portrayed as vulnerable, being faced with difficulties and illness from an early age. Furthermore, he faces numerous challenges over the years, as well as multiple battles with cancer. However, despite the trials and tragedies that confront him, Scott learned to make the daily conscious choice to be happy.

    Throughout this book, Scott shares what he refers to as "his secrets of how to be happy, even when you have every reason to be miserable". He encourages readers to surround themselves with positive, happy friends and to find reasons to smile each day. He also suggests you focus on potential future successes rather than dwelling on past failures.

    All in all, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book to others due to the repetition and lack of substance. However, the book was an easy read, and one that will give you a quick lift if you're in need of a boost.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Happiness Is Your Responsibility

    Scott Hamilton (with Ken Baker) shares his story of working his way to the top of the skating profession only to discover that fame and wealth do not bring happiness. Through triumph and tragedy, Scott learned eight principles that helped him take hold of the happiness that eluded him and shares them with his readers.<BR/><BR/>With stories from his professional and personal life, Scott takes his readers on a journey to discover what his love for skating taught him about happiness. "Skating taught me how to be happy. I have always kept these eight as my own private, personal secrets that I practiced daily with repetition, focus, and discipline. Now I want to share them with the world."<BR/><BR/>The Great Eight is not a book full of theories, but comes from a life of practice and discipline. It is a revealing look into the life of a man who has made the choice to choose happiness over bitterness and regret. From learning to truly trust God to standing in the spotlight, Scott speaks to men and women of every profession. If you are ready for the challenge of being happy, get this book and put The Great Eight into practice in your own life.

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  • Posted February 11, 2009

    Great Eight=Great Read

    Famous figure skater Scott Hamilton's book The Great Eight: How to be Happy Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable is a quick and inspiring read. I finished it in one afternoon. The book outlines his 8 ways of thinking and acting that will help produce happiness in life even when circumstances are bad. I love the stories from his life experiences that are sprinkled throughout the book. I also love his clear story of becoming a Christian within the past decade. I can tell that he has a love for God that moves him to action and service. As I read, I found him to be very likable, honest, sincere, smart, wise, and encouraging. I even teared up a couple of times when reading some of his touching stories about beating cancer. He does a lot of motivational speaking engagements and that comes across in the pages of the book. He is good at talking to people and encouraging people. My only gripe, and it is sort of small, is that I wish he had used the word joy instead of happiness. I think our culture is too hung up on happiness and that God doesn't necessarily promise us happiness, but we can have joy even in sorrow and difficulty. I really think this was the message of the book, but I was hung up on the word happiness which doesn't speak the same way to me as joy. It's a good read and made me think about my reactions to circumstances in my life and how I might deal with those things better.

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  • Posted February 8, 2009

    Well done

    I have a love/hate relationship with celebrity self-help books and with lists of great ways to transform your life. I opted for this book because it promised to share more about Scott Hamilton's life and the world of skating. I must admit, every 4 years I become a huge fan of ice skating. I also love to see what works for other people and wonder how they take the mess that is real life and get it to fit into a nice little round number like 8.<BR/><BR/>In the introduction, as he is describing his brain cancer diagnosis and treatment, he describes the lesson he quickly learned this way: "Facing death yet again, I realized I was no longer living to win. Rather, I was living to not lose." (p xix) The rest of the book is this same practical and honest voice. He presents good advice, with good examples of how he learned the lesson and why each is an important step in being happy. He doesn't mean a sappy, gooey happy. He aims for a real contentment and joy in life. His Christian message is present and incorporated in a very meaningful way. This is not a gospel tract, but a real story about real life and what has been important in his journey.<BR/><BR/>I enjoyed this book. It was great way to learn more about the man and his world view. It was also a good Christian book discussing some practical points for working on ourselves to be happy, while not ignoring the fact that a faith in God is a requirement.

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  • Posted February 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Almighty Coach

    Scott Hamilton's favorite number is eight. Eight has played an important part of his entire life. First as his birthdate: 8-28-58; then as a figure skater, he had to learn discipline and control to perfectly skate a figure eight; and now he uses eight as part of the title in his biography which has eight principles for a happy life.<BR/><BR/>Scott contends that "even when you have every reason to be miserable," you can be happy. After spending a good bit of his childhood as a sickly boy, Scott discovered that ice skating made him feel free. He calls God his Almighty Coach, and he gives credit to Christ for the ability to find happiness in spite of suffering. Scott suffered from testicular cancer and then from a brain tumor. He cites many other examples in his life that would pull some people down into the depths of despair, but because of his take in life, Scott Hamilton remains a happy man.<BR/><BR/>This is an interesting book to read about an interesting celebrity. I recommend it.

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