Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This year's most valuable player on the All-Star team and a shortstop for the New York Yankees, Jeter would seem to have the perfect life. His skills on the field are stellar, and he's already been compared to some of baseball's most legendary players. Teammates and fans respect and adore him. In this affable volume, Jeter, who says he hopes he can set a good example for young people, shares some of his personal history as he outlines the 10 principles that led to his success. Jeter's life was not always idyllic: his mother is white and his father African-American, and they, along with Jeter and his sister, Sharlee, endured slurs and taunts while growing up. Yet Jeter clearly found a bulwark of affection in his parents, who set high standards for him and refused to let him stint on his academic work even as they wholeheartedly supported his athletic pursuits. (In fact, Jeter and his sister had to sign contracts spelling out the daily chores and other work they were expected to do.) Among the lessons his parents helped Jeter learn: set high goals, don't be afraid to fail, find role models and think before you act. For example, in the chapter "Have a Strong Supporting Cast," Jeter discusses the importance of selecting friends who encourage your ambitions and provide frank criticism of your mistakes; he offers many anecdotes of his own friends, including manager Joe Torre and his high school sweetheart, Marisa Novara. Jeter and Curry, a sports reporter for the New York Times, clearly assume the audience for this book will be teenagers who are looking to emulate Jeter's success. In fact, Jeter's story and his genuine concern with "being the best" and "doing the right thing" should motivate readers of all ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Readers recognize Derek Jeter as the talented Yankee shortstop and popular teenage heartthrob, but they might not have thought him capable of writing such an inspiring book for teens and adults. One of the main messages in this autobiographical/motivational book is that dreams can become realities through working hard, keeping a positive attitude, having strong role models, and using good judgment in potential problem situations (such as those involving parties, drugs, and alcohol). Jeter, who is biracial, shows how his life's lessons can be applied to the reader's life. Jeter's parents had high expectations for their son, who dreamed of being a Yankee since he was a child. He has an astounding respect for his parents, his sister, and his grandparents. He includes his actual eighth-grade report card (all As) as well as a signed contract with his parents showing his year's goals and behavior requirements. A fourteen-year-old friend suggested to this reviewer that this book would be an excellent resource for parents seeking suggestions for raising teens. Derek offers anecdotes about many famous players to illustrate the quality of their characters and the lessons they taught him, a sure treat for sports fans. The book, written with New York Times sports writer Curry, can be repetitious, but it does not hurt to read some thoughts several times. There are many vibrant color photos of Jeter and his family. This book will be an excellent choice for students assigned to read a biography. Jeter's determination and maturity represent all that is best in professional sports today. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined asgrades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Crown, 304p, Photos. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Carol Buchanan VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
With the assistance of New York Times baseball columnist and reporter Curry, New York Yankee shortstop Jeter has written a book outlining ten practical steps, which the athlete used to fulfill his dream of playing baseball in the major leagues. The ten principles, which reflect the author's journey as an athlete, are based on input from family members, whom he credits for his success. These fundamental lessons include hard work, perseverance, respect for authority, finding the best role models, setting high goals, and maintaining a sense of humor. Jeter's personal account of how he ultimately achieved the life he had imagined as a child (including playing in the World Series) offers sound advice for readers of all ages. Complete with numerous photos, this autobiography offers a common-sense approach to setting and reaching your goals. Buy where the demand warrants it.--Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., BC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
I was about eight years old as I walked along our thick carpet, past the pictures of my grandparents on the hallway walls and into my parents' bedroom. I announced that I was going to play for the Yankees. They were already in their pajamas, but they patiently listened to what their skinny son with the wavy brown hair and green eyes had said, and then told me the type of thing I was aching to hear. They told me that I could do anything I wanted in life if I worked hard enough and stayed dedicated to it, which was like offering me season tickets. Forget about lounging in the box seats, because, in my mind, I was heading straight for the dugout. Before I was nine years old.Copyright 2001 by Derek Jeter with Jack Curry
My parents could have gently put me off and told me to go to sleep that night, but instead were receptive to my dream and talked about what it would take to achieve such a difficult goal. They sat me on the edge of the bed and told me that if I was serious about being a professional baseball player, I had to realize I wouldn't just be competing against players from Kalamazoo or from Michigan, but against players from all over the world. Everyone in the Westwood Little League where I played wanted to be a major leaguer, my mother and father emphasized. The competition to be good enough to make it to the majors will be ferocious, they told me. But I didn't blink. I didn't focus on that right away. I had a dream and I was ecstatic, because they didn't say it couldn't be done just that it would be tough to accomplish this goal.
I used to imitate announcers doing play-by-play, with me as the star, of course. "Deep to left," I'd bellow, "and that ball is gone! Jeter has done itagain!" I probably weighed 70 pounds with two rolls of quarters in my pockets when I was eight, so the idea of me hitting a ball 420 feet someday was just a dream. When all of my questions about being a Yankee were exhausted that night, my parents told me it was time to go to sleep. I went to bed, clinging to the blanket and to my dream. My dream remained with me, from the time I was eight until the time I was 18, and it stays with me now. It never left. It got stronger. It kept pushing me to get exactly where I am today.
I think we should all set goals in life and set them high. I did that, and my parents encouraged me to do it, which is one of the main reasons I am where I am today. I had a vision about playing baseball, and my parents used that positive vision to establish guidelines that would enable me to grow as a person while I pursued my dream. From setting high goals to dealing with growing pains, to surrounding myself with trustworthy friends, to understanding that the world can be an unfair place, to obeying and loving my parents, to thinking before I acted, I was learning about life while I was yearning to be a Yankee.
But it all starts with setting goals we all need them. Whether your goal is to play for the Yankees or to win the pie-eating contest at summer camp, goals are what motivate us to do better. My ultimate dream was to play major-league baseball, but I had smaller goals along the way. No matter how elated I was on that night in my parents' bedroom, I wasn't going to be a major leaguer at the age of nine. I chased my dream through smaller goals. Making the Little League All-Star Team, starting on the high school varsity as a freshman, making all-district, making all-state, and so on, until I eventually wound up at shortstop for the Yankees. But, believe me, there were dozens, even hundreds, of small goals that led me to the point where I finally became a Yankee.
We all have to start somewhere. Think about it. What do you love to do? What are you good at? What is something you would like to do for the rest of your life? These are important and serious questions, questions that you might not feel like answering before you graduate from high school. Some people even get to college, or after, and still can't answer them. But you really should think about them as soon as possible, because when you find that interest, that goal that excites you like nothing else, you'll want to open your bedroom window and yell it to anyone with ears: Guess what I'm going to do with my life!
A feeling will envelop you and you'll treat that goal like it is the most important thing in the world, acting the same passionate way I used to act about baseball. No matter who asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them I was going to play baseball and I was going to play for the Yankees. I was so confident in my abilities and so consumed with my dream that I wanted to shout out my intentions.
If you don't set goals, you're not going to have dreams, either. The goals are the achievements along the way to get you to your dreams. Dreams don't just happen, and you're not going to make your pursuit easier by being lazy about it. The longer you wait to decide what you want to do, the more time you're wasting. It's up to you to want to do something so badly that your passion shows in your actions. Your actions, not your words, will do the shouting for you. People will see how devoted and prepared you are as the captain of the debate team, and they might say, "One day, that kid is going to be a great lawyer."
Once you've set goals and pondered what kind of dream you want those goals to lead to, it's extremely helpful to have someone who can support you. It might be your parents, a sibling, a teacher, or a friend, but we all need somebody who is going to be there to prop us up when things aren't going well and to keep us levelheaded when things are going very well. My parents provided this for me.