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Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself

Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself

4.5 24
by Austin Gutwein

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Discover how you can respond to God's call in your own life, whether it's in your own town or on the other side of the world.

Teen Austin Gutwein has taken his best shot several thousand times to help AIDS orphans in Africa and in the process has built a school and a medical clinic!  Take Your Best Shot tells how one boy made an incredible


Discover how you can respond to God's call in your own life, whether it's in your own town or on the other side of the world.

Teen Austin Gutwein has taken his best shot several thousand times to help AIDS orphans in Africa and in the process has built a school and a medical clinic!  Take Your Best Shot tells how one boy made an incredible difference in the lives of those without hope while challenging the reader to do the same. 

The interactive dialogue will leave space for the reader to respond. By the end of the book, the reader will know the testimony of Austin and other teens from around the world who are committed to a life of sharing Christ’s love, and will have begun to search for God’s voice in their own lives. The book will also equip and challenge readers with information on a variety of ministries and organizations around the world to help people, animals, and the environment.  

“Austin is an outstanding young man! He inspires us to dream bigger, reach higher and love deeper. His story deserves a wide hearing.” Max Lucado

“I am very impressed with Austin Gutwein’s story in Take Your Best Shot. This book is filled with words of encouragement, inspiration, and hope. It’s guaranteed to motivate you into action.” Pat Williams, Senior Vice President, Orlando Magic

“I spent a day with Austin and his family and found them inspiring. His story, I believe, challenges us all. The first thing I thought as I drove to the airport was: What was I doing when I was twelve? And then, of course, the next thought: What, exactly, am I doing now?” John Larson, Former NBC National Correspondent

“When people ask me how they can possibly make a difference fighting a problem as big as ‘global poverty’, I tell them about a boy named Austin who, like David, stared Goliath in the eye without flinching. This young man has done more to make a difference in the lives of children orphaned by AIDS than most American churches, let alone individuals. If you are older than 10 and you haven’t yet done your part to change the world, read Take Your Best Shot and be inspired. Austin Gutwein shows us the way”. Richard Stearns, President, World Vision US, Author of The Hole in Our Gospel

“When people ask who has most impacted me over the last year, without hesitation I can say Austin Gutwein and the story of Hoops of Hope. I am around amazing leaders all the time, and Austin rivals all of them. Austin is my friend. And Austin is one of my heroes. You can’t be around Austin or the amazing work of Hoops of Hope without being deeply impacted and inspired. Trust me. Do yourself a favor and read this book and the incredible story. But once you do, be prepared to be changed and challenged. You’ll see the world and your significant role in helping those less fortunate in an amazingly fresh way.” Brad Lomenick, Executive Director, Catalyst

“Austin’s story is one of modern day heroism. He represents a new generation that can carry us all into the twenty-first century: a world of hope, peace and selfless love. Austin completely inspires me.” Daniel Biro, Hawk Nelson

Product Details

Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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612 KB
Age Range:
13 - 16 Years

Meet the Author

Todd Hillard is a free-lance writer from San Antonio, Texas. He lived in Turkey for two and a half years and has written more than 15 books. Todd regularly blogs at www.GetInTheSurge.com.

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Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take Your Best Shot By: Austin Gutwein Number of Stars: 5 The book that I have chosen is Take Your Best Shot. The two main characters are Austin Gutwein and the Africa AIDS Orphans. Austin is the one who revealed this amazing, heart touching book. This book is very interesting and I feel the need to tell you a little about it! Nine year old, Austin Gutwein watches this video with his family about Africa AIDS Orphans. The main character in this video is a little girl. Her name is Maggie. Maggie has lost her entire family. She does have one family member still with her. That one family member is her great grandmother! Austin was completely blown away by what was going on. Austin decided that he didn¿t need to just sit back and think it is all going to get better by itself. He decided to start a program called Hoops of Hope. One day Austin goes into a gym and starts shooting free throws to make money for Africa AIDS Orphans. Before shooting, he needed to get money from sponsors. Austin got tons of sponsors who paid money for him to shoot free throws. Austin shot an overwhelming amount of free throws for the overwhelming amount of AIDS orphans. He paid a dollar every free throw he shot. You will never believe how many free throws Austin shot in that one day! If you would like to know, I suggest you find this book, sit down, and read it! You will never put it down! I hope it grabs your heart like it grabbed mine! Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a story about a kid who shot hoops to make money for a shcool, do you know that the woman trying to build the school came to church camp and told us the kid story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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nigel36 More than 1 year ago
The book Take Your Best Shot might not be one of those books that would make you want to immediately pick it up and read it, however it is one of those books that you should pick up and read. It tells the story of then-9-year-old Austin Gutwein, founder of the charity Hoops of Hope, and how he was able to start an organization to help African children affected (or orphaned) by the AIDS epidemic from the ground up. He also gives the reader suggestions on how to change the world by doing one simple addition problem: take a passion of yours, and then use it to benefit those who are less fortunate. It could be for something small and local, or large and far away; it doesn't matter. Gutwein shows that, regardless of your age or where you are in your life, you can change the world. I think that if you were to read it, you'd find a way to do so yourself.
bassyc More than 1 year ago
Well, this book is special, in its own means and the place it managed to curve in my heart superbly. The cover may seem as feeble and light in content unlike what it's actually. Austin Gutwin told us a story that is not entirely his and also entirely his in two different aspects that we can shed light upon. Where Austin sheds the light upon increasing the brightness of the human race as a whole, the actual light is been shed on him in the perspective of us readers. He has been brilliant in the light and not too complex and overt way the story winds up. He has been brilliant for the typos and examples that he has essentially has woven in perspective of our day to day life. In these ways 'Take your best shot' really does give us the strength and the determination to fight from within with the external unwanted powers, to prove our prowess and unwillingness to give in to the distracting and distressing forces. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war." That 'God wants to use you' may be the real case, as is been sculptured in our hearts after giving the book a go. Allover, an excellent novel, with doses of unfinishing inspirations and motivational factors, this can be your daily devotional Bible, anyday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives and God is with us if we are with Him." - Paul David "Bono" Hewson Austin Gutwein sets the tone for his story with this quote. It's a reminder that no matter the situation, God is still with us. In 2004, Austin was nine years-old and began a journey that would not only change his life but so many others as well. He watched a DVD about a little girl named Maggie. Maggie lives in Zambia and is being raised by her great-grandmother. Both her parents, along with her aunts and uncles, are all dead due to AIDS. AIDS is a disease running rampant through Africa, leaving many children without anyone to care for them when family members lose the fight against it. After seeing Maggie's situation, Austin couldn't forget about her and he finally decided to do something about it. Thinking about what he liked to do, Austin chose basketball to be the way he'd help the thousands of orphans in Africa. Just as people get sponsors for running a marathon, Austin decided he'd get sponsors for shooting free throws. This is where Hoops of Hope began. Hoops of Hope is an organization started by Austin and his family. Each year, thousands upon thousands of people shoot free throws and the money raised goes to doing great things in Africa. Because of Austin, orphans are being sponsored through World Vision, a school has been built, caregivers have been equipped with supplies to help those who are dying, a medical testing lab has been built and a second clinic is in the works for this year. Austin gives all the credit for everything he's helped accomplish to God. He knows none of this was possible without Him. His desire is for all those who pick up this book to find your passion and then use it to do something bigger than yourself. You don't have to do something big to make a difference. When you start something, others will follow - they will want to make a difference too. Making a difference is contagious. "After all, if AIDS is contagious and brings death, shouldn't hope be contagious and bring life?" I really enjoyed this book. It inspired me to use my talents to help change this world. If a nine year old can shoot free throws, I know I can do something as well. We can't be afraid to step out of our comfort zone. We have to be willing to do what God's leading us to do and go where He's leading us to go. "In order to take your best shot, in order to truly do something that's bigger than yourself, you need to be able to see differently. You need to be able to look at the world and observe things that some people don't even notice. You have to be able to see and you have to have a vision. Vision is your cause. Vision is your purpose. Vision is your heartbeat. Vision is what you get when you see a need that captures your attention and have the passion to do what you love to do. Having your own vision opens you to God's possibilities. It blows the dust off of your dreams and highlights the fact that God wants to use you to make a difference."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rache1 More than 1 year ago
I requested this book because it looked interesting and I thought it would be a good, quick read. Little did I know it would turn into a daily devotional between my sister (she is 13) every morning on the way to school. I never realized that this book would lend itself to such a unique oppurtunity as a daily devotional. I loved the fact that it was written on a level that a young teen could understand, but also profound enough that an adult could walk away from it with encouragement and inspiration. Another great thing about this book is that it is real. It isn't one of those phony books about doing something to better yourself based on a theory or idea, it is real - somebody has done this - and all the websites, links, pictures and videos he talks about in the book you can go view in real time. I think connections like those keep people interested in reading. From the cover you would guess it is about basketball. When you think about making changes in somebody elses life, good changes; do you think that could be achieved with a round ball of rubber? This boy did just that, he strongly believed in the vision that God gave him and he acted on it. The underlying message throughout this entire book is this "God wants to use you." Chapter 1 - Some images/videos of ones life situation can be moments we never forget Chapter 2 - Don't get wrapped up in physical 'things'...they 'expire'...life for eternity Chapter 3 - Reflections are good. Chapter 4 - Making changes, especially ones bigger than yourself will not be easy Chapter 5 - You must love the Lord your God with all your heart in order to make changes Chapter 6 - ..... I encourage you all to go out and pick this book up. It is truly an incredible story. As much as I throughly enjoyed reading this book and would love to keep it for my own library, I know a book like this will be a great ministering tool and one that must be passed on to somebody else in need of change in their life. This book was provided for review by the Thomas Nelson Publishing Group.
Ginfinluno More than 1 year ago
I've had this book for a while and have picked it up on a few occasions to read it, but it never captured me. It is a touching story, and Austin writes about very real things, but what I really truly enjoyed about this book was that the author (Austin) was discovering the world's truth at such a young age. I guess I have read too many similar books that are written from adults and it sort of ruined this one for me, but it is still a wonderful book and I am really glad Austin wrote it. I would recommend it for classrooms in a heartbeat. I think ALL children should have to read it as part of the social studies/English classes. It would be a great book to read and then write essays on to share with the class. There are dozens of projects groups could do with this. Homeschool and Christian schools would especially find it a great book to use for instruction as there are many lessons that reflect God's intention in His design for us.
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
What would happen if you decided to change the world? Think you're too young? Too poor? Too plain? Austin Gutwein was only nine when his heart was broken by the truth of AIDS orphans in Africa. More than just wanting to make a difference, Austin had to. He couldn't sit by and pretend the problem wasn't his. It took him a while, but he finally found a way. He would ask people to sponsor him to shoot free throws. That was the start of something that in now a major non profit organization. Hoops for Hope has saved a generation of Africans by providing food, clothing, education, medical supplies, and hope. Praise the Lord for a young man who wasn't willing to say, "No." His story moved me right down to the Pet rocks. I am honored to live on earth with such a courageous young man. In this book he tells his story. How it started, what he was thinking, the doubts and fears he had, and how God took his small effort and multiplied it again and again. God designed you for a purpose. Have you found your purpose yet? Read this book. It will change your life. Highly recommended.
JD_Eddins More than 1 year ago
I turn 30 next year, so leave it to a 10 year old to inspire me to take my best shot! This is an amazing story for such a young guy. Austin shares how he was inspired to do more to help children in Africa who are suffering because of AIDS. This book not only inspired me so much that I gave my copy to the youth ministry at my church. Hopefully many more teens will be inspired to do amazing things like Austin because of the example he has provided. I would highly recommend this book, especially for any teens that you may know.
RappReader More than 1 year ago
This book is an incredible journey of a young man who wanted to be bigger than himself. He wanted to go outside his comfort zone and see the amazing hands of God work through him...he is only 9 years old! This book WOW'd me...if God could use Austin then he could use me. Great quotes from leaders around the world! Great ways to put this book into practical use by the "take your best shot" at the end of each chapter. The stories are heart tugging and life changing. I hope you take time and read this for some ideas to do things bigger than yourself changes.
Sharann More than 1 year ago
It all started with one simple phrase: "God wants to use you." Do you believe it? Nine-year-old Austin Gutwein believed God wanted to use him, and before he could get a driver's license or even watch a PG-13 movie God used him to impact the lives of thousands of Africans afflicted with HIV/AIDS with love, empathy and millions of dollars. Because of Autin's leap of faithful obedience, he became the founder of Hoops of Hope, a non-profit organization that uses free-throw shooting events to raise money for children in Africa who have been orphaned and afflicted with HIV/AIDS. All because he faithfully heard and believed, "Austin, God wants to use you." Also woven into the book are introspective quotes and questions sure to challenge the reader (of any age) to ponder the ways in which God wants to use them. It also encourages the reader to "take their best shot" in life. A few ways in accomplishes this is through helping the reader consider other people, understanding meaningful priorities, perserverance, and discovering their personal passion in life. It is never too young to begin thinking about these things either. The younger, the better, if you ask me! Though Take Your Best Shot is written with a young reader audience between the ages of 9 and 17 in mind (because it is written by young Austin Gutwein himself), it is a story that will touch the hearts of readers of all ages. God truly wants to use you. He wouldn't have created us if he didn't. Give God your A-game today. Just as Austin discovered, you won't regret it and your live will never be the same!
4896 More than 1 year ago
Take your best shot is a really inspirational book. The author Austin Gutwein, who started Hoops for Hope explains how to make a difference in the world. Hoops for Hope is an organization that raises money to help people who have AIDS. Austin got the once saw a video where a girl his age was living with her grandmother in a hut because AIDS killed the rest of her family. Then he decided to help out in the world by creating Hoops for Hope. The rest of the book tells about how to make a difference. I would recommend this book to kids and teenagers because that was who he targeted the book for, but don't let that stop you from reading the book if your older than that. It really makes you want to help out and make a difference! I was not able to put this book down after I started, because it was that amazing!
Renee90 More than 1 year ago
Take Your Best Shot is one of the best inspirational books I have read in a long time. It is well written, to the point and I couldn't put the book down once I started reading it. Austin's journey is amazing! I also really enjoyed the interactive sections found at the end of each chapter that encourages the reader to explore God's calling in each of our own lives. I highly recommend reading it!
AnthonyStephens More than 1 year ago
This book is a great story of what God can do with someone who is willing to step up and be used by Him to make a difference in this world. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa (as well as other places) continues to tear apart the lives of people. Austin Guwein, a young boy, takes the challenge to do something that he loves and use it to make a difference. This book will challenge any and all readers who take the time to pick it up and read its pages. A difference can be made in our world... even if it is shooting a basketball through a hoop!
the3kidsandme More than 1 year ago
This book was truly inspiring. When you finish this book, you just want to reach out and help people. I mean if this boy, who everyone thought would just give up and walk away can do some much to help people why can't you? I wish that more people would step up and do more. I was blown away by this book. Austin is a very unique individual and should be so proud of the accomplishments he has made. If only more were like him.
khager23 More than 1 year ago
Gutwein is a high school student in Phoenix and he started Hoops for Hope. If you're unfamiliar with that, it's the group that raises money for children in Africa. Basically, you take 1,000 free throws in a row and people sponsor you and that money goes to Africa. Africa's been devastated by the AIDS epidemic, but also by poverty. In the book, there are some statistics. 1.3 billion people worldwide live in poverty, living on less than $1 per day. I live paycheck to paycheck, but according to a global income calculator website, I am one of the richest 4% in the world. Most of this book is how Gutwein started Hoops for Hope--he saw a video about a young girl (a girl his age, in fact) in Africa, who lived in a small hut with her great-grandmother (her parents and other relatives died of AIDS). He knew he wanted to make a difference, but he didn't know how. After asking family and friends (and prayer), he decided to start Hoops for Hope and use his passion for basketball to make a difference. But the rest of this book is how the rest of us can do the same--find our passion and use it to make a difference in the world. At the end of each chapter, there's some scripture and also questions that you can answer to help you determine exactly how to make a difference. It's written for teenagers, so the language is very simple and accessible. I'd recommend this to teenagers, and hopefully this will help everyone want to make a difference. :)
Ealdgyth More than 1 year ago
Synopsis: This book is about Austin, a boy who, at nine years old, decided he wanted to make a difference. When he watched a World Vision video about a girl named Maggie who was orphaned by AIDS, he decided to start Hoops of Hope; an organization where individuals earn money by getting sponsored for shooting free-throw shots. This is his story. My Review: Take Your Best Shot was definitely geared towards the younger generation. The author often talks directly to them, telling them that although they are young, they can make a difference. That didn't dampen my enjoyment of the book at all. I was touched and inspired. The author talks about finding your passion and then working on a vision for helping make the world better, and after reading this book, that's something that I will be praying about. There is a lot of scripture throughout the book, which was great, and I think this is exactly the kind of book kids need to read. I would recommend it for anyone of any age. Kids and teenagers especially!
JustCallMeWoman More than 1 year ago
Take Your Best Shot is written for and it is by a teenager (although its message cuts across all age lines and will certainly be found to be relevant by adults as well). Austin Gutwein's book is as much an inspirational guide as it is an autobiographical tale of the founding of his non-profit "Hoops for Hope". This book empowers its readers to make a change. Austin tells of how he was impacted by Maggie, an African girl orphaned by AIDS. The vision of her plight haunted him until he could find a way to help her and those like her. He tapped into his passion, basketball, and has now raised enough money to build a school and is working on building a clinic in Zambia. Austin's story is not a plea for us to join his program (although he welcomes you if that is your calling), his story is asking, "So instead of living like we have an expiration date, don't you think it's time to make an impact and work for things that will last forever?" Austin uses concrete imagery that helps to make difficult concepts understandable. He uses Biblical verses to explain not just the foundation for doing good works but also as a tool to show why you specifically are the one to do those works. Austin's inspirational story is a must read in all youth groups and Sunday School classrooms. The results may be world changing. Note: I am part of the Thomas Nelson Book Reviewer program ( http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ ). However, while I receive the book for free to be reviewed, I am under no obligation to give a "good" review, just an honest one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago