Rule No. 19 – When you’re hot. Shoot. When you’re not. Pass. Champions hide their weaknesses with their strengths. Rule No. 38. The first step in achieving positive results is planning to achieve positive results. The Second step is actually working the plan.

Those are just two of the 52 rules found in Kwame Alexander’s The Playbook 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life ($18.44, Houghton Mifflin HarcourtRaincoast Books).

“The Playbook is a collection of short poems divided into four quarters (grit, motivation, passion – halftime – teamwork and overtime) of 13 rules each, accompanied by uplifting quotes from famous people who have overcome challenges to achieve amazing things. They have each found their path to greatness,” writes Alexander in a section titled warm-up.

While the book is aimed at 10 to 12 year olds, lessons within its pages were certainly ones anyone – regardless of age or love of sport – can take to heart and practice in order to be successful in their own lives including this quote by Derek Jeter, a five-time MLB World Series champion with the New York Yankees:

“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”

I enjoyed the stories Alexander told about his life – trying to play both basketball and football before finding out his passion was tennis, and working hard to be successful at that sport. I also like the stories Alexander shared of athletes, who had the grit and motivation to become successful, including Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who became known as Pele, and is considered the greatest soccer player of all time. Pele started playing soccer bare feet and with a ball his dad made using a rolled up sock filled with rags and newspapers and tied with a string.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and, most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

~ Pele, three-time FIFA World Cup champion,  most successful league goal soccer in the world.

The Playbook was a quick read with lots of words of wisdom to remember when you get stuck in this game of life.

“Believe in yourself even when it seems that no one else does.
Sometimes you have to choose your own moves.
Surround yourself with the right team, with people who support you, who are equally – if not more – passionate and ambitious.
Own your position, control it. Move your feet, rotate, put your name on the ball.
Create your own play.
Honor the ones who’ve come before you.
Honor the greatness that is you.
Practice.
Face Defeat.
Rebound.
Expect to Win.
Win.
Walk through unfamiliar doors.
Know the rules.
Master the rules.
Say yes to the possibility
of sometimes
making up
your own
Rules!”

Advanced reader copy provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review.

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