The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable)

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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."

Customer Reviews:

  • An uplifting look at the life & career of Scott Hamilton
    What do Olympic Gold Medalist, World Companion, being male, brain tumors, testicular cancer and happiness have to do with each other? Everything if you are figure skater Scott Hamilton.

    In an optimistic autobiography, Hamilton walks not only through his world class career in figure skating, but he also takes us behind the scenes. Here he opens up completely about the ups and downs of his life on and off the ice. He takes his experience and forms eight key secrets to being happy even when you have every reason to be miserable.

    Hamilton will teach you how to use his eight secrets as the key to a fabulously happy and content life. The secrets read as though written on the ice:
    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, Laugh and Smile like Kristi Yamaguchi
    6. Win by Going Last
    7. Learn a New Routine
    8. Stand in the Spotlight

    It's important to note this is a heavily Christian themed book, which may irritate some readers, but it's an integral part of the story. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you are looking for something uplifting or are simply interested in learning more about Hamilton's figure skating career.
    ...more info
  • "The Great Eight" by Scott Hamilton
    "The Great Eight" by Scott Hamilton.

    I remember watching Scott Hamilton winning his Olympic gold medal for skating back in 1984.
    His book,"The Great Eight" shares some of his skating secrets as well as his "attitude to life" secrets.

    His childhood was plagued by illness. His discovery of skating precipitated a determination to return to health. Good coaching and his own very hard work saw him shoot to fame, but he made many mistakes along the way, which taught him a great deal about how he both saw and lived his life.

    The sometimes difficult events, especially his struggles with cancer, have helped him develop his positive attitude to life and also strengthened his marriage and his relationships. He honestly details his return to Christian faith and the ways in which God has blessed him, though many would not regard Scott's health problems as blessings.

    This is a thoughtful and inspiring book, which is subtitled "How to be happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable)" for a good reason. His main message to the reader is that although you cannot always choose what happens in your life, you certainly can choose how you view and respond to situations and to people.

    My copy of the book was supplied courtesy of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program.

    ...more info
  • Strategies to Happiness
    Scott Hamilton's book "The Great Eight - How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable) gives insight into the life behind the smile and fame of this famous skater and how he became an overcomer.

    Even though there are some theological differences between us, the book basically is very thought provoking and has very good practical ways to approach the negative things that come into our lives that hinder us from being happy. One of my favorite things I read was "I strongly believe that the only disability in life is a bad attitude". Scott has had many reasons to not be a successful, happy man and yet because of his choosing not to give up and pushing forward he has achieved much.

    Scott gives eight strategies to achieving happiness in our lives despite hardships. He does a very good job explaining these strategies through his personal experiences and the experiences he had in the ice skating field. Scott's approach in this book tends to emphasize more the choices made by the individual without showing the spiritual aspect. However, it is true that it comes down to choices we make. The Lord himself said he puts before us life and death and tells us to choose life. I do recommend this book....more info
  • Inspiring Read
    Well written and certainly an encouraging and inspiring book for anyone dealing with illness. It reminds us all to live each and everyday to the fullest, and to appreciate our family and friends. Scott has become a real role model, a loving husband and father, as well as one of our countries beloved skating stars. For all he has received, he has given so much in return....more info
  • "The only disability in life is a bad attitude."
    Skating legend and perennial optimist Scott Hamilton shares the secrets to his personal happiness and illustrates each with memories of his childhood and career. He overcame a longtime illness as a youth and later, cancer and a brain tumor, along with personal and professional losses, and has found true peace by practicing what he preaches.

    The book, unfortunately, is packed with platitudes, has a very preachy feel, and worst, is endlessly repetitive. His "secrets" are hardly new and can be summarized with, "Work hard and be nice." I did enjoy the stories about his childhood and career, but they weren't presented chronologically so he was always going in circles. Also, the physical layout was confusing; each chapter had many sub-chapters that looked more like new topics than elaborations on a theme. The book was way too long and should have included photos of Scott.

    The book's premise is a good one - illustrating the secrets that helped him through very tough times with personal vignettes - but it needed to be edited down by half and told in chronological order. Recommended for Scott's fans....more info
  • Inspiration from someone who lived it
    This is a great inspirational book from someone who overcame great odds and beat tough times. Scott tells from his own life how overcoming tough times is a matter of positive thinking, and looking forward to being happy.

    It is a great read and will leave you in tears of joy from a truly inspirational person....more info
  • Scott Hamilton fans will enjoy this book
    Scott Hamilton is best known for his successes on the ice - he won four consecutive U.S. Championships, four consecutive World Championships, a gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics, and has been entertaining audiences with his skating ever since. But while he was successful on the ice, he struggled off the ice - starting with a mysterious childhood illness that caused him to stop growing, a battle with testicular cancer, and a benign brain tumor, as well as other personal struggles. Despite his off the ice problems, Hamilton has remained upbeat and "The Great Eight" describes how to be happy, even when you have every reason to be miserable.

    "The Great Eight" is an interesting look at Scott Hamilton's life and how he has fought back against adversity and still remained happy. It is not quite a biography but more a look at his philosophical and religious outlook - Hamilton is a new Christian and that plays a huge part in his outlook on life and this book. The book has eight chapters, each one covering one of his principles. While each chapter has a title that is skating related (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) non-skaters will learn from the book. Hamilton is very honest about his past mistakes, both personally and professionally as well as his character flaws. He has a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor that should be as much a lesson to anyone as the eight lessons he lists in the book.

    Scott Hamilton (and skating fans in general) will enjoy "The Great Eight".
    ...more info
  • Figure Skating, Inspiration
    This is a great figure skating story. It is much more, however, than just a figure skating story. It's a story of inspiration, of overcoming life obstacles, of maintaining healthy relationships, and of leading a life of happiness.

    Each chapter is based on a lessons learned from Scott's figure skating career, as well as, through his struggle with lifelong physical ailments (including cancer, twice).

    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.

    Scott tells how he would never have been the success that he is, if he would have given up after falling down on the ice. He had to repeatedly get up, and fall down, before he could land his infamous jumps.

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

    Never lose. There is always something to be discovered in our seeming "losses". However, if we are able to better ourselves through these "losses" then they are not losses at all, but wins!

    To experience happiness in our relationships, it is critical that we maintain clear communication. Keep the ice clear. Just as it is hard to skate on used ice that has tracks from other skater, so it is with our relationships. If we continue to dwell on the past, or suppose the past predicates the future, we will never experience true relational happiness.

    Scott talks about how amazing Kristi Yamaguchi's smile is, and how she always has a smile, even when she falls. This is important to our life happiness, always smile. Decide, to be happy.

    There is much more to living a life of happiness. By following the guidelines in this book, one can be far along on the road of obtaining a life of happiness and true success!...more info
  • I love him. This book reflects his positive energy
    While there is nothing noteworthy or new in terms of the eight concepts for happiness.... it is the common sense directions that take us to the best places.

    I grew up watching him and always amazed at his positive attitude. This book is a wonderful visit to those memories and an interesting memoir and lesson based book.

    I think that keeping positive, clearly communicating, learn from your mistakes, etc.... are common sense. It was truly a lovely afternoon reading the life story of Scott Hamilton woven into those lessons.

    I definitely recommend....more info
  • Get to the human side of an Olympic Champion and learn on how he tackled big life challenges. Thanks Scott for sharing with us!
    In "The Great Eight, How to be happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable)", Scott Hamilton shares with us his life stories and some of the defining moments of his life (both the ups and downs), and how he transformed himself into a more positive and happier person.

    Some of the key takeaways that I get from this book (from Scott's experiences and life lessons). Not the exact 8 chapters/topics but more of my own summary:

    1. Do not fear of confrontation (and do not delay/avoid it for too long)
    2. Be honest (it is better to be unpopular but genuine than popular but inauthentic. And the truth will also set you free.)
    3. Think positive (the only disability in life is a bad attitude)
    4. Smile more (a genuine smile shows that you are fine and will not dwell on mistakes)
    5. Find humor in life no matter what comes your way
    6. Be able to laugh at yourself
    7. Learn from others (other's experiences, perspectives, successes, mistakes)
    8. Learn to be humble and try to put other first
    9. Find a role model that inspire you and resonate with you
    10. Never say "Never"
    11. Embrace change (the only thing constant in life is change)
    12. It takes time to transform oneself to be a happier person and when you get there, it doesn't mean that we won't have any struggle anymore.

    Last but not least and a very important learning is that we have the power to control our own happiness. Only when you understand/believe this and decide to stand in the spotlight and work on it, you can unlock the door to a happier life.

    Scott, thanks for sharing with us your great story.

    Sidarta Tanu...more info
  • A Great Read!
    The Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program recently introduced me to The Great Eight, a inspirational story of life, love and loss by world-famous figure skater Scott Hamilton.

    I was originally interested in this book because of my interest in the world of figure skating, and although Hamilton relays many poignant moments from his skating career, it was rather the defining moments in his personal life that captured my attention.

    The author's childhood health challenges, intense skating training, professional struggles and battles with cancer paved the way for him to be able to share in The Great Eight how he has chosen to remain happy in life despite great difficulties.

    There are wonderfully encouraging lessons for all to be learned within the pages of this book. Several of Hamilton's personal experiences will make you smile, some will bring tears but all are those to which each person can relate. We all have similar struggles, but as The Great Eight points out, it is possible to be happy in any situation even when there is every reason not to be.

    Scott Hamilton has a charmingly warm and personable writing style. You can surely imagine sharing these thoughts with him over a cup of coffee; he engages the reader as one might an old friend. I highly recommend The Great Eight for a wonderfully funny, encouraging and great read! ...more info
  • Gold medal winner!
    I've been a fan of Scott Hamilton for many years, so it was with much anticipation that I sat down with this book. WOW! What a story! His Christian testimony shines and uplifts. His wit and candor infuse every lesson that he shares. I loved the skating analogy and found the book to be a delightful and easy read, yet very profound at the same time. Read it, more than once, and you just might be happy again! ...more info
  • How To Live Life
    This book is a how-to guide on dealing with life. Scott is the Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater and was producer and performer of Stars on Ice. He has also suffered through many health struggles from childhood into adulthood including cancer.

    The subject of the book isn't only about health problems, but about every day life, especially being a good friend, a good spouse, a good parent and a good employee. He writes with a great sense of humor, especially about himself. You feel as if you are a friend talking with him throughout the book.

    Learn about living through difficult times and how to be an encouragement to others....more info
  • Without You, I Would Not Be Me--Scott Hamilton on Happiness
    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I have never been interested in ice skating. My sum knowledge of Scott Hamilton was that he won an Olympic Gold Medal and took part in professional ice skating shows. I chose to read this book because of the title and subject of happiness, but quickly became interested in the man, his obstacles, and his successes at overcoming his sickness and low points and the lessons to be learned from his experiences and perspectives documented in this book.

    Experiencing adoption, poor self-esteem, childhood illness, wonderful role models and support systems, cancer, a brain tumor, self-centeredness, insecurity, failure, success, injuries and much more, Scott Hamilton has learned from them and developed wisdom and is giving back to others. From birth through the beginning of his professional career others have provided him with love and uncommon financial support that allowed him to emerge from a seemingly unwanted baby and sickly child destined for a short life to improbable stardom in an arena usually dominated by pretty talented women, to become a successful loved icon and family man in his fifties who continues to make a positive impact on those who are inflicted with life altering illnesses.

    I love the lessons he teaches about practice, drive and commitment that are applicable to most people and overlooked by many--there are no short cuts to reaching ones goals. The journey is not always easy, but those who work long and hard at achieving the necessary skills and prerequisites are much more likely to reach their long term goals than those who do not put in the work.

    I found Scott's humor and quotes haunting--For example: "Trust your Almighty Coach....Don't tug at God's Beard....I'm a big believer that smiling--and its first cousin laughter--can get you through the toughest times....the key to a long relationship is having a short-term memory" and many more.

    I have read and reviewed a plethora of happiness self-help books and this one ranks with the best of them. I found the ice skating vernacular and analogies witty, interesting and refreshing.

    The language and lessons in this book are suitable for people of all ages. I heartily recommend that you buy this easy to read, short and interesting story today. You will not be sorry.
    ...more info
  • I'm Glad Scott Wrote This
    Scott Hamilton has had every reason to have turned out be a sullen, tuned out victim. But he has never been any of those things, ever.

    This is why I'm glad he wrote this book, as he always seems to be a person that's got that inner light, despite everything. He also discusses he dark times in life, doubts, and times he was going through the motions, and what go thim through.

    The book will help you, espeically as it explains that exterior razzle dazzle, viewed through the celebrity lens, is often fake as those that are "celebrated" are just people with problems the same as us. Scott breaks down coping, surviving and thriving in eight simple steps, that include guidance from God.

    All the best to Scott -- his skating contributed tremendously to his sport, as does his interesting and sometimes humorous commentary on the current competitons. He is a "giver"!

    ...more info
  • Great autobiography of a great guy!
    Being involved in dance, I wanted to read about the life of an artist/athlete in a similar field: figure skating. Scott Hamilton's story is not just about figure skating but also about overcoming extreme adversity. It would be hard to come up with someone more successful at rising up from the ashes to becoming a champion. He has written this book not only to tell his story, but also to try to help others overcome their own problems and depression. Basically, he is a master of positive thinking and appreciating the wonderful things in his life. Will this help you overcome your problems? I don't know, since it all depends on how many great things there are in your life for you to lean on as he has done. But if you would like to read his biography anyway, what have you got to lose?...more info
  • I'd give it 4 1/2 stars if I could...
    I would give this book four and a half stars if I could. It is just too religious a book for me to give it a full five star rating as I do not believe it will appeal to everyone for that reason. That said, I also do not believe it goes so far on the religious notes that it would turn any readers off to the rest of the book.

    All that aside it is a good read about Scott Hamilton's personal story battling various health issues with humor and determination. Although certainly not written by a person with any sort of degree in psychology, it is still a very enjoyable book.

    It's appeal will be greatest to those who have an interest in ice skating but also for those who are battling serious health issues as the author discusses being a sickly child and the fight against cancer, not just from his own perspective but his observations of other people's battles as well, including his mother's battle with breast cancer.

    The human spirit is always something of an amazement and this book does a decent job of shining a light on it. Honest and straight forward, far from sad or depressing, it certainly does live up to it's title and does not disappoint....more info
  • Not Just About Skating
    Scott Hamilton has dealt with many things that might make other people give up, but he has managed to keep smiling and appreciating life. This book explains how he's managed to do that, and should be helpful even to people who have no interest in ice skating. His illustrations show a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in the world of competitive skating, so people who do love that sport will enjoy it even if they have no problems. It's written very well and I appreciate the way Ken Baker must have helped put it together. For a book about dealing with problems, this book is surprising because it's actually fun to read....more info
  • Maybe the title should be Scott Hamilton on Scott Hamilton...
    This is an "Okay" book. My problems with it may all be due to my own misunderstanding of what it was. I purchased this book not knowing that Scott Hamilton was a skater. Well you will know it by page one, and more on page two, then page three... I felt that rather than using this guy's experience to motivate others, it uses skating puns to try to make points and not very effectively, from my point of view.

    WARNING: You REALLY need to like Scott Hamilton or at least his sport to enjoy this book.

    If you are in doubt, check out the "Look Inside" link. Chapters have such names as:
    "Fall, Get up, Land on your first Jumps."
    "Keep the Ice Clear."
    "Learn a New Routine."
    "Stand in the spotlight."

    This isn't one of the many books I couldn't get through. There is lots of great advice in here. You should just be aware of two things:

    1) The book has more skating stories than advice.
    2) The book tends to give things a religious treatment.

    ...more info
  • Encouraging, but lacking substance
    I have just finished reading Scott Hamilton's The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable). [...]

    Scott is a naturally happy guy, and his suffering as an athlete and as a cancer patient (both testicular and brain) have only served to increase his happiness. Add to that, being in a supportive marriage, having two sons, when it was thought that he could not have any, and converting to Christianity, Scott is a very happy man.

    His book is called The Great Eight because he reveals eight secrets to happy living. Why eight and not ten or twelve as other similar books? Because, in skating, the figure eight is the most difficult and most essential move.

    The eight secrets, as he names them, are "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." His insights about not giving up, trusting God, putting a positive spin on whatever happens, etc., are all valuable life lessons - lessons that have served Scott well through all he has lived and endured.

    I was put off at his calling God, "Coach," and I understand that he is trying to keep with skating metaphors, but it seemed a bit glib to me. I was also disturbed with the overall theme, especially front and center in the last chapter, that God wants everyone to be happy. That is not so, and to teach that is, at best, counterproductive.

    I wonder if Scott would tell someone who just can't get happy, despite his eight steps, that it is that person's fault. More generally, I don't see how he can explain, from what he has written why there is so much unhappiness. In other words, he needs to address sin, even in such a popular book as this.

    Enjoyable as it is, I would not recommend this book. Rather, I would direct persons with such concerns to Rev. Dr. John Piper's books.

    (This review is posted on my blog and info
  • 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. info
  • Very Inspiring and uplifting!
    In The Great Eight, Scott Hamilton shares his secrets to happiness and success in life, work, and relationships, despite what may seem like insurmountable obstacles.
    As a foundation to his skating instruction, Scott's early childhood lessons were centered around mastering a perfect figure eight. For several hours each day he practiced this one skill until he could perform it flawlessly. Although at the time he didn't understand why, he later realized that this built the necessary foundation of his skating proficiency, and was ultimately the main reason he won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympics.
    In this book, he proposes that learning the fundamental skills of anything in life - skating, teaching, marketing, etc. is vital to reaching your potential. He goes on to outline his eight keys to reaching your goals in life and gaining happiness.
    I found The Great Eight inspiring and uplifting. From Scott's first childhood skating lessons (during which he wore a feeding tube due to his illness), to losing his job with The Ice Capades, to battling cancer, to dealing with a brain tumor, to finally finding the woman who would become his wife (while in his forties), he remained optimistic and inspires others do so as well.
    ...more info
  • By Scott, About Scott, For Scott
    Although Scott Hamilton's _The Great Eight_ may have some basic and useful truths on happiness, the book seemed largely self-serving. Much of the book centered on Scott's telling (and often re-telling) difficulties he has had in his career, particularly with business partnerships gone sour. Although the superficial messages of the book scream platitudes of optimism and "smile like Kristi Yamaguchi" directives, Scott's repressed anger and bitterness reside between the lines.

    It feels as if the book contains Scott's blueprint for achieving happiness, but a plan that he himself has not yet fully embraced. In the final chapter, Scott explains: "This book is a guide, but once you put down this book, you have an entire life to lead in which you must practice what I have preached." (p. 174) Perhaps he was talking to himself?

    Of course, Scott's surviving the amazing amount of challenges and setbacks he has is nothing short of inspirational. But, unfortunately, his book is not nearly so evocative. ...more info
  • Very Enjoyable
    I find Scott an amazing positive person. I enjoyed his book. ...more info
  • Pleasant, but not all that helpful
    I really wanted to like this book, because I like Scott Hamilton as a figure skater and I like his attitude when I hear him interviewed. I thought he would be able to give me insights into using his training as a skater and a cancer survivor to help me deal with my own life in a more positive manner.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Hamilton's advice is about as standard as it gets, easily found in almost every other self-help book out there. Each chapter details a different idea about how to live your life, and he illustrates the ideas with stories from his own life. The stories often felt distant and uninteresting to me, surprising because I'm very interested in the sport of figure skating and thought he would include more details of his training and how that translates into everyday life, and also because having cancer twice and surviving is interesting in itself, but he glosses over almost all the details. It just reads as a pretty bland, stand-offish memoir with some advice thrown in. I actually forgot what the theme of most of the chapters were, even as I was reading them. I got the impression by the end of the book that someone had told him he should write the book to make some extra money, and he just went along with it. There didn't seem to be a lot of heart in it. Even his chapter on spiritual beliefs seemed to be more like he was trying to convince himself.

    I would have liked to see more intimate moments about his private life, his day-to-day struggles coping with cancer, and more about his training and relationships with his coaches. If he had written about that, and ditched the "self-help" theme of the book, I think he'd have had a big winner on his hands. Sorry Scott, but as it's written, I just can't give you the gold this time.

    ...more info
  • The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton
    The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton exemplifies all the secrets that have made Scott Hamilton's public career and life out of the public eye a resounding success. He breaks down his personal beliefs into several short, easy to remember cues for life:
    ~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
    My favorite however is:
    ~Win by Going Last
    which I found to be an intriguing title considering how many competitions Scott Hamilton has won. The positive approach he has taken to his battles with cancer attest to a life "well lived" and someone who follows his own advice.
    A good book for anyone you know who is battling cancer or major problems in life.
    Suzy Parish...more info
  • The Great Eight
    Scott Hamilton is one of my favorite skaters, he always had a smile on his face, a great attitude, and he always seemed to tell it like it was. When I was a teenager he was someone I looked up to and I never missed the opportunity to watch him skate. So when I saw the book, The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable) I was intrigued. I could think of no other athlete that had such a "happy" reputation that would be better at writing a book with this title.

    The book is filled with basic truths of "how to be happy". As I read the book, I found myself being more drawn to Scott's life rather than the "great eight". Not because the "great eight" aren't important but rather because they are things that we have all heard before but this time they are being said rather with a different twist. Scott relates all eight of them to his life and how he has dealt with the difficulties that he has faced, his illnesses (both as a child as well as an adult), his skating, and his family.

    He begins the book by explaining why eight and not some other number. If you remember right skaters used to be judged on how well they did compulsory figures; the figure eight. He gives several other reasons why he likes this number over others as well but the main one that resonates through the book comes back to the compulsory figures.

    There are times in the book that I did end up feeling a little left out, like when some of the skating names of old went over my head, people that according to the author have had long and great careers because of how they have handled their own success and the words of wisdom that they gave that attributed to Scott's happiness.

    Overall it was an enjoyable read but if you are looking for a self-help book on happiness or a book that encourages Christianity you might be disappointed. I read the book because of the author and enjoyed what I read and even came a way with a fresh look at some tired old strategies. I enjoyed his open and fresh outlook that was told from the heart....more info
  • The Great Eight Review
    I was given the chance to review this book, The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton ,and since I was very interested in his story i jumped on the chance!

    My review- a good book, a quick read, entertaining but not full of Scott's battle with cancer. Yes the book talks about it a bit but it wasn't the story I expected. It was more of a biograpghy of his early years (and what the Great Eight stands for)

    All in all- I enjoyed the book but it wasn't what I expected. It seemed a little light on the details....more info
  • The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton
    For a span of about ten years, I was a huge figure skating fan. I'd watch every competition and special on TV, and my favorite skater was Scott Hamilton. I read his first autobiography, "Landing It", right after it was published. So when I saw that Thomas Nelson was offering Hamilton's new book as part of their Book Review Blogger program, I knew I needed to give it a shot!

    "The Great Eight" contains Hamilton's eight happiness principles. To illustrate each point, Hamilton uses stories from his life or from the lives of other figure skaters. The principles are simplistic (just about anyone could tell you to trust God and look for the positives), as is the writing.

    The quality of this book depends on how you view it. If you're looking for a glimpse into Hamilton's life in the years following his first book, or if you're hoping to learn about Hamilton's contemporaries, this book doesn't disappoint. I especially enjoyed reading about Hamilton's courtship, marriage, and conversion to Christianity. If, however, you're looking for a self-help book on happiness (which is how this book is being marketed), you may want to look elsewhere.
    ...more info
  • Read "The Great Eight." You'll be happy that you did!
    I was impressed with Scott Hamilton when I saw him on "Celebrity Apprentice" recently, even though was fired by Donald Trump after making a poor name choice while acting as the project manager for his team's task. After reading "The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable)" by Scott Hamilton, I'm even more impressed. This book is an easy read, but full of practical advice on staying happy and optimistic, illustrated with Hamilton's successes, struggles, and setbacks and how he has kept smiling through the tough times, including cancer and then a brain tumor.

    In "The Great Eight," Hamilton uses stories from his career and personal life to describe eight secrets that have helped him stay optimistic and that have kept the Gold Medalist smiling even when not on the first place pedestal.

    Hamilton introduces the book by sharing a little about wanting to give people a way to be happy and optimistic, just as he remained even with a brain tumor. As a skater, he explains the importance of learning figure eights on the ice and why he chose eight "secrets" to being happy. These "Great Eight" have been taught before, but not with the personal experiences of Hamilton which really make this enjoyable and helpful.

    Secret One: Fall, Get Up, and Land Your First Jumps. When you skate, you are going to fall down. Hamilton shares that he has fallen when skating, in business and many other things. With stories about his childhood illness and how he started skating, Hamilton teaches how learning to get up applies to athletics, business, romance, health, academics, the arts, and anything else. I like that Hamilton teaches that no on is going to do it for you, you must work hard and do it yourself.

    Secret Two: Trust Your Almighty Coach. There are places in the book where Hamilton shares his faith in God, but this chapter has the main focus on that faith. Hamilton shares some of his personal journey toward faith and how to trust his Almighty Coach, using examples of the importance of having a coach in athletics.

    Secret Three: Make Your Losses Yours Wins. Life can really stink, and stuff happens. Hamilton has had his share of tough situations. Friendships going away, failed relationships, cancer, a brain tumor. He battled them all with optimism, just as his mother battled her cancer. He also shares business losses and how you must turn losses into wins to be a champion.

    Secret Four: Keep The Ice Clear. Hamilton learned that he didn't have to sacrifice his own happiness to make others happy, and shares how you can "clear the ice" to better your own relationships with others and remain happy yourself.

    Secret Five: Think Positive, Laugh, And Smile Like Kristi Yamaguchi. Hamilton has been called many negative things by critics, and he comes right out in the beginning of the chapter to say while dumping back on critics might make you feel better for a few seconds, it won't make you happy in the long run. He shares how you can rise above negativity and the positive power of a smile that he learned from someone who has a beautiful smile, Kristi Yanaguchi. Learning to forgive yourself, looking for the light spot, laughing at yourself, and never say never are some of the other lessons in this chapter. I especially like that Hamilton can laugh at those who have assumed he was gay. He is happily married to a beautiful woman named Tracie, and they have two children, Aidan and Max, and rather than be insulted and get upset over the incorrect assumptions based on his size and career choice, he laughs it off and can even write about it humorously.

    Secret Six: Win By Going Last. Hamilton relates how the advantage of going last in a figure skating competition relates to putting other people before yourself. He shares how you can win as a "number two." Very good lesson on how you will be happier by making someone else's life better.

    Secret Seven: Learn A New Routine. Life is full of change, and in this chapter Hamilton shares how he has dealt with changes throughout his life. I felt the discussion about turning fifty and how he was not the same physically now as he was when he won the Olympic Gold Medal was extremely poignant and should be read by anyone facing a "mid-life crisis." According to Hamilton, being willing to change course as things change is the mark of every champion of happiness. I think he is right.

    Secret Eight: Stand In The Spotlight. Hamilton's final secret is to stand in the spotlight and to skate your best, to incorporate all you've learned and to do the work it takes to look at life like an optimist. Remember how to get up and commit to the process and enjoy your life.

    The above paragraphs give a good description of what this book is about, but the chapters themselves provide much more. This really is an enjoyable book on how to think like an optimist and be happy. Fans of Scott Hamilton will thoroughly enjoy this text, and those unfamiliar with Hamilton just might become fans now if they give this book a read. We can all use a healthy dose of optimism in our lives. Read "The Great Eight." You'll be happy that you did.

    Reviewed by Alain Burrese, author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks and the dvds: Hapkido Hoshinsul, Streetfighting Essentials, Hapkido Cane, the Lock On Joint Locking Essentials series and articles including a regular column on negotiation for The Montana Lawyer. Alain Also wrote a series of articles called Lessons From The Apprentice....more info
  • Good guide for sensible living
    Drawn from personal experiences, Hamilton gives an account of how he has managed to stay and get "back to" happy despite personal health issues, being fired (fired?) from a job, losing at love, and other surprising events.

    Very basic simple advice that anybody can follow, and adapt to their own situation.

    Recommended....more info
  • Thanks Scott for a truly Inspirational Book
    A sports star that has not been arrested, acting badly, taking steroids, defending himself in the press and not abusing animals? Yes, they do exist and Scott Hamilton is the first to come to mind when thinking about a good role model as well as a world class athlete. He has written a very uplifting and inspiring self-help, feel good book about the ups and downs we all face in life and Scott has faced some big ones.

    A cancer survivor and gold medalist gives his insight on overcoming lifes challenges. This book is a good easy read that I found inspiring as well as informative. Scott challenges the reader to find his/her own happiness in all life has to offer, good and bad. Highly recommended.

    ...more info
  • Wonderful. Entertaining and often profound
    I have always liked and admired Scott Hamilton. I loved watching him skate, and like many others, I remember his 1984 Olympic Gold Medal win in Sarajevo. Scott's struggles in his life, especially his sickly youth, are well-known. He's also a two-time cancer survivor, and a happily married man with two children.

    When a person first learns to skate, they learn the compulsory figures. They trace a figure eight, over and over again on the ice. It's slow, tedious, repetitious work, but it trains and builds the skaters muscles in ways that strengthen them and allow them minute control over their movements on the ice. Scott is very open about the fact that it was his proficiency in the compulsory figures that ultimately won him the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal.

    Playing on the figure eight concept from figure skating, Scott shares with us, the eight secrets that helped him find happiness. Scott is open and honest, he doesn't have any airs or attitudes here. He shares that your challenges can also be gifts: how you deal with your challenges defines you, not your challenges themselves. One of my favorite chapters was the concept of keeping the ice clear: communicate and deal with problems and issues as they happen, don't let your frustrations fester.

    Scott also says, "I'm a big believer that smiling--and its first cousin, laughter--can get you through the toughest times." When you fall during a figure skating routine, jump right up and go back into the routine, smiling. Rolling your eyes and pointing out the mistake makes it all the more profound and ultimately can make the judges focus on that mistake alone, rather than everything else that was perfect. People around you are the same way and will overlook a lot of flaws and issues when you're smiling and positive.

    Scott believes that happiness in life is a choice, and I agree with him. Overall, a wonderful book. Easy to read, entertaining and often profound. Look at your life, focus on the good, think positively and like Scott says, "Smile like Kristi Yamaguchi".

    Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to review this gem. ...more info
  • Another great book published by Thomas Nelson
    The books starts off rather slow but it does pick up a bit. The writing is a little less structured than I would like to have seen - he jumps back and forth in time to tell his story so occasionally you can get a bit lost as he's talking about his first cancer or his second (it might be a good idea to write on a slip of paper a few chronological dates.)

    There are also times when he goes a little too deep into the skating world (such as a list of figure skaters I've never heard of because it's not something I follow) but the book doesn't lose it's meaning just because it might lose you a bit on the skating part.

    The entire book is not about God but if you can't see past the mention of God then you probably won't like this book since spirituality does play a role in his life and story. It is however not a book about Christianity, it's a book about happiness and NOT one that preaches faith as the only way to happiness.

    Here are a few of the tidbits scattered throughout because it is the best illustration of what really makes this book worth reading:

    Pg 13
    "You always have to keep things fun. If you don't, no matter how many awards you win or how much money you make, you will never be happy."

    Pg 18
    "Happiness is a fundamental, spiritual commitment to dedicating yourself to the things in life that bring you the most joy."

    Pg 19
    "Things that happen to you may not be your fault, but they are thoroughly your responsibility."

    Pg 23
    "As he saw it, coincidence was actually what he called a 'God-scheduled opportunity.'"

    Pg 48
    "The best coaches would say to me, 'You made a mistake. It's over, it's behind you. You're not going to do that again. Let's move forward.'"

    Pg 52
    "The 1980 Olympic Speed Skater Eric Heiden once said, 'It's not the events of our life that define our character, but how we deal with them.'"

    Pg 152
    "Too many times people live life as a dress rehearsal, tell themselves, 'I'll get to that someday.' Well, you have only so many minutes on this planet, and if you spend them putting off making changes, then you are just wasting time."

    Pg 157
    "I like to say that there are three choices we have when faced with change: succumb, adapt, or evolve. Succumbing is giving up and not trying anymore. If the boss wants you to start using the Internet to reach clients but you decide you're too old to use a computer, you have given up and succumbed. If you learn the basic skills to appease your boss's wishes, then you have adapted. But if you take the challenge to change as an opportunity to grow and learn something new, you have made the best decision - now you can evolve. Evolving will make you more successful and ultimately happier with your life."

    If you can get over it's few flaws, you'll probably find bits here and there that hit home more with you than they do for me. That's part of the beauty of this book. Again, I've been pleasantly surprised by a book I wasn't entirely sure about. ...more info
  • Not great writing but an enjoyable read
    I realize I'm dating myself, but I remember watching the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Olympic games in Lake Placid and seeing Scott Hamilton leading the USA's athletes and carrying the American flag. The commentators at the time called him "little Scottie Hamilton," and they mentioned the physical challenges/health issues that he had overcome to reach the Olympic level of figure skating. It was an inspiring story to say the least. He won Olympic gold at the 1984 games in Sarajevo and went on to a very successful professional career. Several years ago he wrote an autobiography that I believe did quite well. This book, however, is more of an inspirational "if-I-can-do-it-so-can-you" type of book.

    The Great Eight is how Hamilton refers to the eight suggestions he gives to readers, suggestions like "Fall, Get Up and Land Your First Jumps," "Make Your Losses Your Wins" and "Win By Going Last." There is nothing particularly profound or revolutionary in any of his suggestions, but learning a little more about his life is interesting. The writing is okay, more like reading the text of a series of motivational messages than great writing. There are grammatical mistakes, and the editing is...I'm sorry...poor, but his unending optimism is truly amazing.

    My favorite quote from the entire book occurs on page 93, "I strongly believe that the only disability in life is a bad attitude." Well said.

    This is not a book that I would call a "must read," but Scott Hamilton's life and eternally positive attitude does make it very enjoyable....more info
  • Preventing the Darkness of the World from Sucking You in Like a Black Hole
    Scott Hamilton has every reason to be miserable but to those who know him, he is the happiest guy around. He conquered many obstacles on the road to becoming the world's more prolific male skater and achieving success beyond his wildest dreams. But, despite winning a gold medal in 1984, performing in front of thousands every night, and hobnobbing with celebrities and dignitaries from around the world, life was empty. He was not truly happy.

    Then, a battle with testicular cancer in the late 1990s followed by the diagnosis of a brain tumor in 2004 forced Hamilton to come to terms with his demons and happiness. It led to an understanding of "The darkness of the world (that) has the potential to suck you in a like a black hole."

    "The Great Eight" is Hamilton's story about the eight fundamentals for real happiness that has guided his life, helping him to avoid the darkness. For him, skating was the starting point in his journey. He learned that it was his skating that taught him about overcoming the challenges of life. Everything he learned about how to find happiness stems from what he learned through repetition and the discipline of perfecting his figure eights.

    This is not only a book of "gained" wisdom but also an autobiography and a behind-the-scenes look at Olympic and pro figure skating. Hamilton fills the book with stories and liberally sprinkles hard earned wisdom throughout:

    * "It is much better to be open to a result than be attached to it."
    * "The biggest obstacle people have to be happy is that they cannot stay with the commitment."
    * "Don't force situations...Look for God scheduled opportunities."
    * "The only disability in life is a bad attitude"
    * "If you want to experience and optimism in your life, then finding the humor in everything is not a choice; its essential."
    * "No journey truly begins until you can no longer see dry land."

    Using skating metaphors, Hamilton lists his "great eight" as:

    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, laugh, and smile like Kristi Yamaguchi
    6. Win by going last
    7. Learn a new routine.
    8. Stand in the spotlight

    "The Great Eight" is a well written book and should prove to be an inspiration for all, including the most hardened of souls. Hamilton tells us, "I live everyday knowing that today might be the day my cancer is my gift to remind me just how lucky I am to be healthy." He is now giving us his gift - his secret "great eight" for a happier life -without our having to learn as he did through hardship.

    ...more info
  • Best for big Scott Hamilton fans
    Don't get me wrong: Scott Hamilton strikes me as a great guy. He has lived in an interesting life and he has some good things to say. But this book was not for me. The vocabulary was elementary, the analysis shallow. It's only 200 pages and the font size is large with lots of space. I just didn't feel like it was really worth my time to read the whole book. I wound up only getting about 1/3 of the way through before giving up.

    The book felt like he was saying, here are eight reasons why I'm happy and I'll throw in some experiences from my life. For skating fans, I am sure this was fun. But I have very little interest in skating and so I didn't find the stories very interesting. I didn't find his analysis compelling. There are some quality self-help books out there. There are some quality biographies out there. But in my mind, this does not qualify as either....more info
  • Skating as Metaphor for Life
    Title: The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable)
    Author: Scott Hamilton with Ken Baker
    Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2008

    Skating as Metaphor for Life

    While I would not call myself an avid fan of ice skating, I have enjoyed watching figure skating and ice dancing, from time to time, especially during the Olympics. Scott Hamilton certainly provided some great entertainment, over the years. Simply put, I would far rather watch him skate than read his writing. Not that his latest book is a total dud, but while some of his points were valuable in their application, none were new, and none needed the many repetitions they all received.

    Besides being seriously repetitive, The Great Eight is also disjointed. Although I noticed this lack of cohesion in several places, nowhere was it more clear than in the last chapter, or two, which should have been edited down to a few paragraphs. Frankly, if his co-author had much to do with the writing and/or editing of this book, I have serious doubts about his writing ability, as well.

    So what did I like? I appreciated the autobiographical information as an inspiring story of how one individual has overcome incredible odds, from childhood, to recent years. I liked the lesson of falling on the ice and immediately getting up--which must be quite a trick, in itself, on ice skates!--as a metaphor for coping with life's difficulties. I appreciated the value of using failures or other setbacks as stepping stones to the next achievement. Yes, it sounds like the oh-so-trite adage about making lemonade of life's lemons, but it's still a good lesson. Not original with Scott Hamilton, but applied well through his experiences in life and skating.

    I found it all too easy to apply Hamilton's message about accepting change. I am older than he and all too aware of the physical changes taking place. Already, I am tired of hearing a doctor say, "That comes with aging." Hamilton would tell me to find humor in the increasing limitations I face; e.g., arthritis that has robbed my hands of the strength I once knew, as well as the ability to play the piano. (I have a thumb that now points northwest, another that is moving northeast, a fingertip pointing to my toes, and other digits turning left, right or down.) My inclination has always leaned toward fighting change, even when I knew it was a losing battle, so I needed a kick in the backside.

    Finally, I appreciated his openness as a Christian. We might differ in some applications, but that's okay.

    If you like Scott Hamilton and want to read about his life, I recommend that you buy a used copy of this book, or look for it in your library. If you want a self-help book, keep looking, unless you're willing and able to skim over the repetitions and occasional trite applications.

    The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable)...more info
  • Some Good Advice
    I pondered a while after reading this book. What do I say about it? What rating should I give it. I originally rated it 3 stars, then thought better of it. Surely someone who has survived the things he has survivied deserves 4 stars if for nothing more than survival.

    The book is a fast read and has some very sage advice. Certainly our lives are affected by our attitudes, but it just isn't that simple. Scott is a man who has found happiness and I am glad for it. But will the 8 tenents be as profund for the person whose job is lost, or the person who is struggling to pay their electic bill?

    My problem with these kinds of books is they tend to be written by people who have enough money for good health care, and good food, good shelter etc. I don't want to take away from his battle with cancer. That is a very frightening and life-changing event and he has made the most of that journey.

    Does it apply to the common man/woman who may not only battle with cancer, but how to pay for its treatment? I don't know.

    The book does offer some sound wisdom about seeing humor in all things, and appreciating the "angels" in our journey. I was a little uncomfortable with the ego and self promotional tone of the book.

    I would have been more interested in his life story than his advice on how to be happy because our life situations are so different I find it hard to relate. I can't help but wonder how these tenets would apply to someone on food stamps, or someone unemployed. It just doesn't speak to the everyday guy/gal.

    ...more info
  • The Great Eight is a Great Book
    I just finished reading Scott Hamilton's book The Great eight How to be Happy. I lost my parents 2 years ago and have struggled with deep depression ever since. When I saw an advertisement for his book I thought what could I lose by reading it. I live in grief every day and have given up that I would ever be happy again. Scott has laid a foundation that has given me some hope that I too can be happy again. I believe God encouraged Scott to write this book for people like me. Thank you Scott! ...more info
  • The Great Eight
    The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable)

    Scott Hamiton is the famous Olympic skater. He has suffered from a brain tumor and testicular cancer. He tells his story in this book and explains how to be happy even when you have every reason to be miserable.

    This is an inspirational, positive thinking book! It has lots of good points. The book is obviously built around eight principles that Scott believes are secrets to your happiness. I think every book I read can be worth the read if I find one or two thoughts that are worth it. This book contains more than that.

    One of the truths that I enjoyed as a pastor was found in the chapter on "Trust your Almighty Coach!" Scott discusses different types of coaches. He tells stories about his coaches. The part that applied to me was that coaches should be careful not to get in over their heads.

    Many coaches try to take the skater to a level where they have no understanding. He says that few are willing to say that I have done all I can for you. It is time for me to help you find the person that can take you to the promised land. The great failure he says is when the skater becomes an extension of the coach's ego!

    Another great truth was on using our past failures as a crutch to keep failing. Since we refuse to forgive ourselves for the past we can't get over it and on to the next thing that is before us.

    Another great truth was on keeping the ice clear, or open lines of communication. We often are people pleasers and will not confront people when we should. We build up bitterness that only hinders our future success.

    Last truth from here is that you need to focus on building up others and you will find your own self worth. I like the idea that you have no success until you build a successor. I do not want to be one of a kind. I want to reproduce in others the truths that God has used in my life.

    The book is an easy, quick read! It will give you some good ideas about happiness and success....more info
  • An excellent book that will inspire and encourage
    I didn't know what to expect from this book but I accepted it to review as I always enjoyed watching Scott Hamilton skate.

    It turned out to be a very interesting and motivating story of how Scott has grown as a person and a Christian through the adversity he has had to deal with starting in childhood. The subtitle is: How to Be Happy (even though you have every reason to be miserable). I think that says a lot about the book!

    It is easy enough for older kids who are good readers but will inspire those who are older and feel their life is behind him. Scott encourages us to never give up, no matter what the circumstances. I read it through in two sittings.

    There are many who would enjoy this book... those going through chronic illness of any kind but especially cancer, parents who are raising children with a chronic illness, anyone who loves to watch figure skating and would love to read "behind the scenes" stories, and generally readers who enjoy a good biography that inspires one to keep going when the road gets rough.

    Highly recommended in these difficult days. ...more info


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