I’ve always been a fan of autobiographies, and Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi (amazon affiliate link) was no different. In fact, this one was one of the more captivating ones I’ve read to date. I’ll admit, I’ve never been an avid or even casual follower of the game of tennis. I actually can’t even remember the last tennis match I watched, but guessing it’s been about 5 years, though I do remember watching some epic US open matches I stumbled across on television growing up – and at least a few Agassi-Sampras matches. Regardless, I completed the first page of Open yesterday around noon and finished the last page mid morning today; less than 24 hours cover to cover. Andre’s life story was both engaging and addicting to read; one of those books that’s impossible to put down. Not the best autobiography I’ve read, that would have to go to Scar Tissue, but good nonetheless. It’s obvious his personality is the primary reason Andre attracted so much attention over the course of his career — of course, it didn’t hurt that he was a damn good tennis player either. I always tell people I’m drawn to passionate voices, and Agassi certainly fits in that category with a powerful personality and fire for life that bled through the words as I flipped the pages. Though he wasn’t always truthful & open with the media, he’s obviously changed in that regard since this book is about as open as you can get without revealing every minute detail. His relationships with his father, trainer, coach, ex-wife Brooke Shields, competitors, and just about everyone else in his life were all discussed extremely openly.

After reading OPEN, there are a few takeaways that stand out for me.

  1. There is no substitute for hard work; to reach greatness, it’s a requirement.
  2. I still consider first hand accounts of successes, failures, and hardships as the greatest way to learn other than doing something yourself.
  3. I’m going to make it a point to watch a grand slam final in 2011.
  4. Mentor figures in your life are crucial to shaping who you are and who you become. I need to make a point to seek a few of them out.
  5. The power of education is unmistakeable & I’m impressed with what he’s built with the Agassi Prep Academy (and his passion for it), and I’m going to help raise funds to build a school somewhere in the world.
  6. Having clear goals is crucial if you want to move forward in life. You can’t sit around and wait for things to come to you. As Agassi would say, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back”
  7. The best people in your life are not that that are after your money; those types of people will come and go. True friends stick by you no matter what obstacles you face — and vice versa.
  8. There’s no limit to what you can accomplish if you want something bad enough.
  9. Gut instincts should be listened to. In just about all cases, they seem to be right.

Lastly, I’m now fairly certain I want to write an autobiography later in life. I guess that means I have to reach greatness between now and then so someone will read it; I’ll take that as a challenge.

As you can tell, I recommend the book — so go read it!!

  • Great post, Drew! I remember watching Andre play in a tournament in Stratton Mountain, VT when he was just breaking into the tennis circuit. He had long, dyed hair, an earring, tattoos and a huge personality to match. Everyone was like, “who is this kid???” I think he won the tournament and went on to crushing everyone in his path with this game and his looks. He is quite the personality!

  • Thanks Diane – yea, he was quite the kid when he started the circuit from the sounds of the book. I never watched him play when I was young.

  • I am going to have to read this book if your “takeaways” are any example of the lessons to be learned! All of those points are spot on and I look forward to reading your autobiography too!

  • Jen Miller

    Hey Drew- Saw the link on skype and had to check it out.
    Was I mentioned in Andre’s book? Just kidding. In reality, he served a tennis ball into my face once while watching him play at the Forum. Immediately he ran over, touched my face, and apologized. Then he tore his sweat drenched shirt off his back and handed it to me. My friends were SO jealous. I still have the tape with the ESPN footage. Must admit, it scared me off, though, and that was the last time I watched a tennis match up from the sidelines. Anyway I was impressed by his concern – I could see how his book might be full of good lessons. Thanks for the heads up – I’ll have to check it out!