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Lou Holtz - Winning Every Day

Updated on December 23, 2013

Lou Holtz - Biography of a Winner

Alright, so I'm not going to write a biography on the simple man who became a legend (well, on second thought I might). My intent here is to introduce you to one of the most inspirational and motivational books to grace my shelf. Lou Holtz' autobiography "Winning Every Day" was first published in 1999 and despite his fame as a college football coach (he also coached the NFL's NY Jets for one year in 1976), he wants his legacy to be more than a scorecard.

For those who know, Lou is in fact much more than a coach. Gen. Colin Powell wrote that Lou is a "great leader, devoted husband and compassionate humanitarian." Sure, Lou has a coaching record that truly amazes (249–132–7) and he's in the College Football Hall of Fame. However there's nothing that can be said about him that rivals his accolades as an inspiration and mentor. Its widely held that his ability to inspire is directly responsible for his coaching success, and now, in this book, we get to share in his wit and wisdom.

He starts the book with this Chapter One title "Every Victory Is Won Before The Game Is Played: The Power Of Attitude." Indeed, that simple proclamation seems to be the foundation of his life. He expects to win, to succeed, before he takes a step. Much like another favorite motivational leader whom I admire, Zig Ziglar, Lou recognizes the extreme power of self-confidence and he has an uncanny ability to show you how to achieve it.

He writes that "Winners and losers aren't born, they're the products of how they think." Then he reminds us that mothers don't give birth to doctors and lawyers and champions like Michael Jordan, those people are who they are based on choices they make, nothing more. Many Michael Jordans have likely existed, except the others probably didn't practice all day and every day growing up, for lack of commitment or some other reason.

What To Expect

The book's title gives away the direction that the discussion will take... "Winning Every Day, The Game Plan For Success." For Lou its about getting the core right, and everything else will fall in to place. Self-confidence, honesty, honor, work-ethic and even humility are parts of the core which Lou insists that we all have to recognize and work on, just like we would our muscles when weightlifting.

Here are the Chapter titles which will give you a quick peek inside:

  1. Every Victory Is Won Before The Game Is Played: The Power Of Attitude
  2. The Best Part of Getting Knocked Down Is Getting Back Up: Tackling Adversity
  3. Put The Why Before The Where Or What: Sense Of Purpose
  4. Getting Game-Ready: Make Sacrifice Your Ally
  5. Adapt Or Die: The Perils Of Being Number One
  6. Run For Daylight: Competing On Your Field Of Dreams
  7. You Are What You Think: Nurturing Your Self-Image
  8. Can I trust You?
  9. Are You Committed To Excellence
  10. Do You Care About Me?
  11. Into The End Zone: Turn Your Questions Into Victories

Some things stood out to me while reading the book. In Chapter 6 Lou writes about the extreme sacrifices his mother made so that could attend college, the first in his family to ever do so. She worked multiple low-paying and unpleasant jobs (e.g. nurses aid) for the sole purpose that Lou could go to college. It gets to the core of what sacrifice really means. Letting you have some of my fries isn't really a sacrifice. In relationships, marriage in particular, Lou suggests that people should enter it with the idea that there is no way out once you're in. This would force people to think about it more deeply, longer even, and help them to weather the tough times more readily.

Perhaps for me it's the personal writing style that Lou employes, or the real, down-to-earth examples he provides, which make this one of my favorite reads. Regardless, it is one of my top motivational books and easily worth its price to have on your shelf, too.

Why Inspiration Matters

I first bought my copy of the book years ago when my son was 14. I've always tried to introduce good influences into my son's life and so I would often barter with him when he wanted a new game or something. In this case he wanted a new golf putter and so I told him that if he'd read this book and tell me about it that I'd buy him the putter. He did, and I did. I can't say that I attribute the fine young man that my son has grown into, to Lou Holtz and this book, but I know for certain that young minds are very malleable and that it matters very much what goes into them.

As parents we should strive to win the influence race; children can achieve greatness if they believe in it.

In the words of Lou: "Every day, some ordinary person does something extraordinary. Today, its your turn."

Additional Top Rated Motivational Picks

Once you've opened a book written by Lou Holtz you'll want more. Thankfully he's written several books and below are two of my favorites. Specifically, the "Teen's Game Plan For Life" is one you should gift your children. As I already mentioned, what we introduce to our children (as it relates to character and morals) really does matter. You would be hard pressed to find more fitting books than these.

Lastly, I've included a link to the book which Lou himself credits to much of his own success, "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz. I don't own it yet but it is on my list.

Lou Holtz - Man of Integrity

Here is a great clip of Lou and some of his inspiring comments.

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