Open, An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

Images I loved this book.  Andre Agassi is a survivor.   His story is not only a glimpse into the insanity of any professional athletes life but his own demons. 

He confirms the theory that if you do anything for over 10,000 hours, you will become an expert.  Agassi was hitting tennis balls for hours a day by the time he could hold a racket.  He and his siblings are first generation Americans as his father was an immigrant from Iran.  Like many immigrants parents, they want something more for their child.  Agassi's father wanted his kids to be tennis pros and he channeled all his energies around that dream.  Andre might have hated the process which made him hate tennis but he had raw talents that were apparent the day he started hitting the tennis ball.

Agassi was the first generation of kids at the Nick Bollettieri tennis academy.   The academy caters to kids who are on the fast track to tennis stardom.  Live in Florida instead of home and let Nick mold and nurture your life.   Agassi provides a tell all of what that life meant for him at the academy.

Agassi ceased to be educated at 16 and turned pro.  Regardless, he is no dummy.   What I loved about the book is how transparent Agassi is in telling his story.  He has a huge heart and is loyal to the family and friends around him.  He never forgets where he came from.  He is incredibly philanthropic with friends in their times of need.  Unbelievably so. 

The book is engaging and honest.  He shares all the demons that go through his head at every match, every relationship and at every turn. 

He seems to have found peace and happiness with Steffi Graff.  In retirement, he has poured a tremendous amount of his energies into an education facility in Las Vegas where he is making a difference in hundreds of children's lives. 

I would guess that although Agassi is no longer playing on the court, he will be back.  Not as a tennis player but something else that will make an impact.  He is a survivor and although a one man band (which is what tennis is all about ), he has the makings of a killer entrepreneur. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Timothy Post

    Joanne:I, too, recently finished Agassi’s book (audio version) and loved it. Agassi has been a class act for a number of years and I found his brutal honesty to be refreshing.However, I do take exception with one thing you wrote. Specifically, the sentence, “Andre might have hated the process which made him hate tennis but he had raw talents that were apparent the day he started hitting the tennis ball.”Before reading Agassi’s book I had just read another book called “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. The book covers a lot of the same ground as Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book but it views talent differently. Talent is not an something one is born with but, rather, a by-product of something Coyle calls “deep practice.” Attributes such as height are something one is born with but talent is developed.Check out Coyle’s book at I still remember the time I bumped into Agassi in the members locker room at Longwood Cricket Club where he had just finished a match. He avoided the Player’s Locker Room because of the couple dozen teenage groupies were waiting for him. As I sat down at my locker Agassi was scotch taping the small part of his piano-key tie (very popular at the time- go figure) to the back of the front of his tie. I’d never seen anyone actually scotch tape their tie : ) I guess he was a “stickler” for detail even way back then )))

    1. Gotham Gal

      I will check out The Talent Code. I have mixed thoughts on the 10,000hours. I still believe that there is some innate talent that rises to thetop.

  2. TanyaMonteiro

    Just came back to see what you wrote about this book. Am in the middle and loving it. Struck how survivor comes up more than once in your review, going to add him to my list of interviewers, be interesting to hear his views on Thriving or Surviving and how/why?

    1. Gotham Gal

      He would be fantastic.