Driven From Within

BY STANLEY CHAI

Title : Driven From Within
Author: Michael Jordan
IMPRINT: Atria Books
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
RELEASED: Oct 24, 2005
ISBN: 9781416524137
Price: $24.99/RM105

Everyone who knows basketball, knows Michael Jordan; except me when I started playing basketball. I have no idea who Jordan was when I was 12, the age when I first started playing. It was my friend, who played basketball with me at that time, told me about Michael Jordan. Since then, I’ve became a diehard fan.

I would save all my pocket money, sometimes even steal a few ringgit here and there from my parents, just to get his damn pricy signature shoes, Air Jordans. I lied to my parents when they ask how and how much I got the shoes. That’s how “diehard” I was, then.

I never thought I would read about Michael Jordan. Thanks to the company I’m working for, here I am writing the first book review of Driven from Within from my idol, the GOAT — Greatest Of All Time — basketball player.

Driven from Within is a hybrid sports and business biography written by Michael Jordan with editor Mark Vancil. It is certainly part autobiographical.

In the book, Jordan talks about what motivates him as an athlete and as a businessperson, together with the thinking behind his routine and work ethic, as well as how he used adversity and losses as motivation to excel.

In his own words, Jordan emphasises process over results, leading through action, and giving your best effort, at all times, in everything you do.

Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan dunks in front of Indiana Pacers’ Mark Jackson during first quarter action in Chicago February 17, 1998. The game was being played on Jordan’s 35th birthday.Photo: REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki

“Everybody knows the results,” Jordan writes. “This book is about the process.”

Driven from Within also contains numerous stories and anecdotes from people who were closest to Jordan. Dean Smith, his coach at University of North Carolina (UNC).

His mother, Deloris. And the coaches, friends, and designers of his immensely popular Jordan shoes and apparel.

The book also touches on Jordan’s life, his business outlook, and the way he approached the game of basketball.

One interesting fact I found out is that the global powerhouse that is now the Jordan brand came very close to not happening. As a rookie, Jordan was scheduled to meet with Nike for the first time, but he had doubts. He wasn’t so sure about Nike as they weren’t a player in the sneaker game at the time. Jordan’s parents had to coax him into going, and after a slick presentation by the team at Nike, including the founder and ‘Shoe Dog’ Phil Knight, Jordan was sold.

In the first year alone, the Air Jordan brand would pump out an astonishing $150 million (approx. RM370.5 million in year 1985) in revenue. From his Jordan Brand income and endorsements, Jordan’s 2015 income was an estimated $110 million (approx. RM421.3 million), the most of any retired athlete. As of 2020, his net worth is estimated at $2.1 billion (approx. RM8.9 billion) by Forbes, making him the fourth-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Smith, David Steward, and Oprah Winfrey.

Jordan talks about how easy it was to find ways to motivate himself each and every game.  It didn’t matter what the importance of the game was, he still found the way to be outstanding every moment he was on the court. He claimed that his driving force and passion was to impress people with what he could do.

At every game, he thought about that person who had never experienced the excitement or entertainment he could provide. It was the idea somebody might be sitting there who had never seen Michael Jordan play. For him, the entertainment and excitement he brought to the table was his way of adding value and making a contribution the world.

Michael didn’t start out as a “natural” basketball player by any means. In fact, he was more interested in baseball as a kid. But, he proved that you didn’t have to be born with a natural ability, but rather “put in all the work…in practice every day” and dedication, “anything can happen if you are willing to put in the work and remain open to the possibility.”

He always focused on how he could become better by constantly improving himself.

It was never “okay, I’ve won three championships in a row now, an Olympic gold medal, etc…I don’t need to practise anymore.” He was all about practice and improving. He was about developing healthy habits and dedicating himself to it.

Jordan led by example because “there are no shortcuts” and he “always believed in leading with action, not words”. He didn’t need to vocalise his leadership, but rather he knew that others would look at his hard work and the way he conducted himself, and they would raise their standard up to his level because of it.  

A lot of what Michael Jordan describes in this book is easy to relate to with success in any area of life. It’s the same principles. If you’re shy and quiet like I was, and want to become a social butterfly; it takes hard work, dedication and practice; if you’re out of shape and want to transform your body, or broke financially and looking or other means of income — it’s the same principles. “Nothing of value comes without being earned.”

This is a great book. Whether or not you’re a Michael Jordan fan or a basketball fan, for those who want to experience “nothing of value comes without being earned” in your journey through life, this book is for you.