Book review by Richard Parks,
photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz
Winners are Driven, a Champion’s Guide to Success in Business & Life is an autobiography and history of the life of racing great, Bobby Unser. It was written by Unser and Paul Pease and is a hardbound book of 210 pages. There are 44 black and white photos and one color photo on the dust cover jacket. The book measures 6 ½ wide by 9 ½ inches in height. The dust cover jacket shows Bobby Unser in a suit with red power tie and his trademark smile and self-confidence. The book was written to portray the life of Bobby Unser and his family and to explain how the reader can achieve some of the success that Unser achieved. It is a John Wooden sort of autobiography and self-help book. The book is printed on non-glossy alkaline free paper, with a sixteen-page insert on glossy paper with all of the black and white photographs. The photographs are captioned. There are no graphs, drawings or other visual aids. The text is what is important in this book. There is a Foreword, Acknowledgments and Introduction, followed by twelve chapters. The end of the book includes a Conclusion, Afterword, Appendix and Index. The Appendix gives Bobby Unser’s accomplishments throughout his life and the Index runs six pages and is quite comprehensive. The dust jacket cover is very well done and enhances the overall look of the book. The book was published by John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey in 2003. Check with Autobooks/Aerobooks at 1-818-845-0707 to see if they can get you a copy of the book. The ISBN# is 0-471-25068-6.
Rodger Ward and I attended a book signing for this book in Torrance, California. Unser flew in and spoke about his life. Afterwards he embraced Rodger, who was an old friend. Ward won the Indy 500 twice, but could just as easily have won it a half dozen more times. Unser won the prestigious race three times and both gentlemen were famous for their exploits in other motorsports events besides open wheel racing. The opening page of Winners are Driven, a Champion’s Guide to Success in Business & Life quotes this saying; “Nobody remembers who finished second but the guy who finished second.” The entire Unser family; Jerry, Louis, Al and Bobby rarely finished second to anyone. They were the racers to beat from the 1960’s through the 1990’s. Winners are Driven, a Champion’s Guide to Success in Business & Life mixes history, autobiography and plain simple truths. Unser says, “You can fall, you can fail, and you can crash. You just have to get back up and get back behind the wheel. Nothing less.” He has accumulated a lot of experience in his career and he informs the reader what it was like for him to succeed and to fail. Unser didn’t fail very often. He won almost as often as he didn’t. He was always in the thick of the battle and he was a fierce competitor. He not only had to fight against other racers, but against his own family as well and they provided him with some of his stiffest competition.
Some of the chapter titles are; Fire in the belly, Visualizing the Checkered Flag, Qualify for the Race, Goals and Strategies, Taking the Checkered Flag, and Races are Won in the Pits. Just by the chapter names you can gauge where Bobby Unser is taking you. He goes on to other subjects; Trust and Integrity, Accountability and Responsibility, Cherish Failure, Take Pride in Results, Education the Ultimate Performance Enhancer and the Family Wildcard. While Unser was a fierce individualist as a racer, he would be the first to tell you the value of teamwork. Roger Penske lauds Unser for the values that he brought to Team Penske. Unser learned many of the values that he imparts in this book from his father and mother, Jerry Sr and Mary Unser. He learned from the talents of his uncle, Louis Unser. He gained much from his brothers; Al, Louis and Jerry Jr. Winners are Driven, a Champion’s Guide to Success in Business & Life is a book that will give the reader a very important understanding of a racer who set high standards and achieved them. It tells about an American family that produced many winning racers and race teams. It gives advice and wisdom that can’t help but improve one’s chances because Bobby Unser has succeeded at just about everything he ever attempted.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS2@JUNO.COM.