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Book Review: The Golfer & The Millionaire

By Samir | September 11, 2010

Cover: The Golfer and The Millionaire by Marc Fisher

Book Review
The Golfer and The Millionaire
by Marc Fisher

Golf tournaments are inevitable for those in professional services (such as I). Client-networking events, internal tournaments, impromptu rounds to kill half a day while travelling - over the past 6 years, all of these circumstances have transpired and forced me onto the greens in Quebec, Texas, Utah and Florida. My introduction to golf was a rough one at best. Being coerced to play, I never took the game. I despised it actually, seeing it as a sport for old men who couldn’t actually play sports.

I was a young guy. My green was a soccer field and I left sweat on a weight bench. With disdain, I used to look upon the argyle-wearing, overweight grey men who played the sport. They didn’t even play for love - they played as an excuse to dress up, as an excuse to ignore the wife and kids, as an excuse to smoke cigars, or just for status. Of course, most of the above was true. Most golfers I encountered did not actually like golf, just the perks that came with it.

But there’s a different golfer out there - one I hadn’t seen until very recently. He doesn’t play to put on a fashion show. He doesn’t play to impress clients. He doesn’t have a Royal Montreal tag on his golf bag. He plays because he’s come to realize golf is an incredible tool for mental development. It took me 15 rounds of golf to figure this out - essentially, the time it took for me to piece together 2 good drives and ask myself why I couldn’t repeat the feat more consistently.

I was lucky enough to have this moment of eureka beside a friend and avid golfer (the 2nd type I described). In truth, once I discarded my association between golf and pretentiousness, and stopped looking at golf as a sport, I started to appreciate it. It reminded me so much of Tai Chi, another hobby I entertained. I realized that within me was the power to hit a 270-yard drive, with a 3-wood. I also realized that within me lay all the obstacles I had to overcome to do it: ego, the intent of wanting to crush the ball which made me impatient, which moved my hands before my hip, which made me take my eye off the ball before contact.

That’s when he lent me the book.

The Golfer and The Millionaire is organized as a dialogue between a failed golfer and a millionaire. After a few pages introducing us to the golfer’s pathetic life of coaching businessmen with handicaps of 25, drinking and driving (his POS car), failed relationships and so on, the golfer’s car collides with the millionaire’s limousine.

The Millionaire is intrigued by the Golfer’s humility and brings him onto his personal golf course. There, he determines that the golfer has enough talent and skill to win the US open but is lacking in the one critical area that separates champions from also-rans : mental fortitude.

Over the course of the next few chapters, the millionaire walks the golfer through some of the basics about success. By letting the golfer hit the same putt twice, once for no money and once for $10,000, he shows the golfer how to “make a putt longer without moving the ball”. In dealing with pressure, the golfer faces all the aspects of his personality that he never mastered: anger, fear, self-doubt, arrogance and so on.

They eventually start playing a round on the millionaire’s course. After the golfer shanks a shot, the millionaire seizes the opportunity to explain to him the parallels between golf and life. Each action, each shot, must be played as if it is the only thing that counts. And yet, each shot must not be considered too important in the overall course of a game. Better said, one bad shot does not ruin a game. It’s a paradox of life that is so simply illustrated: focus on big results and you fail. Focus on small tasks and big results come on their own. It’s good for business (one task), bodybuilding (one rep), and life in general (each journey begins with but a single step, some like to say).

Regardless, the golfer eventually learns to manage the mental demons that plague him to enter the US Open with the milllionaire as his caddy. By mastering these “dark emotions”, the golfer eventually masters his own ego and realizes anger, frustration, et al., are really only the result of an ego that masters the person. And then, he was the winning stroke on the end of his putter - but I’ll let you read out it turns out.

I loved the book for the simplicity with which is illustrated some very complex concepts about success. In a few hundred pages, Marc Fisher was able to provide guidance on mental fortitude, the courage it takes to love, believing in oneself, dealing with failure and keeping perspective when things go bad. Of course, anyone who’s succeeded (in business or otherwise) has done so with the firm resolve that comes from combining these traits.

All in all, an excellent life recipe book that’s about much more than golf.

Topics: Books / Livres |

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