What I've Learned From Attending Over 35 Indy 500's

Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
168 Pages
Reviewed on 05/30/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

What I've Learned From Attending Over 35 Indy 500's by Jeff Cowan is a sports inspired guide to help readers kick into gear and get motivated with the tools required for roles in work, leadership, management, and everyday living. Throughout the book, Cowan uses a story based on experience, and in the context of a particular race or driver, and applies it toward business and personal growth. Each experience details a scene from an Indy 500 event and follows with a "Lessons Learned", "Personal Story", and "Points to Ponder" section with real-life utilization exercises that are sure to rev readers into action.

I really love Cowan's approach here and can see why he's been successful as a motivational speaker and trainer. The personal stories, in my opinion, were the best as they highlight his own struggles and successes in a way that makes our trials feel as normal as any other fan in the cheap seats. Of course, where the book excels is in the Indy tales themselves. Humanizing drivers in their races and delivering an underlying theme that all one might feel is impossible never is, Jeff Cowan speaks to the masses in a language we can understand.

Inspiration abounds in chapters like "Al Sr. Is A Badass", where the eldest Unser faces seemingly insurmountable odds with an untested but trustworthy car, going from a 20th starting position to qualify and, ultimately, win the final race. Cowan ties this in with, "The real lesson here is that it’s important to have the right tools to get the job done, but it is equally, if not more important, to have someone who knows what to do with the tools be in the driver’s seat." This is clearly a track that we all have the ability to be on, and I'd recommend this book to all who feel they've veered off course.

Jack Magnus

What I've Learned From Attending Over 35 Indy 500's: Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General is a nonfiction inspirational sports and business memoir written by Jeff Cowan. Cowan is a motivational speaker, professional coach and sales instructor. He’s also a successful business owner. The month of May and the Indy 500 have had a special place in Cowan’s heart since he was a boy. As he writes in this memoir, the Indy 500 was “much more than a race, it was an event.” He describes how his father’s cousin, a cameraman who worked at the local TV station, would share his tape of the race with the family, bringing along a big screen and projector to make it really come to life. The excitement went further than that, however, as every house in his neighborhood would have all the radios tuned to the race and blasting out at full volume. Everyone wanted to listen all the time, no matter where they were, from 6:00 AM until the race was finished. Cowan’s dad was big on A.J. Foyt and was known to take any bet people were willing to place against him. Cowan has been privileged to attend over “35 Indy 500’s and well over 200 Indy car races.” He’s seen just about everything that you could expect from an event of this sort, and he has learned a number of life lessons from the race and the drivers who risk life and limb out there. He uses his stories about the Indy 500 to motivate his audiences, and he shares with them how those life lessons and the Indy have shaped his own life and success in business. He also shares how the Indy 500, and that privilege of being able to attend and sit in the best seats, motivates him to keep putting his best efforts into his business and everything he does.

I had a grand time reading Jeff Cowan’s nonfiction motivational sports book. I loved reading about the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and how it was revitalized after World War II, and delighted in learning more about A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Jr. and the other racing greats. Each chapter in this book is beautifully set out with a racing story, followed by a Lesson Learned, a Personal Story and Points to Ponder, and this organizational strategy really works to get the reader to understand exactly what to take away from that story and how to use it in one’s own professional and personal life. Aside from the brilliant organisation, Cowan’s writing style is both crisp and conversational; he paints word pictures that let the reader get lost in his story and visualize those racing scenes. He ties in the business education with those racing stories so smoothly that the excitement of the race continues through each section of each chapter. Who said reading a business book can’t be fun and exciting? Anyone who does hold that view hasn’t read this book yet. What I've Learned From Attending Over 35 Indy 500's: Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General is most highly recommended.

Gisela Dixon

What I've Learned From Attending Over 35 Indy 500’s: Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General by Jeff Cowan is a non-fiction memoir of Jeff’s experiences and life lessons at the Indy 500. Indianapolis 500 or Indy 500 is a big sporting event and Jeff, being an avid fan and someone that has been a regular at it, narrates various anecdotes and his personal experiences at the event. But along with the actual anecdote or event, Jeff also adds his own life lesson that he learnt from that particular episode, a short personal story, and “points to ponder” about it which are useful lessons in people management and living life in general. Some of the lessons learned that are explained and elaborated upon include “Pitfalls of a self-serving attitude,” “Change or be left behind,” “Be careful what you ask for,” “No risk, no reward,” “Humility delivers rich benefits,” and many more.

What I've Learned From Attending Over 35 Indy 500’s is a fun and entertaining read, but at the same time with thought-provoking and real life lessons. Jeff obviously knows how to write well and to make the subject interesting, even for someone who may not be familiar with Indy 500. I really liked reading about his personal stories and the takeaways from them, which are lessons not just in life, sales, management, or the business world, but also in personal life dealings with family and friends. Jeff’s love and passion for this event come through vividly and are almost contagious. What I also liked about the book is that it can be read in any order and if a particular life lesson appeals to you, that specific portion can be independently reread any time. This is a great book!

Divine Zape

What I’ve Learned from Attending Over 35 Indy 500’s: Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General by Jeff Cowan is a book packed with wisdom and invaluable advice on business and management. Here is a book that is designed to entertain and instruct readers, featuring stories from the Indy 500 annual event and drawing a powerful link between these stories and real life. Jeff Cowan takes readers from the moment, back as a child, when he first learned about Indy 500 yet couldn’t afford it because he was from a low income family. Now, in this book, he shares incredible stories and offers stunning details to readers, stories related to the event and stories that are told in an impassioned and spellbinding way. Some will entertain you and others will inspire serious thought.

In this book, Jeff Cowan shares the lessons he has learned, lessons in sales, leadership, and management. For instance he states: “I have also learned that only fools would depend solely on technology or a human being to stay out front and win.” In the same way, he cautions that money doesn’t always buy the edge for the rich as some cunning underdogs can get to the edge through grit and hard work. I enjoyed the way the author describes the different experiences of the event and how it becomes a space for people to reconnect, for families and friends to bond and new friendships to burgeon. These are stories about the tracks, the racers, owners, and managers, stories that offer timeless lessons for readers. The author allows his passion and zest for life to come out in the narrative. One feels as if they are listening to a fan who knows just what they are talking about. It is unique, informative, and hugely inspiring.

Ruffina Oserio

I am not a fan of car racing and it would surprise many that while I have occasionally seen it on the news, this is the first time I have read about the Indy 500. I am happy I picked this book because it is filled with the wisdom readers need to succeed both in life and business. In What I’ve Learned from Attending over 35 Indy 500’s: Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General, Jeff Cowan captures the hype of the sport and transports readers to another world — filling their ears with exciting stories about the tracks, the teams, and coaches, and more — while offering powerful lessons and insights into the art of marketing, on what it takes to get on the edge, on secrets to succeeding in life and business.

While this book talks uniquely about Indy 500 as a space for new encounters, of fun and entertainment, and family bonding, it offers readers unique angles and perspectives on looking at life. Jeff Cowan has a gift for humor and he knows how to communicate it, which makes this book a unique gift of inspiration. It entertains readers and opens their eyes to secrets about winning in life, dealing with people, and leading others. The writing is excellent and the author goes for diction that is accessible, composing a unique phraseology that allows his voice to come across powerfully to readers. What I’ve Learned from Attending over 35 Indy 500’s: Lessons in Sales, Motivation, Leadership, Management, and Life in General is a book with a strong appeal to fans of Indy 500 and car racing, but it contains huge doses of wisdom for ordinary readers who just want to enrich their lives and find meaning in their pursuits. I enjoyed every bit of it — the hilarity, the humor, the intensity, and the author’s sheer addiction to Indy 500!