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Winning Balance: What I've Learned So…

Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and…

by Shawn Johnson

Other authors: Nancy French

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I received this book free. As an Auto-Biography it was okay although I stopped reading it for a while as another book looked more interesting. As a Christian Auto-Biography it fell short.

Shawn Johnson describes her early childhood and experiences leading up to her winning Gold and Silver medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. A lot of the book was about her training as a gymnast which I didn't relate to but I'm sure would be of interest to other gymnasts. I liked her honesty and descriptions of her personal struggles although I felt in places that she revealed too much detail (e.g a romantic relationship with a man that broke up with his girlfriend for her) that she will wish she had kept to herself later in life. I felt sorry for her as she describes her terror on learning that she had a stalker who had been on his way to abduct her during her training for a dance competition. Also as she describes her struggles with a serious knee injury later in the book.

There are many of these "Christian" Auto-Biographies that read more like "self help" manuals for how to navigate life with the most positive attitude you can muster. God seems to then be tagged onto the end as an afterthought. There are Bible verses and secular "self-help" quotations intermingled throughout the book. After winning her Gold medal and a dance competition Shawn realises that there is more to life than winning competitions, she feels an emptiness in her life and almost turns to God to fill it, almost but not quite....it was frustrating reading at this point as I was expecting her salvation testimony especially when the chapter was entitled "How God became more real to me," but she always seems to weather the storm and then continue as before...

At the end of every chapter the author details a "Lesson I've Learned" and one of the final lessons is this;

"Don't let anything hold you back from following your heart and taking a leap of faith. Even if you're the only one who believes in the direction you want to take, you have the power to make it happen."

Most of her "life lessons" are like this and sadly they are just not Biblical. The Bible teaches that we should not follow our hearts as they are deceitful, that we should instead follow the Bible. Also that we should follow God's direction rather than our own and that we have no power apart from in Him!

Shawn is clearly a sincere young woman seeking to live a moral life and believing that God is helping her. She mentions prayer at various points. It is my hope that she will come to a personal saving faith in Jesus. The book is clean and free of bad language, violence and sexual content. If you are interested in gymnastics/Shawn Johnson you may enjoy this but I don't think it will inspire Christian readers. ( )
  sparkleandchico | Aug 31, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. Being from Iowa, I followed Shawn's path to the Olympics and watched her while she competed. You kind of have an idea of what goes into being a top athlete but you really don't know until you hear it from one of the athletes. Gymnastics is so hard on the body and then for them to work that hard at such a young age is horrible. Sounds like Shawn's Iowa upbringing has kept her balanced and she's on the right track to succeed outside of gymnastics. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
"Wining Balance" by Shawn Johnson is an amazing autobiography to read. I've always admired Shawn and was interested about her journey to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When you read this book, you will learn so much about her and a lot of struggles in her life to get to where she is now. This is a great book for Shawn's fans. ( )
  br14jabe | Nov 11, 2013 |
Just as 4-time Olympic gymnastics champion Shawn Johnson was unbelievably solid on the balance beam (see video here), her autobiography displays solid balance as well.

This book is solid gold and I loved! Shawn Johnson is so inspirational and dedicated! She is amazingly dedicated to gymnastics, and (amazingly!) finds the time to balance out other hobbies she has - all while training for her big break at the Olympics in Beijing of 2008. Shawn's faith in the Lord is both encouraging and inspirational to younger readers.
"Thanks to my parents, friends, family, and my church, I realized that my true identity comes from something other than my accomplishments, and that lasting happiness will never be found in another medal or trophy." -Ch. 28 The writing is, surprisingly, spectacular! Shawn really has a talent for writing! This book seemed to flow as readers follow Shawn from the moment she was received a "0" on her Apgar testing to when she wins the gold medal on balance beam in the Olympics to winning Dancing With the Stars in 2009 - and all the events in-between.

Shawn has two conflicting desires: to be a normal teenager and to win an Olympic gold medal. She shows readers how, with lots of support from her parents and friends, she is able to balance her two dreams out. "I was an interesting combination of nerd, tomboy, and girly-girl, which, come to think of it, is probably still a good description." -Ch. 2 This is a highly recommended book for everyone - especially those who are gymnasts. Shawn Johnson is truly a great role model, inspiration, and gymnast and her story is both thrilling and hopeful to young gymnasts that look up to Shawn and hope to compete in the Olympics someday.

  ZoeSNicholson | Sep 16, 2013 |
Truley a great veiw of a gymnast life on and off the beam. I just loved it to peices, it kept me up all night and helped me to realize how dreams can really come true. The e book version also has some great pictures :) GO SHAWN! ( )
  katagirl | Sep 30, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shawn Johnsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
French, Nancysecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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We live by believing and not by seeing. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Other things may change us, but we start and end with family. Anthony Brandt
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss
Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Mike Greenberg
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. Martin Luther King Jr.
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American gymnast Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national--and world--champion athlete and a winner on the popular "Dancing with the Stars." This is the amazing true journey of how this young Olympian has found balance in her life.… (more)

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