Don Yaeger shares characteristics of greatness in new book

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By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy
By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy
By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy

PHOENIX -- Don Yaeger has spent many years in the world of professional sports interviewing legendary athletes. He has written 22 books from his experiences and recently wrote another called "Greatness: The 16 Characteristics of True Champions."

Yaeger joined Scott Pasmore on "Good Morning Arizona" Friday to talk about his book and how the characteristics mentioned can be pursued in people's lives, including non-athletes.

One athlete Yaeger interviewed several times in his career was Michael Jordan. Jordan's perseverance and commitment to winning shows how not giving up or making failure an excuse can lead to success.

"Michael Jordan hated to lose more than he loved to win. Winning was something he expected. It didn't give him the thrill it gives some people, but failure left a mark," Yaeger said.

"Greatness: The 16 Characteristics of True Champions" is based on 2,500 interviews with great winners over 25 years.

"Each one of them told me what they do that has allowed them to be great for a long period of time," Yaeger said. "None of those things had anything to do with being physcially skilled; it was about mental, emotional, spiritual."

Yaeger mentioned some actions people can take in their daily lives to improve them.

One was taking excuses off the table. When someone makes an excuse after a failure, they don't ever own up to or accept it. According to Yaeger, Jordan once told him, "A loss is not a failure until you make an excuse."

Another tip was to understand the power of your associations. Surround yourself with skilled and hard-working people around you if you want to achieve a higher level, Yaeger said.

"Greatness: The 16 Characteristics of True Champions" is now on sale.

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