Expanded Content: Book Reviews - Arnold Palmer

"Arnold Palmer - A Life Well Played, My Stories" by Arnold Palmer
(St. Martin's Press, $22.99) will undoubtedly be one of the most wanted --and most given-- holiday gifts for golfers this season.  Published just a few weeks after his passing, he wrote the book with the assistance of his closest  advisors, and with veteran golf writer Dave Shedloski.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate his life.

In 76 chapters of no more than 3 pages each, Palmer recalls his dramatic victories, gut-wrenching defeats, and opens up about the life lessons learned from his father, the many friendships he cultivated with his toughest competitors (particularly Jack Nicklaus), his multiple business endeavors, two successful marriages, and his appreciation of "the Army."

Throughout the book, Palmer's philosophy of hard work, following "the golden rule," and his common-sense code of ethics provides insight into why and how he captured and captivated the support, trust, and adulation of sports fans around the globe.

While he recounts many well-documented anecdotes and stories, he notes in the final pages that he never felt comfortable being called "The King."  Here, and in other sections, it almost seems as if he is opening his soul to the public to give a final look at how he lived his life, and offer a thank you to all who thanked him.

There are other  personal reminiscences, including how he and his manager, Mark McCormack, both of whom built fortunes, each lost $14 million due to a business partner's poor decision-making; the time he made a hole-in-one at the same hole on two consecutive days, the last with television cameras rolling; and how he overcame a case of the nerves to successfully host the "Tonight Show."

The book is a quick read and touches many human emotions from a hearty laugh to a tug of the heart, and perhaps even a shed tear or two.  Arnold would certainly insist you settle back in an easy chair with the book while enjoying the drink named after him -- or possibly with his preferred alternative,  Ketel One vodka on the rocks.  Cheers to you, "King."