Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself  -     By: Austin Gutwein, Todd Hillard
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Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself

Thomas Nelson / 2009 / Paperback

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When teenager Gutwein learned there were over 15 million AIDS orphans in Africa, he organized a free-throw marathon to raise funds. Now his Hoops for Hope has built a school and medical clinic in Zambia! Using an interactive format, he challenges his peers to respond to God's call to minister to people, animals, and the environment. 240 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.44 X 0.5 (inches)
ISBN: 1400315158
ISBN-13: 9781400315154

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Publisher's Description

Discover how you can respond to God's call in your own life, whether it's in your own town or on the other side of the world.

Teen Austin Gutwein has taken his best shot several thousand times to help AIDS orphans in Africa and in the process has built a school and a medical clinic!  Take Your Best Shot tells how one boy made an incredible difference in the lives of those without hope while challenging the reader to do the same. 

The interactive dialogue will leave space for the reader to respond. By the end of the book, the reader will know the testimony of Austin and other teens from around the world who are committed to a life of sharing Christ’s love, and will have begun to search for God’s voice in their own lives. The book will also equip and challenge readers with information on a variety of ministries and organizations around the world to help people, animals, and the environment.  

“Austin is an outstanding young man! He inspires us to dream bigger, reach higher and love deeper. His story deserves a wide hearing.” Max Lucado

“I am very impressed with Austin Gutwein’s story in Take Your Best Shot. This book is filled with words of encouragement, inspiration, and hope. It’s guaranteed to motivate you into action.” Pat Williams, Senior Vice President, Orlando Magic

“I spent a day with Austin and his family and found them inspiring. His story, I believe, challenges us all. The first thing I thought as I drove to the airport was: What was I doing when I was twelve? And then, of course, the next thought: What, exactly, am I doing now?” John Larson, Former NBC National Correspondent

“When people ask me how they can possibly make a difference fighting a problem as big as ‘global poverty’, I tell them about a boy named Austin who, like David, stared Goliath in the eye without flinching. This young man has done more to make a difference in the lives of children orphaned by AIDS than most American churches, let alone individuals. If you are older than 10 and you haven’t yet done your part to change the world, read Take Your Best Shot and be inspired. Austin Gutwein shows us the way”. Richard Stearns, President, World Vision US, Author of The Hole in Our Gospel

“When people ask who has most impacted me over the last year, without hesitation I can say Austin Gutwein and the story of Hoops of Hope. I am around amazing leaders all the time, and Austin rivals all of them. Austin is my friend. And Austin is one of my heroes. You can’t be around Austin or the amazing work of Hoops of Hope without being deeply impacted and inspired. Trust me. Do yourself a favor and read this book and the incredible story. But once you do, be prepared to be changed and challenged. You’ll see the world and your significant role in helping those less fortunate in an amazingly fresh way.” Brad Lomenick, Executive Director, Catalyst

“Austin’s story is one of modern day heroism. He represents a new generation that can carry us all into the twenty-first century: a world of hope, peace and selfless love. Austin completely inspires me.” Daniel Biro, Hawk Nelson

Author Bio

Todd Hillard is a free-lance writer from San Antonio, Texas. He lived in Turkey for two and a half years and has written more than 15 books. Todd regularly blogs at www.GetInTheSurge.com.

Product Reviews

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  1. Oregon
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 29, 2009
    Jill Williamson
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    What would happen if you decided to change the world? Think you're too young? Too poor? Too plain? Austin Gutwein was only nine when his heart was broken by the truth of AIDS orphans in Africa. More than just wanting to make a difference, Austin had to. He couldn't sit by and pretend the problem wasn't his. It took him a while, but he finally found a way. He would ask people to sponsor him to shoot free throws. That was the start of something that in now a major non profit organization. Hoops for Hope has saved a generation of Africans by providing food, clothing, education, medical supplies, and hope. Praise the Lord for a young man who wasn't willing to say, "No." His story moved me right down to the Pet rocks. I am honored to live on earth with such a courageous young man. In this book he tells his story. How it started, what he was thinking, the doubts and fears he had, and how God took his small effort and multiplied it again and again. God designed you for a purpose. Have you found your purpose yet? Read this book. It will change your life. Highly recommended.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 9, 2009
    Sarah Katie
    Austin started Hoops of Hope, a foundation that supports international AIDS relief, and education in Africa. How do they do it? By challenging kids to have a sponsored shoot-athon, to get a donator for each basket they will shoot. He was only a nine-year old who loved playing basketball.And Take Your Best Shot tells that story. His book does not necessarily follow a linear timeline, but then it's not a random order either. We read a delightful telling of his journey to being the founder of something that raised over a million dollars. I love the Austin is continually humble, and is repeated saying that none of it would be possible without other people, and most importantly, God. This book would be most impactful to teens, but it certainly doesn't exclude adults! He provides both encouragement to get out an make a difference and the education to go about it in the right way.
  3. Eustis, FL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    December 8, 2009
    Leon Bloder
    Eustis, FL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself by Austin Gutwein (with Todd Hillard) is the kind of book that I am going to assert my parental authority and make my 15 year-old son start reading. I know that if he begins to read it, he won't be able to put it down. Austin Gutwein was a nine year-old kid that was given the opportunity to travel to Uganda on a mission trip that would change his life. When he was confronted with the overwhelming poverty that he encountered in Africa, Austin wanted to do much more than just keep asking the question, "What could I possibly do?" He decided to raise money by doing something that he loved to do, play basketball. Austin's vision of shooting free throws for pledges grew into the Hoops for Hope program that has fund raising events all over the country. This book is filled with inspirational moments and unbelievable challenges for any of us who claim to have a heart for the poor. Sometimes, in the words of Austin, we need to get up out of our seats and take our "best shot," at making a difference.
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 3, 2009
    Christine M. Irvin
    15-year-old Austin Gutwein, the founder of Hoops of Hope, shares his story of inspiration in his book. This remarkable young man was 9 when he saw a video by World Vision about AIDS victims in Africa. Austin wanted to do something to help, but he didnt know what. He loved to play basketball, so someone suggested he use his passion for basketball to help the cause in Africa. Thus, Hoops of Hope got its start. At first, Austins goal was to raise enough money to sponsor 8 children in Africa for 1 year. He determined that if he could make 2,057 free throws, and get enough people to sponsor him, he could raise the necessary funds. He started shooting hoops in his school gym with just his parents & a couple of friends in attendance. Word soon spread & someone from a radio station called him for an interview. Then a couple of camera crews for local TV stations showed up. Before he was done, there were almost 60 people there watching him. As a result, he not only reached his goal of 2,057 free throws & his financial goal, he had started the ball rolling so to speak.After that momentous day, instead of being content with what he had done, Austin began to wonder: What if.a thousand of my friends could do this next year? Think of all the money we could raise. By the power of the grapevine, the power of the media, the power of the Internet, & most importantly by Gods power, over 1000 kids in 6 locations in the US shot hoops the 2nd year, raising $38,000. The next year, over 10,000 people in 11 countries joined in. And the organization keeps growing, bigger each year, providing funding for all types of projects to help AIDS victims in Africa.Along with telling his remarkable story, the author includes stories about the World Vision organization & about other kids in the world who have made a difference in peoples lives. His goal is to encourage everyone to find their passion in life and make a difference. This is a story everyone should read.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    November 12, 2009
    This is a fascinating story of how God used one young man to imapact an entire region across the world that is being devastated by AIDS. Although the book is written by a teen for teens, adults will also find it inspiring and challenging. The inclusion of portions of Scripture along with questions to consider and action steps to take at the end of each chapter mean this book would work well as a devotional for teens or for lesson material for a Sunday School or youth group. The story is told by Austin himself and is well written and enthusiastically, yet humbly told.
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