on September 20, 2015
This book captures the wit, wisdom and humility of one of the world's greatest circus performers, Tony Steele. The front and back covers of the book explain it all. Who wouldn't want to be transported to this ethereal world? At the end of every chapter, Ms. Blackwelder poses invaluable questions that direct the reader towards their chosen goal. Whatever dreams that you aspire to; great accomplishments or simple peace of mind, "From Gazoonie to Greatness" will help you get closer them.

Top Customer Reviews

It's so necessary for young athletes and artists to know their history and this book tells the story of one of the greats, trapeze flyer Tony Steele, who has had a spectacular journey, full of all of the triumphs and heartbreak of a life well-spent in practice along with the generosity of performance. Paula Blackwelder does a great job in assemblage and tying it all in to a greater spiritual purpose. Tony Steele has got to be the world's cutest adult, every photo is more endearing than the next. The nimble and charming Steele is a seminal circus star, the first to invent new moves in the air after decades of more traditional flying acts. His innovative and dangerous 3-and-a-half somersault is still illusive and rarely accomplished to this day. Everyone who dreams of flight, of achieving acrobatic perfection, wants to reach for the stars, or even just wants a book with photos of the world's most dashing pint-sized man should read this book.
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I just read From Gazoonie to Greatness by Paula S. Blackwelder and it left me incredibly inspired! Tony's example of overcoming life obstacles is motivational and, frankly, amazing! This biography of Tony Steele's life is a must read. I met Tony, a former "flyer", at a Circus Convention. I was drawn to him and his book because of his positive attitude and kind personality.
One of the many of Tony's quotes I liked was, "God provides, but we still have to go get it!" Also, "Are you using all of your resources to meet your goals or to simply survive?" This is an easy read book with life stories, biblical principles, and goal setting strategies. I highly recommend it!
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Review of From Gazoonie to Greatness by Paula Blackwelder
I was so excited to receive this book as I had read another book by Tony Steele "The ABC's of flying trapeze" and knew that this book would be great as well. 
The book is written as a part biography, part self-help section after each story, in each chapter. 
So far I have only read the book, not actually used the questions in the end of the chapters, but i will as I am very curious as to what I will learn.
Let me tell you this, whether you are a flying trapeze or any other sport kind of a guy, you will love the humor in this book, the personality of the great Tony Steele really shines through, and as someone who has met him, I know he is unforgettable and bigger than life, a funny guy. Apart from all that, he has gone through a lot on his path of life and the book tells the story of a man who could have been anyone, that through determination and passion, and with the guidance of love and God, followed his dreams and became one of the greatest flyers in the world. Today at the ample age of 78, he is inspiring the younger fledglings on their dreams of flying and fulfilling their goals. 
Read this book if you love flying trapeze or if you love inspirational stories, this book should be enjoyed but also used (end of chapters) for personal growth and insight. 
Loved this book. 
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Like the Prius, this book is a fascinating and successful hybrid. It's a self improvement and self awareness guide cleaved onto autobiography of Tony Steele, one of the handful of truly great flying trapeze artists, and one of the most interesting people I know. An elite flyer, Tony was able to spend much of his career on European circuses and American casinos, both highly desirable and generally well paying engagements. This book brings his fascinating life to a wider audience. The self improvement aspects of the book often draw lessons from Tony's life, and are often thought provoking.
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on October 24, 2015
I loved this book! I mentor people with addiction and have found this book to be very inspirational and found it very helpful to have a checklist at the end of each chapter. I would recommend this book to anyone dealing with life's issues.
on November 13, 2015
A very nice book! I love the pages added for my own notes. Thank you for sharing your life story and for being such an inspiration!
I read it in 2 days, I couldn't put it down! Can't wait to read it again.

 April 14, 2015
Concise, informative and enjoyable reading about the life of a most fascinating individual. The unknown qualities of Tony Steele have finally been put to print for the uninformed to read. He is beyond the world's best, male flyer. He is humble, unselfish and giving. These are but a few of the many traits that he has that has made him a great teacher and inspiration to generations that followed. I love the compelling information in this book. It is raw, and the questions at the end of every chapter make you think. The pictures are really fascinating, too. A MUST READ.

on August 31, 2015
I love how I feel like Tony Steele is with me telling the stories. The narration & questions are spot on with Tony's personality. He's a force of nature. Very persistent & very positive person.

I found myself thinking this book was brought into my life at a certain time, for many reasons. Many reflection questions I could relate to the struggles I experiences throughout the past academic year. The questions helped me work through emotions and helped me know I did everything I could, to make challenging, sticky situations work.

The other day I found myself with a lab partner I found to be annoying to say the least. At some point I thought, What Would Uncle Tony do? That helped a lot!
on July 30, 2015
This is the account of the life of Tony Steele, truly one of the three greatest trapeze artists of all times, told in his own words with all of the charm and gracious character of the artist himself. It is an inspiring story of yearning and struggle for self expression in the most empathetic terms. Set in the format of a self-help book with so much insight and compassion, the book is not only historically important and amusing, but also a true inspiration.

on July 10, 2015
"Man of Steele, heart of Gold!" These words always fly to mind when I think of Tony Steele. This book provides insight into the spirit of this much-beloved man. It seeks to inspire and motivate while providing stories from his life which do the same. Not everyone can meet this legend, but everyone can - and perhaps should - buy his book!

on June 29, 2015
I have but one derogatory thing to say about this book. It's too damn short. And I mean that with good intentions. This true story of humble beginnings and great achievements left me gripping the book like a wash cloth trying to ring out more of Mr. Steele's soul to bathe in, in an attempt to unlock the secrets of his free spirited life. I eagerly await another edition diving even deeper into Tony's continuing story. If your looking for inspiration in your life, don't hesitate to acquire this true life story of greatness.

on June 24, 2015
Pure INSPIRATION! This book also gives the reader a unique opportunity to reflect on their life goals through the interactive sections. My favorite quote is "You can rise above anything if you put in the work and believe!" Thank you, Ms Blackwelder, for bringing these stories and words of the Great Tony Steele. Tony, you have given us the tools to be courageous, eliminate the obstacles and go for your dreams. Tony, as a humble human, I don't think you'll ever realize the importance of your work and the impact your life has had on so many people. Thanks for sharing it with us. A must-read book!

on June 6, 2015
Charming, tragic, outrageous, hilarious, inspiring and lovable Tony Steele talks about his remarkable life. Blackwelder follows up with insightful remarks and questions at the end of each chapter, which command attention because each of us has the ability to pursue an intention and see what happens. What happens to Tony? Adventure, romance, set backs and glory shape the man into a performer and a storyteller. Tony Steele works on the Flying Trapeze and his story applies to all work.

on June 6, 2015
What a great story of the fascinating life of an amazing man. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be recommending it to others!

on June 1, 2015
If you haven't read this book, what are you waiting for? If you are looking for courage, this is a must read. Tony's personal story of how he made it in circus life is a wonderful read that will motivate and inspire you to greatness. This book is perfect for bible study groups or team building in corporate America. The interactive questions will give you a chance to apply immediately what you have read. This is truly a story about determination and perseverance and if you need book, this biography will satisfy both.

on May 31, 2015
Tony is an amazing person, and this book I would definitely recommend!!! Great read! 

on May 11, 2015
Paula Blackwelder turned Tony Steele's life events into a self-improvement tool, something to be proud of. Great job, Paula and Tony, making Tony's maxims available for all ages.

on May 9, 2015
We love this book----we love Tony---- a wonderful person, and a friend of ours for over 50 years!!! This book is just a "taste" of Tony, and we look forward to the next one, and the next after that------such a full life, such an interesting career, a most wonderful wife in Lily---there is much more to write, and we anxiously wait to read it!! But, read this first, you MUST-------Tony is an inspiration, both as a person, and as the greatest of Fliers---------------Reading this book, "From Gazoonie to Greatness", will make you thirst for more on this remarkable fellow and his life.

on May 6, 2015
Bought this back in March, 2015, when We met both the author, Paula Blackwelder and Tony Steele himself. Despite being a World Record Holder in the Guinness Book of Records, he is such a gentle, unassuming man. I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. It is a GREAT READ. You actually feel Tony's passion, commitment and occasionally frustration; his love for other people, especially his wife, Lily, and also his sadness after her passing. But, friendship WINS THE DAY, through John Zimmerman. His faith in God saved him and it's so good to see him still performing on trapeze! His lists and questions on each chapter really make you think! YOU MUST BUY THIS.

on May 3, 2015
Must Buy this book. Tony Steele is one of the greats! His story proves we can all rise to fulfill our destiny!

on April 30, 2015
Review of From Gazoonie to Greatness by Paula Blackwelder
I was so excited to receive this book as I had read another book by Tony Steele "The ABC's of flying trapeze" and knew that this book would be great as well. 
The book is written as a part biography, part self-help section after each story, in each chapter. 
So far I have only read the book, not actually used the questions in the end of the chapters, but i will as I am very curious as to what I will learn.
Let me tell you this, whether you are a flying trapeze or any other sport kind of a guy, you will love the humor in this book, the personality of the great Tony Steele really shines through, and as someone who has met him, I know he is unforgettable and bigger than life, a funny guy. Apart from all that, he has gone through a lot on his path of life and the book tells the story of a man who could have been anyone, that through determination and passion, and with the guidance of love and God, followed his dreams and became one of the greatest flyers in the world. Today at the ample age of 78, he is inspiring the younger fledglings on their dreams of flying and fulfilling their goals. 
Read this book if you love flying trapeze or if you love inspirational stories, this book should be enjoyed but also used (end of chapters) for personal growth and insight. 
Loved this book. 

on April 23, 2015
This book is a fantastically written story about an even more fantastic hero of mine. Tony Steele is the epitome of of believing in yourself and achieving what others feel to be impossible. A must read for any acrobat, athlete, circus fan or anyone who could use a little direction in the "believe in your self" department. I read this book and enjoyed every moment, page by page. Highly recommend!

on April 23, 2015
A "Survivor"...that is Tony Steele. His life is an inspiration to all who read this book. "Good things happen all the time"..Tony says. I am glad that I see life now through the eyes of Tony. I have read this book three times now and will read it again. It is a book of encouragement..it is almost like Tony is there with you telling his story..a great story! Thanks Tony and Ms. Blackwelder..I love the book!

on April 15, 2015
This is an inspirational journey of determination, experiencing triumph over tragedy, with dispair along the way. Tony's sharing of his life's journey proves to be a motivational tool for others in always focusing on your dream and being persistent in achieving that goal set for yourself. As for his life's tragedies and disappointments that he reveals to the reader, it just goes to prove that when God closes a door, He always opens a window. Obvious in this story. A good quick and helpful read.

on April 14, 2015
Concise, informative and enjoyable reading about the life of a most fascinating individual. The unknown qualities of Tony Steele have finally been put to print for the uninformed to read. He is beyond the world's best, male flyer. He is humble, unselfish and giving. These are but a few of the many traits that he has that has made him a great teacher and inspiration to generations that followed. I love the compelling information in this book. It is raw, and the questions at the end of every chapter make you think. The pictures are really fascinating, too. A MUST READ.

on April 9, 2015
There were very few "great" trapeze performers of the 20th century - Alfredo Codona, Tito Gaona, Miguel Vazquez and Tony Steele - interesting and remarkable men, all. This book takes us through triumphs and tragedies of one of these great circus performers - Tony Steele - back in the day when trapeze was the "King" of all circus acts. Steele - as all the "greats" did - dared to attempt that which few dared - in his case, the 3 1/2 somersault to a catcher. His world record feat was unsurpassed for decades. In this inspirational and compelling book - the reader follows along with Tony as he deals with both the triumphs and tragedies in his own three ring circus of life - on and off the trapeze. Along the way, Tony offers reflections on his life and the lessons he has learned. Great book for both circus fans and general readers.

on April 1, 2015
I received this wonderfully inspiring book for Christmas. It was one of the only things I specifically asked for. Tony Steele is a kind, funny and fascinating human being and it comes across in the pages of the book. From Gazoonie to Greatness details his incredible story of a kid with a dream and the courage to chase after it. As we hit bumps in the road, it's easy to give up. Tony never did and it inspires me to continue moving onward towards my goals when forging ahead feels impossible. I really enjoy the opportunities to reflect after each chapter. They are really helping me think about my hopes and dreams and about the life I want to live. Pick up this book of Tony's amazing story and let it help you create yours!

on March 17, 2015
Loved the book. Reading it, you not only discover the background of this "living legend", but it also challenges you to look deep into your inner-self, through the trials of what Steele endured. The story also makes you want to become a "big brother" of that daring young man. The book shows that show business "ain't all glory."

on February 17, 2015
Tony Steele’s story is about being a trapeze flyer, which on the surface is true. Behind the scenes, this story is about someone who beat all the odds on the journey of life and is still embracing every day with joy and energy. As a retired teacher, I read this book and thought of the many times I could have used it as a reference when counseling, encouraging and helping young people make responsible decisions. I urge anyone who is a motivational speaker, teacher, mentor, caretaker and even parent to share this story with others. The reflections and questions at the end of each chapter are so important in navigating the barrage of choices and possibilities that face all of us everyday. Tony never once gave up. His story has given me a new perspective as I meet my own challenges. It is a story that will make you smile every morning! Defeat can never be a possibility.

on February 3, 2015
If you are one of Tony Steele's friends and or admirers and there are thousands of you out there, you will find this small volume truly engaging. Tony's voice is so clear that you will feel he is by your side, talking just to you.

on January 14, 2015
Tony Steele is the male Scheherazade! He’s got a million stories- each more touching, funny, or picaresque than the last. Some I had heard- some were new. Each one made me smile. This book just skimmed the surface of a life fully lived. I hope we’ll learn more about this incredible legend in a future book.

on October 6, 2015
Just ordered my 2nd copy. Love this book. The steps/goals, inspiration you get is life changing. The stories, excitement, hope we 
derive from this motivational book help me day to day in business and personally. Thanks Author Paula S Blackwelder, and
Tony Steele for your contributions to the circus world, and bettering my life. Cheers

on January 12, 2015
Tony Steele is perfection in the air, and his story is nothing short of amazing. Read this book!

on January 7, 2015
We all know life is hard, but sometimes you really don't know how hard or difficult and certainly how miraculous life is or can be. This book is not just about the circus, or the trapeze. It's about the price you must pay for living the life you were meant to live- aka "your dream". Readers are inspired to stay the course through seemingly insurmountable obstacles (both physical and emotional) to realize their dreams. This story is open and honest and provides lots of supporting documentation and archival references. A few sections are written with "gloves off" because that is exactly how it happened. The truth is out there for all to see and hopefully, apply to their own life no matter what they are facing. I would recommend reading this for its inspirational value, its historical value and of course its entertaining value because as they say- "the show must go on".

on January 5, 2015
This book is absolutely amazing. It is nice to read such a powerful and drastic story that is true. What an amazing journey. If you want motivation, adventure, emotion, and truth, READ THIS BOOK!!

on September 8, 2015
I thought the book was great. Nice, easy read which gave insight into a truly legendary character in Tony Steele.

I've had the opportunity to meet Tony in person many times over the previous years, and I think this book is the next best thing to hearing some of his incredible stories in person. Tony and Paula do an incredible job of capturing the essence of what it takes to be a legendary character within the circus community.