Talking To GOATs (book review)

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I’m a student of leadership, so I love to learn about what makes leaders “tick,” how they overcome obstacles and deal with adversity, and watch how they prepare themselves to be the best they can be. Broadcaster Jim Gray has had a front-row seat (literally!) to some of the most outstanding athletes in recent history, and he unpacks his stories about these leaders in his book Talking To GOATs. 

For those of you wondering, GOAT stands for “greatest of all time.” We’re talking about people who stand out from their peers over a long period of time, those who set the standard for everyone else, those who have so excelled that their sport has had to change things up to try to accommodate them! Superstars like Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, Hank Aaron, and Michael Phelps. 

Jim Gray’s book is a behind-the-scenes look at not only the hard work he put in to produce and present interviews with these GOATs, but also insights rarely seen of the intense work these athletes put in to become the GOATs of their particular sport. Jim shows us how both he and these athletes deal with setbacks, criticism, the challenges that come with success, and their own internal drive to keep being the best. 

This book isn’t all about athletes, but it’s a bit of a memoir of Jim’s life too. I really enjoyed learning about the role that Jim’s parents, and especially his dad, played in helping Jim get into these “front row seats” to cover these amazing athletes. Jim is also very candid about how he has processed the inevitable criticism that comes from interviewing a certain athlete in a way that not every fan appreciated. It was a very enjoyable read. 

The sports fans in your life will almost certainly know who Jim Gray is, and they will love hearing what went into some of the more memorable moments in sports broadcasting. My son gave me this book as a gift and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I know that the sports fans that you love will also give you kudos if you send Talking To GOATs their way.

Book Reviews From 2017

Brady Vs. Manning (book review)

brady-vs-manningTom Brady and Peyton Manning are two quarterbacks who have raised the standard for how NFL quarterbacks are to be measured. Any football fan has undoubtedly seen them play, but Gary Myers shares what went into making these men the phenomenal players they are. Brady vs. Manning—The untold story of the rivalry that transformed the NFL is a fascinating read!

Everyone loves to cheer for their home team’s quarterback, but even “homers” will admit (sometimes reluctantly) that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning stand apart from the crowd. Their accomplishments on the field are well-known, but it’s what took place behind the scenes and out of sight from the cameras that contributed to making these two fierce rivals the extraordinary players they are.

A debate often rages whether a leader in a particular field was born to greatness, or whether he made himself great. The answer is not either-or but both-and. As Gary Myers digs into Brady and Manning’s past we see several factors converging: genes, family environment, talent, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of hard work and perseverance.

Many times Myers’ story shows how the lives of Brady and Manning intersected—sometimes they knew it, and sometimes they didn’t. But many of the chapters zoom in on the individual quarterbacks in various aspects of their development. We get to see the support from their families, the impact of their decision on where to go to college, how the NFL draft could have played out differently for both of them, the advantages and disadvantages of various coaches and teammates, and (of course) their fierce head-to-head rivalry.

One of the cool things for me was the respect and friendship these two highly competitive athletes have for each other. There were also several other moments that made me realize how special these two men have been for the NFL, and what a privilege it’s been for me to watch them compete on such a high level. After reading this book, I have even great respect for these two premier quarterbacks.

Any sports fan will thoroughly enjoy Brady vs. Manning!

I am a Three Rivers Press book reviewer.

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