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Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN

February 11, 2013

Alright, folks.  This is the book that I’ve been diving into for quite a while.  Have you ever been curious into what the heck goes on with ESPN from time to time?  I mean, you get a network that started in the middle of nowhere…  It becomes the Worldwide Leader in Sports.  After a while, it becomes this awesome juggernaut that is fueled by Disney.

Now, people know about the SportsCenter effect.  The Top 10.  The Bottom 10.  And those darn catchphrases.  All of the catchphrases you’ve heard such as: “En Fuego.”  “Going, going, gone…”  Certainly, ESPN has made itself known into our consciousness.  It has brought us the personalities and the leagues from all over the world.  But now, we get to see how it started…

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Author: James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: December 2011
Pages: 797 (Nook epub)

The benefit of having this book review occur over a year after the fact is that you can look at it a bit more objectively without much in the way of a set schedule.  In fact, I had to take this book at my own pace.  There is so much information that you have to take in, honestly.  The book begins with the auspicious start of ESPN by a father and son team, Bill and Scott Rasmussen.  Of course, this came into the generation of when satellite broadcasting was in its infancy.

You’ll learn how ESPN was funded by that father and son team.  You’ll learn how it was funded by a failing oil company, Getty Oil.  How Texaco passed on it and sold it to Capitol Cities.  You’ll also figure out how Disney came to acquire it and how that acquisition shaped the ESPN we know today.

What else will you learn?  You may learn that not all CEOs are infallible.  ESPN has went through at least 3 CEOs in their tenure.  Some of their ideas good.  Some of the ideas failed miserably.  And it was also a learning process for all involved, as you’ll learn in the book.  ESPN was the first company of its kind.  The book goes through the growing pains of that company.

You’re also going to ask about the personalities.  This book does go as no-holds barred as it can go.  Let’s be honest, you’ll see that a lot of items may be redacted or not discussed.  This book was made with ESPNs “permission” and consent.  Not everything is going to be seen here.  As stated, it is an insight.  You’ll learn why each personality is the way they are.

Another fact, you’ll also see how some of the ESPN employees seem to do their best work away from Bristol, Connecticut.  And let’s be honest, this book isn’t going to change your mind about the personalities you may have biases about.  You may gain respect for some of the personalities you haven’t heard about.  As far as the average Joe reading this book, though…

Unless you’re a dedicated sports fan, this book isn’t going to do a lot to captivate you to read it.  It’s almost 800 pages.  You know stories are going to be held back.  But, if you are a sports fan, then give the book a read.  It’s not the “best” book out there, but for what it is…   Give it a chance.  (But wait until it’s lowered a bit in price, honestly.)

Buy it now at:

Barnes and Noble: (Nook) $9.99 | (Hardcover) $11.10
Amazon: (Kindle) $7.99 | (Hardcover) $19.89

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