I loved hearing about the cast of characters and incredible twists of fate that created and sustained ESPN, complete with off-the-wall anecdotes and behind-the-scenes looks at so many people I've only known on-camera. The book has a very personal voice, as it consists mostly of material pulled from interviews the author conducted with everybody connected with ESPN over the years. The narration is uneven - ranging from Matt McCarthy's sturdy, archetypal SportsCenter anchor tone for the male voices that dominate the story to Joan Baker's ill-fitting, semi-cloying tone for the women - with some jarringly mispronounced names late in the book. Still, if you've watched a ton of ESPN over the years or you're interested in the business of sports/entertainment, this is a fun, thorough, and revelatory exploration of the company's history.
I thought this book told a very interesting story extremely well. It gives a certain level of insight that isn't available anyplace else. I also found the narration light and engaging with the changes in point of view which kept me listening even when the subject matter went off on a tangent. The story of the origins of ESPN were especially interesting along with the early days as the new kid on the block. I would recommend this book to all of my friends who love sports and like a good story.
the first 2 parts that dealt with the origin and establishment of ESPN were excellent. The insider view of the various complex negotiations regarding; venture capital, broadcasting rights, production, talent, etc, were fascinating. Part 3 was basically a pointless run down of every show idea ESPN put on the air. Part 4 seemed to be ESPN's chance to address (unchallenged) any negative situations that had arisen over the years and put thier spin on it. The female voice on this audiobook was terrible and made the women sound juvenile and naive.
I think the book was informative and painted some images I wouldn't have seen otherwise. I think the style of writing takes a bit of getting used to and the narrators are not as good as other books.
I grew up with ESPN, and so had high expectations for the book. And, truth be told, there's more than enough great material in this book to make it appealing to most ESPN fans. But the content is so poorly structured and the narration is so uneven that I've considered more than once just turning it off, never to listen again.
I appreciate that the book is more of an oral history than anything else, but even oral histories can be cohesive, with chapters that follow selected themes rather than meandering from topic to topic. The transitions are jarring at best, and it's almost as if this is a compilation of articles rather than a traditional book.
Two of the three readers are embarrassingly bad, especially Joan Baker, who provides the female voices. Everything comes out as breathy and overly dramatic -- ugh. In retrospect, I wish I had picked up the hardcopy.
I love reading/listening to books which present real points of view from the people who lived the events. However, there are two MAJOR issues with this audiobook.
The first is the editing of the actual book. There are almost no introductions to the change of topics! One minute it's women sideline reporters, then it's about the drama of sportscenter with Olberman and Patrcik with no warning. I had to listen to the book twice in most sections just because I thought I missed something, I didn't. There are times when quotes are just thrown in because the author didn't want to waste material. It made NO sense.
The second major issue is Joan Baker. This reader sucks. I am blind I've listened to more audiobooks than they have on audible. This is the second worst reader I've ever forced myself to endure. Her breathy, over empathetic and miss-timed voice representations make the women who were quoted in this book seem like...like....the producer should have said stop trying to be a oral porn star and read the f'n book.
Buy the written version if you can read print. If you can't, pray another version of this audiobook comes out soon. Otherwise try not choke on your own vomit when Joan gets to read (it's not personal, it's business) it really sucked.
Much like a real marathon I can't finish this one either. Not sure if it's the subject or the content but I can't get into either, and I grew up watching SportsCenter 3x a day.
I listened to the first 30 chapters and couldn't take it anymore. These guys talk about how great and smart they are and how they could drink as they spent millions of dollars of Getty Oil money. Let's see, does it take a genius to know that people like to watch sports? I think it would have been more tolerable if they had examples where they showed some creativity or broke down barriers. But to me, it seems like they would have to be idiots to fail with that much money at their disposal.
They talk like they were the only ones that could have accomplished this but I think that it could have been done quicker and better with a different approach.
ESPN had some great anchors and did think about putting drafts on TV but the behind the scenes people have the biggest egos and I quickly tired hearing their self-important comments.
Stuff like the intoxicated Getty Oil guy repeatedly opening up a helicopter door forcing the helicopter to land multiple times. They all just sound so narcissistic.
This is coming from a huge sports fan and I enjoy watching ESPN. Maybe it gets better but after hours of people continuing to talk about how amazing they are without any example of a particular accomplishment other than they were at ESPN, I had enough. I have listened to about 50 audiobooks and this is the first I could not finish.
One star is too many. Can I give it 0 stars?