ESPN began as an outrageous gamble with a lineup that included Australian Rules Football, rodeo, and a rinky-dinky clip show called Sports Center. Today the empire stretches far beyond television into radio, magazines, mobile phones, restaurants, video games, and more, while ESPN's personalities have become global superstars to rival the sports icons they cover.
Chris Berman, Robin Roberts, Keith Olbermann, Hannah Storm, Bill Simmons, Tony Kornheiser, Stuart Scott, Erin Andrews, Mike Ditka, Bob Knight, and scores of others speak openly about the games, shows, scandals, gambling addictions, bitter rivalries, and sudden suspensions that make up the network's soaring and stormy history. The result is a wild, smart, effervescent story of triumph, genius, ego, and the rise of an empire unlike any television had ever seen.
©2011 Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller (P)2011 Hachette
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.
Enjoy books about History, Sports, Travel, Geography
People who like to nearly every detail about ESPN - those who really enjoy "inside baseball" talk about sports TV
Disjointed, Boring, NotSmooth
Some of the stores were entertaining about the early years of ESPN and how it got going
More like a he-said she-said book that gives different perspective on events and decisions made to grow ESPN not a summary or smooth, interesting narrative about how ESPN grew. Too much swearing.
Absolutely great book. It is unfortunate the voice they used for the female parts, it did not per tray accurately what they were trying to say. But great book
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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.