Brady vs Manning Book Review

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As a Denver native, I bleed orange and blue.  Seventeen years ago, when my oldest child came into the world, at a hospital in the middle of Denver, I introduced her to John Elway (the greatest quarterback of all-time).  Of course the introduction was only virtual.  We watched the story of the  Broncos’ first world championship.  As I held my first born in my arms, I whispered to her (as she slept peacefully) that the Broncos were finally champions and she was a very lucky girl to be born into Broncos’ nation.

I hoped, even though Elway retired, that my children could witness a live Super Bowl victory… but my hopes seemed to be in vain.

Denver spiraled downward in the post-Elwat era.  2004 and 2005 were one of the most humiliating years for Broncos fans in the playoffs.  Peyton Manning was shredding most teams with his arm – including the Broncos.  As I watched him hang 41 points on the Broncos one year (2004) and 49 the next (2005)… I loathed the site of number 18 and the horse shoe on his helmet.

And then… Manning miraculously became one of the good guys by suiting up for the Orange and Blue and leading us to a Super Bowl 50 victory.  My kids did not wait a life time to witness a Bronco championship.  And, they saw the work of the second greatest quarterback work his magic in a Blue and Orange helmet.

As a Bronco, Manning drug Broncos’ nation into one of the greatest rivalries of the NFL: Brady vs. Manning.  Tom Brady was not the focus of the average Broncos fans’ hatred.  We saved our deepest feelings of hate for the Raiders.  But now… we had a new team and opposing quarterback to hold in contempt.

Gary Myers portrays the scope of the Brady/Manning rivalry in small vignettes.  The book is a fascinating peek into the world of what makes Manning and Brady tick.  Although I am a converted Manning fan, I was more impressed with the back story of Brady’s journey to the NFL.  You’ll have to read the details in the book, but if anyone would NOT have made it to the NFL (especially to the heights he has risen) it would be Brady.  Manning faced the pressure of expectations set unreasonably high, and Brady faced the weight of people who doubted him.

Maybe my interest in this book is tied closely to my love for the Broncos.  After all, Myers chronicles their journey to Super Bowl 50.  It was exciting to relive that moment as a Bronco junkie.  However, I think most sports’ fans will like this one because it clearly demonstrates two very different approaches of two all-time greats.  I came away with an appreciation of their authenticity.  In other words, they were the best version of themselves, and that is what makes anyone become their best.

If you like football, and have even a remote connection to the teams Manning and Brady suit up for on Sundays, get a copy of this book.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.
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Story Genius: Book Review

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Anyone else tired of the barrage of emails with infomercials about writing a “best selling” book?  Me too.  Naturally, it all sounds so simple and easy.  Flip open your laptop and start pounding out the story buried deep in your brain (and heart… sniffle…).  If you think you have a great novel inside of you, please ignore the guys selling the “get rich writing a book” scheme.  The only ones getting rich are the guys selling the scheme.

On the other hand, if you really want to write and produce a good story, consider checking out Lisa Cron’s new book entitled Story Genius.  Cron is a little crass, but she makes solid points with her “colorful” language.

Her book opens with a discussion about the science of story.  As a big fan of story, I found what she had to say refreshing and interesting.  A lot of what is on the market surrounding the concept of story isn’t very insightful because too many people are crowding into that space.  Cron goes past cliche and really delves into something useful for writers.

Story Genius works for me because it combines good theory with practical application.  The last two thirds of the book include the steps needed to take advantage of story telling science.  Who knows, it may even help me finish writing that fable I have bouncing around in my mind!

If you want to write a solid fictional work, Cron’s book will help you get headed in the right direction.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

Starting Over: Book Review

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I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover… but I’m guilty on this one.  Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets doesn’t have an appealing cover or feel (shallow, I know, but it’s true!)

The Fergusons usually write good stuff, but it was hard for me to get beneath the surface this time.  Once I did, the content is worth reading.  Most every person I know has some kind of regret they need to let go of in order to move on to something better.  The authors coined the phrase “Sorry Cycle” in their work.  Most people, as they say, cannot get past their regrets to move on and actually initiate change.

Although the content is pretty good, the books feels a lot like many other books in this genre.  The authors take a sermon series and produce a book from it.  It’s not necessarily bad, but just be forewarned before you dive into the book.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

Book Review: Cardinal and Gold

Some things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and milk, salt and pepper… you get the point.

Steve Delsohn combines two of my favorite things: football and history.  Delson’s book, Cardinal and Gold: The Oral History of USC Trojan Football, is a creative approach to share a narrative.  The author interviews prominent players, coaches and staff of the USC football program (from multiple decades) and uses their words to tell the story.

The individual testimonies, although very different, create a 360 degree view of the situation.  Even if you have no interest in football, the storyline of the USC program over the decades is compelling and a page turner.  My takeaway is this: the push for glory reveals the true character of the men who tell their version of the story.  It’s a “pull the curtain back” narrative that will inspire you, make you cringe, or feel other deep emotions.

Two drawbacks of the book.  First, some of the language is sketchy and should prevent young readers from diving in to the book.  Second, two of the most famous characters from the USC program are absent from the book.  I wish the author could have secured quotes from Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush, so we have to let other speak on their behalf.

If you like football and biography, this is a good read.

The Apache Wars Book Review

Have you ever built up an experience in your mind so much that the thing you built up could never live up to your expectations?  Me too.  My hope for The Apache Wars was far too high for the material.  The subject matter piqued my interest, but the book never did deliver for me.

Usually, I enjoy history.  I especially like learning about places where I have lived.  Hutton’s book had too many details and characters for me to keep straight,  Even though some of the places are familiar to me, I could never keep his references straight.  Maybe if he had a timeline or more maps I could have followed more closely… maybe…

The storylines never had a good pace or rhythm.  In fact, the book felt more like a text book with lots of technical references that really didn’t add much to the development of any story.  The Apache Wars is too long and has more detail than the casual reader (like me) wants to sift through.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Pleasenote, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books,andthat everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

The Happiness of Pursuit – Book Review

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This is my story.  No one can take it from me.  And that has made everything entirely worth it. The Happiness of Pursuit

Have you ever thought, “There has to be something more than this!”  If so, you might be ready for a quest… according to author and adventurer Chris Guillebeau in his new book The Happiness of Pursuit.

Guillebeau has an amazing way of inspiring and making his subject matter seem reachable.  A lot of inspirational stuff seems to be about a person who is superhuman where I say at the end of the book, “Wow!  That was incredible.  Too bad I could never do that.”

The Happiness of Pursuit has a plan to take a global quest where the quest seeker only has to save only $2 a day for a year (no need to be superman to do that!).

I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of the work Chris Guillebeau does.  He travels the world (well, he literally visited every country in the world on his quest) as research to write a really inspiring book.  But, he doesn’t spend the entire book talking about himself.  He also reached out to other fellow quest followers and shares what does and doesn’t make a good quest.

Over the past five years I have been interested in the idea of “telling a better story” with my life.  Gillebeau doesn’t just talk about the need to do something inspiring, his book actually lays out some practical guidelines (or principles) for making a real quest happen.

If you feel like you need to do something more than what you are currently doing, or if you have  burning passion to make a real difference… you need to get this book!  You won’t regret taking a new pursuit, especially if you realize that the real reward is the happiness you experience along the way.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

 

TR Nerds Unite!

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My library has WAY more Theodore Roosevelt volumes than the average book collector.  Twenty years ago, I without shame became a “TR Nerd.”  Roosevelt’s zeal for life is contagious.  If he were alive today, the media would like describe him as a “polarizing figure.”

Even though I’ve read a variety of accounts of TR’s life, Darrin Lunde’s The Naturalist offers one more unique side to President Roosevelt.  In fact, Lunde does an excellent job to demonstrate how TR’s love for nature was a defining characteristic of his personality.  Lundy makes this case that Roosevelt was so much of a naturalist that many of the political and business decisions he made were a result of his naturalist framework.  You’ll have to get the book to understand the full impact of the previous statement.

I’m not sure if anyone but a raving TR fan will enjoy or even be able to fully appreciate this book.  It’s deep because of the connections Lunde makes regarding TR and his great love for the outdoors. – The paradox throughout the book is mind bending: TR hunted to preserve animals. The author cited example after example of TR hunting animals, and by the end of the book the animal tally was well into the thousands.  Lundy articulates Roosevelt’s positing on the whole hunting/preserving paradox.  If you’re a TR fan, I think this book will provide a new twist on a well known historical figure.

I loved the book (which really makes me a TR Nerd) – it’s written well and adds value to the study of TR’s life.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.