Wednesday, August 16, 2017

all the fun

Those Guys Have All the Fun is intended to be a history of ESPN.  It is not. What it is, is a very long book. It is a very long book composed almost wholly of excerpts from interviews conducted with people who worked for, or were somehow involved with, the evolution of ESPN. In parts the book is humorous, insightful, and interesting. However, the book is not efficiently organized, far longer than it needed to be, and only a history if one pieces together details from the excerpts.

I looked at the AMAZON reviews after I finished and was surprised to read that many readers loved the book. This is what makes horse racing I guess. Maybe if one is more interested in sports than I am the detail, repetitiveness, and poor editing does not deter one's voracious appetite to learn everything about the sports network.  My take, as someone certainly more interested than the average bear on this topic, is that the book needed much more care.

Ninety five per cent of the book is composed of excerpts. Five percent are comments from the editors. The editors' italicized sections either relate to what had been discussed on the prior pages or serve as transitions to the next topic.  There does not seem to be a meaningful reason why one subject ends on say page 13 and then another one starts on 14. Chapters do not mark the end of one subject and the beginning of another.

The positive: there are interesting discussions of (a) the advertising of Sportscenter (b) the rationale behind management decisions to hire talent and put certain people in a booth (c) characters who were administrators at the network (d) on air errors and how they affected the station, and (e) personal relationships.

If you are a true zealot you might enjoy all 745 pages.  For me, the editors could have saved a tree or two, knocked out two thirds of the book, and organized the content topically with clear reasons for the sequencing.

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