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

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

Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 26, Katie B rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , tv-film , sports , read-in , history. I loved the author's previous book about SNL so much I've read it twice. While this book is certainly a comprehensive look at ESPN throughout the years, it's not always the most fun read. There were sections of the book that were boring, particularly when the focus was on the financial side of the network.

There were definitely stories of behind the scenes drama, but to be honest I was hoping there would have been more. Maybe since so many of the people interviewed still work for the network, th I loved the author's previous book about SNL so much I've read it twice. Maybe since so many of the people interviewed still work for the network, they weren't as eager to share or something. Overall, some parts were interesting and others rather dull. I'm still glad I read it though but I would recommend this as more of a library read than a purchase. View 1 comment.

Jun 06, Justin rated it liked it. This was essentially two books in one, and was wildly uneven. The first hundred pages or so were the grindingly slow recap of the origins of ESPN, and the detailed description of chasing down financing and pricing out satellite transponders was less than riveting. Having said that, I am now well prepared to start a fledgling cable company, and am currently finalizing a bid to purchase the rights to broadcast old episodes of Entertainment Tonight.

I am not one to flip ahead in a book that I'm r This was essentially two books in one, and was wildly uneven. I am not one to flip ahead in a book that I'm reading, but even I couldn't help nosing ahead for a few pages as my eyelids got heavier. This section should have been pared down a lot - this section gets 2 stars, and that's being charitable.

Fortunately, my patience was rewarded, as the narrative turned to the personalities behind the network. Keith Olbermann is a sociopath! Bob Ley is a blowhard! Mike Tirico is such a gentleman that he'll follow you home even after you tell him to stay the hell away from you! Michelle Beadle hates Erin Andrews! Chris Berman can't string two words together without one of them being "fuck"! Bill Simmons is surprisingly candid and insightful! Nobody, and I mean nobody comes off well from this book, and the strength of this section is not only how Shales and Miller were able to somehow get these personalities to admit so much on the record, but to contextualize the quotes in such a way that they paint a much broader picture.

This section gets 4 stars, and that's being conservative. Shales and Miller wrote one of the best oral histories I've ever read in Live From Saturday Night, and the big difference here is that book is much more personality driven, which appears to play to their strength; by choosing to spend so much time on the relatively dry background material, this book fell a bit short of that high standard. This might be five stars, except that authors make fun of the Irish sport of hurling at one point. Fuck you. Jun 19, Michelle rated it liked it Shelves: A fascinating sometimes more than others look at the lifespan of EPSN.

This works for the most part because you get a sense of the various personalities. The thing that struck me the most, at least at first when my husband asked why the hell I was readi 3. The thing that struck me the most, at least at first when my husband asked why the hell I was reading a page book about ESPN, is this is in a way a business primer, or the story of any given startup. Do not! There is a zero tolerance policy for Hilter jokes! There really is nothing like that atmosphere, in good ways and in bad.

Now this is a long freaking book so naturally it goes off on subjects I don't really care about, both in terms of sports and people. Ditto for Nascar and soccer. There are some hilarious parts. He was trying to promote it in the least promotable way because he was pissed about something, per usual. A smart and hilarious douche, but a douche nonetheless, which is different from a dick, a la Tony Kornheiser. The popularizing of poker was an interesting little twist, even if they were helped by the meteoric rise of Chris Moneymaker.

Wow, I hate myself knowing those words. Television poker makes me nauseous. Thanks a lot ESPN. PS: poker is not a sport.


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Basically, this tome is a great combo of business and sports. The early years would make a fantastic television or miniseries think Mad Men plus twenty years and add in Keith Olbermann in a leather jacket and cheesy mustache! They really are brilliant. All in, a highly enjoyable read. View 2 comments. Jul 09, Kirsti rated it really liked it Shelves: anger , business , drama , journalism , imagination , history , memoir , nonfiction , sports , antifeminism.

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Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (Paperback) | Book Soup

What would they do? That was amazing. This is an extremely entertaining and well-sourced book, although I wish the structure was clearer. The "Those Guys Have All the Fun" title sounds less fun when you read the authors' coverage of the many sexual harrassment suits filed against the company.

"Those Guys Have All the Fun" :: PART 3 :: It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle

Jul 03, Amber rated it liked it. This is an interesting, but flawed, book about the history of ESPN, full of lively stories and good analysis of the network's rise to prominence, but ultimately rather soft. It's an oral history, which I didn't realize going in and found off-putting to read at first. Ultimately it's an effective story-telling mechanism, but it really limits the extent of distant analysis of what happened, and especially criticism of the parties involved.

Nonetheless, you do get a good feeling for a few of the mai This is an interesting, but flawed, book about the history of ESPN, full of lively stories and good analysis of the network's rise to prominence, but ultimately rather soft. Nonetheless, you do get a good feeling for a few of the mainstays: --Keith Olbermann is a real genius, albeit impossible to work with --Bill Simmons is just as hard to work with as Olbermann, with about half the talent --Dan Patrick is a consummate professional --Chris Berman is a buffoon and moreover a slappy for the "partners.

Just clear from the way he treats people, and the way he talks about the WNBA. And as far as how the network operates, it seems like a real meat-grinder, actually. And it's clear that the network's degree of deference to its "partners" gag--that would be the leagues is well beyond what it should be, not least in its cancellation of the show Playmakers. Playmakers's producer makes a good point, that the leagues needs ESPN more than ESPN needs the leagues, but the network behaves as if it's the opposite.

There are several memorable stories: --Loren Matthews, about happening upon Tim McGraw while working a college baseball game with Tug McGraw who had met his son only recently and seeing Tim's talent listening to cassette tapes in his car. Anyway, the large number of errors makes you wonder about all the errors you didn't catch, and it really damages the book's credibility, in my view.

Jun 06, Margaret Schoen rated it really liked it. This book is great if you love sports. Rather, this book is great if you love watching ESPN, which is not the same thing. Shales does the same basic trick he did with the SNL book -- interviews anyone who had anything to do wit the subject, and strings the interview quotes into a story, with a few bits of exposition tucked in here and there.

That sounds easy, but making it all come out coherently, with some semblance of order, must have been a monumental task, and my hat is off to him. That said, This book is great if you love sports. That said, my god man, hire an editor. The book is roughly 76, pages long, or at least it felt that way. It almost needs to be two books: one focusing on the financial side and one on the editorial. And he does slide a bit into the hagiography mode, especially towards the end.

The people you expect to come off badly Olbermann, Kilborn, Kornheiser , come off very badly, although I was surprised to see how obnoxious Bill Simmons comes across. Sep 01, Kate rated it liked it Shelves: books-about-work. It's obvious that this one is too long. The book is pages, and the audiobook, which is what I'm doing, is 24 CDs. After the book gets done chronicling "the rise of ESPN," it really loses steam and starts to meander -- just covering the big headlines from the past decade or so, one after another.

My impression, whether or not this is true, is that the authors did a mountain of interviews, selected every halfway interesting tidbit, and then arranged them in chronological order.

An inside look at ESPN and egos game for a good time

This may be goo It's obvious that this one is too long. This may be good oral history, but it's not really a book. I actively cared until disc 14, and now I'm just listening because I like the lingo and I like the Keith Olbermann interviews. Also: the title is a total misnomer.


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I'm not quite done, so maybe all will be revealed, but these guys are NOT "having all the fun. Dec 30, Brian Eshleman rated it liked it. My kingdom for a storyteller! This book consisted of snippets from interviews along the inside players at different phases at ESPN. For that reason, it was interesting, but there is good enough material for a five-star book. The decision to just include quotes after quotes after quotes decreased the enjoyment of the final product. The reader hears from a lot of people whose perspective is interesting, but the narrative is never woven together in a way that, ironically, made ESPN famous.

Tight edi My kingdom for a storyteller! Tight editing would have, for instance, whittled away some of the ego and money battles that have almost no staying power in maintaining interest. It is difficult to imagine even the least powerful person at ESPN being deserving of pity, but this can occasionally come across directly in people's words. Oct 25, Michael Berman rated it it was ok Shelves: books-i-m-not-going-to-finish , sports. Some oral histories are really interesting, because they have a "you were here" aspect to them that a traditional history doesn't have.

Others are just an excuse to allow the "writer" to slack off, and not add any context or analysis. While it is interesting at least a bit to read about the specifics behind the rise of ESPN, this book, in my opinion falls into the latter category. I made it about a third of the way through before I gave up. Jan 10, Jamaal Buckley rated it it was ok. To feel as if it is missing something? If you have, then you know what I am feeling right now. When I first heard that there was going to be a tell-all book about the Worldwide Leader, I was geeked.

I turn to them whenever I need information on my favorite sports teams, or when I want a provocative sports documentary to watch. It was ESPN or bust. So when I found out that I would be able to find out all the dirt about my favorite sportscasters in their own words…how could I lose?! Very easily, apparently. Those Guys Have All the Fun is told strictly from the point of view of the people who lived the events, with very little in the way of narrative from the authors, except to move the topic from one event to the next. It begins where ESPN began, and shows how the network grew from a small idea into a sports and television goliath.

There are interviews with the men whose brain child the idea of a hour sports network was, as well as interviews with the parties who financed the company. There are interviews with the more popular anchors from SportsCenter; hosts of many of the shows on the network; and even a few sections that involve the writers from ESPN. The chapters in the book are broken down into fractions of time, from the infancy of the network to the domination in sports that it enjoys today.

But it still felt like there was something missing, something that the die-hard fans of the network should have known, yet was still being withheld. If I were a person who was looking to learn how to start a company, negotiate partnerships with the major sports leagues in the world, or learn how to start off as a nobody and end up with the highest title in the company—only to use that to leverage a new position elsewhere—then this book would be perfect for me. From a business standpoint, this would be a great learning tool.

If I wanted to know about behind the scenes bickering between people who never set foot in front of a camera, this would be an excellent read. Unless you are a television network insider, does the name Tom Skipper ring a bell? Do you care how he got promoted to the head of ESPN, and how others who wanted the job were pissed because they felt that he kissed ass in order to get the job?

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Until then I didn't realize that Chris Farley's pooping out a 17th-story window of Rockefeller Center was something I needed to know about. Turns out it was. Their MO is to talk to pretty much everybody who's ever been anywhere near the network and then weave the quotes into a single nearly seamless narrative, presented verbatim with little commentary, focusing on key transitions and deals and famous and infamous moments. Their technique owes a lot, unless I'm mistaken, to the work of the great Studs Terkel. It's a revelation: what goes onto the TV screen is just the glossy tip of an iceberg of ugly backstage drama.

Miller and Shales must be extraordinarily talented interviewers, because their subjects are surprisingly uninhibited and frank and willing to dish and slag. There are some great gets in Those Guys Have All the Fun : we hear from the gimmes, on-air talent like Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, but also from high-level executives, past and present, and there are cameos from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell and Barack Obama who comes out in favor of a playoff system for college football.

It's unauthorized, but the access is legit.

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