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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating Your Own Fantasy Life
Imagine if you could write for the top sitcom in America, then write movies in Hollywood, and actually make a ton of money doing it.

That sounds like fun, right? Sounds like you would kill to have a dream job like that.

Only Matt Berry did the exact opposite of that. He wrote 12 episodes of Married with Children. Wrote for a bunch of other shows...
Published 18 months ago by James Altucher

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice autobiography
I thought this was a wonderful autobiography of how Matthew Berry took a chance and succeeded at following his dreams in fantasy sports. The fantasy stories were really fun and entertaining but didn't quite match the autobiography. Overall, it was an easy, enjoyable read, but mainly for Matthew's story.
Published 17 months ago by M. Ching


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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating Your Own Fantasy Life, July 16, 2013
This review is from: Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It (Hardcover)
Imagine if you could write for the top sitcom in America, then write movies in Hollywood, and actually make a ton of money doing it.

That sounds like fun, right? Sounds like you would kill to have a dream job like that.

Only Matt Berry did the exact opposite of that. He wrote 12 episodes of Married with Children. Wrote for a bunch of other shows. Even wrote a movie or two. And then gave it all up.

I would never have done that unless someone was offering me something incredibly huge. LIke, maybe he was going to be an astronaut or President.

But he gave it up for a job that paid nothing and all his dreams came true after that.

I called him up to find out why. He had tweeted about my book when it came out on June 3 and I wanted to thank him. But I was also jealous. I WANTED to write for the sitcoms. I was almost angry he gave it up to write for basically nothing for a fantasy sports site.

I was miserable in Hollywood, he told me. And then finally there was a breaking point. I was sitting in a room going over a script with two actors and they were trying to explain to me how to write comedy. I couldn't take it anymore.

Matt Berry's book, "The Fantasy Life" comes out today. It's excellent and I highly recommend it. Not because he sent it to me. But because I read it and it reminds me so much of how I ended up doing the things I ended up doing.

It's about someone who chooses himself, chooses to follow his own path to success and, in doing to, creates out of nothing an entire career.

I know nothing about Fantasy Sports. I know nothing really about sports. And yet I 100% related to almost every chapter in the book, which are his stories about fantasy sports, mixed in with his own memoir and how he got to be where he is: THE fantasy sports commentator for ESPN, and the founder of one of the most popular sites about fantasy sports.

The lessons I got from his story:

A) Your dream job might not be your dream job. Everyone thinks that writing for Hollywood sounds like a fantasy. And I'm sure it was that societal dream that thew Matt Berry into the mix. He was funny, he moved to Hollywood and worked at a toy store, rose up the ranks with spec scripts, ending up at The George Carlin Show, and then Married..with Children, and then, and then and then. He paid his dues, learned his writing skills, and was making money at the entertainment capitol of the world.

But he hated it.

As he wrote in the book, "doing something you don't care about kill you inside. And a lot of money won't change that."

B) What are your childhood dreams? Believe it or not, they usually don't change when you grow older. Berry had been playing fantasy sports since he was 14 years old. He had put in his "10,000 hours" on Fantasy sports. It was his passion more than anything else, more than Hollywood. So he approached a site, RotoWorld and offered to write for them for almost nothing. As he put it, "I was starting to think outside the box, starting down a path that would eventually lead me to trade one life for another".

C) Be persistent. He contacted RotoWorld's general contact info offering to write and they wouldn't respond. Finally he contacted the head writer, laid out his credentials, and did my favorite technique: he ASKED FOR ADVICE on how he could write for them. Within seconds he was writing for them.

D) Diversify. He didn't just quit his job and write for free. He was still writing for Hollywood while using his free time...to write for free. Often people write me and say, "I have this great idea but I have a full time job. Can you help me raise money so I can do my idea?" And the answer is always going to be...no.

When I started my first business I was still working my fulltime job at HBO. I was still trying to shoot two pilots for them plus manage all the upkeep on their website. And at the same time I was running my business, making websites for every other entertainment company. I had to work 24 hours a day but every moment I was enjoying. Sort of. Sometimes I hated it. Sometimes I couldn't handle how much time it was taking.

But you have to take control of your own destinies to find which one is right for you. Once someone gives you money, you are OWNED. Try everything first. Then buy your freedom.

E) Choose Yourself. When the fantasy sports site he first started writing for wanted to cut him off he started his own site. How many times have you wanted to be "chosen" in life: by parents, colleges, a good job, a website, a publisher, an agent, a whoever.

Matt Berry may be great at Fantasy Sports and whatever he does at ESPN but what I got most out of his book was that he did not want to be chosen by someone else. When actors wanted to tell him (the writer of the one of the highest rated comedy shows of the 90s) what comedy was, he quit. When a fantasy sports site started to treat him like crap, he built his own site. He chose himself.

F) Be honest. I see this all the time among internet writers. Nobody wants to tell the truth and just say it how it is. Financial writers write about stocks. Sports writers write about sports. Social media "experts" want to write : "10 things to be a successful tweeter". But nobody writes about when they failed or when they were wrong. Everyone wants to hush that up so they can pretend to be perfect.

What I really want to know is: who the hell are you? Matt Berry became the first fantasy sports blogger to write about himself. As he put it, "I wrote about my life, my friends, my leagues...everything was fair game. I didn't want to be a stereotypical fantasy nerd.".

That's what people want to know. They want to know how hard it is to be obsessed with fantasy sports while maintaining a job and a relationship. They want to know your personal stories of success, failure, persistence, pain, despair, and riches. 99.9% of writers don't get this. For this reason alone: buy Matt's book and see how he does it. He's like the Howard Stern of Fantasy Sports. Every radio personality tried to copy Stern but none of them got the honesty part done right. Matt gets it.

And the pain is real. We all go through it. As Matt says on page 172 of the book, "I had lost the wife, the writing partner, the career. All I had left was the dog, the websites, and a half-empty living room".

G) Diversify even more. Matt was running his own site but you can never build up the biggest audience running your own site. You have to have bigger sites syndicate your content and then you link back to your own site. Matt kept pursuing bigger and bigger opportunities while continuing to run his own site. He went through the standard routine that everyone who is choosing themselves knows all too well:

1) first he tried everyone and they all said "no".

2) then one said "yes" and he started writing for NBA.com

3) once one says yes, everyone ays yes: radio, MLB, Fox, ESPN.

4) Sell your business to make money and do what you love doing. He sold TalentedMrRoto.com to ESPN / Disney and became their senior director of Fantasy Sports.

Which means:

H) Create your own career.

There WAS NO senior director of Fantasy Sports at ESPN (or any TV network) before Matt came along. He created that job, career, out of nothing. Nothing but the passion that started him at the age of 14, which led him to give up the pseudo--dream life in Hollywood, led him to give up almost everything in his life while he kept persisting, and finally ended up creating his own career and industry at the top of the mountain in sports.

The book is a blueprint for how to pursue one's passion. I wish I had read it when I was ten. I'm glad I read it now. I relate to so much of what he did and I feel it parallels much of what I discuss in "Choose Yourself". But Matt shows how it's done and I'm happy to recommend the book. He had sent it to me but I had already pre-ordered it.

I read it and then I called him to maybe interview him about it. But when we got on the phone I said, "you know what. I got it. I have no questions." To me, this book is the map for how to choose yourself, find your passion, and create the world you want to live in. 5 Stars!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compared to his Columns..., July 17, 2013
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This review is from: Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It (Hardcover)
If you are reading this review, you are probably a member of the tribe. That is, the tribe of fantasy players. And love him or hate him, Matthew Berry is Moses. But maybe the only thing more sad than staying up late to play fantasy sports is staying up late to read about playing fantasy sports. Alas, that is how I spent last night. I pre-ordered this book on a whim months ago, and when it came, I figured it would be nothing but Matthew copying his ESPN columns and pasting them into book form. I was wrong. As a longtime reader of the TMR and a longtime listener of his Fantasy Focus podcasts (2 emails read, Nate and Pod once voted I should be in the Man's League, but Matthew vetoed, no hard feelings), I can say that this book offers something new. This book is the great anthropology of fantasy sports. It is the collection of our most hilarious, ridiculous, and touching fantasy stories. Matthew has carefully collected them all through the years: the funniest trades, the wackiest drafts, and the greatest league traditions. The big difference between the book and the column is that here the stories come fast and furious. Something like 20 anecdotes a chapter. Most stories are told in a couple paragraphs, and because Matthew's writing them, they're hilarious. There is one long story in the book, but it's doled out through all the chapters, and it's the story of Matthew's life in fantasy. Longtime readers may know the cliffnotes of this story (Hollywood writer, Rotopass, wins Oscar for Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (not really)), but I felt like here we get it all, and the story is compelling. In the end, this is a fun, hilarious book, and although some of the stories have been mentioned before in columns, I didn't feel cheated by it. Quite the opposite. Where Matthew's columns most resemble the long, rambling writing of Bill Simmons, this book felt a lot like Rick Reilly. Quick and funny and just burying you with stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for fantasy sports fans, January 20, 2014
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Matthew Berry combines an autobiographical narrative with many entertaining stories of the highs and lows that fantasy sports brings. If you play any fantasy, you'll appreciate knowing you're not alone, and if you live with someone who plays, this book will give you some insights into the depths of their passions. Berry's story also left me liking him more, because he's been incredibly fortunate in his life, and he's quite happy to acknowledge it. This is no humble-brag - he's almost as surprised by his successes as we are in reading about them, and he's clearly very grateful for all of them. Easily one of the most entertaining books I've read in a while - if you care about fantasy, it's a must-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who play fantasy sports, this book is for you., September 14, 2013
By 
andrew deyoe (PORTLAND, OR, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It (Hardcover)
It's hilarious, it is easy to relate to and Matthew Berry is great in his transitions between each story. It doesn't give you every trick and trade that he has, but he gives you an appreciation for your league and your playing experience. I highly suggest that you purchase this book if you are into fantasy sports.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its my bible, September 11, 2013
By 
sean (RALEIGH, NC, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It (Hardcover)
This book is like my bible(I don't go to church by the way). For a die hard fantasy football player its a must have. It made me rethink how i go about setting up fantasy leagues. No more guys that half ass pay attention, only die hard people that will comit and play hard to the end. 06010 4 Life
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Fantasy Sports Addicts, August 26, 2013
By 
L. Charles Wimer III (Coatesville, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It (Hardcover)
Fantasy Life is 1/3 autobiography and 2/3's fantasy sports related stories. Put both together and you've got a 5 star book for the die-hard fantasy sports nut -- like me. Berry does a great job mixing in his personal life as it relates to his new found career (yes, all addicts would love his job). What I really liked is the perspective that Matthew puts fantasy sports in. He fully recognizes that fantasy sports is designed to bring people together, have some fun and gives us entertainment in a tough world. His proper contents knows that fantasy sports isn't life and death. Like so many, I have a VERY stressful and demanding job and fantasy sports is my outlet. My wife encourages my participation because otherwise I'd drive her nuts. Hell, I was even sharing some of stories in the book with her. If you want to read a fun book that is very easy to read and doesn't require any thought and you have interest in fantasy sports -- then I'd highly recommend this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read, August 11, 2013
With the fantasy football season quickly approaching, I found Matthew Berry's new book "Fantasy Life" a great read. I ordered it for my kindle and finished it within a few days. I enjoy Matthew's podcasts and the work he does for espn. This book had a great mix of hilarious, witty and heartfelt material that will surely make any fantasy player both laugh out loud as well as shed a few tears.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Berry Shares His Fantasy Life, September 2, 2014
By 
Pop Bop "Pause and Reflect" (Denver, Colorado, United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I've played fantasy football for the last few years. I like the fact that having a fantasy team in play keeps me interested and involved in all of the NFL teams and players. I'm not a big number cruncher, but I like to follow the players, the personalities and the fortunes of the various teams. But since you want to win if you're going to play I have wandered around the internet looking for the touts and the metrics boys and the sports know-it-alls whose advice will help me hold up the league trophy at the end of the year.

My point is that through all of that internet browsing I happened upon Matthew Berry, the fantasy guy at ESPN. He is now the only guy, pretty much, who I follow. It's not that he has some inside track. It's that he makes the game interesting while always bearing in mind that it's a game. He also makes it personal, both through his openness about how he feels about players and life, and through his ability to always bring into the focus the fact that professional athletes are also just people. It's not just X's and O's, and life isn't simple.

Well, this book is is like the long version of one of his thoughtful, personal columns. Berry has never made a secret of the fact that he is deeply grateful for having lucked into one of the coolest jobs on the planet. That tone of delighted surprise and thankfulness comes through in everything he writes. He has lots of opinions, but at the end of the day what comes through most is the basic decency and fairness that tempers his opinions.

I have always suspected that Berry would be like the best next-door neighbor ever. He and his whole family could come over every Sunday if they wanted to. This book confirms that suspicion. If you're hyper about fantasy sports, it will calm you down. If you're curious, it will inform you. If your tired of pro athletes, it will renew your interest. If it just seems like sports are now only business and money, it will restore some of the wonder and excitement.

This is a thoughtful, grown up, consistently funny and well written, and even charming book. It's a nice complement to your fandom and a solid confirmation of why I look forward to those Talented Mr. Roto ESPN columns.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this as a Goodreads giveaway. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book, although the author and his family are welcome to come over to the house for a cookout any time they want.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever read!, July 18, 2013
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Yes it is the best book I have ever read, in all fairness I haven't read many books fully in my life but this is by far the best.

You don't have to know anything about fantasy sports at all to appreciate and enjoy this book.

Its filled with stories that anyone can relate to.

I was as addicted to reading this book as I am to fantasy football and its a ridiculous addiction...

This book helps in the never ending climb of the mountain that is life...

Thank you Matthew for this book and for all your fantasy insight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only for fantasy fans, June 11, 2014
By 
Shawn Klein (Roscoe, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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I figured Fantasy Life would be funny, but I had no expectation of just how funny and how interesting it would be. The mixing of Berry's autobiography with real life fantasy sports stories was a great way to frame the book. But beyond the funny trophies and bizarre obsessive behavior by fantasy owners, there are poignant and tragic stories, there are stories of losing loved ones, stories of marriages and babies, there are stories of families and friends coming together. And all this centered around fantasy sports. All of these stories give you a taste of what the phenomenon of fantasy sports is about and why so many people play it (over 30 million in US and Canada). You don't have to be a hard core fantasy player to appreciate this book, but you might want to be when you are done.
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