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First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into a Cultural Phenomenon Hardcover – August 8, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (August 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814472990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814472996
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What began in 1965 as the after-hours project of four University of Florida doctors, Gatorade has grown into an internationally renowned brand that today comprises 80 percent of the U.S. sports drink market it created. A lifelong Gatorade consumer and ESPN.com's sports business writer, Rovell locates the increasingly wide intersection of sports, business and popular culture, creating an account wide in scope, rich in details and sufficiently varied to keep the pages turning. Rovell's research pays big dividends in entertaining stories, relating, for instance, when Florida's head football coach, Ray Graves, initially allowed the doctors to test Gatorade, but only on his freshman team; or the late nights before games when the doctors could be found in the lab squeezing lemons into the concoction to mask its then-rancid taste; or Stokely Van-Camp's decision, when buying Gatorade from the doctors and their investors, to compensate the Gatorade Trust on a royalty structure instead of paying a flat $1 million fee, which "turned out to be a boon for the doctors. Instead of collecting a couple of hundred thousand dollars each, they were to earn more than $30 million each over the next 40 years;" and even criticism of Gatorade by those who assert the company "overpromotes hydration in order to promote its product." Throughout his account, Rovell reveals the many secrets of Gatorade's success, portraying the company as an ever-evolving pioneer that continually tweaks its business model to remain on top, a sports analogy to be sure.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"He [Rovell] writes a fascinating chronicle of how Gatorade’s superb marketing overcame obstacles."

-Detroit Free Press



“[A] fascinating new book….[Author] Rovell does an excellent job keeping a business story moving by interweaving plenty of sports and bigger picture ideas into First in Thirst. There is enough here for the businessperson, the sports fan and anyone who loves a story about how one small, simple idea could become so big.”

-Yahoo! Sports



“[A] fascinating new book."

-Yahoo! Sports



“[A] new book by ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell provides fascinating insights into original development—and sale—of Gatorade.”

-Beverage Digest



“…an account wide in scope, rich in details and sufficiently varied to keep the pages turning.”

-Publisher's Weekly



"It’s a lively book rich in detail."

-Steve Powers, Dallas Morning News anchor and nationally syndicated columnist



"...an engrossing read...the book is captivating."

-Business Ledger



"A good read about a product’s ups and downs for those into sports, business, or supposed hangover cures."

-BrandChannel.com



"...a fascinating business story."

-Mississippi Business Journal


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The book is well written and supported.
Efren Ramirez
Rovell quenched my need for the first riveting Gatorade sports marketing book ever written.
Brooke Kingswood
If you want to know who and when this started, buy this book and read it.
Jason Peikoff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sachin Gupta on October 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Amazing how Rovell was able to piece together such a detailed history of a product which was developed in a basement over 40 years ago. The relatively unknown early history of Gatorade at the University of Florida was fascinating. And the behind-the-scenes account of the part of Gatorade that we all know about, the commercials, was equally interesting and entertaining. I found myself singing 'Be Like Mike' and reminscing about the great Jordan commercials. I definitely would have paid a premium for an accompanying dvd of all the great Gatorade commercials. If you have any interest in Gatorade at all, this is an absolute must read. If you are interested in sports, business, or just want a good story, then First in Thirst is also for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Desantis on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read through this book one night recently and it's a great read. The insight into the history and buisness dealings of Gatorade kept me glued to the book; I had to read it in one sitting. Many of my Gatorade questions were answered; I recall watching the Mia Hamm 'Thank You' Gatorade commercial with my wife and wondering why Michael Jordan was in it. First in Thirst explained their 'competititon' commercial and helped explain the backstory of how that ended up on the air, which led me to understand why MJ was in Mia's 'thank you'. I thought each chapter was well organized and thorough. I liked the treats at the end of the book, such as the list of Gatorade US flavor releases (what a trip down memory lane of my years running cross country) and the Bill Parcells memos. That's some great history archived there.

All in all, well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and I'm sure in a number of years I'll pick it up off my bookshelf and go through it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brooke Kingswood on September 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rovell quenched my need for the first riveting Gatorade sports marketing book ever written. He didn't miss a beat in his passionate chronicle of Gatorade's inventors, memorable moments in sports history and Gatorade's rise to become an iconic brand. Rovell's journalistic integrity and skillful writing was quite evident and made me not want to put the book down. Rovell has given me the gift of a perfect, light hearted, easy read that anyone will enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Martin on August 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rovell brings his unique talents from espn.com to the hardcover. At first I wondered if I needed to be interested in gatorade or sports business to enjoy this book. I quickly found out I was wrong. The tale of gatorade is a human interest story that can be enjoyed by any reader regardless of his sports or business knowledge. Rovell's storytelling gives life to a bottle of funny colored liquid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Armand Van Helsing on June 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Purchased for the hype but let down by the style. It reminds me of the effusive praise I had in 2001 as a freshmen student in Economics for Tyco and Dennis Kozlowski. Every word is lavish spectacle and Gatorade can seem to do little wrong. I want the hard hitting truth about corn-sweetener and who should really drink this.

There is a foray into marketing strategies whereby you the reader are versed on the importance of customer profiling by your savior, Saint Gator of Indiana. Many phrases are repeated (really, they have to hot wash the bottles you say?) and some of the sentence structures are downright bizarre.

Fairly good party talk though. Margie, did you know the University of Florida sued for profits years after initially scoffing at investing in the concept?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Paul on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Darren Rovell has done it again! His research , quick wit and excellent interviews with the stars of sports makes this book a must have and a delightful read. You will learn more about Gatorade, the business of sports and sponsorship in this book than you ever imagined. I give it two thumbs up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Weber on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A highly-informative book written with love by a dogged sports business researcher. It is incredible to me that the University of Florida was so unsupportive of their faculty during the nascent days of the product, yet had its hand out when the money started rolling in.

You don't have to be interested in industry to enjoy this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew R. Ryder on August 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a marketing professional who has probably read too many books on the topic, I've found these books to be functional only to either educate or entertain, but rarely both. In "First in Thirst," Rovell brings a storytelling ease to a wonderful and insightful look at the rise of one of America's greatest brands. This wonderful "beach book" quality is not diminished by the lessons explicitly outlined as the culmination of the Gatorade story.
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