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Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN Hardcover – May 24, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316043001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316043007
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN:

"Those who work in the business of sport will devour the book...[readers are] granted the kind of behind-the-scenes access that sports media junkies are rarely given..."—Richard Deitsch, SportsIllustrated.com

"Those Guys Have All the Fun is a de rigueur read for sports fans who wonder how a fired hockey announcer used a $9,000 credit card advance to start a broadcasting empire that changed what we think about sports and how we view them."—Woody Paige, Denver Post

"Packed with entertaining stories of unpleasant people and awful behavior....[Those Guys Have All the Fun is] offers a nuanced look at ESPN, does some top-notch TV-biz reporting on the early days of the cable industry, and offers compelling behind-the-scenes stories...[It is] a serious, impressive, piece of work."—Rob Brunner, Entertainment Weekly

"A revelation: what goes onto the TV screen turns out to be 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....[They are] good at zeroing in on a debacle and getting everybody involved to weigh in...by the end of the book you're amazed at the disconnect between the chaos behind the scenes and the relatively slick end product."—Lev Grossman, Time

"Fascinating and compulsively readable."—Tim Marchman, Wall Street Journal

"A fascinating little-engine-that-could tale of money, power and the early days of cable television."—Clint O?Connor, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"As highly anticipated by sports junkies as a Chicago Cubs championship, [Those Guys Have All the Fun] provides painstaking details on how a nutty idea concocted by a father-son team developed into a brand worth more than the NHL, MLB and NBA combined...Shales and Miller manage to create a page-turning document about the ultimate dysfunctional workplace"—Neil Justin, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"...Perhaps the most anticipated book in sports media history."—Newsday

"Those Guys Have All the Fun delivers a hell of a narrative...[and] an outstanding work of journalism. Easing interviewees into such comfort that they said what they did on record is an enormous achievement for Miller and Shales."—Daniel Roberts, Fortune

"This treat for sports fans has a cast of characters that is huge and varied."—Janet Maslin, New York Times

"What a story: larger-than-life personalities, salacious gossip, backstabbing and corporate intrigue set against the backdrop of the rise of cable television as an economic and cultural force....The quotes flow seamlessly, and the voices are fresh and vibrant...The depth and breadth of the interviews make it not only the definitive account of ESPN's first three decades but one of the best books yet on how cable shaped American culture."—Andy Lewis, Hollywood Reporter

"A rollicking glimpse behind the guys and gals who sport around at ESPN, America's sports church. Amen."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author


James Andrew Miller is the author of Running in Place: Inside the Senate and Live from New York. He has also written for the New York Times, Life, the Washington Post and Newsweek. His various positions in television include Senior Executive Producer of "Anderson Cooper 360" and Executive VP of Original Programming at USA Network. He lives in Bucks County, PA.

Tom Shales won his Pultizer Prize for television criticism in the Washington Post. He is the author of On the Air!, Legends, and Live from New York, and has written for publications such as Esquire, Playboy, Life, Interview, among others. He lives in McLean, Virgina.


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Customer Reviews

The history of ESPN is one of the best modern media business stories.
Whitney
I just finished the book yesterday and I must say 748 pages later I was completely disappointed in the end product.
Don
If you like sports and you like history you probably will enjoy reading this book.
Richard Harding

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 118 people found the following review helpful By olingerstories on May 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Miller's--its obvious from the Introduction to the Acknowledgments to the writing itself that the sports-indifferent Tom Shales main contribution was lending his name to the project--THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN is an engaging, if overly long, look at what has made ESPN the media and cultural phenomena that it is. Using an oral history format, the narrative runs from ESPN's humble beginnings to its current status of world domination. According to Miller, there were nine steps in ESPN's history that fell perfectly for the company not only to survive, but to rise to the top of its field.

1) Original founders Bill and Scott Rasmussen's decision to buy a transpounder on RCA SATCOM I in 1978.
2) Getty Oil's investment of $15 million in May of 1979.
3) Creating a dual revenue stream in March 1983.
4) Coverage of the America's Cup Challenge in 1987.
5) Getting TV rights to NFL games in 1987.
6) The $400 million, 4-year MLB deal in 1989.
7) The mid-90s generated "THIS IS SPORTSCENTER" advertizing campaign.
8) The acquisition of a full season of NFL games in 1998.
9) The documentary series SPORTSCENTURY.

The main players behind the scenes receive as much attention as the talent on screen. The Rasmussens have the idea, and negotiate an incredibly unlikely start, but are almost immediately kicked out the door by Stu Evey, the moneyman from Getty, and Chet Simmons, the legendary NBC producer. By the mid-1980s, Evey and Simmons were replaced by Bill Grimes and Steve Bornstein. By the 2000s, the respected and congenial George Bodenheimer was teamed with talented, but utterly brash Mark Shapiro. What didn't change, however, was Bristol, the little Connecticut village that is as much a character as any.
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65 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Don on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished the book yesterday and I must say 748 pages later I was completely disappointed in the end product. I was originally inspired to read the book based on the hype by some of the pundits calling it extremely controversial, etc etc etc. In particular Dan Patrick was the biggest culprit. When he was promoting the book he made you think the majority of the book would be about the rivalries and backstabbing that went on. I should have known better when I received the book and saw how ridiculously thick it was.
To make a long story short it is more of a historical time line of the network rather than an inside peak at the personalities. I'm a huge sports fan so that was what kept me reading. Nothing really "bombshellish" was dropped except for the fact that in the early days Mike Tirico was a pervert and by today's sexual harassment standards he'd be in the unemployment line for life. That was the only revelation that really surprised me. Aside from that, the same arrogance and over inflated egos that are on display regularly on ESPN continually resonate throughout the book.
At the end of the day I let a good marketing and PR campaign bamboozle me into buying this paper weight. You can't really say it's well written because there is no writing. The "authors" (and I use that term loosely) just took quotes from various people about time line based happenings at ESPN, slapped a collage on it and called it a book. Not that I am a stickler for this sort of thing but I found a TON of grammatical errors that I would assume would have been found prior to print seeing as how the authors did nothing more than collect quotes and interject a few lines of back story on every other page.
The only reason it gets a 2 star versus a one star is because it was sports related.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By PDP on June 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've grown up with ESPN so when I heard there was a book coming out based around the network I was beyond excited. Well, i've finished it and all i can say is that i'm disappointed. When I found out it was 700+ pages i thought to myself "great, they must have a TON of juicy, behind the scenes stories to fill the pages." I was incorrect. Don't get me wrong, there are some juicy, behind the scenes stories, just not enough to carry 750 pages. The book could literally be cut in half and I don't think you'd lose much in terms of content. There are some hilarious and interesting portions, but the majority is difficult to get through. Many times I found myself reading stuff I just didn't care about. I'm not saying to completely avoid this book, but you probably don't need to run out and buy it. Wait for a copy at the library or borrow one from a friend. Just don't plan on returning it to your friend for a month. It's looooong.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Humble on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am a sports person, and sports has played a large role throughout my life. I grew up with espn and I watch, analyze it everyday. That being said, this book is boring. The first half is an uninteresting business book, and the second half drags on and on, flimsily held together by random quotes/stories, often in a bizarre order. Numerous times I felt like I was reading this book out of order. Also, most of the personalities come off as being completely pompous jerks, Dan Patrick being an exception. Do we really need 100 pages on the dynamic of the Monday Night Football booth? I waited for this book, now I want my money back. SKIP IT!
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