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What Were They Thinking?: The Brainless Blunders That Changed Sports History Hardcover – May 5, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


In the uninspired corner of publishing that produces too many hackneyed sports titles, the efforts of Kyle Garlett shine…In Garlett’s hands, moments that are hilarious or painful (or both, depending on one’s rooting interest) become opportunities to extract lessons from delicious ironies…. A fine choice. (amNew York)

About the Author

Kyle Garlett is a freelance sportswriter for FoxSports.com and ESPN: The Magazine. He has also worked as the senior writer for Fox Sports Net, and has written for The Best Damn Sports Show Period and The Ultimate Fantasy Football Show. He lives in Marina del Rey, California.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061699926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061699924
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,283,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Four separate cancer diagnoses that found him battling both Hodgkin's disease and acute lymphocytic leukemia; 54 total months of treatments including radiation, chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant; and finally, a life-giving heart transplant.

It is this health odyssey, begun in 1989, which has set the course for Kyle's life. A journey that took him across the finish line for the first time ever at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on September 16, 2007 - just eleven months out from his heart transplant - and has taken him all the way to Kona, Hawaii, (twice) for the Ironman World Championship. On October 10, 2009, Kyle's 3rd heart transplant anniversary, he became the first heart transplant recipient ever to participate in Ironman's ultimate test of endurance.

In Kyle's many years as a cancer and heart patient he has stared down death and watched countless others do the same. He has experienced some of life's worst miseries, witnessed many of its greatest triumphs, and seen the magnificent strength and compassion that define the human spirit. And it is with that in mind that Kyle tackles his complimentary roles of writer and motivational speaker.

In Kyle's inspirational memoir, Heart of Iron: My Journey from Transplant Patient to Ironman Triathlete, Kyle paints the complete picture of what it's like to be diagnosed with cancer, battle it an agonizing four times, then find out that even though the lymphoma and leukemia have finally been beaten, his final health war can only be won with a heart transplant. He then takes us through that amazing day - October 10, 2006 - and all the way to his victory lap of ultimate survival, the Ironman.

Before the memoir, Kyle's writing background was primarily in sports. He spent five years as the Senior Writer for Fox Sports, before going it alone in the freelance world. During that time he's written for FoxSports.com and ESPN The Magazine and published a pair of sports related books, The Worst Call Ever - a compilation of the most infamous calls ever blown by referees, umpires, and other blind officials, and What Were They Thinking, a book that highlights the greatest sports blunders ever committed by coaches, general managers, players, and the media.

As a speaker Kyle has touched and inspired thousands with his story, and experienced what he considers to be his greatest joy. While speaking to a group of 400 runners the night before they were to tackle the 2002 Santa Barbara Half-Marathon, Kyle met Carrie Riordan. Two and a half years later the couple was married on ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover: Wedding Edition" at The City of Hope National Medical Center - the site of Kyle's stem cell transplant in 1995.

Kyle also speaks frequently on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (he was named the LLS Greater Los Angeles Man of the Year for 2011) and is a vocal advocate for the gift of organ donation, believing that the continued fight on behalf of the stricken is the covenant that all survivors keep with those that have fallen. This belief, and the unqualified joy that each day of life brings to those who live on, are the beacons that continue to guide him.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Kyle Garlett, the author, does an excellent job describing each blunder. This was a very enjoyable read. I bought it last Saturday and could not put it down. It made me want to buy his other book. You will not be disappointed. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
There are some hilarious, insane, confusing, and downright entertaining sports decisions out there, and the author has found a number of them to remind us that no one is perfect, and we all -- including the coaches and players in this book -- have moments we wish we could bury forever. I had bought THE WORST CALL EVER by this author to give to sports-minded family and friends, and everyone loved the style of writing (and the perspective of the author) so much that I decided to purchase WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? when it was released. I have not been disappointed, even though some of the story allusions were hard for me to wrap my non-sports brain around. My sports-minded family, on the other hand, were quick to catch even those elusive illusions. We all blunder, but some blunders are more entertaining after the fact than others. Thanks to Mr. Garlett, he has documented, with style and clarity and a twist of humor, some of those entertaining blunders.
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Format: Hardcover
OK so no one is ever going to consider Kyle Garrett a life changing author. But his books are fun to read and highly entertaining. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys sports and likes to read about those blunders which we like to think people have forgotten about but which survive in infamy. As a Boston fan I will never forget Bill Buckner's goof but I had forgotten about Leon Lett's two major bone head moves so it is fun to relive these things. Don't expect much, just enjoy the ride!
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Format: Hardcover
I've seen many of them in live: the famous blunders, the incomprehensible moments, and the brainless mistakes. I am actually surprised that I caught them on television when the moment came. Most described in book are what I am aware of, and only very few are new to me. Then, the others don't really belong in the book of blunders. For example, the baseball stuff, it's mostly "Who cares?" Then, there is the old Ryan Leaf story, which is boring to read as usual. But guess what? It's not a blunder because the NFL draft is a huge crap shoot. So, it hardly qualifies as a blunder. Look at every draft that has ever occurred, and you will be shocked to learn many of the first and second rounders never had a career they thought they were capable of. Ditto for Eric Lindros trade which doesn't really qualify as a blunder either. Also, that Zidane's headbutt doesn't qualify as a blunder; it is Fabien Barthez' goaltending display that was more atrocious to watch. Finally, Kyle Garlett omits many more famous unthinkables. So, I am going to momentarily list them. Probably the worst aspect of the book is every time a moment is introduced, the author wastes so many spaces, going on and on about nothing, when he should have immediately gotten to the topic straight off. I really skimmed through a lot of details until he finally got to the point. Another worst aspect about the book is that if the author had listed the moments he was going to write about in a page, you couldn't go wrong by instead of seeking out a highlight collection of videos on youtube; that's how bad it is since reading the details doesn't replace watching what had happened. Lastly, but very important, the author only covers the popular sports, so he pretty much forgets the least watched moments in sports.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
About: Garlett covers dozens of errors, mental mistakes, confused athletes, dense coaches and awkward situations from the history of sport.

Pros: Describes lots of situations from lots of different sports. Sticks up for those who thinks are wrongly vilified like Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman.

Cons: Juvenile humor and writing. Forgettable. On pages 47 and 48 of the hardcover "...with Hayes there was always a 'but'" is used twice. Doesn't cover league foldings like the XFL.

Grade: C-
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