Like many others my age, I grew up to SportsCenter on the television instead of cartoons. After opening presents, my christmas mornings were spent watching ESPN special’s on the best of SportsCenter for the year. I loved sports and henceforth, loved watching ESPN. If I was sitting around my living room bored and stuck indoors, ESPN was sure to be on the TV. For much of my childhood and adult life, I’ve been a huge sports and working at ESPN has been a dream job to me. When I heard recently that the book Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN was being released detailing the history of the company, I was thrilled. The book was everything I was hoping it would be and more.
First off, the book is undoubtedly long. At nearly 800 pages, it is not an afternoon read, but for sports fans and those who are intrigued by the inner workings of the company it provides an informative and in-depth overview. The book tells of many cases in which ESPN is seen as evil and also portrays it as a great company to work for. By telling the narrative through countless interviews conducted with ESPN’s employees, on-screen talent, and upper management, many different perspectives are seen on all issues.
While not all portions of the book will be of interest to every reader, the book tells the chronological story about how the worldwide leader of sports came to be and the many stumbling blocks they encountered along the way. Without giving away too much of the plot, it was remarkable to hear the stories of potential failure points throughout the history and how the company seemed to get lucky in many instances to continue operating out of some jams.
These guys have all the fun is an interesting title for the book because while it is shown that nearly all employees were enormous sports fans working for a 24/7 sports network, they often worked long days and countless hours that drained many of them. The authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales put in countless hours of work on the book and told the story in a way that makes sense to the reader and is an easy read even for how long the book is. The story is remarkable and with so many twists and turns throughout ESPN’s history, must have been very difficult to edit. I strongly recommend the book for any sports fan and ESPN enthusiast out there. Historians will also take great interest in the way in which the business model for ESPN came to be and the enormous successes they have had.