Category: Nerds on Books

Nerds on Sports on Books: How to Win at the Sport of Business

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How-to-Win-at-the-Sport-of-BusinessI recently came across a “book” by one of my favorite Shark Tank sharks, Mr. Mark Cuban. This collection of previously written blog posts entitled How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It. As the now owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban is definitely able to mix his sports metaphors and business knowledge in this mostly autobiographical selection of stories.

This book is not very long and it’s probably not going to tell you anything new, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. If you want to learn more about the early failures and successes of Cuban, this will give you good insight to that. But if you want to learn how to start your own business or how to become the next owner of your favorite sports team, all you’re going to get out of this book is a “you need to try very hard, and probably fail a couple of times.” Also, you’re going to realize that it takes a giant dose of luck to actually hit it big.

Yes, you can probably get all this stuff for free on the internet as he has just compiled some blog posts. But, the quality posts have been selected and they have been edited – Something us bloggers often fail to do.  And it’s less than $3, so he’s not asking for much.

Nerds on Sports on Books: Croak

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So Croak isn’t really a sports book. The only mentions of sports in the book is when they discuss which New York baseball team the main character follows and when there is a death at a baseball game. Croak is getting mention here because the author, Gina Damico, is a friend of the site and the woman who, for some unknown reason, agreed to marry me. Croak hits shelves today and has now been released upon the world.


Croak - Gina Damico
Look how shiny the cover is... you could fight Medusa with this thing.

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?


Nerds on Sports on Books: Hate Mail from Cheerleaders

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Hate Mail from Cheerleaders Cover

So earlier this year Amazon sends me my usual morning email containing a Kindle Daily Deal (for those of you without kindles, it’s a random book on sale for $1 or $2). On the day in question, here is what I was told:

Today only, Rick Reilly’s entertaining and wide-ranging collection of sports essays–with an introduction by Lance Armstrong–is just $0.99 (90% off yesterday’s price).

That tiny tidbit and small image of the cover was all I had to go on, but I was rich in post-Christmas Amazon money to the tune of almost $25. So that $0.99 was easy to forget and I clicked the “Amazon, please take more of my money” button that I click far too often as it is.

Now, I’ve never been a Sports Illustrated subscriber — the swimsuit edition and football flip phone could not woo me. So I was pretty much in the dark when it came to Rick Reilly. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I learned that Reilly has been writing this short back page column weekly since 1998. If I were a SI subscriber, I’d probably be one of the many readers who start reading their magazine from the back.

The book is a collection of 100 of Reilly’s favorite columns, along with an Introduction by Lance Armstrong. They pretty much alternated between heartwarming stories and sarcastic commentaries and amusing tales of the good and bad people in sports. The comedic stories were just OK for the most part with some gems like poking fun at Canada or Seattle:

Postscript: Seattle was really torqued off about this one. Of course, getting hate mail from Seattle is like having your refrigerator raided by Kate Moss. One guy e-mailed me and ended it with, “And I want you to know, I purposely wrote this in a difficult-to-read font!” Oooh, six-point calligraphy. Scary.

But the best stories were the tear-jerking tales of adversity and love:

     WHY DO THEY COME? WHY do they hang around to watch the slowest high school cross-country runner in America? Why do they want to see a kid finish the 3.1 miles in 51 minutes when the winner did it in 16? Why do they cry? Why do they nearly break their wrists applauding a junior who falls flat on his face almost every race? Why do they hug a teenager who could be beaten by any other kid running backward?

Why do they do it? Why do all of his teammates go back out on the course and run the last 10 minutes of every race with him? Why do other teams do it too? And the girls’ teams? Why run all the way back out there to pace a kid running like a tortoise with bunions?


Because Ben Comen never quits.

I find the best way to read this is more in the style of how it was first published: in little bits and pieces. The best place for Hate Mail from Cheerleaders and Other Adventures from the Life of Reilly would probably be in the bathroom — everyone needs a little cry-poop now and then, right?