The first thing about this book is it’s pretty honest. He goes into detail about his journey through football, as well as the path he took to where he wanted to go. It certainly wasn’t conventional, but it was the way he took, and thanks to some luck, supportive people, and the drive to get to where he wanted to be, he got to the big-time. He’s honest about his issues with the Bengals (past and present), and when it comes to him, he truly wants to win.
The balance that comes from this book is due to having his peers, his coaches, family members, and friends speak for him. He may be talking about his journey to Santa Monica College, and his old position coach would have a section in there where he speaks about him. Another thing I can appreciate about this book is when other people speak about him, they weren’t excusing all of his behavior. You’re able to see they all have their opinions of him, but they all root it in the fact that he’s a good guy. It’s not to say he’s made the right choices. In the book, he talks about his challenges of being a better father to his kids. Even though he didn’t grow up with his, there are no excuses on his part for a lack of a father in his life. He seems to know right from wrong (and honestly, it doesn’t have to be looked at as wrong; maybe just not the best decision), but he usually finds a way to make the best decision, even if the road to get there takes longer than some people would like.
A theme that may be underrated is that people should have fun, and do what they enjoy doing. He’s a football player, but not only that, he loves life, he works hard at his craft, and loves to have fun while doing his job. You’ll see that as a continuous theme in the pages; people should love what they do every day, and have a blast while doing it. Some of the stuff is a little out there (the whole “Planet Chad” thing in the last chapter), but honestly: it aint no different than Wonkaland in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or whatever that place was at the end of 40-Year-Old Virgin, after Andy marries ‘ol girl. The dude just loves life and lives it to the fullest. The book doesn’t come across as fraud, or self-serving, which is not easy to do when you’re telling your own story. I will say that it’s authentic, in the sense that you feel like you’re having a conversation with him, and it can sometimes jump from topic-to-topic with no warning, but if you don’t let it deter you, then it’s all good. After reading it now, and seeing how his team having such a great season, it looks like this is all coming together, even though it wasn’t as planned, but as it is with the dude, there’s nothing conventional about him, except that he loves to live.