After seeing this book lying on the coffee table in Steve Yzerman’s office, I decided I wanted to give it a read. Reporter and sports columnist Tom Callahan took a look at Ernie Accorsi’s legendary 35-year career, ending as a GM for the New York Giants. The book The GM: A Football Life, a Final Season, and a Last Laugh was written as Callahan spent a year with Accorsi in his final year as General Manager for the Giants.
If you have ultimate dreams of becoming a GM or working in the sport side of a sports team rather than the business side, I highly recommend this book. If you want to work in the NFL on the PR side, this book is a great way to help you understand the sport side of the NFL and the people you will be working with. And if you’re just a Giants fan and want to see how certain players were drafted or signed, you’ll want to give it a read.
Here are some of the PR-related excerpts from the book:
Pat Hanlon, the Giants’ communications czar, found me [Callahan] a working space in the front office and made a place for me in the press box at all of the games, home and away. Curiously, my affiliation on the media badge and out-of-town seating charts read “Random House.” Thanks to the Giants’ director of public relations, Peter John-Baptiste, I was able to get one-on-one time with the ten or so players I wanted to know better than the others. None of them was exactly sure who I was, but they all knew I had some connection to Accorsi. — p. 2
George Castle has covered baseball in Chicago for decades and decided to finally write a book about the state of affairs. His book entitled Baseball and the Media covers a variety of issues concerning baseball and the journalists who cover the sport. Chapters range from “The Baseball Beat Writer” to “LaTroy and Carl as Jekyll and Hyde” to “No-shows in the Press Box and Clubhouse” to “Old versus New Media.” I wouldn’t say that this is a must-read book for someone interested in sports PR, but if you want to work for a baseball team in the PR department (especially a Chicago team) than you actually must read this book.
After the jump, you can read a few excerpts from the book that related to sports public relations.
Over break, I decided to read two marketing books by Jon Spoelstra after Russell The Business of Sports. Spoelstra is a top sports marketer who used to be an executive for the Portland Trail Blazers and New Jersey Nets and he also consulted for a variety of other teams including the Edmonton Oilers. To be honest, I never really heard of him until Russell’s blog post about the books. Once you start reading, you will quickly realize that this man is a creative genious.suggested them in a post at
He first wrote Ice to the Eskimos in 1997 where he gave 19 steps in how to market a product nobody wants. In his 20+ years as a sports executive, Spoelstra kept working for crappy teams who were at the bottom of the league in performance both on and off the court. His 19 steps show how he was able to turn these teams around off the court even when the team still sucked on the court. His second book, Marketing Outrageously, was published in 2001 and talks about how to increase you revenue by staggering amounts in 17 rules.
While both books were fantastic and offered great examples of what works and doesn’t work in sport marketing, I thought his first book Ice To The Eskimos had more meat. His second book reads more like an updated version of his first book with some new anecdotes and examples. I had read both as copies from the library. I plan on purchasing Ice To The Eskimos, but not Marketing Outrageously. I will jut get Marketing Outrageously from the library once in awhile because it’s similar enough to not warrant purchasing both copies if you don’t have a lot of money. I think these are the type of books that you should read once a year because it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and this book gets your creative juices flowing and pushes you to try something new.
While this book is targeted to marketers (sport or otherwise), you don’t have to be the team president or VP of marketing or even in the marketing department to not get something valuable from the reading. I’ve only been a PR or media relations intern at this point in my career so these books really helped open my eyes at what it takes to be successful in sports marketing and the benefit of thinking outside the box.
I also really liked how he had little tests/quizzes at the end of each chapter that gets you thinking about what you just read and makes sure you understand the key rule discussed in that chapter. The only drawback I had to these books were that they were released in 1997 and 2001. Technology has really changed things so it would be great to hear some more current examples with today’s technologies, but the thing is his basic principles apply today. I highly recommend these books, particularly Ice To The Eskimos. I would give these books 5 out of 5 stars.
As I mentioned in a previous post reviewing Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength, I had some free time this winter break to do some reading. As a result, I have another book review for you guys.
While I think I enjoyed reading Dungy’s book more, I believe I learned more from Coach K’s book about leadership entitled Leading with the Heart. He talked about a wide range of issues that affect leadership including courage, success, and continual learning. In fact, I typed up just over five full pages (single-spaced) of quotes that really resonated with me from the book.
The subheading of the book is “Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business and Life.” In the text, Coach K offers up business examples. To be honest, I didn’t think those specific examples were mindblowing, but I appreciated the metaphors he tried to make from the sports world to the world of business. However his ideas on these characteristics as they relate to basketball and life were wonderful and quite easy to transfer to your area of business without Coach K spelling it out for you line-by-line.
Coach K is the first to admit that there is no set formula to make a great leader. Leadership has a variety of traits and characteristics that go along with it and there’s no step-by-step system to follow in order to become the perfect leader. Look at Coach K and Bobby Knight. Yes Knight coached Mike Kryzyzewski, but their coaching styles (for the most part) are completely opposite. Yet, they have both been quite successful with their respective teams. In his book, Coach K merely expounds upon what worked for him and what characteristics he deems important in his players, co-workers, and even himself.
I’m a hockey fan first so I am not one of those college students who is obsessed with college basketball (probably because my school’s program hasn’t been good for awhile now). Even so, I truly enjoyed the many basketball anecdotes and examples he gave throughout the book. Shane Battier, one of the Duke basketball stars, attended my high school so I particularly enjoyed reading anecdotes about Battier and his college experience at Duke.
While the book is designed for someone who likes sports and can appreciate the success of the Duke basketball program, you do not need to be a hardcore fan by any stretch of the imagination to enjoy and value what Coach K has to say about leadership. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
Coach K did address media relations and other PR topics in the book. You can read a few excerpts below.
Thanks to winter break, I’ve been able to do some more “fun” reading than normal. As a result, I hope to post some book reviews on this blog and subsequently update my Suggested Readings page with books I really enjoyed. My recent book selections range from autobiographies to leadership books to sport business books.
The first book I finished this break was entitled Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life and written by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker. I’m sure most of us remember the Indianapolis Colts finally beating the New England Patriots and going on to win the 2007 Super Bowl. In doing so, Tony Dungy became the first African American head coach to win the championship. In this book, Dungy discusses the journey he took to get to that moment. He shares his tough times including the deaths of his parents and son within a span of about a year.
What I really enjoyed about this text is that Dungy did not sugar coat things. He explained when things got tough and why that situation was hard to deal with. As a Christian, I liked seeing how his faith played a role in his life. You hear so many athletes and people in sports praise God for their success but then go out and live completely different lives than that. Dungy does not profess to be perfect and he certainly made his mistakes, but his life truly exemplifies an attempt to live godly and put his faith and family above work. While it’s important to work hard and always give 100% in all that you do, Dungy showed that you don’t have to sleep at the office every night to have a winning program.
He stressed the importance of family and how a team with the right values and appropriate goals were key. For example, he would have the same five key goals each season when he was the head coach for both the Tampa Bay Bucaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. These goals were not win the division or the Super Bowl. Rather, these goals emphasized important fundamentals like the giveaway/takeaway ratio, fewest penalties, make big plays, etc. While this book doesn’t focus solely on football, it does talk about why Dungy made some of the decisions he did (both on and off the field) and how he led his football teams.
This book is an easy read for anyone ranging from the football fanatics, people working or wanting to work in the sport industry, and even the casual sports fan. I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
There were some interesting tidbits relevant to sports PR and you can read some of those excerpts after the jump: