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Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It

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30 review for Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    If, like yours truly, you're a lover of fantasy sports (football & basketball for this kid) as well as audiobooks, then today's Audible Daily Deal is almost as exciting as finding out that Tom Brady was fully reinstated, having drafted him in the tenth round for your fantasy league. Ok, well maybe not that exciting, but getting Matthew Berry's Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It for less than $3 is still pretty If, like yours truly, you're a lover of fantasy sports (football & basketball for this kid) as well as audiobooks, then today's Audible Daily Deal is almost as exciting as finding out that Tom Brady was fully reinstated, having drafted him in the tenth round for your fantasy league. Ok, well maybe not that exciting, but getting Matthew Berry's Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It for less than $3 is still pretty sweet. Haven't read it yet, but the publisher's summary is below for your perusal: Fantasy football, fantasy baseball, fantasy basketball, even fantasy sumo wrestling: the world of fantasy sports is huge, and still growing. Today, more than 35 million people in the United States and Canada spend hours upon hours each week on their fantasy sports teams. And as the Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst for ESPN, Matthew Berry is on the front lines of what has grown from a niche subculture into a national pastime. In Fantasy Life, Berry celebrates every aspect of the fantasy sports world. Brilliant trash talk. Unbelievable trophies. Insane draft day locations. Shake-your-head-in-disbelief punishments. Ingenious attempts at cheating. And surprisingly uplifting stories that remind us why we play these games in the first place. Written with the same award-winning style that has made Berry one of the most popular columnists on ESPN.com, Fantasy Life is an audiobook for both hard-core fantasy players and people who have never played before. Between tales of love and hate, birth and death, tattoos and furry animal costumes, the White House Situation Room and a 126-pound golden pelican, Matthew chronicles his journey from a 14-year-old fantasy player to the face of fantasy sports for the largest sports media company in the world. Fantasy will save your life. Fantasy will set you free. And fantasy life is most definitely better than real life. You'll see. ©2013 Matthew Berry

  2. 5 out of 5

    Flora

    I like fantasy football, and I am particularly fond of Matthew Berry's love/hate column. I suppose my husband likes both even more, since he's the one who took this book out from the library. Toward the end of the book Berry quotes a friend describing this work as a love letter to fantasy. That sounds accurate. It's a love letter, all right -- a really long love letter that often could have conveyed its contents better as a series of bulleted anecdotes. It's not entirely Berry's fault, mind you I like fantasy football, and I am particularly fond of Matthew Berry's love/hate column. I suppose my husband likes both even more, since he's the one who took this book out from the library. Toward the end of the book Berry quotes a friend describing this work as a love letter to fantasy. That sounds accurate. It's a love letter, all right -- a really long love letter that often could have conveyed its contents better as a series of bulleted anecdotes. It's not entirely Berry's fault, mind you -- he falls into the same trap many blog and media types do in writing a first book. Even a 3,000-word piece cannot compare with the tens of thousands of words required to fill the space between covers. And too often it really would've been fine if he'd just printed lists of anecdotes instead of trying to thread the tales of 5-20 leagues into a chapter. But hey, I read this book the same time as I read Mission: Al Jazeera, and I've gotta tell you, this book is plenty more cohesive in comparison. And Matthew Berry is the most charming (to me, anyway) when he's writing about his personal life. There's enough of his story tucked in all the fantasy gobbledygook to hold it together. Maybe not enough to recommend, but definitely enough to read once.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Fantasy Life suffers from a common malady to books in which material from daily columns, no matter what the subject, are transfomed into books with a new framing material. What is interesting and informative in ten minute bites during each day or week rapidly palls when strung together into book form. Fantasy Life particularly suffers from an overabundance of stories about fantasy game players, most of them sent to the author for his columns, that display an alarming lack of judgement and Fantasy Life suffers from a common malady to books in which material from daily columns, no matter what the subject, are transfomed into books with a new framing material. What is interesting and informative in ten minute bites during each day or week rapidly palls when strung together into book form. Fantasy Life particularly suffers from an overabundance of stories about fantasy game players, most of them sent to the author for his columns, that display an alarming lack of judgement and priorities. A few such stories are fun and instructive. Three hundred pages of such stories makes one wonder just how our society manages to fucntion at all. It's kind of a shame as Berry's framing device is his own story of moving from childhood geekdom through Hollywood screenwriting career and into being the Talented Mr. Roto and a reigning authority on all forms of fantasy sports. By the end of the book, I was wishing that Berry had spent much more time on his own life than on lives of fellow fantasy fanatics.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James

    So, folks. This is what I spent weeks in anticipation for. Something that I was going to just say. Hey, I made it! But little did I know this would be a heck of a journey. First and foremost, I would like to thank Ms. Lydia Hirt of the Penguin Group for sending this book to me. I appreciate this very much. Because, there's books you like, and books you fall in love with. You're wondering what this book is... Well, find out after the cut. In other words, folks. This is a pre-release copy that I So, folks. This is what I spent weeks in anticipation for. Something that I was going to just say. Hey, I made it! But little did I know this would be a heck of a journey. First and foremost, I would like to thank Ms. Lydia Hirt of the Penguin Group for sending this book to me. I appreciate this very much. Because, there's books you like, and books you fall in love with. You're wondering what this book is... Well, find out after the cut. In other words, folks. This is a pre-release copy that I got to review. And man, does it feel good to see this book. In fact, I'm going to give my credentials as a fantasy sports person. I have an authentic second place trophy from my first ever e-wrestling fantasy football tournament with my team, "The Nashville Knights." Yes, I am a fantasy football geek, and an e-wrestling geek. Mull over that along with my book review in mind, here. Being someone who's involved on and off with fantasy sports, I pretty much am at the altar of The Talented Mr. Roto almost weekly. As Ms. Hirt asked me if I knew who Matthew Berry was, I had to contain my inner fanboy. And Ms. Hirt could tell I was trying to. So, with that in mind... The review in earnest. Matthew Berry's Fantasy Life is a book that you go in expecting a nuts and bolts fantasy sports book, and you'll get it, no doubt. However, you're going to get so much more. You're going to get the story of a scriptwriter who tried to make it in Hollywood for many years. While trying to live the Hollywood dream, he tried to do what any honest Texan could do... Make it in spite of the odds. Much like everyone else in the world tries, Matthew alternates between his real life and fantasy life. Along with stories of those crazy playoff antics... You're also going to get the stories on the brighter side of fantasy sports. In fact, you'll hear the story of the George Braitch Memorial League, where the pot goes to help out the daughter of Mr. Braitch, who passed away unexpectedly. Or, the story of how a man paralyzed from the neck down managed to stay alive just to get his fantasy draft finished. Or an entire fantasy draft held in the cancer ward for a man diagnosed with mouth cancer. And how fantasy sports helped out a man like Matthew Berry, who hated himself at a point in his life. Fantasy Life is filled with wacky stories, but also filled with heartwarming stories. If you think all fantasy sports ruin lives, think about this... It's kept many a soldier alive, a patient fighting on, and even helped a scriptwriter love himself a bit more. So, you're asking... Is this a like book or a love book. This is the rare love book. Because, you'll pick on me... I cried three times during reading the book. Those stories you can relate to, when you feel like giving up. Matthew was right there with you. When you succeeded, you became overwhelmed. As did Matthew when he became the head of the new ESPN Fantasy Department... So, how talented is the Talented Mr. Roto at writing? Very. If you are a fantasy sports person, read this. If you're not, read this. Even you fantasy sports wives, read this book. This book is suggested for 27.95, but Amazon is pre-ordering this for 20.39, as of now, for a hardcover. Well worth 21 chapters of materials, facts, time outs and stories for everyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Four years ago, I participated in my first fantasy football draft. Like most newbies, I had no idea what I was doing that first year and finished the season with a record of 2-11. Despite my objective failure, however, I fell in love with this virtual sport and have increased my participation each year thereafter such that I am currently playing in three leagues this season. In order to improve my performance over the years, I have listened to various pod casts that discuss fantasy football. One Four years ago, I participated in my first fantasy football draft. Like most newbies, I had no idea what I was doing that first year and finished the season with a record of 2-11. Despite my objective failure, however, I fell in love with this virtual sport and have increased my participation each year thereafter such that I am currently playing in three leagues this season. In order to improve my performance over the years, I have listened to various pod casts that discuss fantasy football. One of the first (and my favorites) is ESPN’s Fantasy Focus pod cast, which is hosted by Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry. While I didn’t always come away with a key piece of advice that ensured victory, I did always enjoy listening to these regular displays of Mr. Berry’s insights, perspectives, and somewhat unique sense of humor. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to hear that Mr. Berry was writing a book about fantasy sports and I eagerly awaited my opportunity to read it, even though I had little idea what would be included in the book beyond listener/reader submitted stories about various aspects of the fantasy sports world such as league rules, draft day, trade talks, and fantasy sports between family members. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Life is basically autobiographical. Divided primarily into parts mirroring various phases or aspects of the fantasy sports season and composed of thematic chapters, Fantasy Life draws parallels between a season and the author’s life, from prepping for draft day (Mr. Berry as a young person through college) to the early parts of the season (his early career as a screenwriter in Hollywood and marriage) to the middle of the season (therapy, divorce, and career change to solely working in fantasy sports), to the playoffs (getting a job with ESPN) and the championship (assuming his position as Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst for ESPN). Throughout the book, we are treated to copious amounts of Mr. Berry’s unique brand of deadpan, self-deprecating brand of humor. However, the book is not simply humor. Rather, the author invests most of the book with heart and emotion, repeatedly highlighting the important and sometimes life-altering impact fantasy sports has on those who play it. If you can read certain passages of this book without tearing up, you must have a heart of stone. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves or loves someone who loves fantasy sports. Welcome to our world … it’s odd, but it’s a welcoming place. Pull up a chair and join us. I purchased both the Kindle edition of this book as well as the audio version via Audible. While I began reading the book, I ultimately found myself preferring the audio version as it enabled me to enjoy Mr. Berry the same way I do during the season: by listening with a big ole smile on my face. Thank you, Mr. Berry, for all the work you put into this book. And though I know you loath to hustle, get to work on the next one, ok? Please???

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Diamond

    I'll be honest. I wasn't really sure what to expect from Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Whos Lived It. But now that I've gone through it, I realized that I don't really care for the direction it went. Matthew Berry is arguably the foremost authority and pioneer in the realm of fantasy sports, so I guess I was expecting something about where fantasy sports came from, its place in the world and things like that. Rather, Berry gives us I'll be honest. I wasn't really sure what to expect from Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who�s Lived It. But now that I've gone through it, I realized that I don't really care for the direction it went. Matthew Berry is arguably the foremost authority and pioneer in the realm of fantasy sports, so I guess I was expecting something about where fantasy sports came from, its place in the world and things like that. Rather, Berry gives us over 300 pages of two- to three-paragraph anecdotes about people who take their fantasy sports (read: football) hobby way too far. Sorry. Being sure that you make the draft while your wife is giving birth sounds like you've got your priorities mixed up. Drafting your team while you're lying in a hospital bed with a broken hip after a motorcycle accident is not determination. It's insanity. But those are primarily the stories Berry chose to include. Although the book is about 80 percent composed of these stories, there are moments of relative clarity when Berry actually decides to give us a little bit about the growth of the game. Specifically, he talks about his experience with the hobby earlier in his life and how he was able to work his way through crappy jobs, hectic schedules and life events to get to where he is now. It's a good story, but even if he'd added a lot of fluff to it, it wouldn't have been able to stand on its own as a book. When all is said and done, I think the biggest flaw in this book isn't the writing. Berry has a good voice and he's easy to read. Rather, I think he doesn't set clear expectations in the beginning. Those that he does kind of set are ones that he ends up breaking (or bending) later on. The book also starts to feel a little myopic, since basically every mention of a fantasy sport focuses on fantasy football. Since I only really care about fantasy baseball, this was another turn-off for me. In all, the book is well written, but poorly executed. It's good for people who want to read a bunch of anecdotes taken from insanely obsessive hobbyists loosely organized into sections and chapters. However, it's not all that good for people who actually want information on the growth and life of the hobby.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Allen Adams

    http://www.themaineedge.com/sports/li... One of the biggest and brightest names out there when it comes to fantasy sports is Matthew Berry. Best known for his nom de internet “The Talented Mr. Roto,” Berry has been an avid player of fantasy sports since his teenage years. Even during his time as a working Hollywood writer, Berry spent much of his free time devoting himself to the ins and outs of fantasy sports. His writing – at the seminal fantasy website RotoWorld, at his eponymous site and at http://www.themaineedge.com/sports/li... One of the biggest and brightest names out there when it comes to fantasy sports is Matthew Berry. Best known for his nom de internet “The Talented Mr. Roto,” Berry has been an avid player of fantasy sports since his teenage years. Even during his time as a working Hollywood writer, Berry spent much of his free time devoting himself to the ins and outs of fantasy sports. His writing – at the seminal fantasy website RotoWorld, at his eponymous site and at the sports media behemoth that is ESPN – has always struck a wonderful balance between entertainment and information. “Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It” is Berry’s love letter to the game that has meant so much to him for so long. It’s a view that alternates from big picture to small – he shares thoughts and stories from the wide world of fantasy and from his own personal peaks and valleys on his journey to where he stands today. “Fantasy Life” is not a book of advice and analysis; in the minute-to-minute world of fantasy sports, such a book would be obsolete long before it even went to press. Instead, Matthew Berry shares some of the overarching meaningfulness of fantasy sports. There’s the love of the game, the love of companionship and, of course, the love of bragging rights. There’s a reason that millions of people play fantasy sports. It’s the kind of fun that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Matthew Berry’s expert capturing of that sense of fun is exactly what makes “Fantasy Life” such an engaging read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Disappointing. I was looking forward to reading this book by Matthew Berry. The fantasy sports expert's book had not appeared at my local library and so when a couple of weeks ago when It was available on the Amazon store for seven dollars for the Kindle version I jumped. I should not have bothered. The mistake may have been mine in expecting something that the book was not to be. I read the authors columns and much of the time it is not much different funny stories about fantasy sports and of Disappointing. I was looking forward to reading this book by Matthew Berry. The fantasy sports expert's book had not appeared at my local library and so when a couple of weeks ago when It was available on the Amazon store for seven dollars for the Kindle version I jumped. I should not have bothered. The mistake may have been mine in expecting something that the book was not to be. I read the authors columns and much of the time it is not much different funny stories about fantasy sports and of course lots of knowledge about how to proceed with your teams and leagues. Mindset may be the issue. I love playing fantasy baseball and enjoy playing a fantasy football league with my best friends. Baseball is the passion and truthfully as I am in many leagues some of the behaviors that Barry describes jokingly can lead to real problems in leagues, people going over the top etc. Make no mistake I take it seriously I want to win but I like people to behave ethically and truthfully in old-school way like gentlemen. So 250 pages of hearing about people acting like fools did not really do it for me. I did enjoy the sections of the book where he spoke about how he took his love for fantasy sports and turned it into a career something of course that we all wish we could do. The change of direction of his life to the point of where he is now a man with a new wife three stepsons and infant twins is certainly heartwarming story. Hearing about losers, that may be too harsh, people who do things that I and you probably would not do and less we were drunk as a matter of course every Sunday during fantasy football season gets old real quick. I would not recommend this book

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ruel

    I’ve read Matthew Berry’s columns online for years, so I knew I’d enjoy his book about fantasy sports. I was surprised, however, at how sweet and charming Fantasy Life was; in addition to the hilarious stories of what fantasy-sports-obsessed fans do around the world, there’s a terrific narrative of Berry’s journey from Hollywood writer to Bristol fantasy sports analyst. His successes and failures are skillfully interwoven with all of the fantasy sports anecdotes. The book is neatly organized by I’ve read Matthew Berry’s columns online for years, so I knew I’d enjoy his book about fantasy sports. I was surprised, however, at how sweet and charming Fantasy Life was; in addition to the hilarious stories of what fantasy-sports-obsessed fans do around the world, there’s a terrific narrative of Berry’s journey from Hollywood writer to Bristol fantasy sports analyst. His successes and failures are skillfully interwoven with all of the fantasy sports anecdotes. The book is neatly organized by topic, from various league rules and traditions, to draft day shenanigans and the obsession that has redefined professional sports. It feels funny to write this, but I loved how uplifting this book was -- not something I’d expected from a book about stats-watching and number-crunching. I (correctly) assumed there would be stories of the crazy things that people do in their leagues and the bad beats that all of us have suffered at one time or another, but Berry did a remarkable job of showing the kinder and gentler side of the game. Whether it was a story about a league honoring a deceased member or a league bringing a family closer, I couldn’t help but feel touched by these unlikely sources of inspiration. While the non-believers might not appreciate Fantasy Life, I’d highly recommend it to any fellow fantasy sports fanatics.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason Shprintz

    I am a huge fantasy football player and a fan of The Talented Mr. Roto so I was very excited to read this book (excited enough to even special order it). Although there were parts which were humorous and fun, most of it was boring and overly anecdotal. I guess I was looking for more of a strategy guide and this was anything but. Every chapter was filled with stories about random people in random fantasy leagues and, albeit some were entertaining, it got old very quickly. The biographical parts of I am a huge fantasy football player and a fan of The Talented Mr. Roto so I was very excited to read this book (excited enough to even special order it). Although there were parts which were humorous and fun, most of it was boring and overly anecdotal. I guess I was looking for more of a strategy guide and this was anything but. Every chapter was filled with stories about random people in random fantasy leagues and, albeit some were entertaining, it got old very quickly. The biographical parts of Matthew Berry's career I enjoyed but all in all I wouldn't recommend this book for fantasy fans. There is a quote on the back that says that you don't need to like fantasy to like this book. That quote is a bold faced lie. The only reason why I remotely enjoyed it is because I am such a huge fantasy fan. If anything, I would say it's a nice book to keep on a coffee table or somewhere for a random read here or there, something to pass the time. Although reading actual analyst reports online (including Matthew Berry's column) would be a hell of a lot more productive.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This exceeded my expectations--which isn't a backhanded compliment, because my expectations were fairly high. I've read, listened to, and watched a lot of Matthew Berry's work, which means A) that I knew I would be reading something funny, entertaining, and relateable and B) that it's pretty remarkable that almost everything in the book felt fresh to me. That was why Dan Savage's latest book fell flat for me: I already, in some form, read what he had to say. But with Fantasy Life, even when I This exceeded my expectations--which isn't a backhanded compliment, because my expectations were fairly high. I've read, listened to, and watched a lot of Matthew Berry's work, which means A) that I knew I would be reading something funny, entertaining, and relateable and B) that it's pretty remarkable that almost everything in the book felt fresh to me. That was why Dan Savage's latest book fell flat for me: I already, in some form, read what he had to say. But with Fantasy Life, even when I knew what was coming (Matthew Hasselbeck's benching-himself story; Berry's own happy-ever-after), I wasn't bored. I was actually looking forward to them--his story particularly gets me every time Berry takes fantasy football stories and makes them into human stories, or rather, sees the human stories that are there and shines them up for us. Also, it made me laugh a lot.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    I figured Fantasy Life would be funny, but I had no expectation of just how funny and how interesting it would be. The mixing of Berry's autobiography with real life fantasy sports stories was a great way to frame the book. But beyond the funny trophies and bizarre obsessive behavior by fantasy owners, there are poignant and tragic stories, there are stories of losing loved ones, stories of marriages and babies, there are stories of families and friends coming together. And all this centered I figured Fantasy Life would be funny, but I had no expectation of just how funny and how interesting it would be. The mixing of Berry's autobiography with real life fantasy sports stories was a great way to frame the book. But beyond the funny trophies and bizarre obsessive behavior by fantasy owners, there are poignant and tragic stories, there are stories of losing loved ones, stories of marriages and babies, there are stories of families and friends coming together. And all this centered around fantasy sports. All of these stories give you a taste of what the phenomenon of fantasy sports is about and why so many people play it (over 30 million in US and Canada). You don't have to be a hard core fantasy player to appreciate this book, but you might want to be when you are done.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Muneer Uddin

    This book was about two things I enjoy, but missed in its execution. I love Matthew Berry and his column. He is a witty and charming writer. I've been reading him since his TalentedMrRoto.com days, and was looking forward to this book. There are two main themes here: one is Berry's autobiography, which would be fun to read because of his varied life in the entertainment industry. The other is crazy stories about fantasy leagues, a la FX's "The League". The format of this book feels like two books This book was about two things I enjoy, but missed in its execution. I love Matthew Berry and his column. He is a witty and charming writer. I've been reading him since his TalentedMrRoto.com days, and was looking forward to this book. There are two main themes here: one is Berry's autobiography, which would be fun to read because of his varied life in the entertainment industry. The other is crazy stories about fantasy leagues, a la FX's "The League". The format of this book feels like two books shoe-horned together. It makes for a dissonant reading experience, and not one I was able to get through for very long.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    It feels odd that I loved this book so much considering I have yet to even partake in a fantasy sports league, but this was such a fun read from start to finish. It just clicked, it's a great sports book, and the influence fantasy has had on the bonds that sports can bring. Hilarious stories are plentiful here, as well as some pretty heartbreaking ones too! Stories of long term friendships that fantasy leagues provide, and Matthew's life certainly has a feeling of a "follow your dream" story to It feels odd that I loved this book so much considering I have yet to even partake in a fantasy sports league, but this was such a fun read from start to finish. It just clicked, it's a great sports book, and the influence fantasy has had on the bonds that sports can bring. Hilarious stories are plentiful here, as well as some pretty heartbreaking ones too! Stories of long term friendships that fantasy leagues provide, and Matthew's life certainly has a feeling of a "follow your dream" story to it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Markell

    "This reminds me of a crazy story from my childhood about fantasy sports.... which reminds me of another wacky story about someone that was sick in the hospital with fantasy sports... speaking of hospital, there was this cray-insane other story about a baking class and fantasy sports ..." Poor transitions and just all kinds of similar stories ... over... and over ... and (you get the point).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    If you read Matthew Berry's columns, you know what to expect from his writing. This book is no exception. It is a quick, fun, easy read. Berry does a great job combining people's fantasy stories with his own life experiences and some humor along the way. Highly entertaining.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellanden

    Mostly hilarious, at times frightening, often disturbing but all in all a fantastic book about fantasy sports team/leagues and the people who play. Still have no interest in playing fantasy football.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Declan Smith

    Boring at some parts but helpfulll and funny stories were interesting

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Turowski

    I like Matthew Berry. I've listened to his work on a variety of ESPN Podcasts over the past few years and find him to really be a great happy medium between fantasy analysts who are purely stats-driven number-crunchers and the former athletes and personalities that occupy the opposite end. He's an entertaining figure who takes his job seriously without letting it show, and as such I've warmed to him over the years. This was one of the very few "new" books I've pre-ordered, and almost certainly I like Matthew Berry. I've listened to his work on a variety of ESPN Podcasts over the past few years and find him to really be a great happy medium between fantasy analysts who are purely stats-driven number-crunchers and the former athletes and personalities that occupy the opposite end. He's an entertaining figure who takes his job seriously without letting it show, and as such I've warmed to him over the years. This was one of the very few "new" books I've pre-ordered, and almost certainly the first that wasn't a continuation on a series. By and large, Matthew Berry delivers. The book will remind loyal readers a lot of his columns. Most chapters start off with an anecdote about himself or something he's encountered, and work into an alternating pattern of stories about fantasy and a little bit from his own side of the world to help even it out. In reality, this book is 1/4 memoir and 3/4 nutty fantasy stories. The book has 21 chapters divided in to ten parts. The parts represent parts of a fantasy season (The Championship and The Stretch Run), while the chapters go into a couple elements of fantasy sports (and to some extent, life): from trash talk and trophies to cheating and death. From there, each chapter will have a few stories that range from "hmm, that's funny" to "there's no way that's true" and a little bit of his own life sprinkled in there. It's a very fast read. I finished the 330ish pages over the weekend, and there's nothing particularly challenging about it if you're a fantasy sports junkie. I will disagree with some of the "back of the book" voices and say that having a working knowledge of fantasy football will add to your enjoyment of this. Additionally, on the plus side, I think Matthew does a very good job of weaving in the emotional and heavier content into what is, in reality, a very light book. The best chapter in the book is probably Chapter 11, "When Death Impacts Fantasy", and the best sub-chapter is his "Trade Advice from My Late, Great Uncle Lester": both of which address some tough topics with appropriate amounts of levity and respect. As for why the book didn't get the fifth star, there are a couple reasons for me. The first is implicit in the nature of the book: it's stories about other people's fantasy teams. This is the third most boring topic in the world behind bad poker beats and family vacation slideshows: entirely personal and requiring a lot of context. Berry does a good job picking the best stories but a lot of them are more amusing-but-forgettable than anything else. The second is that, by the time you got close to the end, the format got a little boring. I thought his "happy ending" (meeting the current Mrs. Roto and her stepkids) was fantastic and his life story is worth reading on its own (no pulling punches), but after twenty chapters of the same Berry-Readers mix, it wore on me. I liked this book, and it will probably stay on my shelf since it was a fun, breezy read. Berry shows a lot of courage in putting his life on open display (the therapy stories stood out to me), and by and large, the stories are funny, slightly inappropriate, and worth reading. If that's what I get out of this book, that's great. Worth reading for any fantasy football/baseball fanatic, and maybe worth paging through for those who aren't as into it. Highlights: Part Two: "Draft Day"; Time-Out: "Trade Advice from My Late, Great Uncle Lester"; Part Six: "The Midseason Reflection."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I bought this book just before I was to travel to Las Vegas for one of my own fantasy drafts as something light and mindless to read on the plane ride to get me in the right mindset for the trip. I am a big fan of Matthew Berry's work - I read many of his columns and am an avid listener of his ESPN podcast, and really enjoy how he provides fantasy analysis in such a way that keeps it entertaining and adds a bit of a personal touch. I actually got the book at his book signing here in Washington, I bought this book just before I was to travel to Las Vegas for one of my own fantasy drafts as something light and mindless to read on the plane ride to get me in the right mindset for the trip. I am a big fan of Matthew Berry's work - I read many of his columns and am an avid listener of his ESPN podcast, and really enjoy how he provides fantasy analysis in such a way that keeps it entertaining and adds a bit of a personal touch. I actually got the book at his book signing here in Washington, and was really impressed with how patient he was answering fan questions for over 2 hours (many of which I'm sure he's answered a thousand times before) and made sure to really interact with each fan who came to get something signed. If you're looking for a book to help you win your league or teach you some new strategy about how to play fantasy football itself, you will be bitterly disappointed as this is simply not that book. This book blends some of the more amusing or shocking anecdotes about every aspect of fantasy sports Matthew Berry has received from his fans with anecdotes from his own life and career to show the tortuous path Mr. Berry took to reach the heights of the fantasy sports world. Each chapter is themed around a certain aspect of fantasy sports (crazy punishments for losing, unique trophies and awards, examples of deceit and subversion used to improve one's chances of winning, how fantasy intersects with family, work, and personal relationships, etc.) and furthers Berry's own narrative of his progression from FAO Schwartz to screenwriting in Hollywood to his current multimedia pulpit at ESPN, and how fantasy sports were the constant thread throughout. As a longtime fantasy player, these games and the industry supporting it have grown tremendously since I started playing as a nerdy 7th grader in about 2002, and it's really interesting to see how participation in this activity has really affected people's lives and relationships, for better or worse. While I like that Berry intertwined these fantasy anecdotes in with stories from his own life experience, sometimes the transitions definitely felt formulaic at times, stilted and forced in others, in order for Berry to shift gears from the experiences of others to his own or vice versa. Perhaps most striking to me were the sections dealing with life and death situations, showing how fantasy sports helped people who had been the victims of horrible accidents find something to hang onto during recovery, or helped friends and family cope with the loss of a loved one and fellow player. Stories like those go to show that fantasy sports can indeed be more than just a game. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in fantasy sports (either in terms of actually playing it or just as an observer trying to find out what the big deal is). Again, you'll enjoy this book if you appreciate it for what it is - it's fairly light and fun and not particularly deep or thought provoking.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I have been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years - like many folks Matthew Berry profiles in his book, it's a passion (obsession, at times) for me. In fact, about ten years ago I sent in a column to a small but emerging website called TalentedMrRoto.com and found myself as a writer for the site. I wrote for the site for a few years, and later for Sports Illustrated, AOL Fanhouse and RotoExperts, among others (though always as a hobby). It was a very fun few years and a great experience I I have been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years - like many folks Matthew Berry profiles in his book, it's a passion (obsession, at times) for me. In fact, about ten years ago I sent in a column to a small but emerging website called TalentedMrRoto.com and found myself as a writer for the site. I wrote for the site for a few years, and later for Sports Illustrated, AOL Fanhouse and RotoExperts, among others (though always as a hobby). It was a very fun few years and a great experience I didn't properly appreciate at the time, and it was because Berry himself had gotten a foot in the door through a similar experience (detailed in the book). Many of my peers at TMR now are full-time writers in the sports and fantasy industry (something I try not to abuse when I want or need advice), and many if not all owe that first break to Matthew Berry. So, I can't pretend to be a completely unbiased reviewer here. That said, I read this book as a fan of fantasy sports -- which I still very much am. The book is both a story of the emergence of fantasy sports into an accepted, mainstream hobby (which still shocks me, remembering where it started) and of Berry's life. The latter could be shaky territory. After all, even as a former screenwriter for movies and TV, I think Matthew Berry would be the first to say that his life isn't particularly so earth-shakingly unique that it warrants a memoir - though it is, of course, a compelling story. But he couples it with stories from fantasy players that add a LOT of humor and often, poignant stories. (The sheer number of players who died during a season and how their leagues reacted to it was something I thankfully never had thought of.) When talking about setbacks he had professionally, he pairs that with stories of bad losses in fantasy leagues. When he achieves successes, there's a chapter about unique fantasy trophies (complete with photos). Some of the material will be familiar to listeners of his podcast or readers of his columns, but these are not reposts of previous work. I gobbled this book up in two days, and I think most readers will devour it similarly quickly. (I also was included in the Acknowledgments section, which was a nice surprise and worth adding as a final caveat.) Fantasy Life is a great read about Matthew Berry and his journey, as well as about all of us who love fantasy sports and all that it comes with. I'd add more, but I need to start ranking players for my fantasy football draft (that's three months away.) Rating: 9.0/10.0 Edited to add: I received this as a galley from NetGalley in advance of its July publication.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Berry Shares His Fantasy Life I've played fantasy football for the last few years. I like the fact that having a fantasy team in play keeps me interested and involved in all of the NFL teams and players. I'm not a big number cruncher, but I like to follow the players, the personalities and the fortunes of the various teams. But since you want to win if you're going to play I have wandered around the internet looking for the touts and the metrics boys and the sports know-it-alls whose advice will Berry Shares His Fantasy Life I've played fantasy football for the last few years. I like the fact that having a fantasy team in play keeps me interested and involved in all of the NFL teams and players. I'm not a big number cruncher, but I like to follow the players, the personalities and the fortunes of the various teams. But since you want to win if you're going to play I have wandered around the internet looking for the touts and the metrics boys and the sports know-it-alls whose advice will help me hold up the league trophy at the end of the year. My point is that through all of that internet browsing I happened upon Matthew Berry, the fantasy guy at ESPN. He is now the only guy, pretty much, who I follow. It's not that he has some inside track. It's that he makes the game interesting while always bearing in mind that it's a game. He also makes it personal, both through his openness about how he feels about players and life, and through his ability to always bring into the focus the fact that professional athletes are also just people. It's not just X's and O's, and life isn't simple. Well, this book is is like the long version of one of his thoughtful, personal columns. Berry has never made a secret of the fact that he is deeply grateful for having lucked into one of the coolest jobs on the planet. That tone of delighted surprise and thankfulness comes through in everything he writes. He has lots of opinions, but at the end of the day what comes through most is the basic decency and fairness that tempers his opinions. I have always suspected that Berry would be like the best next-door neighbor ever. He and his whole family could come over every Sunday if they wanted to. This book confirms that suspicion. If you're hyper about fantasy sports, it will calm you down. If you're curious, it will inform you. If your tired of pro athletes, it will renew your interest. If it just seems like sports are now only business and money, it will restore some of the wonder and excitement. This is a thoughtful, grown up, consistently funny and well written, and even charming book. It's a nice complement to your fandom and a solid confirmation of why I look forward to those Talented Mr. Roto ESPN columns. Please note that I received a free ecopy of this as a Goodreads giveaway. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book, although the author and his family are welcome to come over to the house for a cookout any time they want.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jaysonrussell

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Fantasy life, The Outragous, Uplifting, And Heartbreaking World Of Fantasy Sports, From The Guy Who Lived It by Matthew Berry. This is a sports nonfictional book that provides the best advice any reader could ask for. This book is a series of events that revovles around fantasy sports teams. Weither the author uses a fantasy team for the amusement of the reader or a serious topic that teaches a life lesson. There isn't a dull moment in this book . As you read the book the author talks of his Fantasy life, The Outragous, Uplifting, And Heartbreaking World Of Fantasy Sports, From The Guy Who Lived It by Matthew Berry. This is a sports nonfictional book that provides the best advice any reader could ask for. This book is a series of events that revovles around fantasy sports teams. Weither the author uses a fantasy team for the amusement of the reader or a serious topic that teaches a life lesson. There isn't a dull moment in this book . As you read the book the author talks of his life, but the author always provides a sitiuation of a fantasy sports team that correlates with that momment of his life. And thats what makes it fun.But,as he speakes of his life you learn of his loved ones how he felt about them and how they contributed in his life. And as you read he dives into his many achievements and faliures that he has gone threw. The author talks of when he wrote his first movie and how it brought his first house in hollywood. Or how him and his writing partner were token advantage of by another writer. The author even tells who, where, and how he got his buisness format, that he has used, since day one of his writing career. But threw it all he ties up the book in a way thats heartfelt, knowledgable, and creative wich i loved. There isnt a number that can match the amount of lessons this book provides, however at certian times in the book there are momments that iv'e questioned.With out a doubt this book is very entrtaining, but at times you hope for a sitiuation thats a jaw dropper. And due to less mooments like that, the book can be upsetting . Even though thats a huge dissapiontment the books positives outway its negatives. And thats the beauty of the book because it can make you laugh when you neeed it. For example, the book taught take as much information that you can from older realatives because they have so much wisdom that we as the youth, need, to grow and develop into a great generation. But, the best part is that the reader will enjoy every second as they read the book. Despite not many draw dropping momments this book is amzing and inciteful. This book is perfect for sport enthusiasts. Or people intrested in the life of sports. This book is great and if you enjoy movies like "Draft Day" then this book is the perfect match. Its ammusing but, gives you knowledge that you will carry through out your life. And thats why this book is amazing because it leaves a lasting, positive feel for what you have learned. Knowing that this book was able to help you with any situation in life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    Fantasy Life by Matthew Berry is the story of Mathew's life, career, and also many outrageous stories and tips of fantasy sports. The novel begins with his childhood, which includes him moving very frequently and not always fitting in, until he discovers fantasy sports and instantly falls in love with them. Throughout the story he switches careers from a sitcom writer to a fantasy sports expert for ESPN where he becomes very successful. But however before becoming successful he is denied and Fantasy Life by Matthew Berry is the story of Mathew's life, career, and also many outrageous stories and tips of fantasy sports. The novel begins with his childhood, which includes him moving very frequently and not always fitting in, until he discovers fantasy sports and instantly falls in love with them. Throughout the story he switches careers from a sitcom writer to a fantasy sports expert for ESPN where he becomes very successful. But however before becoming successful he is denied and fired from many jobs and is always unhappy. To end the story, he begins a family and gets the happiness he never really had. My favorite character in the book was Matt because he was determined to succeed and finally did. On many occasions he was denied at his job interviews, but that didn't stop him. After just being denied from yet another interview Mathew says "But I kept the faith."(185). After saying this he got a job at ESPN and due to constantly working hard, he eventually became very successful as one of the lead fantasy experts there. Another thing that made me like Matt was at the ending chapter of the book while with his family he said, "But I've never been happier."(330). This made me like him because after struggling with finding happiness for a long time he finally had it. I think the author intended the reader to feel this way. Overall it was a really great book. It keeps you interested the whole way through. It not only gives Mathew's life story but many helpful and funny fantasy tips and stories as well.I would definitely recommend this book to someone. This book would especially be good for a fantasy sport fan, or really anyone who likes sports or some outrageous stories.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Matthew Berry is always an entertaining writer. If you enjoy any of his online columns then you will enjoy this book. If you don't enjoy those columns, then stay away. The book does a good job of highlighting all aspects of fantasy sports. There are some genuinely touching stories from people that have used fantasy sports to pull through some tough times. Then you also have the ridiculous stories that make you laugh and shake your head. The book also does a wonderful job of weaving Matthew Berry's Matthew Berry is always an entertaining writer. If you enjoy any of his online columns then you will enjoy this book. If you don't enjoy those columns, then stay away. The book does a good job of highlighting all aspects of fantasy sports. There are some genuinely touching stories from people that have used fantasy sports to pull through some tough times. Then you also have the ridiculous stories that make you laugh and shake your head. The book also does a wonderful job of weaving Matthew Berry's biography into the other stories. He shows us how he went from a Hollywood writer to fantasy web site manager to ESPN fantasy analyst. His story is interesting and illustrates how it is possible to completely change course in your life to do something you love. One negative is that several of the stories, both his personal biography and other people's, have already been featured in Berry's online columns. You can't fault him for lifting some from his own work, since the book will likely reach an audience his columns don't. But for long time readers it does mean you'll read some stuff you already read. A second possible negative is the focus on fantasy football over baseball and especially over basketball. If some reason you don't enjoy fantasy football you might be disappointed at the smaller sample of stories about baseball and basketball. Overall a funny, entertaining read. I even convinced my wife to try reading it, and she has never played fantasy sports but I told her it might give her some insight on the draw the game has for me and millions of other people.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    As an avid listener of Matthew Berry's 06010 Fantasy Focus podcasts, I eagerly awaited the release of Fantasy Life and it doesn't disappoint. Conversationally written, Fantasy Life delves into the world of fantasy sports and how Matthew Berry went from a TV/film screenplay writer (look him up on IMDB) to the Senior Fantasy Analyst at ESPN. While I like the sections about Matthew Berry's life, the humorous anecdotes about how far people take fantasy sports are the best parts. Each chapter has a As an avid listener of Matthew Berry's 06010 Fantasy Focus podcasts, I eagerly awaited the release of Fantasy Life and it doesn't disappoint. Conversationally written, Fantasy Life delves into the world of fantasy sports and how Matthew Berry went from a TV/film screenplay writer (look him up on IMDB) to the Senior Fantasy Analyst at ESPN. While I like the sections about Matthew Berry's life, the humorous anecdotes about how far people take fantasy sports are the best parts. Each chapter has a loose theme like Draft Day, Trash Talking, Most Heartbreaking Ways to Lose, and the Playoffs. Maybe it's because I'm a fantasy sports nerd, but for me, many of the stories are laugh-out-loud funny. Examples: Jon Hamm rushing to his fantasy football draft after shooting and, being told that he's the one eliminated owner for that year, flips off his fellow managers off and nonchalantly leaves. A Red Robin employee scheduled to work during his draft -- AS THE ROBIN -- who somehow pulls it off. A league that forces each year's last place finisher to get a tattoo, notably one year that the loser got a tattoo of a carebear Tebowing. Fantasy Life's message is simple: that fantasy sports brings people together. It's hard to disagree with Matthew Berry's sentiment and easy to forgive the book's shortcomings (some incredibly awkward transitions and questionable editing). I especially recommended Fantasy Life to those who love fantasy sports, but even those who don't will be entertained.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    It's hard to put a rating on this book. As a fantasy sports fan, it is quite entertaining. It's part memoir -- of both ESPN fantasy guru Matthew Berry and dozens of average Joe's who offered vignettes from their own leagues -- as well as a self-described "love letter to fantasy sports" and a "how to" for running a successful, if not enjoyable, fantasy sports league. And if you like Berry's column's, podcast or Twitter account, the book is basically a 332-page extension of that. It's appeal to It's hard to put a rating on this book. As a fantasy sports fan, it is quite entertaining. It's part memoir -- of both ESPN fantasy guru Matthew Berry and dozens of average Joe's who offered vignettes from their own leagues -- as well as a self-described "love letter to fantasy sports" and a "how to" for running a successful, if not enjoyable, fantasy sports league. And if you like Berry's column's, podcast or Twitter account, the book is basically a 332-page extension of that. It's appeal to such a widespread audience -- it's already a NYT bestseller -- says volumes about how mainstream fantasy sports has become, a trajectory that has risen at the same pace of Berry's own stardom. But the growth of its fandom and the watering down of a once-insider culture comes at a cost, and that's also reflected in Berry's book, which at times seems to cater to the lowest common denominators among fantasy fans. The stories get repetitive and the transitions weaker as he attempts to weave the trials and tribulations of fantasy owners to his own life. As a result, the book lacks cohesion and Berry's ramblings, though comical at times, grow trite and cliche. That is not to say it's not fun to read (the whole two days you spend on it), and it's a must own for any fantasy fan. It encapsulates why we are so attracted to something that is so trivial and silly, and for that it deserves plenty of credit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I want to briefly touch on the fantasy football aspect of this book. Mr.Berry will forever be appreciated by the masses for everything he has done, and continues to do for fantasy sports. As an avid fantasy player I trust in his insight and ranking systems and everything he does on a daily basis over at ESPN. However that wasn't why I enjoyed his book as much as I did. No Mr.Berry, even though I appreciate the hilarity the insight into leagues across the world and the wit you show, I thank you I want to briefly touch on the fantasy football aspect of this book. Mr.Berry will forever be appreciated by the masses for everything he has done, and continues to do for fantasy sports. As an avid fantasy player I trust in his insight and ranking systems and everything he does on a daily basis over at ESPN. However that wasn't why I enjoyed his book as much as I did. No Mr.Berry, even though I appreciate the hilarity the insight into leagues across the world and the wit you show, I thank you for allowing us all the opportunity to share in your life. The wins and losses, the family growth and personal growth, and ultimately your battle growing up. I sincerely thank you for being you, for allowing that to be prominent in this book and all the benefits it will undoubtedly provide to people down on their luck. This isn't just about fantasy football (even though it has some great stories in it) it is about a man and his struggle to find himself, to follow his dream in the face of adversity, and to become better with every waking breath. Thank you Matthew Berry for allowing us to be part of your struggle and successes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Smith

    Fantasy Life, by Matthew Berry, is the amazing account of how fantasy sports effect everyday lives all over the world. Berry conducted interviews, looked in every corner of the internet,and used his own stories to build this book. Berry is a fantasy analyst for ESPN, but started out as a script writer for TV sitcoms. This book also documents his journey, from childhood to the present. He was one of the first players of rotisserie fantasy sports. He kept fantasy as a hobby, but eventually made it Fantasy Life, by Matthew Berry, is the amazing account of how fantasy sports effect everyday lives all over the world. Berry conducted interviews, looked in every corner of the internet,and used his own stories to build this book. Berry is a fantasy analyst for ESPN, but started out as a script writer for TV sitcoms. This book also documents his journey, from childhood to the present. He was one of the first players of rotisserie fantasy sports. He kept fantasy as a hobby, but eventually made it his life. This book is also filled with the stories of others who also live a fantasy lives. He discusses odd draft day places, times and traditions. He talks about fantasy families, and how fantasy has connected them. He tells all of the odd stories that you would not expect to even be true, but miraculous happen. This all comes together for a very entertaining book. I would rate this book a 5 out o 5 stars. It connects to one of my passions, but would also be an enjoyable read for someone who has no experience with fantasy sports.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I'm not sure why Berry felt the need to collect his thoughts in this format, because his writing style doesn't translate especially well - most of these pages read like a transcript from a hacky stand-up comic who's constantly elbowing you in the ribs and going "Eh? Eh?" after every joke. The colloquial writing voice might appeal to younger readers, but I mostly found it tiresome, especially when there's such a tone of envy in this middle-aged father lionizing the "insane!" stunts pulled by I'm not sure why Berry felt the need to collect his thoughts in this format, because his writing style doesn't translate especially well - most of these pages read like a transcript from a hacky stand-up comic who's constantly elbowing you in the ribs and going "Eh? Eh?" after every joke. The colloquial writing voice might appeal to younger readers, but I mostly found it tiresome, especially when there's such a tone of envy in this middle-aged father lionizing the "insane!" stunts pulled by readers who send in their self-aggrandizing war stories in hopes of earning immortality in his online column. There's also something odd about Berry's constant need to validate fantasy sports's legitimacy (and I say this as someone who's played fantasy sports for the past decade) while never really acknowledging that he has a job solely because a lot of American adults have disposable income that they'll pour into protracted adolescence.

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