Jeff Pearlman

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Two weeks

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I’ve decided to take two weeks away from blogging.

Why? Because summer is fun, this election is driving me crazy — and I need a break.

So I’m taking one. I’ll be back in early August, with more riveting thoughts. And I’ll leave you with these 10 …

• Walter Payton was better than Jim Brown.

• The GOP ticket includes two men who don’t believe in climate change, a vice president who supports gay conversion therapy and a proclivity toward the idea of swooping up illegal immigrants by the thousands and expelling them. This is not who we are.

• Hillary Clinton is as flawed a Democratic candidate as I’ve seen in many moons. That stupid e-mail scandal—committed either out of paranoia, ignorance or arrogance—is beyond infuriating. If she loses, it’s on her.

• I miss getting a newspaper delivered to my house. It’s time to start again. I want box scores while I eat my Raisin Bran.

• I just shaved my head and missed about 73 spots.

• The Philadelphia Stars would have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles. The Michigan Panthers would have smothered the Detroit Lions. The New York Giants would have trounced the New Jersey Generals by 50.

• The Brooklyn Nets are about to lose 60-to-65 games. Jeremy Lin will average 18, on 18 percent shooting.

• If you don’t read Steve Rushin every time he writes something, you’re on crack.

• The people who mock and bash and trash Rick Reilly don’t seem to realize two things: 1. At his SI elite, he was as good as any writer in America; 2. This shit gets tiring.

• No matter what happens come November, America rolls on. If Donald Trump wins, I will support him until he proves himself unworthy. The same goes for Hillary. We need to get back to this. We can disagree with our leaders, but still treat them with the respect afforded leaders. This has been missing throughout the past two presidencies, and it makes us worse as a people. We are far too negative and hateful. We look for failure, whereas we should be looking for achievement.

The book on Donald J. Trump

Jim Byrne

Jim Byrne

As many readers here know, I’m hard at work on a book about the United States Football League, the long-defunct spring venture that threatened the NFL in the early-to-mid 1980s. Yet while my project feels fresh and original, it’s not the first time someone has ventured into the literary world to muse on the USFL.

Back in 1987, less than two years after it ceased play, Jim Byrne—the league’s former director of communications—penned “The $1 League,” a book about the rise and fall of the enterprise. I actually first read Byrne’s work back in 1989, when I wrote my senior high school thesis about the USFL’s collapse. I was only 17 at the time, and while I enjoyed the text, I sorta think—in hindsight—I missed the overriding theme. Which was, to be blunt, that Donald Trump ruined a great (if not dysfunctional) thing.

Lately, I’m back into “The $1 League.” I bought a copy (it’s insanely hard to find, and sells on Amazon for $84), and am carving it up with my pen, digging line by line, seeking out truths. While many people have discussed “The Art of the Deal” when it comes to understanding Trump en route to the presidency, I would argue that “The $1 League” is a much better source. First, because Trump’s (narcissistic) fingerprints are all over “The Art of the Deal,” while Byre—a respected professional who died earlier this year—went to great lengths to bluntly-yet-evenhandedly present Trump as a toxic bully who bought the New Jersey Generals in 1984 with the (somewhat diabolical) plan of forcing his way into the NFL. When Trump purchased the team, he was a sorta well-known New York real estate guy who brought a lot of spunk and pizzazz to a league that needed it. He was brash and bold and made for the tabloids. But he was also, again, diabolical. First, because according to Byrne, he lied. And lied. And lied. He entered the league without telling the other owners that his plan, from Day One, was to either lead a move to fall or simply have his organization merge into the NFL. He entered without telling the other owners that his plan was to join the rival league. He treated Chet Simmons, the USFL’s commissioner, like an absolute piece of shit, and went to the newspapers myriad times as an anonymous source, leaking information about league meetings that was not, by any definition, true.

Worst of all, he knew—without question—that a merger with the NFL would involve a minimal number of USFL franchises. He simply didn’t care. As long as HE was a beneficiary, well, to hell with the others. From Byrne’s work …

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 1.03.32 AMIn short, the Donald Trump of 1985 is the Donald Trump you see now. Cold, Heartless, Selfish. Indifferent to the needs of others. I can’t recommend “The $1 League” enough.

Your eyes will be opened.

Busting Your Ass

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I often get asked about making it in journalism, and it’s not an easy question. I mean, A. What does “making it” really mean? and B. How does one make it in 2016? C. Have I actually made it?

Hell, nobody wants to work for a print newspaper. And most websites pay shit. And as I get older, it (admittedly) becomes harder to place myself in the shoes of a 22-year old.

But there’s one eternal truth, and it’s this: Busting your ass gets results. And doing so creatively doesn’t hurt.

Two stories to explain …

• 1. Back when I was at the University of Delaware, working at the student newspaper,  a bunch of us attended a young journalism conference in Philadelphia. The event was held at the Daily News/Inquirer office building, and there were professionals offering resume advice and holding seminars and the like. It was fine—some stiffs broke down your resume; others spoke of myriad fields; etc … etc.

Well, the editor of our college paper, a fantastic guy name named Doug Donovan, hatched a plan. He and I snuck away from the conference and placed our resumes and clips atop myriad desks in the different departments. We scribbled notes on the packets that said, “This kid has some real talent …” and signed the letters in illegible handwriting. When then tiptoed back into the conference.

Did it land me a job? No. But could it have? Sure …

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• 2. My first gig out of college was at The Tennessean in Nashville. One year the NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) was holding its annual convention in the city. My sports editor, a biggie in NABJ, asked for volunteers to help at different events. I raised my hand—one of the few, and definitely the only white guy. He told me, as a reward, I could attend the NABJ job fair. Awesome!

I entered the room—everyone was African-American, save a handful of reps from different papers. Well, armed with a stack of resumes and clips I went from table to table. I always remember my take to the Miami Herald woman: “I’m not black, but I love journalism and I’ll bust my rear for your newspaper …”

I walked away with two follow-up interviews and several lasting relationships.




My thoughts on Melania Trump’s speech

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In the aftermath of Melania Trump’s speech from the Republican Convention, I wanted to share a few thoughts of my own …

A lot has happened to us all since 1987. That’s the year The Art of the Deal was published and became the bestselling business book of the decade, with over three million copies in print. (Business Rule #1: If you don’t tell people about your success, they probably won’t know about it.)

A few months ago, I picked up The Art of the Deal, skimmed a bit, and then read the first and last paragraphs. I realized that after seventeen years they still rang true. I could have written these words yesterday:

First paragraph: I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.

Last paragraph: Don’t get me wrong. I also plan to keep making deals, big deals, and right around the clock.

It’s now 2004, I’m still making deals around the clock, and I still don’t do it for the money. I don’t think you should do it for the money, either. Money is not an end in itself, but it’s sometimes the most effective way to help us realize our dreams. So if you’ve got big dreams and you’re looking for a way to make them happen, this book is for you.


Five Billion Reasons Why You Should Read This Book

How to Get Rich.
That’s what I decided to call it, because whenever I meet people, that’s usually what they want to know from me. You ask a baker how he makes bread. You ask a billionaire how he makes money.

Sure, there have been countless how-to-get-rich books written by millionaires. Billionaire authors are harder to find. Billionaire authors with interests in real estate, gaming, sports, and entertainment are rarer still.

And billionaire authors with their own Manhattan skyscrapers and hit prime-time TV series are the rarest of all. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one, though Oprah could give me a run for the money if she ever decides to write another book and get into real estate.

Business Rule #2: Keep it short, fast, and direct. The following pages will be straightforward and succinct, but don’t let the brevity of these passages prevent you from savoring the profundity of the advice you are about to receive. These stories and words of wisdom have been distilled from almost thirty years at the top.

So here it comes: The Scoop from The Donald. After you make your first billion, don’t forget to send me a thank-you note. You know the address.

The Donald J. Trump School of Business and Management

Be a General

I am the chairman and president of The Trump Organization. I like saying that because it means a great deal to me. There are almost twenty thousand members of this organization at this point. I did a print ad once in which I declared, “I only work with the best.” That statement still stands.

More and more, I see that running a business is like being a general. Calling the shots carries a great deal of responsibility, not only for yourself, but for your troops. Your employees’ lives, to a large extent, are dependent on you and your decisions. Bad strategy can end up affecting a lot of people. This is where being a leader takes on a new dimension. Every decision you make is an important one, whether there are twenty thousand people working for you or just one.

If you are careful when finding employees, management becomes a lot easier. I rely on a few key people to keep me informed. They know I trust them, and they do their best to keep that trust intact. For example, when I need to know something about my casinos and hotels in Atlantic City, I know I can call up Mark Brown, my CEO, and get a fast and informed answer. If I call Laura Cordovano over at Trump Park Avenue and ask about sales, she’ll give it to me exactly as it is. If I call Allen Weisselberg, my CFO, he’ll tell me what I need to know in twenty words or less. My senior counsel and Apprentice adviser, George Ross, can do it in ten words or less. Find people who suit your business style and you’ll have fewer problems to deal with as time goes on.

Good people equals good management and good management equals good people. They have to work together or they won’t work together for very long. I’ve seen good management get by with mediocre people, and I’ve also seen excellent people get stuck in the mires of bad management. The good managers will eventually leave, followed by the good workers, and you will be left with a team that gets along because they’re all mediocre. Save yourself time by getting the best people you can. Sometimes this can mean choosing attitude over experience and credentials. Use your creativity to come up with a good mix.

Creative people rarely need to be motivated–they have their own inner drive that refuses to be bored. They refuse to be complacent. They live on the edge, which is precisely what is needed to be successful and remain successful.

One of my former employees was in charge of a new project. He had done a thorough and acceptable job, but I felt that something was missing. It wasn’t fantastic, which, knowing his capabilities, it should have been. I decided to challenge his creative ego by mentioning that it was fine but seemed to lack inspiration. I politely asked him whether he was genuinely interested in the project and suggested that perhaps that might be the problem.

Well, the guy went ballistic on me. He was deeply insulted. And, as you can probably guess, the revision he turned in was terrific. The difference between the first draft and the final version was incredible. I didn’t slam the guy because he was usually demanding of himself and had never let me down. But I had to give him a jolt.

Generals motivate their soldiers; they inspire them when it is necessary. They do the same for their highest-ranking officers. We all need a boost now and then. Learn how to tailor your method to the personalities you are managing.

Keep the big picture in mind while attending to the daily details. This can seem like a balancing act, but it is absolutely necessary for success in running a company.

In the 1980s, I was riding high. After learning the essentials of real estate development from my father, Fred, a builder in Queens and Brooklyn, I’d become a major player in Manhattan, developing Trump Tower, the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and many other top-tier properties. I had a yacht, a plane, a bestselling book.

One magazine headline said, EVERYTHING HE TOUCHES TURNS TO GOLD, and I believed it. I’d never known adversity. I went straight from Wharton to wealth. Even in down markets, I bought properties inexpensively and made a lot of money. I began to think it was easy.

In the late eighties, I lost focus. I’d fly off to Europe to attend fashion shows, and I wasn’t looking at the clothing. My lack of attention was killing my business.

Then, the real estate market crashed. I owed billions upon billions of dollars–$9.2 billion, to be exact. That’s nine billion, two hundred million dollars. I’ve told this story many times before, but it bears repeating: In the midst of the crash, I passed a beggar on the street and realized he was worth $9.2 billion more than I was. I saw a lot of my friends go bankrupt, never to be heard from again.

Stay Focused
The media had me for lunch. Forbes, BusinessWeek, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times–they all published major stories about my crisis, and a lot of people seemed to be happy about it.

I’ll never forget the worst moment. It was 3 A.M. Citibank phoned me at my home in Trump Tower. They wanted me to come over to their office immediately to negotiate new terms with some foreign banks–three of the ninety-nine banks to whom I owed billions. It’s tough when you have to tell a banker that you can’t pay interest. They tend not to like those words. An ally at Citibank suggested
that the best way for me to handle this difficult situation was to call the banks myself, and that’s exactly what they wanted me to do, at three o’clock on a cold January morning, in the freezing rain. There were no cabs, so I walked fifteen blocks to Citibank. By the time I got there, I was drenched.

That was the low point. There were thirty bankers sitting around a big table. I phoned one Japanese banker, then an Austrian banker, and then a third banker from a country I can no longer remember. In The Art of the Deal, I had warned readers never to personally guarantee anything. Well, I hadn’t followed my own advice. Of the $9.2 billion I owed, I’d personally guaranteed a billion dollars. I was a schmuck, but I was a lucky schmuck, and I wound up dealing with some understanding bankers who worked out a fair deal. After being the king of the eighties, I survived the early nineties, and by the mid-to-late nineties, I was thriving again.

But I learned my lesson. I work as hard today as I did when I was a young developer in the 1970s.

Don’t make the mistake I did. Stay focused.

Fantasy Television, Fantasy Island

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Just watched what must go down as the worst episode of a TV show—ever.

Fantasy Island: Season 2, Episode 10.

In this episode, two men come to Fantasy Island. The first is a Navy sailor looking for the Island of Lost Women. He finds it. All the chicks are smokin’ hot, and the sailor assumes he’s gonna get laid—a lot. Then he learns that, after getting laid (a lot), the women will kill him. So he leaves, but not without a member of the Los Angeles Lakers cheer team.

The second man is looking for Big Foot (played by Peter Graves). He find him, using a yellow glider and some sort of machine from the 1930s that tracks body heat. He fires several rounds at the monster, then trips, falls and dangles from high above. Big Foot saves him, grunts and teaches us all about humanity.

Then the little guy says, “dee plane!” a few more times, and the show ends.

By the way, I just asked my wife, “I wonder what Ricardo Montalban is doing these days?” Then I looked him up—”he’s dead. Died a few years back. He was 88, so it’s not tragic. But it’s sad. I always enjoyed him.


Cathy Venus


This marks the 267th edition of the Quaz Q&A, and I have a few observations to share:

• 1. Journalists garner the most reads.

• 2. Actors garner the fewest reads.

• 3. Folks who work in various sex industries draw the most chatter.

I suppose none of this is particularly surprising. Writers like reading about other writers. There are about 50 million websites featuring profiles of actors and actresses. As for the sex industry, well … um … it’s fascinating. It’s unique. It’s both familiar and uncomfortable; titillating and distracting. Today’s Q&A marks my fourth interview with someone from the world of erotica, and it’s always (without fail) riveting.

Cathy Venus is not the real name of today’s Quazette. Away from her role as an erotic hypnotist, she’s a wife, a step-mother, a woman with a career in the music business. But here, off the beaten path, she works to master—in her words—”the mental arts with a sensual touch.”

One can follow Cathy on Twitter here, and visit her website here. She loves Bernie Sanders and Garfield, hates flying and chicken hearts and seems to have no opinion on the stylings of Karl-Anthony Towns.

Cathy Venus, you’re Quaz No. 267 …

JEFF PEARLMAN: You are an erotic hypnotist. Which means, specifically, what?

CATHY VENUS: The term erotic hypnotist means I am a practitioner of the mental arts with a sensual touch. I am additionally a Professional Dominant Goddess who specializes in the guidance of submissive subjects who wish to explore real change from within themselves.

J.P.: It seems like men are more sexually pathetic than women. We visit strip clubs, we read Playboy, we jerk off over 1,000,000 different websites. I hate how we’re wired—but it seems like the wiring is what it is. Agree with my take? Disagree? Why?

C.V.: I don’t think you should hate yourself. Men are the same as women. Men are actually just more vocal about their sexual frustrations perhaps. One thing I can tell you is, I have lots of online experience with men who long to be, or even pretend to be, women. And some of them are very feminine and quite convincing! There really is little difference.

J.P.: I would think for one to be hypnotized he/she would have to be in your presence, some trinket dangling, soft music, visual stimulation, etc. How can hypnosis work via phone?

C.V.: Trinket-dangling is mostly from the movies. Many everyday folks visit psychologists who perform hypnotherapy in 2016. This is hardly something strange or taboo anymore. In person is of course excellent, but phone or Skype sessions, as I do them, for the purposes they are done, can work effectively, yes. A subject can be affected by visual, auditory, as well as kinesthetic (physical) stimuli.


J.P.: How did this happen for you? What’s your life path? When did you first realize you could do hypnosis? Do you have a day job? Spouse? Kids?

C.V.: I always had the self-taught or natural ability for Hypnosis and NLP, however it took me a while to realize my potential and hone my talents. I learned by experimenting on those minds around me, using linguistics, pacing, and a few other techniques. My career path is private but I will volunteer that it’s within the arts, meaning music business as well as stage performance. I and married with two step kids.

J.P.: Your Twitter line is all about hypnosis—unless it’s about Bernie Sanders. Two questions: Along the lines of the ol’ “Republicans buy sneakers, too” Michael Jordan line, didn’t you worry about involving politics into your business profile? B. Now that Sanders is not in the running, can you support Clinton? Why, why not?

C.V.: Well, actually, I rarely post anything other than about my work but occasionally I may post about certain people I look up to. Politically yes, you are right, I did endorse Bernie Sanders, and no, I won’t be voting for Hillary, but will be supporting Jill Stein. I won’t support Hillary for many reasons, but the main explanation would be a lack of trust in her character, as well as her track record on certain issues important to me.

J.P.: What does a session with a client usually entail? How long does it last? What’s it supposed to accomplish?

C.V.: A Skype session with a client usually will be one hour long. It consist basically of some casual talk, followed by some mind-bending deep trance. I will take the subject on any journey I feel is needed to enhance their studies. Most subjects purchase my “studies” and allow themselves to go under while listening to my mp3 files. These files are necessary programming and allow me to take them deeper and further, as well as have the live sessions to be more effective.

J.P.: I once heard a hypnotist say something along the lines of, “I’m a guide, but I can’t change anything in you, or make you different.” Is that true? Or, in other words, what can a hypnotist do for a person? And how much of that is actually self-generated by the client?

C.V.: That of course depends on what techniques are being employed. Simple hypnosis can of course effect change if a subject allows it to happen. The subject must be a willing participant. That being said, I do have several clients who like to struggle and fight against what I do, but that is a certain fetish they have. They realize that the techniques of NLP and entrainment I use will take effect regardless of the conscious mind, or ego, and they like it. So the answer is, when it comes to what I do, yes, I can effect total change without the permission of the subject’s conscious mind.

J.P.: Best career story, worst career story?

C.V.: Worst is when I have stalkers who try all kinds of tricks to avoid paying me for my work. They always fail. Also I have had an instance where another Hypnodomme was jealous and curious about my work and why I was gaining such popularity and she actually made one of her clients book a session with me and record it to try to steal some of my stuff. Pathetic if you ask me. Of course I found out about it. I always do. No-one can hide anything from me. Best case is when a person who has psychological issues as well as a bad taste as well as a feeling of shame from previous hypnosis, and who now loves it and believes it to be a beneficial thing.

J.P.: What do your relatives think of this career choice? Do you talk about clients over, say, dinner? Is it hush-hush? Do your parents know? Care?

C.V.: My vocation as a Pro Domme and Erotic Hypnotist are private. I do confide in my husband about my work but that’s it.

J.P.: It seems like, in the online world of sexual stimulation, it’d be impossible to find footing. I mean, there are endless options for endless tastes, treatments, etc. So how does one separate herself? How do you stand out from the crowd?

C.V.: I decided in the beginning to stand apart, and stick to my guns with real and actual hypnosis. Every other hypnodomme is either a glorified phone-sexer, or has men writing for them. I knew that if I threw my name in with the rest I would end up being seen in the wrong light. What they do is fine, but it’s simply not what I do, nor is it even close. There are one or two Hypnodommes who are decent but even they still do audio-porn and sexual favors for clients. I don’t do that. To me there is a world of difference between D/s and eroticism, and flat out prostitution.

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• Rank in order (favorite to least): Garfield, Karl-Anthony Towns, granola cereal, The Bee-Gees, Gene Simmons, wood paneling, Penn State, wedding registries, Banana Republic, Aerosmith, strawberry milk: 1. Garfield. All is Garfield and Garfield is all.

• Best advice you ever received: Be yourself. I also love the litany against fear from Dune: “I must not fear, fear is the mind killer …”

• Ever thought you were about to die in a plane crash? If so, what do you recall?: Every time I get on a plane. You are in a small vessel in the middle of the vast sky and the only thing that keeps you from being swallowed up by it, is the wall of the plane. Flying always makes me ponder my own mortality and how fragile life really is. In May of this year, I was on a flight that had some bad turbulence. Due to storms, we had to be re-routed and land in a different airport. The lights went out and the plane shook so badly it made me bump into the guy sitting next to me. We hadn’t spoken the entire trip, strangers on a plane seldom do. He smiled with a look on his face that said “we’re probably going to do die so, hi”. We started talking after that. There’s no better icebreaker than the possibility of dying next to a stranger.

• Would you rather grow a second nose or spend 12-straight days licking the handlebars in New York City’s endless supply of subway cars?: 12 days licking the handlebars. I’m a big-picture thinker. Noses are forever.

• Three memories from your senior year of high school: 1. Getting suspended; 2. Being in a musical; 3. Rollerblading and listening to Weezer.

• Why the name “Cathy Mitsuko Venus”? I am Goddess Cathy, descended from the line of Ishtar aka Venus. The nickname I sometimes borrow, Mitsuko, is a Japanese name. It’s the name of a central female character of many of Sion Sono’s films. He’s my favorite filmmaker. I had the fortunate experience to meet him at the Toronto International Film Festival a couple of years ago.

• What’s the No. 1 thing people not understand about erotic hypnosis?: That it should not just be audio porn. A subject must be willing to truly be taken deep, rather than just “get off”. That’s not hypnosis. Many subjects prefer the fantasy of it, rather than actually be tranced. I prefer true subjects who want to explore their desires rather than just to get off in the moment. One bit of advice: don’t trust your mind to amateurs and charlatans, you are only harming yourself.

• What happens after we die?: I would never presume to know. I will have to get back to you on this one after I die. I will try my best to haunt you 😉 I just presumed to know that I would be able to haunt you by saying that. All humans are hypocrites.

• What’s the strangest food you’ve ever tried? And why did you try it?: A chicken heart. Because a bossy relative made me. It was disgusting!

This is my all-time favorite song. Thoughts?: I’m familiar with this song. It’s sad and beautiful.

How do you say, “I’m a stud” in Russian?

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So about three minutes ago I was on the homepage for the Philadelphia Daily News when the above advertisement popped up.

Because I absolutely love meeting hot Russian ladies online, I clicked the box and was transported to what can only be considered a wonderland. There were ladies. Lots and lots of ladies. And they all apparently want me—based upon my answer to seven simple questions. Including this one …

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.44.49 AMI mean … duh. The answer is C. IT DEPENDS IF THEY’RE RUSSIAN. But because that wasn’t an option, I mindlessly clicked YES. From there … bliss. I was introduced to a buffet of lovely Russian ladies who love me. For example, this gal, the strangely dressed Natali …

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And her friend, Lubov …

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Now, some might find it suspicious that the books behind Lubov are all in English. But not me. See, a soulmate is a soulmate, and the moment I saw Lubov make that pouty face while running her hair through her hand, I knew we were destined to be together here in the United States. So now all I have to do is call the number, punch in Lubov’s nickname (which happens to be “C725797″—Russian for “sexy lady”) and pay a couple of thousand bucks.

Давайте секс, русская женщина !

Mike Pence does not believe in evolution

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I have no reason to think Mike Pence isn’t a nice guy. I suppose he may well even be a solid legislator. But he does not believe in evolution.

Which is too weird, and sorta crazy. Especially for a potential American vice president.

This, from a 2009 interview with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Okay, you want to educate the American people about science and its relevance today. Do you believe in evolution, sir?

PENCE: Do I believe in evolution? I embrace the view that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them.

MATTHEWS: Right. But do you believe in evolution as the way he did it?

PENCE: The means, Chris, that he used to do that, I can’t say. But I do believe in that fundamental truth.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life