“Those Guys Have All the Fun” is built on hundreds of interviews with executives, staffers and other insiders in an oral history format linked by intermittent narrative threads from Miller and Shales. At 763 pages, this book is, like its subject, bloated but bound to succeed.
The alternating voices can be a boon, as when several people contradict and deflate former Disney executive Michael Eisner for his hindsight-is-20/20 pronouncements. At other times, the authors force the reader to slog through several people all saying the same thing with minimal additional insight. No doubt the authors felt indebted to try to use as much of the material they gathered as possible, but it slows the story.
And yet “Those Guys Have All the Fun” must be reckoned with. Despite numerous frustrations with some of the interviews (Venus Williams, Peyton Manning, and Danica Patrick are among the athletes quoted who have absolutely nothing of interest to say) and some of the section topics, this reader tackled it handily, driven by a combination of nostalgia and curiosity. Plenty of sports fans, I suspect, will share the sentiment, eager to pull back the curtain on an entity that has eaten up so much of their leisure time dissecting inevitably meaningless news (the fate of a 9th round draft pick who will never see an NFL field) and other insignificant affairs (any NBA game involving the Los Angeles Clippers, to cite but one example).