Book Review: Grounders

Grounders is A Once-in-a-Lifetime Journey of Baseball, History, and Mentoring by Tom Slone.  I thought this was a great book. It combined 2 things – baseball and life lessons.  It is amazing the number of things that kids can learn just by going to a few ball games.

Tom decided to take his 3 grandsons, their friends and a couple other kids on a once in a lifetime trip over the summer to several baseball games. They got to check out quite a few ballparks as well as learn some history along the way. They got to check out Philadelphia, the NY Stock Exchange, among other spots.

The interesting thing was that Tom paid for everything – but made a deal with everyone on his trip (adults included) in order to receive their stipend each day ($10 on game days, $15 on non game days) they would have to write in their journal each day about what they did.  They were also equipped with a camera for the trip.  Excerpts of some of the journals were included in the book.  I loved this idea – I am always the one keeping a journal on trips and while the people I am with might think I’m nuts for running back to the computer (or pad of paper) each night to keep track of what we did that day – it is the only way I can remember nearly everything from the trip and going back and reading those entries takes me right back to the moment. (I even have a tendency to write down what we ATE each day, haha).

While this book might seem to be about baseball, and to a certain extent, it is, it really has so much more than that packed into the short 160 pages.  All the things the guys on this trip learned are included and it really helps put things in to perspective. Baseball may be “just a game” but the lessons you can learn by playing it or even taking a summer trip to go to several games around the United States are priceless.

I wish I had a grandfather who could take me on such an exciting trip!  It’s like summer school, without anyone actually noticing that they are learning.

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publiser through NetGalley in order to write this review.

About the Book

An alarming number of boys in this country have no older male figure in their lives – no father, uncle, older brother, or role model from church, school, or the community. The number will inevitably grow exponentially as these young men without fathers will, in all likelihood, become absentee fathers themselves. The pattern is so pervasive, and the problem and its consequences so overwhelming, that few choose to engage it. Among these few, one stands out: Tom Slone. Tom’s approach mirrors the actions that have brought him success in business and philanthropy. Simple, direct, persistent…one boy at a time.

In Grounders, Tom Slone shows how the simple act of taking a boy to a ballgame can still be the teaching moment it once was. Grounders is the story of a group of men and boys traveling to baseball games all over the country in the summer of 2005. The journey serves as context for Tom to share 33 lessons garnered from baseball, business, and life. Together they serve as a template for mentoring boys, managing employees, and changing lives…even your own.

Tom’s last lesson, #33, is “Surround yourself with good people.” In my experience with Tom, the secret to his success in all his endeavors has always been that he makes the people around him good. If you can’t go to a game with him, read his book and see how he does it. 

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