The Uniform of Leadership – Jason Romano

The Uniform of Leadership Jason Romano
The Uniform of Leadership: Lessons on True Success from My ESPN Life by Jason Romano, Stephen Copeland
Published by Kregel Publications on July 28, 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Leadership
Buy on Amazon

Timeless leadership lessons honed by nearly two decades behind the scenes at ESPN Jason Romano learned incredible lessons during his seventeen years as a producer at ESPN--and these fundamentals for success on the field or court work just as well in other spheres of leadership, especially when you add God's direction to the playbook.
This collection of compelling, inspiring, and often funny stories challenges readers to ask themselves the hard questions. It draws them into introspection and then directs them into action so they can cultivate habits of service and excellence in themselves and in those around them. From Tony Dungy to Darryl Strawberry, Will Ferrell to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, readers will discover how to replicate the principles practiced by some of the most influential leaders in sports and entertainment. And in the end, they'll be able to construct thriving cultures where the people they lead can bloom where they're planted and serve one another.
For readers who want to lead meaningful lives--rooted in servant leadership, character, and integrity--and be entertained and inspired by personal, behind-the-scenes stories about athletes, coaches, and stars who spent the day with the author at ESPN, The Uniform of Leadership is a perfect guidebook.

Christian books written from a sports background have always been a staple in Christian non-fiction, usually offered as the hook to get men to step inside the Christian book section, which is often overwhelmingly—for both fiction and non-fiction—geared to women. This isn’t a bad thing. As a youth pastor, the most memorable lesson series I ever did for my younger boys featured Tim Tebow. Tony Dungy has written a series of well-done books on leadership. Drew Brees, Tim Tebow, Kurt Warner, Reggie White—the list goes on. With all of these books, the goal is to take the core values or lessons learned through the sports experience and give general, practical application for everyday life.

The Uniform of Leadership shifts that calculus slightly to the realm of sports reporting. Jason Romano worked for ESPN for several years in various production and talent booking position, rubbing shoulders with the elite in both sports and sports reporting. Romano takes you on a behind the scenes tour of life at ESPN and the lessons in leadership he learned from his position and from interacting with leaders in the sports world.

There’s nothing in The Uniform of Leadership that stands out as absolutely incredible. The writing is serviceable, but not stellar. The leadership lessons are solid, but not anything incredibly new. The hook is definitely in the biographical thread of life as an ESPN producer. Because of that, I almost wished the book had focused on that aspect more strongly. The lessons on leadership almost get in the way of the compelling biography. I’m trying to read a nice story (life is story, after all) and someone keeps trying to bash me in the head with the message.

Despite this, The Uniform of Leadership is an informative, interesting, and fast read. The chapters are episodic, on average a ten-page retelling of some work or life event that exhibits some principle in leadership. Every chapter ends with a series of discussion questions to help reflect of the principles of the chapter.

In the end, if you are a sports nut, you’ll probably see some value in this book, but it’s definitely a tier down from other books in this category written by the figures mentioned above that all have basically the same types of lessons. That said, it’s difficult to criticize a book that’s the result of someone’s life journey. There’s nothing wrong with what Jason has done or what he’s learned. As his unique, individual life: wonderful. But as a book that’s part of a genre: it’s been done better. If you really want to know about the life of an ESPN producer, pick this up—that’s it’s most unique value.