The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

4.1 776
by Michael Lewis, Grover Gardner
     
 

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In football, as in life, the value we place on people changes with the rules of the games they play.

When we first meet the young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school. And

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Overview

In football, as in life, the value we place on people changes with the rules of the games they play.

When we first meet the young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school. And he has no serious experience playing organized football.

           
What changes? He takes up football, and school, after a rich, Evangelical, Republican family plucks him from the mean streets. Their love is the first great force that alters the world's perception of the boy, whom they adopt. The second force is the evolution of professional football itself.

           
In The Blind Side, Lewis shows us a largely unanalyzed but inexorable trend in football working its way down from the pros to the high school game, where it collides with the life of a single young man to produce a narrative of great and surprising power.

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Editorial Reviews

We are huge fans of Michael Lewis, one of the foremost practitioners of the new literary journalism, an engaging style of nonfiction that blends workmanlike reportage and artful, creative narration. Now the bestselling author of Liar's Poker, Moneyball, and Coach scores a touchdown with this insightful look at professional football and the changing nature of a game now tightly focused on speed, size, and strength. Typically, Lewis provides an appealing, human-interest hook to his deft analysis of America's most popular spectator sport. At the heart of The Blind Side is the remarkable story of a rising gridiron star, a young man -- rescued from an excruciatingly disadvantaged youth by a remarkable family, a Christian education, and the game of football -- who seems destined for a stellar career (and an astronomical salary) in the NFL.
Janet Maslin
Michael Lewis has such a gift for storytelling that it can be dangerous to his nonfiction. He is so much fun to read that he can appear to be shaping an entertaining narrative by sandpapering reality's rough edges. The real-life fable that is The Blind Side tells how a mountainous, destitute black teenager miraculously morphs into an Ole Miss football hero and becomes a member of a wealthy white evangelical family. Its dialogue is sharp and its anecdotes well chosen. Its aim for both the heartstrings and the funny bone is right on the mark.
—The New York Times
Allen Barra
The Blind Side, perhaps the best book written about a college football player since Willie Morris's The Courting of Marcus Dupree (1983), grabs hold of you in several ways. On one hand, you'll be appalled by the tactics used to advance academically unqualified high school and college football players. At the same time, you'll be furiously turning the pages, rooting for Michael Oher to succeed. And the story isn't over: If Oher makes it into the NFL in three years, Lewis should have a dandy follow-up.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
As he did so memorably for baseball in Moneyball, Lewis takes a statistical X-ray of the hidden substructure of football, outlining the invisible doings of unsung players that determine the outcome more than the showy exploits of point scorers. In his sketch of the gridiron arms race, first came the modern, meticulously choreographed passing offense, then the ferocious defensive pass rusher whose bone-crunching quarterback sacks demolished the best-laid passing game, and finally the rise of the left tackle the offensive lineman tasked with protecting the quarterback from the pass rusher whose presence is felt only through the game-deciding absence of said sacks. A rare creature combining 300 pounds of bulk with "the body control of a ballerina," the anonymous left tackle, Lewis notes, is now often a team's highest-paid player. Lewis fleshes this out with the colorful saga of left tackle prodigy Michael Oher. An intermittently homeless Memphis ghetto kid taken in by a rich white family and a Christian high school, Oher's preternatural size and agility soon has every college coach in the country courting him obsequiously. Combining a tour de force of sports analysis with a piquant ethnography of the South's pigskin mania, Lewis probes the fascinating question of whether football is a matter of brute force or subtle intellect. Photos. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Best-selling author Lewis (Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game) shows how changes in the pro game wrought by 49ers head coach Bill Walsh's efficient passing attack and a defense emphasizing Lawrence Taylor-style speed rushers from the quarterback's blind side mean that the offensive left tackle position now rivals the quarterback both in importance and in pay scale. Lewis's discussion of evolving strategy is woven into the true focus of his book, a profile of African American football prodigy Michael Oher. One of 13 children of a drug-addicted mother, Oher was homeless in Memphis when he was placed in the Briarcrest Christian School and then adopted by a wealthy white family. He found a sense of belonging and a future. He is now the massive left tackle for the University of Mississippi. His strange, sad, and yet inspiring tale is grippingly told here. For all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Bookmarks Magazine
“It's much more than a treatise on football; it's an exploration of the limits of conventional thinking and how strategic changes affect the value of quick-footed behemoths.... That he makes it easy for his reader to comprehend—and enjoy—is enough for most critics to give Lewis's latest a rousing cheer.”
Booklist
“Starred Review.... The book works on three levels. First as a shrewd analysis of the NFL; second,
as an expose of the insanity of big-time college football recruiting;
and, third, as a moving portrait of the positive effect that love,
family, and education can have in reversing the path of a life that was destined to be lived unhappily and, most likely, end badly.”
The Spectator
“Provides deep insights about sport and America.”
Financial Times
A wonderful tale.— John Gapper
The Observer
Lewis has made a habit of writing about sport recently, but sport is really only a subtext for a much more meaningful examination of class and race. I wept at the end, something I have not done at the end of a work of non-fiction for a very long time.— Malcolm Gladwell
The Times [London]
The strongest strand of The Blind Side is about sporting strategy.
When brain defeats brawn in one of Michael Lewis's books, you can almost hear the prose style lift off.— Ed Smith
Janet Maslin - The New York Times
“Its dialogue is sharp and its anecdotes well chosen.”
John Gapper - Financial Times
“A wonderful tale.”
Malcolm Gladwell - The Observer
“Lewis has made a habit of writing about sport recently, but sport is really only a subtext for a much more meaningful examination of class and race. I wept at the end, something I have not done at the end of a work of non-fiction for a very long time.”
Ed Smith - The Times [London]
“The strongest strand of The Blind Side is about sporting strategy.
When brain defeats brawn in one of Michael Lewis's books, you can almost hear the prose style lift off.”
Malcolm Gladwell - New York Times Book Review
“I read Lewis for the same reasons I watch Tiger Woods. I’ll never play like that. But it’s good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like.”
Jay Hancock - Baltimore Sun
“It's not a jock book. It's not a sociology book. It's a storybook about modern society, ancient virtues, and the power of love, money and talent to do a little good.”
Malcolm Gladwell
“The Blind Side is as insightful and moving a meditation on class inequality in America as I have ever read—although to put it that way, I realize, makes it sound deadly dull. It isn't.”
Allen Barra - Washington Post
“Lewis's overview of the evolution of NFL strategy... is not only sound but shrewder than that of many so-called football insiders who can't see the forest for the trees.”
George F. Will - New York Times Book Review
“[Lewis] is advancing a new genre of journalism.”
Wes Lukowsky - Booklist
“The Blind Side works on three levels. First as a shrewd analysis of the NFL; second, as an exposé of the insanity of big-time college football recruiting; and, third, as a moving portrait of the positive effect that love, family, and education can have in reversing the path of a life that was destined to be lived unhappily and, most likely, end badly.”
A.G. Gancarski - Washington Times

[?The Blind Side?] is about much more than college football recruitment... it is actually about the American dream itself.

Janet Maslin - New York Times

Lewis has such a gift for storytelling... he writes as lucidly for sports fans as for those who read him for other reasons.

Bill Littlefield - Boston Globe

No reader with even a passing interest in the current state of our games should fail to read it.

The Economist

Lewis provides a compelling book... explaining how this subtle and brutal game has changed as the balance of power has shifted between talented athletes and clever, devoted coaches.

Susan Larson - Times-Picayune

Lewis knows how to put the reader on the field.... ?The Blind Side? displays all of Lewis' particular writing strengths: the ability to drive a story forward, the eye for both the big picture and telling detail, shrewd wit, and an unerring instinct for discerning social complexity.... You'll be tempted to stand up and cheer as you read.

Allen Barra - Washinton Post
“Lewis's overview of the evolution of NFL strategy... is not only sound but shrewder than that of many so-called football insiders who can't see the forest for the trees.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307715067
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Edition description:
Movie Tie-In, Abridged
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Lewis is the bestselling author of Coach, Moneyball, Liar's Poker, and The New New Thing, among other books. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their two daughters.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 15, 1960
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, LA
Education:
Princeton University, B.A. in Art History, 1982; London School of Economics, 1985

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The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 776 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Living in the third poorest zip code in the United States, very few people get out to lead better lives. In the thought-provoking book The Blind Side, a fifteen year old boy named Michael Oher acquires the chance to leave because of his athletic ability. At age fifteen and already six foot five and 330 pounds, Michael has the build of a prototypical NFL offensive lineman. In a once in a million chance a rich white family adopts him and helps him reach his new goal of becoming a sports superstar. Throughout the book, Michael Lewis shifts from point to point, telling the reader about Michael but then explaining the offensive lineman¿s job in minute detail. You learn that Oher¿s mother is on crack, his dad is dead, and he¿s escaped from several foster homes as a child. I simply shook my head in wonder reading this book about how many good and bad things can happen simultaneously. I definitely suggest reading this book, as it is both touching and tells an avid sports fan much more in depth about the game of football than they ever thought. Sean period 4-6
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blind Side was enjoyable because of it powerful message about overcoming and putting others first. Through out the whole book the Tuogh family goes out of there way to help a young boy that they do not even know. Reading the book made me want to go out in my community and do something to help. Reading about how loving the family was, showed me the proper way for a christain family to act. I love hearing storys of people doing what ever they can to make a diffeance in some ones life that they dont even know, The Blind Side is a the perfect example of this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very good. i really don't like to read books, but i understod this one. mostly impart because it was about football, something i really like to play. it inspires you not to give up in life, or anything for that matter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Blind Side is a wonderfully written book about a famous, highly paid, football player, Michael Oher. Michael was not the average kid. He has thirteen brothers and sisters, his mom is addicted to crack, he doesn't know his father, he had never touched a football, and he doesn't know the basics to a good education such as reading and writing. He didn't have a stable home and didn't attend school on a regular basis. Then, his life took a turn for the better. He, some how, got into Briarcrest Christian School and was adopted by a wealthy white family. He and his new family worked hard to obtain an acceptable grade point average for the NCAA so he could play college football. Michael Oher faced and overcame many challenges. His life is mysterious, sad, and inspiring. He was able to make something of himself, with the help of others, and reached the ¿American Dream¿.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story and wished for more about Michael Oher and the Thouy family. I was completely bored with the pages and pages of football plays and football history. I am not that big a fan. I found myself skimming those pages to move on to the actual story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had seen the movie, which prompted me to read the book. The book does focus on the relationship between Michael Oher and the Touhy family, but to a lesser degree than the movie. The book focuses equally on Oher's relationship with the Touhys and the evolution of the game of professional football. Although I'm not a football fan, I received an education on how professional football has changed over the last 40 years. I was hoping for more detail regarding the interpersonal relationship aspects of the story, and instead found out more about football than I ever wanted to know. If you're a football fan you'll love the book. If you're looking for a more in-depth look at the relationships of the people involved you'll be dissapointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As well as you know, the book is always better than the movie. The Blind Side is a work of excellent entertainment. The story of Michael Oher is a story of classic rags to riches, but the Tuohy family changing his and their lives the moment they picked Michael up that cold night. The point of his education played such a integral part in his life that again the Tuohy family had a part in. The Blind Side is such a good feel good story. You don't have to be a sports fan, you don't have to be any kind of a fan to enjoy this story. great reading!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an amazing story. I read this book not knowing they were making it into a movie and I'm so glad I did. I only hope the movie can do the book justice. At times, the book can get very football intense which I was not expecting, but if you can hang in there it's worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great! I learned about college recruiting,football,and gaining sucess through unexpected means. My only downside was the history lessons on football. The information really interrupted the exciting story. But, was very interesting in its own way. Besides the football lessons it was still a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been interested in sports due to the lessons learned in developing leadership and motivational skills. It has always been fascinating to me to see what separates the winners from losers, the good players from the super stars, and the bench players from the starters. I used to think it was their unusual physical abilities. It is apparent to me now the intangible differences lie in the mental conditioning. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to one and all. What is especially appealing is that those not interested in sports will still be enthralled, entertained, and captivated. Reading 'The Blind Side' brings home the fact mental toughness starts in one's environment. It is a story bigger than just football. It is an inspirational, motivational, and engergizing story about the differences in a life one person can make. Reginald V. Johnson, author, 'How To Be Happy, Successful, And Rich'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a pretty big disapointment. There was too much about football and not enough about Michael Oher and the Touhys. And Im a football fan. Parts with Michael were good though. Wouldnt have watched movie if I had read book first. Movie was way better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis was a truly great book. Michael Oher was a young poor black kid that had excellent football skills. He was never known as an athletic or academic kid because of where he was from. As Michael got adopted/picked to live with his football coach and his family, he began to live a life of a regular football player, and a normal human being. Over time Michaels academic and athleticism increased, and he became a great player. From there Michael move on into college at Ole Miss. And he went to the NFL getting drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. This book is great because it showed how Michael matured, and overcame though situations throughout his life. This book demonstrates how not only you over time can become better at school, but also at sports. I learned multiple things from this book including that nothing is impossible, and if you put your mind to something, and try your hardest you will eventually succeed. This book deserves a 5 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend that everyone no matter if they life sports or not, they read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book my husband and I can read. The human story is personal and uplifting. The back ground of football was very informative yet not super dry. I actually might be able to watch a pro game now with out being bored to tears.
FredT More than 1 year ago
Both my wife (not a football fan) and me (a football fan) read this book straight through over 2 days. It combines a compelling emotional story (told in the movie) with much more background on the football side of the story and the social side of kids growing up in the shifting sands of absentee parents and economic and social deprivation. At the end of the book, the story of Michael is pulled together in a comprehensive and compelling way that the movie couldn't accomplish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blind Side the book is even better than the movie which is outstanding. The book is the story of Michael Oher and his tremendous turn around life. After having a childhood where is mother was addicted to crack and living on the street having the to Tuohy family take him in was a big change. Throughout the book you follow Michael on his football journey of becoming a great left tackle and every page you feel like you know him and are cheering for him the whole time. This book has the message of how hard work pays off and it is worth it in the end. Anyone who has seen the movie and liked it will love the book. Also anyone who likes football or a great story should read this book, since it is great for men and women of any age group. My overall rate of this book is five of five stars because it was an entertaining book that I really enjoyed. I liked this book because it was easy to understand and relate to. I love watching football so reading this book painted a picture in your head of what was going on and it made you feel like you were there and you were part of the family or crowd cheering on Michael. A dislike of the this book was since watching the movie made me want to read the book I knew how things were going to turn out, so it took away some of the suspense and shock at the outcomes. Also I was visualizing the movie characters instead of making up my own in my head. The book at some points dragged on and got boring, but I just skipped over them and enjoyed the rest. But I would strongly suggest watching the movie but like always read the book first and they both will be great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blind Side The Blind Side is about Michael Oher. He is one of 13 children to a mother addicted to crack. They live in the middle of a city owned by gangs and full of drugs and violence. Michael has little to no knowledge and no real home. Then one day, a man named Tony Henderson takes his son to get a Christian education, because of his mothers dying wish. To keep Michael from heading towards a bad end , he takes Michael with him. Because of his choice, he meets a rich, white family that changes his life forever. What I like about this book is that someone who knows nothing about this poor black boy, takes him in and gives him a new life. This is something we all should do, take care of each other. I could not find anything bad about this book. I recommened this book if you like to see triumph in the face of adversity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that even topped the movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A true,heartfting story about a poor football player off of the streets,who makes a football game a series of suprising events.Michael ore changes the lives of many,espec the Tuii's,who took michael in when he needed it,he was respectful but confused and found his way to a happier life even when he faced hard times.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I live the movie and i love the book even more u need to read this dook it life changing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first he was bad at football then he was good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much its so sweet it brought me to tear when that lady i just forgot her name but anyway its so sweet that she helped out michael that is just so nice and i thing alot of people would enjoy the book and the movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I look around me and see white everywhere, white walls, white floors, and a lot of white people. The teachers don't realize that I have no idea what there talking about, they give me homework and expect me to do the problems on my own. I have never done homework in my life. I go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and say,"This is not Micheal Oher".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
too much football talk for a football book xD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The blind side is a good book it teachs a lesson
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blind Side The Blind Side, a story based upon the life of Michael Oher and his journey from the streets to being a star offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Michael grew up in a very dysfunctional household with the absence of a father and his mothers drug abuse. He wandered the streets for food and shelter not knowing where he is going to stay or where his next meal will come from. One day on a cold snowy night he was spotted by the Tuohys and they took him in under their wing and that is where the story begins. The major theme in this book was overcoming challenges. An example of Michael having to overcome challenges was based upon his schoolwork. Before he attended Briarcrest Christian School Michael was apart of the Memphis school district, where they found it easier that instead of flunking the student they would give him the necessary grade to be passed onto the next grade level. He was in the 6th percentile for academics. Teachers at Briarcrest thought that Michael was a lost cause and no matter how much they tried to teach him he never seemed to retain any knowledge. It seemed as though his short stint at Briarcrest was coming to an end, until one day. Michael’s Biology teacher tried to give the test to him orally and to her surprise there was evidence that Michael was retaining the information. This shows how even when all seemed lost there was evidence that Michael was showing promise and because of that it led to his eventual involvement in sports. Some of the things that I liked most about this book is its use of description when referring to Michael or to the emotions to the rest of the people in the book. It helps you as reader to have a sense of what they were feeling and put you into their shoes. A few of the things I did not like about the book was how it lacked a real climax to the story. It at times seemed to just go through the motions and because of that can maybe bore you at times. If you liked the movie I would definitely recommend reading this. The movie really focuses on him playing football, where in the book it really goes into depth about his family life and his struggles with academics. He not only played football, but he was a basketball star and broke numerous shot put and discus records simply by analyzing others and mimicking their movements. So overall I would give this book three stars out of five because I liked the story and how Michael beat the odds and overcame numerous obstacles, but at times it somewhat bored me because it seemed to just go through the motions and never really meet that climax point. If you enjoyed this book I would recommend you read Money Ball, which is also by Michael Lewis.