Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It

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An inside look at the world of fantasy sports from the most recognizable and trusted name in the industry.

Fantasy Life explores the increasingly ubiquitous world of fantasy sports. Every year, millions of men – and women - spend their time assembling, managing, and obsessing over fantasy teams. Reputations are put on the line. Friendships are tested. Money is won, and more often lost. Fantasy sports aren’t make-believe. For its devotees, ...

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Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It

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An inside look at the world of fantasy sports from the most recognizable and trusted name in the industry.

Fantasy Life explores the increasingly ubiquitous world of fantasy sports. Every year, millions of men – and women - spend their time assembling, managing, and obsessing over fantasy teams. Reputations are put on the line. Friendships are tested. Money is won, and more often lost. Fantasy sports aren’t make-believe. For its devotees, fantasy is reality.

As the Senior Fantasy Analyst at ESPN, Matthew Berry is on the front lines of what is no longer just a niche sub-culture, but a multi-billion dollar national pastime. In Fantasy Life, he celebrates every aspect of the fantasy sports world, from the hilarious to the insane to the uplifting. It contains stories of intrigue, betrayal, outrageous behavior, and surprisingly touching moments (let’s just say that fantasy might save your life). And along the way, he chronicles his rise from a fourteen-year-old fantasy player to being the face of fantasy sports for the largest sports media company in the world, a journey that coincides with the tremendous growth of fantasy sports, from small groups of friends mailing each other box scores to a phenomenon played by over 30 million people.

Because sometimes fantasy life is better than real life.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Let's be honest: Many football, baseball, and basketball enthusiasts watch sports with a split sense of loyalty: On one hand, they want the local team to win; on the other, the 35 million North American fantasy sports fans want the players on their personal game teams to succeed. What began in the late seventies as a modest venture has become a national obsession that receives regular attention on national news and network sports shows. Fantasy Life takes us into the weird, wondrous, self-contained universe of "reality" sports gamers. Readers couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable guide: As ESPN's Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst, Matthew Berry has covered every facet of this popular indoor sport; from players and officials to attempts, both legal and illegal, to gain a winning advantage. An off-season or on-season must-read; now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Publishers Weekly
Mixing autobiography with reportage on friends and field-famous players, ESPN personality Berry delves into the psychology and, more to the point, the comedy of fantasy sports. From mustache-growing pacts to Twitter accounts devoted exclusively to intra-league trash talk, Berry introduces some of the most creative fantasy traditions known to breed league-spirit. His tone—laid-back, witty—suits the beery, good-time atmosphere of fantasy sports. A one-time sitcom scribe, Berry knows how to frame a scene so its full, maybe even shocking, humorous glory shines through (See the one about the repo man, the owner of the would-be-repossessed car, and the cop who all put aside their differences to convene on the wisdom of a draft pick). Similarly, his comic timing comes into play in observations on the non-fantasy ramifications of fantasy team construction. Without abandoning his comedic baseline, Berry successfully journeys into philosophy—that of team play, that of living—and practical advice for leaguers concerning, for instance, how to not be That Guy. Though some sections are targeted solely towards fantasy fans ("20 Most Soul-Crushing Ways to Lose"), readers don't need a commissioner's knowledge to enjoy this insider's peek into the often astounding and always fun realm of fantasy sports. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Fantasy sports: more fun to play than to read about. Rotisserie baseball, which began as a bunch of overly intelligent baseball nerds in New York playing with numbers, has since blossomed into a multisport, multimedia phenomenon. Before the Internet, the typical fantasy league pulled its statistics from the newspaper, after which its members ran the numbers by hand; now, numerous Web outlets have programs in which the masses can draft their teams and let the technology do the stats work. One of the most notable is, unsurprisingly, ESPN, and offers not only online services as a repository for league stats, but also advice columnists, the best of whom is Berry, aka the Talented Mr. Roto. In his debut book, the author combines memoir, history and cultural study in what was likely intended to be the definitive volume on fantasy sports; however, the topic is too thin for this much study and analysis. A genial gent, Berry relates his entry into fantasy sports, touches on fantasy's roots and presents numerous case studies--i.e., stories from fantasy leagues around the world. Unfortunately, the autobiographical sections are less than compelling, the roots-of-fantasy stories have been told time and again, and the case studies are simply uninteresting. In addition, the long, trying-too-hard-to-be-clever chapter titles begin to grate--e.g., "The Benefits of Fantasy in the Work Place, or ‘No One Seems to Realize That Adrian Peterson Isn't a Parishioner.' " Berry's fantasy advice columns on and his ESPN on-air work are flat-out enjoyable, so his many fans may be disappointed with this earnest yet tepid effort, which makes it clear that fantasy sports commentary is best left for the online world. Berry gave it the old college try, but the ultimate fantasy sports book has yet to be written--then again, it's possible that such an entity is a pipe dream.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594486258
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/16/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 182,732
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Described as “one of the stars of the web” and a “fantasy savant” by The New York Times, Matthew Berry is ESPN’s Senior Fantasy Analyst. Known as the “Talented Mr. Roto,” he’s one of the most popular columnists on and appears regularly on ESPN television and radio shows.  He won an Emmy for his television show, “Fantasy Football Now,” and is a member of both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. Named to the Twitter Top 100 by Sports Illustrated, Matthew has also been profiled in numerous magazines and newspapers, had his likeness included in the Madden NFL ‘11 video game, and appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” FX’s “The League,” and even “One Life to Live.”

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Mathew Berry¿s book Fantasy Life is a must read for any and all

    Mathew Berry’s book Fantasy Life is a must read for any and all fantasy sports fans.
    Be forewarned-Don’t expect any of  the “Talented Mr. Roto’s” great fantasy advice in this 353 page book. For that I recommend you read his columns or listen to his podcast (Monday through Friday) Fantasy Focus Football or Baseball on ESPN (I am almost a company man-insert ESPN jingle here).  Instead readers find a glorious cornucopia (did I just use that word?) of fantasy sports stories. I reveled in stories about drafts, attempting to set lineups, relationships involving fantasy sports, league prizes and penalties and of course Mathew Berry’s own journey from Hollywood writer to TMR to Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame Inductee. {Authors Note: I am in the FSWA and enthusiastically voted for Mathew in the balloting. He is a great fantasy sports persona.}

    But this great book can appeal to more than just diehard fantasy sports fans…and it is not just fantasy football, he talks about fantasy baseball and hockey and basketball too. All of which are covered in books I have recently published but I digress. I recommend every fantasy widow (you know who you are-the spouse who is left behind when the fantasy season starts only to be rediscovered after the significant other is eliminated from playoff contention) read this tome as well. Fantasy Life will give you, the un-addicted, a beautiful appreciation of the passion we fantasy sports fans have. 

    In short, it is a great read. Berry combines humor and his history along with poignant stories to illustrate how fantasy sports can have a big influence on our lives. He takes great pains to paint us as not as nerds but average joes who just want a little excitement. It is a spot on portrayal and the book hits the mark with its easy flow and Berry’s deprecating style. Well-done Mathew. Take a bow. Not get back to work on Fantasy Focus Football-I miss those podcasts already.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013


    This is a must read for anybody that plays fantasy football.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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