Matheny, Mike and Jerry B. Jenkins. The Matheny Manifesto – A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life. New York: Crown Archetype, 2015. 226 pp. $24.00. Purchase for less at Amazon. Also, for Kindle.
Mike Matheny is a form Major League catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants. He is currently the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals having replaced Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa after an epic run to become World Series Champions in 2011.
Jerry Jenkins needs no introduction to most readers of Christian books. He has authored or co-authored over twenty New York Times bestsellers and has helped a number of athletes write their autobiographies.
Divided into three parts over fourteen chapters, Matheny, with the help of Jenkins, brings to completion something he inadvertently started when asked to coach a youth baseball team. Part one looks at the problem of youth sports which feeds into the problem for so many young adults in the “real world.”
The second part lays the foundation for a better way to handle youth sports, and, consequently, youth in general. Along the way he pays homage to arguably the greatest coach of all time – John Wooden.
The final, and largest part of the book, offers eight keys to success. These include a proper understanding of leadership, having confidence (not arrogance), the ability to work together as a team, and the importance of faith. Further, he continues to explain the necessity of character and class as well as toughness and humility.
The title, while long, is straight-forward. The reader pretty much knows exactly what is coming. Matheny, however, interweaves his own life’s story to show the reader how he arrived at what amounts to his philosophy of life. He does not shy away from his faith in Christ. As a matter of fact, he makes is extremely clear from the outset that this is foundational to everything he is and has become as a man and as a manager.
What he does well is to show how his life, and yours, does not take place in a vacuum. He gives credit to a number of men and women along the way that helped to shape him as well as reinforce what his parents taught him.
He writes with a conversational tone that almost makes the reader feel as though he is engaged in a conversation with Matheny. He is almost didactic in that approach as he seems to anticipate questions throughout the book. He even goes so far as to ask the questions himself and then proceed to answer them. Again, this helps you remain engaged.
My only criticism is that the picture of he and Jenkins on the inside dust jacket was taken at Wrigley Field. As a lifelong Cardinals fan, this is unacceptable. (OK, that does not really count as criticism, but it is extremely close!)
In the end, Matheny has authored a concise autobiography that can be used for all coaches and parents and yes, even business leaders. The fact that he has built on the foundation of Christ is very obvious as you read this book. In fact, I believe Romans 10:9-21 would make an excellent biblical summary of this biography.
I really enjoyed reading this short book. I believe you will as well. This book is highly recommended to anyone who has children, is involved in the lives of children, or once was a child. It is for both Christians and non-Christians.