Why I Refuse to Review Brendan Leonard’s Book, 60 Meters to Anywhere
Because everybody else already did.
Look. Let’s be honest. If a book’s got a quote from Kelly Cordes on the front cover, and one from Kevin Fedarko on the back, what else do you really need to know?
You can probably rest fairly well assured that what’s sandwiched in the middle is pretty legit.
Open the front cover, and you’ll see more praise from the likes of ordinary folks most of us have never heard of. You know, people like Conrad Anker, Grayson Schaffer, Katie Ives, Steve Casimiro, Chris Kalous, Fitz Cahall… I could go on, but I won’t.
(That was a joke, by the way. I’m assuming you’ve heard of at least SOME of those luminaries of our industry).
When Brendan graciously offered to send me a copy of his new book, 60 Meters to Anywhere, it crossed my mind that perhaps he might be hoping the kind gesture would be repaid in a positive review from my blog. After all, this is the outdoor industry. The way to get ahead is to stroke as many egos as you can, as vigorously as possible, and then get your… comeuppance… so to speak. Right?
Surely, Brendan has been around long enough to know how to play the game.
But when I got the book in the mail, and opened the package, and looked at all these famous writers talking up his book, the beautiful cover, the Mountaineers Press logo, it donned on me how absurd I was being.
Sure, if I wrote a book, and self-published, and wanted to generate some press for it, then yeah; it might make sense for me to send a copy off to my ol’ buddy Brendan in hopes he would review it for his slightly more than semi-famous blog, Semi-Rad. After all, his blog gets more views on a good day than mine gets in a good year.
But would it make any sense, really, for Brendan to seek the same from me? I mean, if clicks were dollars, Brendan would be a prince and I’d be a pauper. It aint gonna do much good for the prince to beg a dubloon (or some other archaic small unit of money) off of the beggar.
In other words, more bluntly, I would stand to gain plenty from Brendan’s good press; he stands to gain comparatively very little for mine. There had to be another reason why he sent me the book. My paranoid scheming mind and cold coal-black heart strained to find the answer.
I opened the book, flipped past the page with all the praise, and stumbled upon something hand-written.
Always nervous about sending these to other (good) writers, but I hope you dig it. See you soon!
And like the grinch, I guess my heart grew two sizes.
Of course, Brendan did not send me the book so I could generate some iota of solid press for him. He sent it to me because he wanted to share his story, plain and simple (and, possibly, he knew I was too much of a cheapskate to buy a copy).
And that, by way of painfully long introduction, is what I most want to say about Brendan’s book.
Brendan didn’t write his story for the reason much of the media in the outdoors industry is made – ostensibly, to make money. I mean, yeah, he’s trying to make a living just like anyone. But as you’ll read in the book, he could have done just that writing copy for IBM. Instead, Brendan chose a different path (the reasons for which are elucidated in hilarious, revealing, and sometimes painfully embarrassing detail).
He wrote this story because he wanted to share it. And I’m glad he did, because it’s a story worth sharing. It is the kind of book that makes you want to meet the author, which I’ve always held as a litmus test of good literature.
It’s a quick, enjoyable, and unpretentious read. I am certain you’ll enjoy it,
if when you buy it.
So don’t be a cheapskate like me! Buy the book! When you do, you’ll be supporting a hell of a guy who could have been a down and out white collar IBM copy monkey if he hadn’t gone out on a limb trusting in the essential decency of the outdoors community and putting all his eggs into the one basket of the big wide world of…
Just buy the book. You won’t regret it. I promise.