By the Book: Interview with Deion Sanders

By the Book: Interview with Deion Sanders

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

Peace! I need my peace. I usually read in my office, where I have extraordinary peace and joy, and nobody can interfere with those moments. I read to get a deeper meaning, a deeper understanding, and to edify myself.

What book (fiction or nonfiction) best captures the game of football as you know it?

The Bible. This has been my guiding book throughout my life, on and off the field, in and out of the boardrooms, and throughout my home.

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

“The Little Engine That Could.” This book completely changed my life, and is my favorite book, next to the Bible.

Several engines passed that train up — because they were too good or too mighty, too this or too that — and they wouldn’t dare waste their time because it didn’t fit their ideal description. Some of y’all in life “don’t fit the ideal description” and are working to get over that track. Sitting on the side of the road, on that track, just waiting and saying, “I think I can, I think I can.” What are you gonna attach yourself to in life to get you to the other side, where you can bless a multitude of people that have faith in you?

You’ve written a book about winning that comes after a losing season as a coach. Why should readers take your advice?

See, my definition of winning is much different than yours. If we win on the field but some of my players lose in the classroom — DID WE WIN? If we win on the field, excelled in the classroom, but no one goes pro — DID WE WIN? If we do all the above but I have several players getting into trouble and foolishness in life — DID WE WIN? Winning has nothing to do with the scoreboard; winning has something to do with the inner feeling of life. I’m here to help change and propel people’s lives, both on and off the field. What’s your definition?

How would you coach a writer struggling with his work?

First, I need to find out who he or she is and what they are. What his or her goals and ambitions are. What their purpose of writing is. Because all things in life must have a purpose. You need a why, or a rabbit, as I talk about in my book — something that’s right in front of you and attainable so you can keep on building and get to the destination.

Is this a book to be read or to be listened to?

Both! Personally, I always like to have the physical copy so I can write down my notes and go back and recall certain passages that caught my attention. That said, it was extremely important to me to be able to record the audio to my book, too. It’s coming straight from the source, it’s raw, it’s intimate.

How will you know that this book has succeeded?

You may not know that until 10 years down the road, when you’re walking through an airport or grocery store, and somebody said they read your book and that it provoked them to stay right instead, when they were ready to take a left.

Which of your football teammates would you most like to see write an autobiography?

Tim Green, who I played with on the Atlanta Falcons, has written several books. I love him, adore him, and he is a great novelist. I would want to read his autobiography.

Who would you want to write your life story?

My man! The one and only John Maxwell.

Why him?

Because John Maxwell is informative, inspirational, intellectual. He’s a phenomenal storyteller. He’s wise … he’s thoughtful … he’s exhilarating!

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

John Maxwell, Clarence Jones (speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr.) and Don Yaeger, who co-wrote my book with me.

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