I received this book, Relentless, as a Christmas present from my thoughtful boyfriend, Scott. His intention was for me to read this book during my flight to Europe for entertainment, but I was still trying to finish up Scorecasting-The Hidden Influences… By: Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Werthem at that point, so I didn’t start it until after winter break (Jan. 7th). Even though it took me longer than a month to complete, I finally finished last night (February 10th)! ~Just a couple days before Valentine’s Day, so I am reminded to be thankful for Scott and the amazing support he always gives me when I try to learn and reach my goals.
James, my mentor, has been telling me since first semester of my freshmen year in college that there is no excuse to not be able to learn something, if you can read. If there’s a topic you want to know about, you don’t have to wait for registration to sign up for a class, just go to the library and read about it. James is also an avid reader, and I’ve always admired the breadth of topics he is able to discuss with his peers and superiors because he is well read. Prior to opening this book, James told me he had read Relentless before and he enjoyed it, so I was really looking forward to reading this motivational work.
This book opens with “A Note from Tim Grover (the author),” and he talks about the three types of people, that he references throughout the novel: A Cooler, A Closer, and A Cleaner. In the preface, he didn’t really go into detail about what the three categories were, instead he tried to build his credibility with the reader by dropping big names of people who were his clients such as Lebron, Wade, and Kobe.
The two chapters following the note from the author continued to emphasize his credibility with star athletes. In the chapter “Don’t think,” Grover discusses his business “Attack Athletics,” and states that on a normal day it is not unusual for superstar athletes to come and work out in his facility on the West Side of Chicago. I was surprised he continued writing in first person point of view from the author’s note section, because in more technical and scientific papers, I was always told it wasn’t professional to write in first person point of view. However, I guess if Michael Jordan is one of your clients I guess you can do whatever you want and write however you want.
In the chapter following “Don’t Think,” the next section is called, “The Cleaner You are, the Dirtier You Get.” In this chapter, Grover puts the three types of people that he alluded to earlier in perspective:
The Cooler is the “lowest level,” on Grover’s spectrum. Coolers are good workers but don’t do anything outstanding.
The Closer is on the “medium level.” These people can go through a task a complete it well, but they take their fair share of rest time before completing another task.
The Cleaner is on the “highest level.” These are the few people who never stop. These are the people who make excellence their duty instead of an achievement. Instead of seeking the world’s approval once they have an accomplishment, these are the people who keep their head down and keep working hard relentlessly.
The chapters after those two sections, Grover gives a clearer picture of his “spectrum.” They all follow the same format, first they start with “#1. When you’re a Cleaner…” and each chapter lists a trait like, “…You get into the Zone, shut out everything else, and control the uncontrollable”
All these following chapters also have a section that summarizes how the three types compare, for example:
A Cooler gets everyone cranked up and emotional before the game
A Closer gets himself cranked up and emotional before the game
A Cleaner never gets cranked up or emotional; he stays cool and calm and saves it all for game time
Other than discussing these archetypes of people Grover gives a lot of examples in key situations where his clients demonstrated “Cleaner” mentality. I am convinced that he is a great consultant, and he does amazing work to ready the mindset of his clients during important parts of their career. However, I was hoping to read more about the method he used to help them. There were parts of the book where he wouldn’t share what he said to the athletes; I really wish he was less ambiguous about what he uses to motivate them. Grover wrote, “During halftime, I sometimes meet Kobe in the tunnel before he goes out for the second half…It takes less than fifteen seconds.. What I say to him is between us, but you can be sure he knows it’s the truth…” (Grover, 2014).
This book felt more like a long pep talk rather than a conglomerates of case studies like the previous book I read, so it did not offer me any technical information on sports statistics. However, it had good quotes that I hope to remember and apply to the endeavors I decide to take on, here they are:
“Even Michael [Jordan] used to say he had butterflies before a big game. “Get ’em going all the same way.” is what I would tell him, control your emotions to get energy…(Grover, 2014).”
“…being relentless means constantly working for that result, not just when drama is on the line. Clutch is about the last minute, Relentless is about every minute.(Grover, 2014).”
“People who start at the top never understand what they missed at the bottom, The guy who started by sorting the mail…or cleaning the restaurant late at night…that’s the guy who knows how to get things done. After he’s eventually worked his way up through the tanks, he knows how everything works, why it works, what to do when it stops working…(Grover, 2014).”
Overall, this book was a great reminder to push forward when it’s hard and it was inspiring to read stories about athletes as Cleaners. Even though, I’ll never be a professional athlete, their work ethic and attitude on the court is something I will always admire.