Framing the Dialogue


Uncommon can best be described as a self-help book for men written by a famous NFL coach.  Tony Dungy is an interesting man and even though he only played and coached for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a few years he did stand out as an uncommon man.  Subtitled “finding your path to significance,” Tony Dungy shares many personal examples and experiences of others to reinforce his thoughts on such subjects as character, fatherhood, friendship, mentoring, career, priorities, and faith.  It is obvious how much his belief in God steers his life which might seem a little at odds with his life as a successful professional football coach.  It was nice that he gave some recognition to players who share his values.  As a Pittsburgh Steeler fan I, of course, loved the references to the organization and none more than to former coach Chuck Noll, the greatest NFL coach ever (how many others can claim four NFL titles?). 

Dungy, however, does not really go into a great deal of depth on any one subject.  My guess is that is by design and while that makes this very readable it also, for me, makes it less than memorable or more common.  I can recommend this book to readers who will enjoy the stories, but perhaps yearn for more from someone who has been through so much…both good and tragic.

At the end of each chapter the author does provide a summary of the concepts and some are worth quoting…

  • Remember that what you do when no one is watching matters [this reminds me of noting how someone treats a person that cannot help them like a waitress in a restaurant.  That can tell a lot about that person and is why many job interviews are conducted at meals.]
  • Be careful with the authority and influence that you’ve been entrusted with [As I became a parent I noticed more and more how I said and did things like my parents.  While that was a revelation, it was shocking to notice when my children acted like me – both good and bad.  It made me regret some of my behavior as a youth and as a parent.]
  • Don’t take hassles from work home with you [I was laid off in 2009 and found work fairly quickly.  The job seemed like a great opportunity, but after four months grew to be a nightmare for me.  My whole life was infected.  The first good night’s sleep that I had in months was the night after I gave my two weeks notice.  I didn’t have another job lined up, but the money was not worth it and all that I could see down the road there was more of the same.]

In the last part of the book Tony Dungy has written in the style of frequently asked questions.  That was an uncommon way to end the book.

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