I’ve always been a fan of Mike Rowe and the work he’s doing to close the skills gap in America. However, The Way I Heard It has shed an entirely new light on the man and his work. Here are my thoughts on this sometimes autobiographical book.
Mike Rowe and The Way He Heard It
If you’re not familiar with Mike Rowe, he is a television host and runs the non-profit The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a foundation that grants scholarships to young people entering the trades.
I was first introduced to Mike Rowe as a narrator on the show Ghost Hunters (the original one from way back when because I’m OLD!). Then, of course, from Dirty Jobs fame. I watch Dirty Jobs on airplanes a lot because I get severe motion sickness, and I like to be distracted by good narrators. So it’s either The Tradd Street series I’m listening to or Mike Rowe talking to me about some kind of animal feces. Both are quite pleasant.
The Way I Heard It Podcast
Rowe began a podcast not too long ago that is nice and short. The tagline is: a podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span. Rowe relates the backstory about a famous person, event, or thing that you may not know and reveals the subject at the end of the podcast. It’s a great podcast, so when I saw this book coming out, I knew I’d add it to my TBR.
The Book Goes Autobiographical
While the podcast is about other people, Rowe takes some of the stories from his podcast, tells the reason why he chose that story, and then relates it to his own life.
The result is a reflection on a life well-lived and the set up for what adventures await Mike Rowe. It’s an incredibly moving tale, and one I did not expect. I thought Rowe would simply tell more stories like the podcast, but instead, you find yourself traveling through Rowe’s own life.
You discover the reasons for the podcast stories and how they’ve personally touched him. You unravel his relationship with his grandfather and why he’s so passionate about the skilled trades. He shares so much about life behind the camera of Dirty Jobs and the ups and downs of being a professional television host.
The amalgamation of all of this is a beautifully written book that keeps you turning pages to find out just how the world shaped Mike Rowe. But it’s more than that. When he talks about the reason he took on certain projects, you discover a person making decisions as a human and not someone trying to make it big in Hollywood. It’s endearing and relatable.
Mike Rowe as a Person
What’s left me most curious is how much this book has made Mike Rowe into a “person.” I know that sounds strange, but there are a few celebrities that come across as being genuinely human. I have always placed Mike Rowe in the same category as Hugh Jackman and Tom Hanks, two individuals who also come across as just being normal dudes.
This book morphed that perception into greater detail when Rowe shares his own struggles and viewpoints. As the host of Dirty Jobs, Rowe is meant to pull you into. the show. In the book, he becomes you and me.
Anyway, That’s the Way I Heard It
I encourage you to check out this book. It has so much packed into it that had me laughing and smiling and scratching my head. This book sparked so many impromptu conversations with my husband, far more than any book I’ve ever read. I’m sure he’s sick of hearing, “Did you know Mike Rowe…”.
Read this book. It might just be your next favorite one.