Aaron Rodgers Loves Books Too: How Sharpening Your Mind Enhances Your Performance

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This game is about how you respond to negativity, usually more than how you’re hailed for your successes.”- Aaron Rodgers

hiitide is a company built around providing value to people’s lives. Our goal is to distill the valuable information that is put out by authors and bring it to people in a useful and actionable way. But, we aren’t the only ones who want to spread knowledge. Today, we will share a story about a man who is trying to get people back into the art of reading.

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a passion that extends beyond his pursuits on the football field. In recent interviews with Pat McCAfee, host of the Pat McAfee show and former NFL punter, Aaron has expressed that he has a great passion and belief in the value of reading. 

Over the past year Aaron Rodgers has been the source of great drama for the sports media to feed off. After winning MVP of the league at an unprecedented 37 years of age, Aaron had some unsurprising contract complications with the organization. This caused sports media like, Barstool Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports Analysts Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless and the whole sports world to speak on the subject. In a frenzy, everyone shared their wide variety of opinions. On any given day during this epidemic of sports media you’d hear, “He’s upset about them drafting a new quarterback.” “He’s going to retire and become the host of Jeopardy.” “He can’t stand the power structure in the organization.” “His teammates resent him.” 

This chaos went on and on and on for months. Meanwhile, Aaron sat back and watched as people made up one story after another. He remained silent, never saying anything to the media and leaving all of his discussions about the Green Bay Packers franchise behind closed doors. As the season came around, he finally stepped out like a bear coming out of hibernation and talked to the media. He said that he was working on getting his mind right and strengthening where he was mentally. He expressed that he did have some disturbance with the way things had been done within the organization and they came to an agreement to work through this together and make a change for the future. 

During his long and prestigious career filled with ups and downs, twists and turns and the eyes of the sports world being all over him, one thing has helped make it through every challenge. Reading books. Many people have used the phrase, “leaders are readers,” and Aaron is no exception. He has spent a tremendous amount of time reading books and taking the messages in them to improve the way he leads, communicates, plays and more. 

As the NFL’s Most Valuable Player from the 2020 season, SuperBowl champion and recent guest host of Jeopardy, Aaron has started to communicate this message more and more. By sharpening his mind, building soft skills and expanding his understanding, he has been able to continually elevate his game for many years. People around him started to see this and want to know how they can get themselves started on a similar path.

One of Aaron’s teammates asked for him to put together a starter pack of books at the beginning of the 2021 season. Aaron says, “I went to Barnes & Noble and picked out some books for him to get going. Then, I saw some people online asking for some books to get started on their own.” This chain reaction of interest in books made Aaron realize that he wanted to do more. He wanted to share more books, more information and more of the tools that have helped him achieve so much over the years. He decided to start a weekly book club on the Pat McAfee Show!

In his podcast talk, himself, Pat McAfee and co-host AJ Hawk start to dive into one of the books. Aaron shares a little bit more about why he wants people to read. He says, “We need more people reading. People spend too much time sitting on their ass watching TV and other bullshit, instead just read a book.” He goes on to describe how he reads: he highlights important quotes, folds pages he likes and aims to study the book rather than just move through the pages. 

This echoes the way that we think about the author’s work at hiitide. Our Curriculum Designer’s dive deep into the author’s content, pulling all the vital information and communicating directly with the subject matter expert to create the most value for our users. Each course is made to take all the wisdom, information and instruction from a book and put it right into your lives. 

Aaron’s online book club is much different than what we offer at hiitide, but he’s finding his own way to offer the great wisdom of books that have made such a difference in his own life! In his second edition of the Aaron Rodgers book club, he recommends a great book, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer.

Here’s a little clip from Aaron Rodgers from his talk during his book club segment:

“I thought the book was fitting here for a couple of reasons. One, we just had the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I think all of us in our age group know where we were and what we were doing when the tragedy occured.” It’s also the book that I’ve chosen this week because the author is one of my all time favorites. I’ve read many of Jon Krakauer’s books. He’s also written other books like Into Thin Air and Into The Wild which was later made into a movie

The book Where Men Win Glory is about Pat Tillman, a person who’s an inspiration to me and so many of us. He’s a man who walked away from the NFL and a multimillion dollar contract after 9/11 to serve his country by becoming an Army Ranger with his brother. 

The thing about the author Krakauer is that he gives incredible historical context in his books. If you love history, he does a great job of telling you the history of Afghanistan which is relevant in today’s climate. He talks about the 70s, the 80s,  the USSR, and our attempt to take control of that region that’s so resource dense. He describes how it’s not just opioids and poppy fields but there’s actually trillions of dollars in resources and Krakauer does a great job of breaking that down. 

More importantly, the story really hits you.The best part about it is learning more about Pat Tilman. You find out he’s a deep thinker and he, like myself, grew up in and around the church but at some point really dove into Eastern religions, meditation, philosophy and journaling. He was a very curious guy and he had a lot of interests outside of football. He’s also a very loyal, patriotic person which is why 9/11 hit him so hard and made him realize he needed to do something. So he went to Afghanistan, fought for his country and laid his life on the line fighting for what he believed in. Now after he’s passed, there’s still a lot of cloudiness around his death. 

I’m not gonna spoil the whole thing because I want people to read the book. It’s a special book to me and I’ve given it away so many times because I love it. Recently, I had to go to Barnes and Noble just to pick it up again.

Shout out to Pat Tillman’s family for all the great work they’ve done for the Pat Tilman Foundation as well.”

As Aaron finishes up, he receives a special message from the host Pat McAfee about the response from the broader community. Pat says, “Shout out to you (Aaron) for bringing eyes to reading again, the reading community seems to be very thankful. Last week after you mentioned The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo it went right up to the top of the charts. I cannot wait to check out this week’s book Where Men Win Glory.” 

After watching this interview, we get a glimpse into a world that is often not filled with books. The sports world has seen more issues of Sports Illustrated magazine, spilled beer and hours of watching football in front of a television than quiet hours reading books. But, Aaron Rodgers believes in the value of reading, learning and pursuing personal growth. In his newest edition of his book club with Pat McAfee, Aaron says, “When I see a guy growing as a person, 99% of the time it translates to them growing on the field. Your best players have to be your best people.” This belief in personal growth being the key to success in his profession has been a pillar to his great success and something he wants to share with the world. 

In addition to the weekly book club, he is also going to be donating to an organization that fosters and advocates readership at the end of the season. In order to support this project, you can watch the Pat McAfee show and buy one of his shirts here. All proceeds for the shirt go directly to the reading advocacy group of Aaron’s choice. 

Some of the soft skills that Aaron talks about, hiitide has built a course to learn them. We have courses on leadership, overcoming obstacles, staying focused, finding your own way. Here’s a few great micro-courses you can sign up for today: Indistractable, Lead with No Fear, Built to Serve just to name a few. Check out our entire catalog of micro courses here. 

Luke is someone who enjoys the useful application of knowledge through innovative technologies. In his past experience, he’s been a major part of building an AI children’s educational program. As a hiitide Curriculum Designer, he brings invaluable creative insight to the team.
Luke Height
hiitide Curriculum Designer

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