Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turns 40 on Aug. 3 but plans on playing well past that number, even though the list of NFL quarterbacks who have had successful post-40 seasons isn’t exactly long. Nevertheless, at some point Brady will hang things up, and on Thursday he continued to lay the groundwork for his second life as a self-help guru with the announcement that he’s writing a book that’s coming out in September:
Here’s the Simon & Schuster summary for “The TB12 Method,” which does not skimp on the hyperbole or buzzwords:
The TB12 Method is the first book by Brady, who is still reaching unimaginable heights of performance excellence at 39 years old, and who this past February led the Patriots to the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Oversized, heavily illustrated, revealing yet deeply practical, The TB12 Method is an “athlete’s bible” that reveals Brady’s methods and approaches to sustained peak performance for people of all ages. In it, Brady tells the backstory that led to the revolutionary approach to his training and exercise regimen, one that decreases the risk of injury while extending peak performance. Brady offers the principles behind pliability, which is at the heart of a new paradigm shift and movement toward a more natural, healthier way of exercising, training, and living — and one that challenges some commonly held assumptions around health and wellness. Filled with lessons learned from Brady’s own peak performance training, and step-by-step action steps to help readers develop and maintain their own peak performance, The TB12 Method also advocates for more effective approaches to strength training, hydration, nutrition, supplementation, cognitive fitness, recovery, and other lifestyle choices that dramatically decrease the risk of injury while amplifying and extending performance, as well as quality of life.
Brady has long credited his workout regimen — which emphasizes flexibility and pliability instead of strength training — for the length of his NFL career, at 17 years and counting. There’s also his restrictive diet, which he already monetized in the form of a $200 cookbook. But at some point, one has to wonder whom Brady and his publisher are targeting apart from Patriots fans — who will snap up this book even if their idea of “performance training” involves walking instead of driving to Dunkin’ Donuts — and hardcore athletes, which seems like a terrifically small subset of the self-help-reading public.
There’s also a certain amount of risk in publishing a book — during the first month of the NFL season, no less — that promises to “dramatically decrease the risk of injury” even though the author’s occupation actively invites it. Sure, Brady has avoided serious injury for nearly all of his NFL career, but how much of that is because of his exercise regimen and how much is because he simply hasn’t gotten knocked down all that much? All it takes is one low hit for a season to end quickly — Brady knows this all too well — shredding one of the book’s biggest promises: That if you fill your life with “strength training, hydration, nutrition, supplementation, cognitive fitness, recovery, and other lifestyle choices,” your chances of getting hurt go down.
This is not to begrudge Brady for writing a life manual or anyone else for wanting to read it. But there’s a reason the self-help industry brings in $12 billion annually, and it’s not because everyone’s life immediately gets better. It’s because people both can’t stop buying the books and rarely start following their instructions.
“It helps people delude themselves into thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m doing something, I’m becoming a different person.’ ” Steve Salerno, author of the 2006 book “SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless,” told the Boston Globe in 2014. “But becoming a different person requires behavior changes, not just hope.”