Episode 273 – Work on your Game with Dre Baldwin

“I don’t care how big of a following you have, who your publisher is, what kind of marketing plan you put together, how big of an influencer you are: if you don’t sit down and write, then there will be no book.”

Dre BaldwinThis is the game people, and this is how you do the work. Dre Baldwin didn’t find basketball magically effortless, but he turned himself from high-school reserve to pro by doing the work, and now he teaches other people how to bring that pro mindset to the work that matters, whatever it is. 

In this conversation we talk about basketball, writing, using the full range of social media channels (well, almost) and how books fit within a content publishing empire. 

If you’re looking for magic bullets and excuses this is probably not for you. If you want to be inspired and challenged – hit play. 

Work on your Game site: https://workonyourgame.com/

Dre on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dreupt

Dre on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Threepeakslead1

Alison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookstothesky

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

The Extraordinary Business Book Club bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/extraordinarybusinessbooks


Alison Jones: I’m here today with Dre Baldwin. In just five years, he went from his high school team’s bench to a nine-year professional basketball career. And at the same time, he built a content publishing empire, beginning his blog in 2005 and publishing videos to YouTube in 2006. So he’s now published over 7,000 videos and his content has been viewed over 73 million times.

And his daily Work On Your Game podcast has over 3 million listeners. Dre has given four Ted talks. He’s authored 27 books, most recently Work On Your Game from McGraw Hill. So welcome to the show Dre.

Dre Baldwin: Thank you for having me. Alison, I’m excited to be here and get into this conversation.

Alison Jones: it is really, really cool to have you here, although a bit intimidating, because I don’t think we’ve got 73 million views or downloads of the Extraordinary Business Book Club yet. We’re not far off.

Dre Baldwin: We’re going to help.

Alison Jones: Yeah, this is going to help. That’s absolutely it. Yeah. Brilliant. I wanted to start just by telling people why you’re here because I get a lot of pitches onto the show. And they’re mostly emails from PR people or from people sort of saying, this is what I do, and you can tell it’s gone out to a million people. You didn’t do that, did you Dre? Tell the world how you pitched me.

Dre Baldwin: I created a personalized video, the video was about three to four minutes maybe, three to four minute video just telling you a little bit about myself and also telling you why I’d be a good candidate to be on your show.

Alison Jones: And do you know what? That doesn’t sound like anything rocket science though does it, but it blew me away. It was, you’d listened, you knew what the show is about, you knew me, you were like, do you know this is why I think it’s gonna be good. And it was a very, very cool skyline behind you. I’ve got to say as well, that helped.

Dre Baldwin: Oh, yeah, I take advantage of that, take advantage of the scenery.

Alison Jones: Well, you should. So just loved that and it really exemplifies I think, I’m calling your approach and the fact that we’re using it on the podcast here, it’s ‘Dre for the UK’, because it’s very much not quite doing things the way you’d expect, and it’s kind of grabbing stuff by the short and curlies and going for it. And I just thought that was really, really good lived example of it.

Dre Baldwin: Yes, exactly, and it basically embodies the entire Work On Your Game brand. What the whole thing is about. So is perfectly on brand, I would say Alison.

Alison Jones: It was on brand, it was a good tactic. And I think also what it did as well was it was very authentic and yeah, and just actually the power of video.

So I’m an audio kind of girl. And I love writing. I shy away from video quite a lot. Just talking off screen, I was like, no, I don’t do video. You’ve got to brush your hair and stuff for that.

But it was a real lesson in actually that visual power of the video. So, I mean, you use all the media, don’t you, you write the books, you do the podcast, you do the video, you know, how do you see all those working together?

Dre Baldwin: Yeah, I do all of those things and how I like them to work together because one thing that I realized, especially Alison, realizing that I come from the sports world, you know, so a lot of people who knew me before I got into your world were athletes. And in the sports world, you had to have video because that’s the only way people know that it’s happening. You watch the game on TV.

So I knew that in order to reach that audience, once I started writing books, I needed to show them, they needed to see me and hear me and see my face while I was talking so that they could see, okay, this guy, I respect him from the sports world. And a lot of these athletes, to be honest, a lot of them don’t read, they don’t read books. They watch videos on YouTube. That’s what they do. That’s how they came to know me.

So in order for me to build that bridge, the bridge between basketball and books, they had to see somebody who looked like he was cool, looked like he knew what he was doing. They respect me in the basketball world. Now they can see me in the book space. And now they’ll say, I get messages from young men all the time. Like ‘Dre, I never read books until I started reading your stuff. And now I’m into books. And now you mentioned this author and that author, I go get those books.’ So it’s been a life changing thing for me.

And I know I went on a tangent there, but to answer your question, the reason why I use all the platforms is because again, naturally I always did, but at the same time a lot of people, reading is like the last level, I think when it comes to getting information these days, people will listen to podcasts and anybody watch a YouTube video or a television show. Very few people are going to go sit down and actually read a book.

Now there’s a lot of audio books. So us authors, we have to go to where those people are at and then bring them back. It’s like you got to go get the people and bring them to where we are instead of hoping that they come to us.

Alison Jones: I love that. So it’s very much about, as you say, building the bridges, being where the people are, giving them a way in and giving them their YouTube video, but also how does it, what does it for you? So you’re moving between those modes. Do you notice yourself being different or does it draw different things out of you?

Dre Baldwin: In which platform?

Alison Jones: So when you’re in front of the camera doing a video, when you’re sitting down writing a book, you know, how does that reflect different aspects of you.

Dre Baldwin: Hmm. Well, the thing about me is, and people will tell you this, who have consumed a good amount of my stuff, I’m the same person on all the platforms. So whether that’s audio, whether it’s written, whether it’s video, whether it’s live, whether if I’m on a live stream or clubhouse, that clubhouse app or anything like that. I have the same approach, the same persona, even in my written material.

 A lot of people, you asked me about this before we started recording, but , a lot of people will read my stuff and say, well, I know it was you Dre because I can almost hear your voice while I’m reading your words.

Alison Jones: So much energy in it

Dre Baldwin: Exactly. So the way that I present myself in all platforms is the same way. Even if I’m on a stage, at a live event speaking is the same person that you’re listening to right now. So that consistency of the message, I think is what people buy into with me. Doesn’t mean everybody has to be like that, but that’s what works for me.

Alison Jones: And there’s a sublime self-confidence that goes with that, that I love, I’m a bit jealous of it too, but it really ties in with, yeah, I’m British don’t you know, but it really ties in with kind of your, that message in the book about, do you know: niceness is overrated is basically what you’re saying.

And I think as a sort of, you know, middle-aged British woman, I ended up going, yeah. I need to hear that because we fetishize niceness. We fetishize getting on with people and not rocking the boat. And that’s kind of not how you approach stuff, is it?

Dre Baldwin: Not at all, and it’s not that you can’t be nice, it’s just that they’re not mutually exclusive. And the cliche that we’ve all grown up with is, you know, it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice, but it’s surmising that they are different that you can only be one or the other, but you can be both, but being important.

The definition of importance as I wrote in the book is having a profound effect on success. Everybody wants to create success. So you want to be important. Important is a very important thing to be when you are important.

Alison Jones: Important to be important. I did like the way you phrased that.

Dre Baldwin: When you are important and doing important things, you’re having a profound effect on success, yours and that of others, then you are positioned to do nice things as much as you can do as many nice things as you want.

And I don’t know about you, Alison, but every person I’ve met, who’s very important i.e. They have a profound effect on success of themselves and others. They’re usually really nice people. And the people that I’ve met that are the biggest jerks are usually people who are not very important because they’re not creating much success. They don’t have anything to be happy about. So they are not mutually exclusive.

Alison Jones: They’re not, and it’s a real lesson in how a kind of neat sounding phrase can kind of get into your head and do some damage.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. Tell me about it ,my whole career is based around that and fixing those things.

Alison Jones: And well, so tell me a little bit about that, because I think, you know, your own story is so fascinating and you’re so insightful about those mountain top moments, those kind of moments of real emotional clarity. So just tell us that journey from kind of, you know, your mum saying, don’t be ridiculous you’re not going to be a professional basketball star, and you kind of facing the reality, that reality wasn’t what you wanted it to be, to how you just kind of took it and shaped it into what you wanted it to be.

Dre Baldwin: So my background being in sports, you know, I didn’t have, even though I’m a professional athlete and when people hear about it and they see me now, they’re like, okay, you’re a professional athlete. You know you were an athlete. You’re tall, you know, you’re in shape. You probably always knew from a kid, you were going to become this great athlete.

That was definitely not the case. So I didn’t make my high school team until my last year in high school, only played that one year and didn’t really play that much, even then. In college, I played at the division three level, which is basically the third tier of college sports. Most of the pro athletes come from the first tier, I was at the third tier and then coming out of college, like I wrote about in a book and you just mentioned my mum wasn’t, it’s not like she was hating on me or trying to discourage my success in life. It was just that she was looking at the situation practically and realistically saying, well, I mean, you don’t have, there wasn’t much of my background to say I was going to become a pro athlete and she was accurate in saying that.

So she wasn’t, again, I wasn’t mad at her. I was just mad at the reality of the situation. When I realized like, damn, she’s right, she’s telling me the truth. She was basically holding up a mirror to me. And at that point I decided that I wasn’t going to allow the quote unquote reality to hold me back. And one thing that I tell people all the time is that reality is negotiable.

It is malleable. You can change reality. And every one of us has our own reality. So when one person says to another person, you are not being realistic. Well, they’re actually both right. Because person A has their own reality and person B has his or her own reality. So you can’t force your reality on another person. Each person has a choice of what the reality is going to be.

So I decided that I didn’t like my reality at that time, after my mom held that mirror up to me and I decided I was going to change it. And when I became a pro athlete, then I got on YouTube and start making these videos, the players who were watching me, they saw that I was a good player and it was like, man, this guy looks like he can really play.

But the problem was that, the conflict was, I’ve never heard of this guy. I never seen him on TV. But he’s really good, who is this guy? Where did he come from? How did you, how did this happen? So they started asking me questions about my background and when I explained to them what I just explained to you, they all said, oh wow.

So you didn’t have the yellow brick road, the story, you were not destined to be great from the beginning. And a lot of those players, what people have to understand is that most of those players saw themselves in me. See when players watch basketball. Alison, I don’t know if you’re a basketball fan.

Alison Jones: I’m not a huge basketball fan. I’m going to be honest with you, Dre, but

Dre Baldwin: Okay,

Alison Jones: crack on because there will be, there will be listening

Dre Baldwin: All right. Yeah. So you, I was just asking, just to ask you’re familiar with LeBron James, you heard of Michael Jordan, you heard of these guys,

Alison Jones: Yep.

Dre Baldwin: Okay. So for every one LeBron James, you got about a thousand Dre Baldwins, you understand what I’m saying? So LeBron James is, I mean, he hit the Powerball jackpot, genetic lottery to be who he is and to have the kind of career that he’s had, even athletes who become pro amongst the pros most of them are not that great.

They have to work a little bit harder to make it happen. So when those players saw me and they said, wait a minute, cut from your high school team, three years in a row, didn’t have a college scholarship, had the walk-on in college, didn’t have any prospects to make it pro, but still wanting to do it anyway.

They all said, that’s me, because most of them are not LeBron James, they are Dre Baldwin. So when they saw that, they said, I can relate to this guy. And that’s when they started asking me about how were you thinking, what was your mentality in those situations, Dre? Because they understood the skill part of the thing.

Like a lot of players came to me for the skill of, how do you dribble? How do you dunk? But when they realize that, okay, I see it about the practice part, but their biggest challenge was the mental part. It was the way that they were seeing themselves in a mirror. It was the mental challenge of the setbacks.

How do we deal with this, when everyone around me is telling me, I might as well give it up because look at all these failures, look at the reality. Look at the mirror being held up to you, the same way that it happened to me. How can you keep going anyway? So when they realized that I had done it, that’s what they really wanted from me.

So they got introduced to me through playing basketball, but it was really the mental thing that they really wanted from me. And that’s how I was able to morph it from just athletes to when I started talking about those things, people who were not athletes like your listeners, they started finding me and saying, yo, like the stuff you’re talking about is not just for basketball players, it’s for everybody, so that’s how it started.

Alison Jones: And it’s a really fascinating example as well of how you can almost learn more from the people who, as you said, didn’t have that yellow brick road, that there are people who are just born golden and all you can do is stand and applaud, but you can’t actually learn much from them. Because they couldn’t even articulate to you what they’re doing right.

But people who’ve had to break it down, work it out, put the hours in, they can tell you what they did and you can look at them and you can go, well, Hey, you’re not so different from me. And that’s much more inspiring. Isn’t it?

Dre Baldwin: Yes. And it’s actually more applicable because what does LeBron James gonna tell somebody who got cut from the high school team three years in a row, right? This guy was the best player in the state as a freshmen. What are you going to tell me? Nothing.

Alison Jones: Not much empathy going on there.

Dre Baldwin: Right. Well, it is impossible. It’s not that he doesn’t have it. It’s just that he can’t relate because he hasn’t been there.

So it was the same thing I tell people, if you get on a stage to give a speech, nobody wants to hear about all your successes, because nobody can relate to that because the people in the audience are there not to hear about how great you are.

They want to know that you’ve been where they are, and how you made it from the losing point to the winning point.

Alison Jones: And let’s just dig into that a little bit, because I mean, it is such a great book and it’s really, as I say, the energy of it really carried . I read it so quickly. But one of the points I loved was the way that you talked about playing with fear and then just almost deciding not to do that anymore.

 And it struck me as a point that’s really applicable, but the fact that you draw it from sport like that, from your lived experience on the court, makes it so easy to get your head around. So just tell us that story and then how that applies in, I guess, in corporate leadership.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah, so that, I think that’s the story you mean at the beginning of the book where my teammate, my classmate from school?

Alison Jones: Yeah, the 14 year old, but also that moment when the guy just kind of smashed into you and you were sort of laying on the floor and you’re like, wow, he was playing differently.

Dre Baldwin: oh, right. Okay. Yeah. It was two different situations. So at age 14, one of my middle school classmates, I was just asking him for advice. And he said, Dre, if you want to get good at basketball, you need to do two things. And the first thing he told me to do is you can’t play scared. You can’t play basketball scared because basketball is a… you need fine motor skills for it. And if you’re overthinking or you’re nervous, or you’re worried about what the crowd is going to say about you? You are not going to perform very well on a basketball court. And I knew he was right, because I already had that experience. He was just the first one to articulate it. And then later on, another thing he told me to do was buy a game, which was just a euphemism for you need to develop some actual abilities, some skills. So yes, the mental game…

Alison Jones: I don’t know if it was that. I think he might’ve been saying to you, pay the referee up front, but you know, anyway, moving on.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. That’s one way to look at it, you’re right. But that’s why I made sure I explained what that meant.

So I needed to get some skills. He’s like, no, you can’t dribble. You can’t shoot. You don’t grab any rebounds, you don’t know how to play basketball. You’re trying, but you don’t know what you’re doing, so you need to actually get some skills. So yes, the mindset stuff matters, but you also need to be actually good.

So I took that advice to heart and kept getting better. And then when I was a senior in college, it was about eight years later. I was playing, we were playing pickup basketball with some guys who did play at that first year in college, at division one level.

And we had friends on that team, so we were in there playing pickup with those guys and pick up as just an informal basketball game. And I went up to dunk the basketball and this guy on their team, he was like the athletic guy for their school. I was the athletic guy from my school, but he was a few levels above me when it came to athleticism and I tried to dunk it, and he just blocked my shot as if I wasn’t even there.

And I remember I fell on the ground and it hurts to fall on the floor like that when you think you’re about to dunk the ball. But it was really the ego because my ego was hurt more than my body was hurt because I’m like, man, that was my calling card was to be athletic. But this guy, it was also his calling card, but his card was bigger than mine, if you understand what I’m saying.

Alison Jones: He just out-athletic-ed you.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. And that was my main thing and I’m thinking about becoming a pro and I’m like, man, this dude is 10 levels above me. So what else can I do? Because I’m not going to be able to jump higher than this guy ever. So what else can I do? So that’s when I realized like I wasn’t done buying a game as my friend Brandon had told me back in middle school, I need to develop more skill because the skill that I thought was going to separate me from everybody else, clearly was not that special, at least in this form.

So that’s when I knew I had to keep getting better, which falls right into the whole concept of working on your game. It’s a never ending thing.

Alison Jones: It’s kind of obvious, but just, you know, how does that change when you’re talking to a leader in a business, what does that shift for them, when they hear that story?

Dre Baldwin: For someone in the business world, understanding that it’s really just being able to approach your work without that fear and understanding that you have to continually get better and continually expand your game, continually expand what you can do and what you bring to the table, because everybody else out there can do stuff too.

Like you’re probably, again, we’re not saying this to rag on LeBron James. I’ve used him as an example because I know you know who he is. Most of us are not LeBron at what we do, meaning we are not so head and shoulders over everybody that just by being ourselves we’re going to be better than everyone. Other people can do the things that you do. Like you and I are not the only people who write books or have a podcast or can give a speech. So how are you going to separate yourself from everyone else out there? It’s a continuous process. It is a never ending process. The game does not end.

 When a game technically can end, if you decide you don’t want to play anymore. But you’re also not going to win any more. You’re not going to get paid anymore. So how are you going to stay in the game and continue to get better? This is what you’re signing up for when you decided to get in it.

And in the business world is actually more difficult, Alison, because at least in the sports world, you know who all your opponents are. If you play for the New York Knicks, you know, all the other teams in the league, you could see it, is right there on a website and you can see every single player, you know exactly what they’re doing and the business

Alison Jones: And there’s rules.

Dre Baldwin: Right. And you have a set of rules that everyone has to play by and a scoreboard that everyone is abiding by and in the business world, you have none of that.

In the business world, you have no idea who’s competing against you, who’s listening to your show and trying to steal ideas from you. Who’s trying to take what you already did and try to make a better version of it and knock you right out of the business. You don’t even know that they exist, but they’re looking at every single thing that you do.

So in the business world is actually harder because it’s less tangible. It’s harder to hold in your hands what’s going on in business. So it’s actually even more of a challenge.

Alison Jones: But that thing that you encapsulate in this book, that kind of unselfconscious blend of self-confidence and humility that, I mean, that’s the only attitude that you can play with, isn’t it? If you’re going to be really, if you’re going to perform.

Dre Baldwin: Say that again.

Alison Jones: That the attitude that you kind of encapsulate in the book is that sense of unselfconscious self-confidence on the one hand, just doing what you do, put yourself out there, you know, you just don’t pull your punches, but also stay humble, keep learning, you know, know what skills you need to build, know where you’re not so strong.

Dre Baldwin: Exactly. And that’s another one where people draw this dichotomy like between being really confident and being humble, as if they’re two separate things. No, you need both in order to become confident, confidence is defined as your ability to do something. The only way you develop the ability is by having the discipline to show up every day and do the work.

So anyone who is showing up every day and doing the work, that is the most humble thing you can do, because why would you be showing up doing work if you didn’t think you needed to get better. If you don’t think you need to get better, you’re not showing up to work. So having humility is the biggest way to build confidence.

And again, people try to make it seem like those are two different things, but they’re not, you actually need one to have the other.

Alison Jones: It comes down to just really understanding those words and the effect that you’re letting them have on your life. I love that.

Let’s talk about writing Dre, cause you’ve written a lot of books and you’re not a natural person that people go, oh yeah, clearly that guy was always going to be writing lots of books.

So how did you start and why do you do it? What do you get from it?

Dre Baldwin: I started through, going back to when I was making the videos that were specifically for the basketball audience, the players just asking me so many questions about my background and how I did it and how I got started. And this is early days of the internet as it is now, early days of it becoming what it became.

So we were just using phrases like social media and content and no influencer wasn’t even a thing yet. But I found out about self publishing, the fact that you could actually write a book and you could put it out and you didn’t need to go through a gatekeeper because up until what, maybe not even 10 years ago, maybe it’s 10 years ago, you had to go through a gatekeeper to publish a book

Alison Jones: Yeah, Amazon just revolutionized that, didn’t they?

Dre Baldwin: Exactly. Right, so when I heard about that, I said, oh, so I can just write a book without going through anyone. Cause I had the idea, I knew I wanted to write a book because I actually was blogging, Alison, in 2005, before I got on YouTube, a lot of people don’t know that because the YouTube is what people noticed, but I was blogging first.

So I was always into writing. So I always had this idea, yeah, one day I’m going to write a book, but it wasn’t a priority. Cause at this time I’m still playing professional basketball, but when I saw that you could publish yourself, I said, oh, okay. I’ll just write a book right now. So I just wrote my first book, it was just my story from when I started playing basketball, up through college and the book was all about just my basketball journey and I put that book out for free on my website and just let people download it.

And that’s how I got started and people loved that book. And the funny thing is Alison, when I went back and looked at it, it was not even a very well-written book, my writing skills were not that good at that point, I didn’t understand the story structure, or anything. I really just wrote it how I would talk.

I was just telling you my story. I wrote it the exact same way, so it wasn’t even that well-written, but people ate it up because they were so connected to me.

Alison Jones: And what do they say, you know, if you’re not embarrassed by what you did a year ago, you’re not growing fast enough.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. Exactly, so when I did the audio version of that book, about five years later, when I saw it, you can make your own audio books and I’m reading my own book. I’m like, man, this book is terrible, I need to write this again. I need to redo it. So that’s how I got started and then the players, after I wrote the first one, that’s when I start getting players saying to me, why Dre, I never read books, but I read your book in like one night. I stayed up all night and read the whole hundred pages because it was so good. I just couldn’t put the book down. And I took that as a compliment. They couldn’t stop reading it. And then when players started asking me more about the mental game approach, because in that book, you know, in between the lines, I’m telling them, well, this is the way that I was thinking about this setback and here’s how I came back from it.

So, the players are like man, can you write some about the mental game? And that’s when I started writing more books about the mental side of things. And that’s the majority of my books are about the mental side of things. Of course I have others about how to play overseas, some more tactical stuff, but that mental thing is really what people want from me.

Alison Jones: And when you’re writing, what do you enjoy about that process or the bits that you find more enjoyable than others?

Dre Baldwin: The part that I liked the most about the writing is taking an idea that I have in my head and getting it on paper, quote unquote, on paper. And that’s actually, we’re doing that right now. And you do it when you make videos, you do it when you podcast, you do it when you do a live stream.

 I just want to get everything that’s in my head, the things that I want people to know about and the things that I think could help change the way people think and the way they act, I need to get it out of me because if I’m the only one who knows it, then it can’t help anybody else. I already know it.

So that’s one of the best parts about writing a book and the thing with writing books, Alison, is that when you look at YouTube, you look at podcasts and you look at whatever else is out here and whatever I was going to come, social media. All those things come and go. Like you put out a YouTube video today, next week, that video is now old, heard a podcast episode, one day this episode is going to be old because your next episode is going to come out.

 But the thing about books, they have such a long tail in terms of just the way that we look at them as human beings, you could come across somebody’s book. The book came out five years ago, but you never heard of it, is new to you and you still treat it as new, even though it came out five years ago. But if somebody comes across a YouTube video that came out five years ago, they were like, man, make a new one. And I’ll say to players or people who come to me and say this exact thing.

They’re like, Dre can you make a video on such and such topic? And I’ll send them a link and say, Hey, I made that video in 2016. They’re like, yeah, but that’s old. Can you make a new one? I’m like well, I’m going to say the exact same thing and they’re like, yeah, I get it, but I just like a new video. It’s always just funny that people look at it like that when it comes to any other kind of content, but when it comes to books, people treat it, it doesn’t matter when it came out as long as it’s relevant, as long as it’s not a time sensitive topic, people will treat it as if it’s brand new.

So it was just funny that way with books.

Alison Jones: That is funny. And of course you can always, you can big that up, can’t you? You can go this is the classic book on the subject, which is kind of code in the industry for it’s more than 10 years old. Yeah. That’s brilliant.

Dre Baldwin: Right. But I’ve found people don’t really care, if they liked the book, they just liked the book. Doesn’t matter when it came out.

Alison Jones: Yeah. They have a long shelf life. Literally

Dre Baldwin: Exactly.

Alison Jones: I always ask my guests Dre for their best tip for a first time business book author. Now might not be a business book in this case, but just for somebody who’s hearing you and going, I have those ideas and a may be I’m doing the videos and doing the podcast.

I find the writing hard. What would you tell them?

Dre Baldwin: They find the writing hard, but they want to write a book. Okay.

Alison Jones: Yes, they wouldn’t be listening to this. I don’t think if they didn’t

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. Then I would say you’re right, the writing is hard. Do it anyway. Because that’s the only way you’re going to get a book done is to sit down and I had someone, I remember I did a live event for my book Work On Your Game when it came out and someone, when I did a Q and A, somebody said, well, Dre I want to write a book one day.

Everybody says that, right? When they find out you write books, people always say, I want to write a book one day. And he said, well, No, I find it hard to actually write, you know, what are the best tools that you use to write? And the answer is always the same Microsoft Word and Google Docs. All right, sit down, open the document and start writing because there’s no book gets done… I don’t care how big of a following you have, who your publisher is, what kind of marketing plan you put together, how big of an influencer you are: if you don’t sit down and write, then there will be no book.

So yes, it is hard. It is challenging. If you could just break the process down, decide you’re gonna write, write a paragraph a day, write 500 words, write a thousand words, but you must come up with some type of discipline so that you can consistently sit down and do the work.

This is the job, if you want to be an author, you have to do what an author does. Authors sit down and write and video makers turn on the camera and they make videos, construction workers build buildings, gardeners get in the gardens.

So if you want to be this, this is the work that you have to do. That’s just the game.

Alison Jones: Do you know, I had a feeling, you might say something like that.

Dre for the UK, people, this is what we need to hear. It’s not comfortable. It’s right. That’s brilliant.

And is there a book that you’d recommend, I mean, obviously Work On Your Game but is there a book that you’ve read that you would recommend to anybody listening to this podcast?

Dre Baldwin: Oh man, I got too many that I recommend you have to narrow it down by giving me a topic. I can give you more than one.

Alison Jones: Well, I mean, I normally say a business book, but it doesn’t have to be, just a book that you read it and it did something profound for you. It shifted how you maybe saw the world and that you just like to share it with other people.

Dre Baldwin: Wow. Can I give you five?

Alison Jones: Why don’t you give me the first one and then we’ll see how we are for time.

Dre Baldwin: Okay. So the first one I would give is my favorite book, which is the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Have you read that one Alison?

Alison Jones: I have not, I love Robert Greene though, but I haven’t read that one.

Dre Baldwin: Okay. So I know Robert has, I think five books now, but his books are always super deep, well researched, not in a statistical, empirical type of way, but research as far as like historical examples. That’s what I love about his work and 48 Laws of Power, because I’ve always been into human psychology and it used to be when you are going to bookstore 20 years ago, that section was called human psychology.

I was always into that, then it morphed into, they started calling it self-help and now they actually call it personal development and professional development. So Robert Greene’s books fit that category and I remember the first time I saw that book, I just saw the spine of it because you know how they are in a bookstore.

And I pulled it out and I’m looking at the back cover. He had all 48 Laws listed. And I said, this book is for me. I need to understand this because Robert, one thing Robert was doing that I hadn’t seen anyone do before him and his book came out about 20 years ago. He was not only laying out the positive things you can do to help yourself, but also warning you and preparing you for some of the negative things that other people may do, not so that you need to do them so that you’re equipped when somebody tries to use it against you.

And this is something that a lot of authors, they just ignore as if a Pandora’s box has not been opened. There are going to be challenges in life, and there’s a jungle that you have to navigate in life and a lot of self-help authors write as if everything is supposed to be perfect if you just follow their book.

But what about all the stuff that’s not perfect and they just ignore it, but Robert addressed it directly and that’s what I’ve always loved about Robert Greene. So that would be number one.

Alison Jones: That is an absolutely brilliant recommendation. And if it’s all right with you, we’ll leave it there because of the time, but also, you know, great recommendation, love that. Thank you.

So Dre if people want to find out more about you, more about your books, all of them, and about the work you do, where should they go?

Dre Baldwin: Well, I’m on all the social media platforms. I’m on everything except TikTok, but I’m on everything else. As far as my books, you can just go to workonyourgame.com. I do have a book called the Mirror of Motivation, which anyone can get for free. They just cover the shipping. And that’s at mirrorofmotivation.com, but it’s also listed at workonyourgame.com and that’s how you can get started with me.

Alison Jones: Awesome. And I’ll put those links up on the show notes at extraordinarybusinessbooks.com. Just brilliant talking to you Dre. I feel so energized and a bit less British. So thank you for that.

Dre Baldwin: Well, I enjoy the British, I love the British, so I appreciate you having me on.

 

Alison Jones: I’m here today with Dre Baldwin. In just five years, he went from his high school team’s bench to a nine-year professional basketball career. And at the same time, he built a content publishing empire, beginning his blog in 2005 and publishing videos to YouTube in 2006. So he’s now published over 7,000 videos and his content has been viewed over 73 million times.

And his daily Work On Your Game podcast has over 3 million listeners. Dre has given four Ted talks. He’s authored 27 books, most recently Work On Your Game from McGraw Hill. So welcome to the show Dre.

Dre Baldwin:  Thank you for having me. Alison, I’m excited to be here and get into this conversation.

Alison Jones: it is really, really cool to have you here, although a bit intimidating, because I don’t think we’ve got 73 million views or downloads of the Extraordinary Business Book Club yet. We’re not far off.

Dre Baldwin: We’re going to help.

Alison Jones: Yeah, this is going to help. That’s absolutely it. Yeah. Brilliant. I wanted to start just by telling people why you’re here because I get a lot of pitches onto the show. And they’re mostly emails  from PR people or from people sort of saying,  this is what I do, and you can tell it’s gone out to a million people. You didn’t do that, did you Dre? Tell the world how you pitched me.

Dre Baldwin: I created a personalized video, the video was about three to four minutes maybe, three to four minute video just telling you a little bit about myself and also telling you why I’d be a good candidate to be on your show.

Alison Jones: And do you know what? That doesn’t sound like anything rocket science though does it, but it blew me away. It was, you’d listened, you knew what the show is about, you knew me, you were like, do you know this is why I think it’s gonna be good. And  it was a very, very cool skyline behind you. I’ve got to say as well, that helped.

Dre Baldwin: Oh, yeah, I take advantage of that,  take advantage of the scenery.

Alison Jones: Well, you should. So just loved that and it really exemplifies I think, I’m calling your approach and the fact that we’re using it on the podcast here, it’s ‘Dre for the UK’, because it’s very much not quite doing things the way you’d expect, and it’s kind of grabbing stuff by the short and curlies and going for it. And I just thought that was really, really good lived example of it.

Dre Baldwin: Yes, exactly, and it basically embodies the entire Work On Your Game brand. What the whole thing is about. So is perfectly on brand, I would say Alison.

Alison Jones: It was on brand, it was a good tactic. And I think also what it did as well was it was very authentic and yeah, and just actually the power of video.

So I’m an audio kind of girl. And I love writing. I shy away from video quite a lot. Just talking off screen, I was like, no, I don’t do video. You’ve got to brush your hair and stuff for that.

But it was a real lesson in actually that visual power of the video. So, I mean, you use all the media, don’t you,  you write the books, you do the podcast, you do the video, you know, how do you see all those working together?

Dre Baldwin: Yeah, I do all of those things and how I like them to work together because one thing that I realized, especially Alison, realizing that I come from the sports world, you know, so a lot of people who knew me before I got into your world were athletes. And in the sports world, you had to have video because that’s the only way people know that it’s happening. You watch the game on TV.

So I knew that in order to reach that audience, once I started writing books, I needed to show them, they needed to see me and hear me and see my face while I was talking so that they could see, okay, this guy, I respect him from the sports world. And a lot of these athletes, to be honest, a lot of them don’t read, they don’t read books. They watch videos on YouTube. That’s what they do. That’s how they came to know me.

So in order for me to build that bridge, the bridge between basketball and books, they had to see somebody who looked like he was cool, looked like he knew what he was doing. They respect me in the basketball world. Now they can see me  in the book space. And now they’ll say, I get messages from young men all the time. Like ‘Dre, I never read books until I started reading your stuff. And now I’m into books. And now you mentioned this author and that author, I go get those books.’ So it’s been a life changing thing for me.

And I know I went on a tangent there, but to answer your question, the reason why I use all the platforms is because again, naturally I always did, but at the same time a lot of people, reading is like the last level, I think when it comes to getting information these days, people will listen to podcasts and anybody watch a YouTube video or a television show. Very few people are going to go sit down and actually read a book.

Now there’s a lot of audio books. So us authors, we have to go to where those people are at and then bring them back. It’s like you got to go get the people and bring them to where we are instead of hoping that they come to us.

Alison Jones: I love that. So it’s very much about, as you say, building the bridges, being where the people are, giving them a way in and giving them their YouTube video, but also how does it, what does it for you? So you’re moving between those modes. Do you notice yourself being different or does it draw different things out of you?

Dre Baldwin: In which platform?

Alison Jones: So when you’re in front of the camera doing a video, when you’re sitting down writing a book, you know, how does that reflect different aspects of you.

Dre Baldwin: Hmm. Well, the thing about me is, and  people will tell you this,  who have consumed a good amount of my stuff, I’m the same person on all the platforms. So whether that’s audio, whether it’s written, whether it’s video, whether it’s live, whether  if I’m on a live stream or clubhouse, that clubhouse app or anything like that. I have the same approach, the same persona, even in my written material.

 A lot of people, you asked me about this before we started recording, but , a lot of people will read my stuff and say, well, I know it was you Dre because I can almost hear your voice while I’m reading your words.

Alison Jones: So much energy in it

Dre Baldwin: Exactly. So the way that I present myself in all platforms is the same way. Even if I’m on a stage, at a live event speaking is the same person that you’re listening to right now. So that consistency of the message, I think is what people buy into with me. Doesn’t mean everybody has to be like that, but that’s what works for me.

Alison Jones: And there’s a sublime self-confidence that goes with that, that I love, I’m a bit jealous of it too, but it really ties in with, yeah, I’m British don’t you know, but it really ties in with kind of your, that message in the book about, do you know: niceness is overrated is basically what you’re saying.

And I think as a sort of, you know, middle-aged British woman, I  ended up going, yeah. I need to hear that because  we fetishize niceness. We fetishize getting on with people and not rocking the boat. And that’s kind of not how you approach stuff, is it?

Dre Baldwin: Not at all, and it’s not that you can’t be nice, it’s just that they’re not mutually exclusive. And the cliche that we’ve all grown up with is, you know, it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice, but it’s surmising that they are different that you can only be one or the other, but you can be both, but being important.

The definition of importance as I wrote in the book is having a profound effect on success. Everybody wants to create success. So you want to be important. Important is a very important thing to be when you are important.

Alison Jones: Important to be important. I did like the way you phrased that.

Dre Baldwin: When you are important and doing important things, you’re having a profound effect on success, yours and that of others, then you are positioned to do nice things as much as you can do as many nice things as you want.

And I don’t know about you, Alison, but every person I’ve met, who’s very important i.e. They have a profound effect on success of themselves and others. They’re usually really nice people. And the people that I’ve met that are the biggest jerks are usually people who are not very important because they’re not creating much success. They don’t have anything to be happy about. So they are not mutually exclusive.

Alison Jones: They’re not, and it’s a real lesson in how a kind of neat sounding phrase can kind of get into your head and do some damage.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. Tell me about it ,my whole career is based around that and fixing those things.

Alison Jones: And well, so tell me a little bit about that, because I think, you know, your own story is so fascinating and you’re so insightful about those mountain top moments, those kind of moments of real emotional clarity. So just tell us  that journey from kind of, you know, your mum saying, don’t be ridiculous you’re not going to be a professional basketball star,  and you kind of facing the reality, that reality wasn’t what you wanted it to be, to how you just kind of took it and shaped it into what you wanted it to be.

Dre Baldwin: So my background being in sports, you know, I didn’t have, even though I’m a professional athlete and when people hear about it and they see me now, they’re like, okay, you’re a professional athlete. You know you were an athlete. You’re tall, you know, you’re in shape. You probably always knew from a kid, you were going to become this great athlete.

That was definitely not the case. So I didn’t make my high school team until my last year in high school, only played that one year and didn’t really play that much, even then. In college, I played at the division three level, which is basically the third tier of college sports. Most of the pro athletes come from the first  tier, I was at the third tier and then coming out of college, like I wrote about in a book and you just mentioned my mum wasn’t, it’s not like she was hating on me or trying to discourage my success in life. It was just that she was looking at the situation practically and realistically saying, well, I mean, you don’t have, there wasn’t much of my background to say I was going to become a pro athlete and she was accurate in saying that.

So she wasn’t, again, I wasn’t mad at her. I was just mad at the reality of the situation. When I realized like, damn, she’s right, she’s telling me the truth. She was basically holding up a mirror to me. And at that point I decided that I wasn’t going to allow the quote unquote reality to hold me back. And one thing that I tell people all the time is that reality is negotiable.

It is malleable. You can change reality. And every one of us has our own reality. So when one person says to another person, you are not being realistic. Well, they’re actually both right. Because  person A has their own reality and person B has his or her own reality. So you can’t force your reality on another person. Each person has a choice of what the reality is going to be.

So I decided that I didn’t like my reality at that time, after my mom held that mirror up to me and I decided I was going to change it. And when I became a pro athlete, then I got on YouTube and start making these videos, the players who were watching me, they saw that I was a good player and it was like, man, this guy looks like he can really play.

But the problem was that, the conflict was, I’ve never heard of this guy. I never seen him on TV. But he’s really good,  who is this guy? Where did he come from? How did you, how did this happen? So they started asking me questions about my background and when I explained to them what I just explained to you, they all said, oh wow.

So you didn’t have the yellow brick road, the story, you were not destined to be great from the beginning. And a lot of those players, what people have to understand is that most of those players saw themselves in me. See when players watch basketball. Alison, I don’t know if you’re a basketball fan.

Alison Jones: I’m not a huge basketball fan. I’m going to be honest with you, Dre, but

Dre Baldwin: Okay,

Alison Jones: crack on because there will be, there will be listening

Dre Baldwin: All right. Yeah. So you, I was just asking, just to ask you’re familiar with LeBron James, you heard of Michael Jordan, you heard of these guys,

Alison Jones: Yep.

Dre Baldwin: Okay. So for every one LeBron James, you got about a thousand Dre Baldwins, you understand what I’m saying? So LeBron James is, I mean, he hit the Powerball jackpot, genetic lottery to be who he is and to have the kind of career that he’s had, even athletes who become pro amongst the pros most of them are not that great.

They have to work a little bit harder to make it happen. So when those players saw me and they said, wait a minute, cut from your high school team, three years in a row, didn’t have a college scholarship, had the walk-on in college, didn’t have any prospects to make it pro, but still wanting to do it anyway.

They all said, that’s me, because most of them are not LeBron James, they are Dre Baldwin. So when they saw that, they said, I can relate to this guy. And that’s when they started asking me about how were you thinking, what was your mentality in those situations, Dre? Because they understood the skill part of the thing.

Like a lot of players came to me for the skill of, how do you dribble? How do you dunk? But when they realize that, okay, I see it about the practice part, but their biggest challenge was the mental part. It was the way that they were seeing themselves in a mirror. It was the mental challenge of the setbacks.

How do we deal with this, when everyone around me is telling me, I might as well give it up because look at all these failures, look at the reality. Look at the mirror being held up to you, the same way that it happened to me. How can you keep going anyway? So when they realized that I had done it, that’s what they really wanted from me.

So they got introduced to me through playing basketball, but it was really the mental thing that they really wanted from me. And that’s how I was able to morph it from just athletes to when I started talking about those things, people who were not athletes like your listeners, they started finding me and saying, yo, like the stuff you’re talking about is not just for basketball players, it’s for everybody, so that’s how it started.

Alison Jones: And it’s a really fascinating example as well of how you can almost learn more from the people who, as you said, didn’t have that yellow brick road, that there are people who are just born golden and all you can do is stand and applaud, but you can’t actually learn much from them. Because they couldn’t even articulate to you what they’re doing right.

But people who’ve had to break it down, work it out,  put the hours in, they can tell you what they did and you can look at them and you can go, well, Hey, you’re not so different from me. And that’s much more inspiring. Isn’t it?

Dre Baldwin: Yes. And it’s actually more applicable because what does LeBron James gonna tell somebody who got cut from the high school team three years in a row, right? This guy was the best player in the state as a freshmen. What are you going to tell me? Nothing.

Alison Jones: Not much empathy going on there.

Dre Baldwin: Right. Well, it is impossible. It’s not that he doesn’t have it. It’s just that he can’t relate because he hasn’t been there.

So it was the same thing I tell people, if you get on a stage to give a speech, nobody wants to hear  about all your successes, because nobody can relate to that because the people in the audience are there not to hear about how great you are.

They want to know that you’ve been where they are, and how you made it from the losing point to the winning point.

Alison Jones: And let’s just dig into that a little bit, because I mean, it is such a great book and  it’s really, as I say, the energy of it really carried . I read it so quickly. But one of the points I loved was the way that you talked about playing with fear and then just almost deciding not to do that anymore.

 And it struck me as a point that’s really applicable, but the fact that you draw it from sport like that, from your lived experience on the court, makes it so easy to get your head around. So just tell us that story and then how that applies in, I guess, in corporate leadership.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah, so that, I think that’s the story you mean at the beginning of the book where my teammate, my classmate from school?

Alison Jones: Yeah,  the 14 year old, but also that moment when the guy just kind of smashed into you and you were sort of laying on the floor and you’re like, wow, he was playing differently.

Dre Baldwin: oh, right. Okay. Yeah. It was  two different situations. So at age 14, one of my middle school classmates, I was just asking him for advice. And he said, Dre, if you want to get good at basketball, you need to do two things. And the first thing he told me to do is you can’t play scared. You can’t play basketball scared because basketball is a…  you need fine motor skills for it. And if you’re overthinking or you’re nervous, or you’re worried about what the crowd is going to say about you? You are not going to perform very well on a basketball court. And I knew he was right, because I already had that experience. He was just the first one to articulate it. And then later on, another thing he told me to do was buy a game, which was just a euphemism for  you need to develop some actual abilities, some skills. So yes, the mental game…

Alison Jones: I don’t know if it was that. I think he might’ve been saying to you, pay the referee up front, but you know, anyway, moving on.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. That’s one way to look at it, you’re right. But that’s why I made sure I explained what that meant.

So I needed to get some skills. He’s like, no, you can’t dribble. You can’t shoot. You don’t grab any rebounds, you don’t know how to play basketball.  You’re trying, but you don’t know what you’re doing, so you need to actually get some skills. So yes, the mindset stuff matters, but you also need to be actually good.

So I took  that advice to heart and kept getting better. And then when I was a senior in college, it was about eight years later. I was playing, we were playing pickup basketball with some guys who did play at that first year in college, at division one level.

And we had friends on that team, so we were in there playing pickup with those guys and pick up as just an informal basketball game. And I went up to dunk the basketball and this guy on their team, he was like the athletic guy for their school. I was the athletic guy from my school, but he was a few levels above me when it came to athleticism and I tried to dunk it, and he just blocked my shot as if I wasn’t even there.

And I remember I fell on the ground and it hurts to fall on the floor like that when you think you’re about to dunk the ball. But it was really the ego because my ego was hurt more than my body was hurt because I’m like, man, that was my calling card was to be athletic. But this guy, it was also his calling card, but his card was bigger than mine, if you understand what I’m saying.

Alison Jones: He just out-athletic-ed you.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. And  that was my main thing and I’m thinking about becoming a pro and I’m like, man, this dude is 10 levels above me. So what else can I do? Because I’m not going to be able to jump higher than this guy ever. So what else can I do? So that’s when I realized like I wasn’t done buying a game as my friend Brandon had told me back in middle school, I need to develop more skill because the skill that I thought was going to separate me from everybody else, clearly was not that special, at least in this form.

So that’s when I knew I had to keep getting better, which falls right into the whole concept of working on your game. It’s a never ending thing.

Alison Jones:  It’s kind of obvious, but just, you know, how does that change when you’re talking to a leader  in a business, what does that shift for them, when they hear that story?

Dre Baldwin: For someone in the business world, understanding that it’s really just being able to approach your work without that fear and understanding that you have to continually get better and continually expand your game, continually expand what you can do and what you bring to the table, because everybody else out there can do stuff too.

Like you’re probably, again, we’re not saying this to rag on LeBron James. I’ve used him as an example because I know you know who he is. Most of us are not LeBron at what we do, meaning we are not so head and shoulders over everybody that just by being ourselves we’re going to be better than everyone. Other people can do the things that you do. Like  you and I are not the only people who write books or have a podcast or can give a speech. So how are you going to separate yourself from everyone else out there? It’s a continuous process. It is a never ending process. The game does not end.

 When a game technically can end, if you decide you don’t want to play anymore. But you’re also not going to win any more. You’re not going to get paid anymore. So how are you going to stay in the game and continue to get better? This is what you’re signing up for when you decided to get in it.

And in the business world is actually more difficult, Alison, because at least in the sports world, you know who all your opponents are. If you play for the New York Knicks, you know, all the other teams in the league, you could see it, is right there on a website and you can see every single player, you know exactly what they’re doing and the business

Alison Jones: And there’s rules.

Dre Baldwin: Right. And you have a set of rules that everyone has to play by and a scoreboard that everyone is abiding by and in the business world, you have none of that.

In the business world, you have no idea who’s competing against you, who’s listening to your show and trying to steal ideas from you. Who’s trying to take what you already did and try to make a better version of it and knock you right out of the business. You don’t even know that they exist, but they’re looking at every single thing that you do.

So in the business world is actually harder because it’s less tangible. It’s harder to hold in your hands what’s going on in business. So it’s actually even more of a challenge.

Alison Jones: But that thing that you encapsulate in this book, that kind of unselfconscious blend of self-confidence and humility that, I mean, that’s the only attitude that you can play with, isn’t it? If you’re going to be really, if you’re going to perform.

Dre Baldwin: Say that again.

Alison Jones: That the attitude that you kind of encapsulate in the book  is that sense of unselfconscious self-confidence on the one hand, just doing what you do, put yourself out there, you know, you just  don’t pull your punches, but also stay humble, keep learning, you know, know what skills you need to build, know  where you’re not so strong.

Dre Baldwin: Exactly. And that’s another one where people draw this dichotomy like between being really confident and being humble, as if they’re two separate things. No,  you need both in order to become confident, confidence is defined as your ability to do something. The only way you develop the ability is by having the discipline to show up every day and do the work.

So anyone who is showing up every day and doing the work, that is the most humble thing you can do, because why would you be showing up doing work if you didn’t think you needed to get better. If you don’t think you need to get better, you’re not showing up to work. So having humility is the biggest way to build confidence.

And again, people try to make it seem like those are two different things, but they’re not, you actually need one to have the other.

Alison Jones: It comes down to just really understanding  those words and the effect that you’re letting them have on your life. I love that.

Let’s talk about writing Dre, cause you’ve written a lot of books  and  you’re not a natural person that people go, oh yeah, clearly that guy was always going to be writing lots of books.

So how did you start and why do you do it? What do you get from it?

Dre Baldwin: I started through, going back to when I was making the videos that were specifically for the basketball audience, the players just asking me so many questions about my background and how I did it and how I got started. And this is early days of the internet as it is now, early days of it becoming what it became.

So we were just using phrases like social media and content and no influencer wasn’t even a thing yet. But I found out about self publishing, the fact that you could actually write a book and you could put it out and  you didn’t need to go through a gatekeeper because up until what, maybe not even 10 years ago, maybe it’s 10 years ago, you had to go through a gatekeeper to publish a book

Alison Jones: Yeah, Amazon just revolutionized that, didn’t they?

Dre Baldwin: Exactly. Right, so when I heard about that, I said, oh, so I can just write a book without going through anyone. Cause I had the idea, I knew I wanted to write a book because I actually was blogging, Alison, in 2005, before I got on YouTube, a lot of people don’t know that because the YouTube is what people noticed, but I was blogging first.

So I was always into writing. So I always had this idea, yeah, one day I’m going to write a book, but  it wasn’t a priority. Cause at this time I’m still playing professional basketball, but when I saw that you could publish yourself, I said, oh, okay. I’ll just write a book right now. So I just wrote my first book, it was just my story from when I started playing basketball, up through college and the book was all about just my basketball journey and I put that book out for free on my website and just let people download it.

And that’s how I got started and people loved that book. And the funny thing is Alison, when I went back and looked at it, it was not even a very well-written book, my writing skills were not that good at that point, I didn’t understand the story structure, or anything. I really just wrote it how I would talk.

I was just telling you my story. I wrote it the exact same way, so it wasn’t even that well-written, but people ate it up because they were so connected to me.

Alison Jones: And what do they say, you know, if you’re not embarrassed by what you did a year ago, you’re not growing fast enough.

Dre Baldwin: Yeah.  Exactly, so when I did the audio version of that book, about five years later, when I saw it, you can make your own audio books and I’m reading my own book. I’m like, man, this book is terrible, I need to write this again. I need to redo it. So that’s how I got started and then the players, after I wrote the first one, that’s when I start getting players saying to me, why Dre, I never read books, but I read your book in like one night. I stayed up all night and read the whole hundred pages because it was so good. I just couldn’t put the book down. And I took that as a compliment. They couldn’t stop reading it. And then when players started asking me more about the mental game approach, because in that book, you know, in between the lines, I’m telling them, well, this is the way that I was thinking about this setback and here’s how I came back from it.

So, the players are like man, can you write some about the mental game? And that’s when I started writing more books about the mental side of things. And that’s the majority of my books are about the mental side of things. Of course I have others about how to play overseas, some more tactical stuff, but that mental thing is really what people want from me.

Alison Jones: And when you’re writing, what do you enjoy about that process or the bits that you find more enjoyable than others?

Dre Baldwin: The part that I liked the most about the writing is taking an idea that I have in my head and getting it on paper, quote unquote, on paper. And that’s actually, we’re doing that right now. And you do it when you make videos, you do it when you podcast, you do it when you do a live stream.

 I just want to get everything that’s in my head, the things that I want people to know about and the things that I think could help change the way people think and the way they act, I need to get it out of me because if I’m the only one who knows it, then it can’t help anybody else. I already know it.

So that’s one of the best parts about writing a book and the thing with writing books, Alison, is that when you look at YouTube, you look at podcasts and you look at whatever else is out here and whatever I was going to come, social media. All those things come and go. Like you put out a YouTube video today, next week, that video is now old, heard a podcast episode, one day this episode is going to be old because  your next episode is going to come out.

 But the thing about books, they have such a long tail in terms of just the way that we look at them as human beings, you could come across somebody’s book. The book came out five years ago, but you never heard of it, is new to you and you still treat it as new, even though it came out five years ago. But if somebody comes across a YouTube video that came out five years ago, they were like, man, make a new one. And I’ll say to players or people who come to me and say this exact thing.

They’re like, Dre can you make a video on such and such topic? And I’ll send them a link and say, Hey, I made that video in 2016. They’re like, yeah, but that’s old. Can you make a new one? I’m like well, I’m going to say the exact same thing and they’re like, yeah, I get it, but I just like a new video. It’s always just funny that people look at it like that when it comes to any other kind of content, but when it comes to books, people treat it, it doesn’t matter when it came out as long as it’s relevant, as long as it’s not a time sensitive topic, people will treat it as if it’s brand new.

So it was just funny that way with books.

Alison Jones: That is funny. And of course you can always, you can big that up, can’t you?  You can go this is   the classic book on the subject, which is kind of code in the industry for it’s more than 10 years old. Yeah. That’s brilliant.

Dre Baldwin: Right. But I’ve found people don’t really care, if they liked the book, they just liked the book. Doesn’t matter when it came out.

Alison Jones: Yeah. They have a long shelf life. Literally

Dre Baldwin: Exactly.

Alison Jones:  I always ask my guests Dre for their best tip for a first time business book author. Now might not be a business book in this case, but just for somebody  who’s hearing you and going, I have those ideas and a may be I’m doing the videos and doing the podcast.

I find the writing hard. What would you tell them?

Dre Baldwin: They find the writing hard, but they want to write a book. Okay.

Alison Jones: Yes, they wouldn’t be listening to this. I don’t think if they didn’t

Dre Baldwin: Yeah. Then I would say you’re right, the writing is hard. Do it anyway. Because that’s the only way you’re going to get a book done is to sit down and I had someone, I remember I did a live event for my book Work On Your Game when it came out and someone, when I did a Q and A, somebody said, well, Dre I want to write a book one day.

Everybody says that, right? When they find out you write books, people always say, I want to write a book one day. And he said, well, No, I find it hard to actually write, you know, what are the best tools that you use to write? And  the answer is always the same Microsoft Word and Google Docs. All right, sit down, open the document and start writing because there’s no book gets done, I don’t care how big of a following you have, who your publisher is, what kind of marketing plan you put together? How big of an influencer you are.

If you don’t sit down and write, then there will be no books. So yes, it is hard. It is challenging. If you could just  break the process down, decide you’re gonna write, write a paragraph a day, write 500 words, write a thousand words, but you must come up with some type of discipline so that you can consistently sit down and do the work.

This is the job, if you want to be an author, you have to do what an author does. Authors sit down and write and video makers turn on the camera and they make videos, construction workers build buildings, gardeners get in the gardens.

So if you want to be this, this is the work that you have to do. That’s just the game.

Alison Jones: Do you know, I had a feeling, you might say something like that.

Dre for the UK, people, this is what we need to hear. It’s not comfortable. It’s right. That’s brilliant.

And is there a book that you’d recommend, I mean, obviously Work On Your Game  but is there a book that you’ve read that you would recommend to anybody listening to this podcast?

Dre Baldwin: Oh man, I got too many that I recommend you have to narrow it down by giving me a topic. I can give you more than one.

Alison Jones: Well, I mean, I normally say a business book, but it doesn’t have to be, just a book that you read it and it did something profound for you. It shifted how you maybe saw the world and that you just like to share it with other people.

Dre Baldwin: Wow. Can I give you five?

Alison Jones: Why don’t you give me the first one and then we’ll see how we are for time.

Dre Baldwin: Okay. So the first one I would give is my favorite book, which is the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Have you read that one Alison?

Alison Jones: I have not, I love Robert Greene though, but I haven’t read that one.

Dre Baldwin: Okay. So I know Robert has, I think five books now, but his books are always super deep, well researched, not in a statistical, empirical type of way, but research as far as like historical examples. That’s what I love about his work and 48 Laws of Power, because I’ve always been into human psychology and it used to be when you are going to bookstore 20 years ago, that section was called human psychology.

I was always into that, then it morphed into, they started calling it self-help and now they actually call it personal development and professional development. So Robert Greene’s books fit that category and I remember the first time I saw that book, I just saw the spine of it because you know how they are in a bookstore.

And I pulled it out and I’m looking at the back cover. He had all 48 Laws listed. And I said, this book is for me. I need to understand this because Robert, one thing Robert was doing that I hadn’t seen anyone do before him and his book came out about 20 years ago. He was not only laying out the positive things you can do to help yourself, but also warning you and preparing you for some of the negative things that other people may do, not so that you need to do them so that you’re equipped when somebody tries to use it against you.

And this is something that a lot of authors,  they just ignore as if a Pandora’s box has not been opened. There are going to be challenges in life, and there’s a jungle that you have to navigate in life and a lot of self-help authors write as if everything is supposed to be perfect if you just follow their book.

But what about all the stuff that’s not perfect and they just ignore it, but Robert addressed it directly and that’s what I’ve always loved about Robert Greene. So that would be number one.

Alison Jones: That is an absolutely brilliant recommendation. And if it’s all right with you, we’ll leave it there because of the time, but also, you know, great recommendation, love that. Thank you.

So Dre if people want to find out more about you, more about your books, all of them,  and about the work you do, where should they go?

Dre Baldwin: Well, I’m on all the social media platforms. I’m on everything except TikTok, but I’m on everything else. As far as my books, you can just go to workonyourgame.com. I do have a book called the Mirror of Motivation, which anyone can get for free. They just cover the shipping. And that’s at mirrorofmotivation.com, but it’s also listed at workonyourgame.com and that’s how you can get started with me.

Alison Jones: Awesome. And I’ll put those links up on the show notes  at extraordinarybusinessbooks.com. Just brilliant talking to you Dre. I feel so energized  and a bit less British. So thank you for that.

Dre Baldwin: Well,  I enjoy the British, I love the British, so I appreciate you having me on.

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