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By the time he was thirteen, John Urschel was auditing a college-level calculus course. Joining his high school football challenged Urschel in an entirely different way. Against the odds, Urschel found a way to manage his double life as both a scholar and an athlete. While he was an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, he simultaneously pursued his PhD in mathematics at MIT.
Urschel relives the most pivotal moments of his bifurcated life. He describes his parents’ different influences and their profound effect on him, and he opens up about the correlation between football and CTE and the risks he took for the game he loves. Equally at home discussing Georg Cantor’s work on infinities and Bill Belichick’s playbook, Urschel reveals how each challenge—whether on the field or in the classroom—has brought him closer to understanding the two different halves of his own life, and how reason and emotion, the mind and the body, are always working together. “So often, people want to divide the world into two,” he observes. “Matter and energy. Wave and particle. Athlete and mathematician. Why can’t something (or someone) be both?”
“A charming memoir on the joys of solving puzzles and pushing yourself past your so-called limits. It’s not every day that you read a book by an NFL lineman who’s working on a math PhD at MIT, and John Urschel reminds us that a full life depends on exercising both your brain and your body.” —Adam Grant, author of Originals and Give and Take
“Captivating…. Urschel’s brilliant memoir explores the challenges of making difficult choices and the rewards of following one’s passions in life.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review