After a quick and entertaining three days, I finished reading The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself by Rodney Mullen, the most influential skater in history. No, it’s not a how-to book, as my wife first believed
Written in 2004 with the help of author Sean Mortimer, The Mutt has less to do with skateboarding and more to do with lifehacks, storytelling, business, relationships, and trying to please an impossible father. Mullen is obviously neurotic, but he comes off being genuine and likable in the book. And it’s easy to see how he became the greatest in his field, arguably more so than Tony Hawk, due to his insane work ethic. Just reading about his stingy regime makes me feel lazy, but it’s also motivating.
I will say the 272-page book gets bonus points for stirring rich memories from my boyhood — my brother and I shared many good times as aspiring boarders. But in all honesty, any fan of autobiographies or victory over defeat should enjoy this one, particularly the first half of the book, 1970s, 80s, and 90s history, the excellent ending, and gorgeous color photography. The second half is a bit scatterbrain, but it doesn’t lose interest.
Three stars out of four (a half star higher if you appreciate skateboard culture). Highly recommended.
BONUS: Behold, Mullen’s ninja skatboarding skills below. I especially like the mid-air reverse kickflip at 1:13 in, and the Impossible Manual (?) at 3:44. Is it any wonder this guy invented the flatground ollie, kickflip, and a slew of other tricks? I think not. He makes other street skaters look like near-amateurs.