Josh Chetwynd is an author, journalist, broadcaster, lawyer and former baseball player. The varied mix of undertakings has led to numerous interesting life experiences, including (but not limited to): flying on Air Force One, walking down the red carpet at the Academy Awards, doing live radio color commentary at the World Series, co-hosting a national TV show, arguing a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, negotiating professional contracts for athletes, and representing Great Britain in baseball -- in addition to playing the sport as a professional on two continents. Chetwynd has written five books on such eclectic topics as the origins of all things nice, the stories behind our favorite sports and recreation balls, European baseball, and the history of accidental discoveries and unexpected inspirations in the kitchen.
His most recent effort, The Book of Nice: A Nice Book About Nice Things for Nice People, was described as a “smart look at all things … nice” by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. The Huffington Post said: “Chetwynd explores being nice through chapters on gestures, songs, words, characters and offerings that spread the love and does so with wit and intelligence. It's an important book ..." Another of his books, The Secret History of Balls: The Stories Behind the Things We Love to Catch, Whack, Throw, Kick, Bounce and Bat was named one of the “Best Books of 2011” by NPR. (His next book is slated for release in May 2016 for Random House’s Ten Speed Press.)
As a journalist, he has worked as a staff reporter for USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter and U.S. News and World Report. His writing has also appeared in such publications/websites as The Wall Street Journal, The Times (of London), Chicago Tribune, MLB.com, The Harvard Negotiation Law Review, The Observer Sport Monthly, and Variety. He’s a two-time winner of the Los Angeles Press Club Award for best newspaper article written by a correspondent (1999 and 2000).
In the broadcasting world, Chetwynd has appeared extensively in the British media. He co-hosted a show on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 2010 to 2013, and also served as the BBC’s live, on-site color commentator for the World Series five times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2013). In addition, Chetwynd was a TV sports analyst and host on the national terrestrial network Channel 5 between 2002 and 2008.
What’s Your NativeAdVantage:
What do you do best?
Work hard. It’s the easiest aspect of a person’s professional life that one can consistently control. I’ve also found it helps cultivate talents and assures that you’re never left asking yourself, “What if, I’d tried a little more?”
What makes you the best?
Not sure I can call myself the best. In fact, if that’s what you’re shooting for (being the best just for the sake of being on top), you probably won’t get there. For instance, great baseball players like Hall of Famer Cal Ripken and current superstar Mike Trout have said publicly they never try to hit home runs…if they did, they’d rarely achieve that goal. Instead they try to hit the ball as squarely as possible and if it leaves the ballpark then so be it. The off-the-field upshot to that approach is rather than looking to be the best, strive to be the best you can be because that’s what you can control. That’s what I’m always trying for – to be the best version of myself.
What are your aspirations?
To be a compassionate, loving and useful part of my family; to consistently do the best I can; to contribute something to this world that is interesting and has some staying power; and to ultimately be remembered fondly by the people who knew me best.
I have a couple of saying/passages that guide me that I’m afraid are both a bit cliché (but I argue they got that way because they’re so good). The first is the piece of a Teddy Roosevelt 1910 speech that most people know as “The Man in the Arena”. It speaks to sticking your neck out, working hard out and striving to be your true self. The language is so wonderfully evocative that it should move anyone who has tried to write. For those who don’t know the speech, the excerpt starts: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…”
The other that I love and has long been co-opted by Alcoholics Anonymous is the one known as the “serenity prayer”. It’s been attributed to many thinkers (including St. Francis), but I believe Reinhold Niebuhr deserves credit. It goes, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” AA is not an organization I’m involved with, but the prayer is one that I believe is still applicable to my life (and everyone’s for that matter). It’s a reminder of the importance of self-awareness, among other things.
I will always say my family. Each of them are good, smart people with big hearts. Those are the type of people, in my opinion, we should look to for inspiration!
There are so many I love! I grew up in Los Angeles and the pull of home is always inspiring. I was born in London and lived there during a very happy time as an adult so going back brings me great joy. The same goes for Washington, D.C., which is a city I love. Truthfully, it’s rarely the place itself, but the memories and feelings a place draws out of you based on experiences there that tend to offer inspirations for me.
Gosh. I’m not really a material-driven person. I played baseball most of my life so I guess a great glove is always an inspiration. For an infielder’s gloves, I’d have to go with Rawlings’ Heart of the Hide (they make fancier gloves, but that was the one I always aspired to get as a kid/teenager). For catcher’s mitts (I primarily played catcher), I’d probably go with a good Wilson model…although I know the folks at All Star, which is a competing company, and they are such good people so I regret never using their glove as it might have been quite inspiring.
First and foremost is my family, but beyond that, I love learning and challenging myself. My proof for this is that I’m highly over-educated! That said, I don’t think formal education is required for this passion. I write books because I like discovering facts, concepts, attitudes that I wasn’t familiar with (and, hopefully, if I do my job right, others also find illuminating as well).