I was the happiest person when I finally scored Chael Sonnen’s book, The Voice of Reason: A VIP Pass to Enlightenment which was originally released in 2012. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of this trash talking genius of an MMA fighter and I wanted to see for myself what he had to say about a variety of topics that may or may not be related to one or the other. I knew I was in for a good time when I turned the page and a foreword by Jesus Christ welcomed me in the opening pages. Curious though that JC sounded a lot like a strong jawed pro-division wrestler from Oregon who dabbles at commentating for Fox during his off training schedule.
The Voice of Reason is designed to be a “self help book” using the Chael P. Sonnen (P stands for Perfection, according to the guy) method of self improvement and through the course of the book, readers will be exposed to Chael’s views on the UFC, politics, the environment, social media, endangered species, his childhood and family, his fans, Santa Claus, walkout songs, the best movies, and the difference between the wrestling and martial arts (in which he articulately slams various martial arts in the world in true Chael fashion). While airing his views like an authority on everything, readers can sense that this is done tongue in cheek, with a sense of self awareness and self depreciating humor that only the most confident of people can pull off. And there is no doubt that Chael P. is a confident man.
From the first page up to the last, this book swings for the fences. Actually, Chael advises the readers to have a pen ready to take notes on nuggets of wisdom he drops throughout the literature. At first I thought he was joking, what with his signature arrogant tone, but pretty soon, I did find myself noting pages and quotes that got to me because there was a lot of food for thought involved.
There was no dull moment in this book, which I finished in two sittings. I actually had to reluctantly put it down the first night because I had to go to work the next day but all I could think about at the office was getting back to the book when I got home (Chael would probably tell me that I’m a pathetic loser with no life). I liked it a lot because it was so honest — like a friend calling you on your bullcrap the moment you think of something stupid.
Stupidity is contagious — Chael P. Sonnen
Chael the Author speaks with confidence and intelligence, and uses layman’s language that meatheads and intellectuals alike could understand. His sharp wit and acerbic humor is obvious in the way that he writes and the words flow so naturally that readers sit up and take notice of the logic behind his views. They also understand that behind the mean street language is a peek at the wheels turning behind Uncle Chael’s head. What’s great about this book is that it doesn’t care who it would offend. Heck, there were plenty of times that I believed that some of the topics were included in the book just to get a rise out of a certain group of people — Democrats, for one, Brazilians, for another — and Chael doesn’t stop his rapid fire attacks. He doesn’t hold anything back, much like he never stops when trash talking an opponent for an upcoming fight. What’s good about it is that he backs his argument with facts and puts his Sociology degree to good use, as well as his keen observations about Society in general (i.e. The Turkey Corollary) to prove that he is indeed coming from somewhere and not just randomly shooting his mouth.
Chael contradicts himself plenty of times. He even called attention to it a couple of times in the book, but then he makes an argument and again, one can’t help but be amazed at his logic. But the best part about the book were the parts where he talks about the sport that he loves, his profession and his family because his sincerity shines through. Its as if a mask is lifted and readers are treated to brief moments of vulnerability that he rarely shows as his UFC persona. The Voice of Reason gave him a voice to speak out about people who influenced him growing up — his father, his coaches, his idols — and gave readers a chance to understand what motivates Chael Sonnen, the athlete.
The book also gave Chael an opportunity to answer issues that has plagued his career (TRT) and even the money laundering case that effectively put an end to his political aspirations as early as his 20s. The book gave readers a unique inside look at a fighter’s psyche and its not just about machismo and an endless flow of testosterone that is the UFC — what happens pre fight, during training, the traveling (I got a kick about the focus mitts) and the names he called his cornermen, which belied his high respect and regard for the people who work with him and train with him. He describes the heartbreak after a loss to Anderson Silva — I’ve seen that fight a couple of times and it was indeed heartbreaking because it was only because of a brief lapse in Chael’s concentration –some hilarious experience by C.B. Dolloway, some cracks about Silva and Machida’s BFF relationship, and a whole lot more.
All in all, at first glance, it would seem that the book was written with the single-minded objective to offend everybody. True, Chael might come off as abrasive and offensive at times because he uses harsh words and talks tough, but The Voice of Reason, for all its sass and bluster, is a true representation of the author — smart as a whip, funny, a consummate professional, with strengths and weaknesses just like a regular person. It was a great read that really encouraged me to take a closer look at how I see things. Thank you, Uncle Chael. I’m hoping that there will be a next book. On a side note, no matter what you’re going through, I’ll be rooting for you 😀