Fit for life
This 2006 alum publishes books about the link between athletics and professional success.
A strong entrepreneurial spirit and transformative experience at Millikin led Reid Jones ’06 to develop two books on how the collegiate athletic experience can have a lasting and positive impact on personal and professional development and growth. “After a wonderful experience as a Millikin student-athlete, I became interested in the topic after a long conversation with former MU assistant basketball coach Todd Creal,” says Jones, “so I went looking for a book on the subject and discovered there were none to be found.”
Jones, who operates his own publishing company – VLockerRoom.com – says he saw the opportunity to develop a new niche market on the topic and seized it. The Columbia, Ill., native and former captain of the Big Blue men’s basketball team began working on the books in July 2009 after sending a letter to T. Boone Pickens, the well known oil tycoon.
“It turns out Boone and I were both shooting guards, and I guess he identified with the mission of my books, because he wrote several paragraphs tracing his athletic and business experiences and how he feels that the two are interrelated,” Jones says. “Boone runs his businesses like sports teams with him as the head coach. He was also light years ahead of the curve on corporate wellness, having started a wellness program at Mesa Petroleum in the 1970s.”
In addition to Pickens, Jones asked other leaders to share their observations for his two books, including Millikin President Douglas Zemke ’66, who was a wrestling standout during his MU student career. Less than two years later, “Applying College Sports in a Professional Career, Action Edition” and “Applying College Sports in a Professional Career, Perception Edition” are available for purchase on Amazon.com as e-books or paperbacks.
Jones believes the mind learns by perception and action, and the books address each theme as it pertains to the collegiate athletic experience. He notes that his information technology background and entrepreneurship education at Millikin helped him create the “buzz” for the books.
Jones ultimately aspires to publish a series of nine books on the subject, as well as a software tool that distinguishes qualities and skills developed from sports and fitness. He hopes his works will inspire graduate-level research on the topic and lead to a more physically-active lifestyle among his readers.
“The latest data I’ve read indicates that 60 percent of American adults are clinically obese or overweight,” Jones says. “They need to be inspired to participate in fitness and sport for their health and well-being, and if my books can help prove to them that athletic participation leads to increased success in life, then I feel I have accomplished my goal.” Jones is also sharing 50 percent of the profits from the two books with his alma mater, seeking to give back to the institution that he feels gave him so much.
“Upon my arrival at Millikin, I was confident yet lacked responsibility, resilient yet lacked direction, and motivated yet lacked priorities,” he says. “During my transformation, Millikin provided me with a challenging experience, exposure to diversity, optimism for the future and respect for society. After graduating, I felt in control of taking responsibility, turning ideas into reality, fulfilling a role, progressing individually and professionally, being open-minded to challenges and change, leading a team and creating opportunities for the future.”
by Dave Brandon, director of development