Mike Rowe Makes a Surprise Visit to State Street


CHICAGO, IL— We were just minding our own business selling books when Mike Rowe, disguised in a baseball cap, strolled into our State Street bookstore. He headed straight for the New Non-Fiction section, grabbed a few copies of his new book, The Way I Heard It, and began signing.

To millions of American television viewers, Mike is known as the guy who has worked hundreds of “Dirty Jobs” on The Discovery Channel. For seven years, he traveled to all 50 states, rolled up his sleeves, and got down and dirty to work in swamps, sewers, ice roads, coal mines, oil derricks, crab boats, and lumberjack camps. On Labor Day 2008, he launched mikeroweWORKS, a PR campaign designed to reinvigorate the skilled trades. He’s since written extensively about the country’s relationship with work, the widening skills gap, offshore manufacturing, infrastructure decline, currency devaluation, and several other topics about work. Now, Mike has released a book of short stories for those he says are “curious people with short attention spans.”


The Way I Heard It is a collection of mysteries. It’s also a memoir. You might call it a “memstery,” but that’s not really a word. So let’s just call it what it isa book.

“This book began as a collection of podcast transcripts—a simple attempt to satisfy listeners who wanted a written version of my weekly homage to Paul Harvey’s, The Rest of the Story, Mike says, “but that seemed like a lazy way to write a book. So, I began to write new material to explain why I wrote the stories I did. But that “new material” got completely out of hand and turned into something “not brief.” Something deeply personal and entirely unexpected.

The result is a weird mix of biography and auto-biography, mystery and memory, truth and things I believe to be true. You’ll learn about my time in the opera, my many humiliations in home shopping, and my various run-ins with dirty jobbers, Hollywood celebrities, and of course, my mom and dad. Mostly though, you’ll learn why I write about famous people I’ve never met and what I discovered about myself in the process.

It’s not the book I sat down to write; it is, however, the book that wanted to be written.

It’s The Way I Heard It.”

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!