For Martellus Bennett, Books Inspire Investments Post-NFL Retirement

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Written by Ann Brown

 

To say ex-NFL player Martellus Bennett is a bookworm would be a major understatement.

Some professional athletes spend their money on real estate or luxury cars. Others are even investing in tech. Martellus Bennett splurges in books. Yes, books.

“I have about 3,500 books, maybe more,” Bennett told CNBC Make It.

“I have a library, and it’s like I want to beat Belle on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and have a better library than she had,” Bennett said, referring to the 1991 Walt Disney movie, which he watches with his four-year-old daughter, Austyn Jett.

So when you crunch the numbers, if each book cost about $9 (a conservative number), Bennett has spent somewhere around $31,500 on building his book collection. Bennett retired in March after 10 seasons in the NFL, playing for five teams including the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. During his career he earned nearly $34 million, according to the sports contracts and salaries website Spotrac.

According to Bennett, after hearing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg challenge himself in 2015 to read a new book every other week for a year, the baller decided to do the same. “I started reading a lot of books because Zuckerberg was doing it,” says Bennett.

Among his favorite reads are books with themes involving creativity and entrepreneurship. One of his recommendations: “Creativity, Inc.,” by Edwin Catmull, a computer graphics pioneer who is currently president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Other suggestions: “Collective Genius,” a book on leadership and innovation, and Paulo Coelho’s  inspirational novel “The Alchemist.” Right now, Bennett is reading “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle.

“[It talks] about how…if you really want to run a business and be a good leader you’ve got to let go of your ego,” Bennett says.

Bennett has always had a love of books, which has has been able to pursue post-retirement. He’s even written himself.

“In 2016, the former football player launched his multimedia entertainment company, The Imagination Agency, which recently released Bennett’s second children’s book, called ‘Hey A.J., It’s Bedtime.’ Bennett says he reads even more children’s books (“at least two a day”) with his daughter, who serves as the basis for his own books’ main character,” CNBC reported.

In 2017 he wrote his first children’s book, “Hey AJ, It’s Saturday.” And, in 2018 he wrote and released “Dear Black Boy Hardcover,” a book to encourage and empower brown-skinned boys.

The Imagination Agency also creates interactive animated apps to go with the children’s books along with music and animated short films.

Bennett’s next project is a memoir of sorts–”It’s ‘taking ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ meshing it with ‘Bad Boys’ and sprinkling a little Harry Potter magic dust on it, and then washing it in the river from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,'” he told CNBC.

Martellus Bennett
New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, left, quarterback Eli Manning, center and quarterback Ryan Perrilloux run through a physical evaluation drill on the opening day of the New York Giants training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, July 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

 

Ann Brown
Image Attribution: New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennet, left, quarterback Eli Manning, center and quarterback Ryan Perrilloux run through a physical evaluation drill on the opening day of the New York Giants training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, July 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) . Image: Anita Sanikop