"TAKING THE LEAD: Lessons from a Life in Motion," by Derek Hough, William Morrow, $24.99, 176 pages (nf)
Derek Hough never could sit still as a kid. As a result, he was often in trouble.
But he took that restlessness and turned himself into an impressive dancer and an irrepressible character.
He won back-to-back awards on "Dancing with the Stars" and took home five Mirror Ball trophies. He's jumped out of a plane. He played Ren in the touring show "Footloose."
Everything he's decided to do well, he's done with a flair. He's kind of an "I've been everywhere" guy.
Now, he's written a book.
"Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion" resembles an advice column more than a memoir, but it's still an interesting look into Hough's life and philosophies.
He has a bit of worn wisdom about just about everything.
"Opening up to someone is the ultimate act of courage and faith," he says.
And "Excuses will always get in the way of a responsible life," and "The only thing certain in life is that life isn't certain."
Fans of Hough who have followed his career (he's been dancing competitively since he was 10) are likely to gobble it up. He talks about being threatened and bullied as a kid. He discusses his parents' divorce and his challenges in the competitive dance world after he moved to England to live with a foster family.
Non-fans may get a touch weary because there's so much preaching between little stories about injuries and stressful moments.
There are some sections where Hough is a little more candid and really shares some good ideas, like when he talks about diet, exercise and dance styles. For example, he writes that the difference between the tango and the Argentine tango is intensity.
There are some really cute pictures, including family photos, growing-up moments and Hough on adventures with his dancing partners and sports teammates.
He refers often to his life and training in Utah at the Center Stage Dance Studio with Autumn DelGrosso and makes it clear that he respects the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He avoids any explicit sexual references, foul language or violence, except for a painful injury here and there.
And Hough seems well-liked by the other contributors to this book, who are mostly dance partners from the TV show: Meryl Davis, Ricki Lake and his sister Julianne Hough.
If you go ...
What: Derek Hough book signing
When: Saturday, Aug. 9, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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