Ahead of the Game

The Unlikely Rise of a Detroit Kid Who Forever Changed the Esports Industry

by Kevin J. Ryan, Sean "Diddy" Combs

On Sale: 2022-01-25

Price: $28.99

Book Summary

Prepare to be inspired by the story of Delane Parnell, the unlikeliest of CEOs now leading a gaming empire at the center of the booming, multimillion-dollar esports industry.

About the Book

Prepare to be inspired by the story of Delane Parnell, the unlikeliest of CEOs now leading a gaming empire at the center of the booming, multibillion-dollar esports industry.

Delane Parnell is not your typical tech entrepreneur. He was raised in a gang-riddled neighborhood on Detroit’s west side, bouncing between homes as his mother tried to make ends meet. Many of his closest friends and family members ended up in jail or dead.

This makes it even more incredible that Delane became the 25-year-old founder and CEO of PlayVS, a Los Angeles company that is forever changing the gaming landscape in America. In 2018, esports— team-based competitive video gaming—became an officially sanctioned high school sport, meaning student gamers can now earn varsity letters just like their basketball and volleyball player peers. Delane’s startup is making that happen, providing the infrastructure that hosts the competitions, compiles the statistics, organizes playoff tournaments, and streams state championships for tens of thousands of students across the country.

Ahead of the Game is a deeply reported narrative that tells the story of Delane, the motley group of underdogs and hustlers that helped build his several-hundred-million-dollar startup, and the previously overlooked students now participating in America’s growing esports phenomenon. It’s a tale of perseverance, courage, loyalty, race, family, tragedy, and believing you can overcome the odds—no matter how severely they’re stacked against you. Readers will also:

  • Learn how the growing Esports industry is changing the lives of students across the country who were previously not engaged in the high school experience.
  • Get a glimpse into a successful entrepreneur path unlike any other by following the story of how Delane Parnell created PlayVs in spite of the greatest of challenges.
  • Be inspired that there is hope and opportunity available to people who go against conventional paths to realize their dreams.

With a foreword by Sean "Diddy" Combs


'Ahead of the Game is a truly refreshing startup story that vividly chronicles the rise of a scrappy company in a thriving industry. It's also a moving, beautifully written portrait of a founder whose story--and whose reach--extends far beyond Silicon Valley.'

'A dramatic startup tale from Detroit to Los Angeles--but more than that, the fascinating life story of a truly inspiring entrepreneur.'

'A great read about a great founder--and so much more. More so than almost any other book out there, Kevin Ryan's enthralling Ahead of the Game gets at the precise stuff about how an entrepreneur succeeds and all that such a journey requires.'

'A journey through the trials and tribulations of a young man who has defied all the odds in business and life. Delane's story is a tribute to his courage, drive, and will to make it while surrounded by a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It's an inspiration to all who seek to improve their lot in life.'

'A must-read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship or the booming esports business.'

'As thrilling and addictive as any video game out there.'

'Kevin Ryan has created a fantastic reading cocktail: one part biography of a truly original character, one part crystal ball into the future of sports, one part primer on digital-era entrepreneurialism--and all parts entertaining!'

'Never less than engrossing. This is a remarkable tale, told with a brio that matches its subject.'

'The wonder of Kevin Ryan's work here is the way he effortlessly reinvents a classic tale--the triumph over the odds--for the golden era of video games. In fact, Ahead of the Game chronicles three triumphs for the price of one: the rise of an unlikely entrepreneur, the birth of a high school gaming team, and the explosion of esports itself. Make that four triumphs.'

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781400224500
  • ISBN 10: 1400224500
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Leadership
  • On Sale: 2022-01-25
  • Pages: 320
  • List Price: $28.99
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership
  • Publication Date: 2022-01-25
  • Category 1 : GAMES / Video & Electronic
  • Category 2 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Business
  • Category 3 : SELF-HELP / Personal Growth / Success
  • Category 4 : BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship
  • Category 5 : BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Motivational