In his raw and gritty biography, former Rutgers University football standout and Assistant United States Attorney Vaughn L. McKoy leads his readers through the mind-set and strategies he adopted that result in personal and professional success.


However, Playing Up differs in its readership and its scope. By starting with the perspective of disadvantaged youths’ current circumstances, Playing Up reveals how insights gained from the challenges of growing up in an urban environment can be used to make realistic and achievable changes in one's mind-set and life strategies.

In Playing Up, self-help content is presented indirectly through the author’s biographical experiences, empowering the reader to apply the same principles and strategies to live a life of purpose.

It continues to his struggles at Rutgers University, and beyond. However, Playing Up is unique in that the book starts before Vaugnn attends middle school, more definitively engaging its middle-school and high-school audience, and continues past his university years to football stardom and prominent political success... and the position to be able to help those who currently have the same beginnings he had.

It’s a true-to-life compass its readers can follow to play up in their own lives, one that can lead them to engage in mentoring relationships that provide ongoing direction, accountability, and encouragement, written from a mentee’s perspective. Moreover, it is a definitive admonishment to potential mentors to invest in the lives of the young people who so desperately need their wisdom, guidance and example.