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Winning is not Enough by Sir Jackie Stewart

Release date: 07th May, 2009
Publisher: Headline Books

List Price: £7.99
Our Price: £4.99
You Save: £3 (37%)
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Winning Is Not Enough
By Sir Jackie Stewart
Headline Books

Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £ 4.99, saving 38% on rrp

Towards the end of this remarkable book, updated from the original hardback published a couple of years ago, Sir Jackie Stewart muses about the pace of his life: "My head runs, and I find myself constantly wanting to do something else. It's not a question of needing to achieve, or needing to earn more money. If something is there to be done÷my restless nature seems to drive me to do it there and then. That's just how I am."

In many respects, this single paragraph sums up Sir Jackie's life. He is a force of nature, a man given to getting things done, whether that be winning the Formula One world championship (which he did three times), setting up successful business enterprises, or becoming entrenched in charity work. If he says he's going to do something, it gets done.

This is not so say that readers will necessarily agree with all of his opinions: one assumes he is being loyal to his client RBS when he criticises "the media" who, he maintains, "have been guided towards the belief that the banking community is responsible for the economic downturn." Irresponsible lending underpins our economic calamity, but this is a minor criticism and digresses from what has been an incredible and very full life.

It is rare nowadays for a former sportsman, especially one of such international repute, to actually write his own autobiography, although given Stewart's willingness to take things on, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that he has produced a door-stopping tome of almost 550 pages. Nor could a ghost writer have written it any better.

Furthermore, this is an autobiography; it doesn't simply concentrate on the successful period from 1968 onwards when, after teaming up with Ken Tyrell, he found himself on the cusp of his first world title and, burdened by a top-rate tax of 93%, he decided to move to Switzerland. This is a comprehensive story, another rarity for a sporting autobiography, for it details the experiences that were to influence the adult.

People buying this book for a unique insight into the world of motor racing might be a tad disappointed as the narrative is not laden with details of why such-and-such engine was better than any other, or how Stewart planned his way to a world title, although we're given a rare glimpse into the thoughts of how the driver feels when behind the wheel. But this absence of chapters likely to be of interest solely to petrol-heads merely serves to prove that Sir Jackie Stewart is not a one-dimensional character.

In addition to becoming an enormously successful driver (he recorded 27 grand prix victories) when F1 was still considered a glamorous sport, the author has managed to apply his Midas touch to many other areas of his life - not bad for a dyslexic who left school "with great relief".

Sir Jackie raced Formula One cars from 1965 - securing a point in his first race in South Africa - until the end of the 1973 season, by which time he had claimed the world title with two races remaining. He has done much either side of those eight years worth reading about; accordingly, if you're looking for an insight into the whole person who happened to be a successful sportsman, you will rarely find a better read.


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