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Bernie: The Biography of Bernie Ecclestone [Paperback]

Susan Watkins
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

3 Nov 2011
This title includes a foreword by Sir Frank Williams. Bernie Ecclestone is best-known as the architect and figurehead of modern F1, but he has been a constant and often controversial presence in both F1 and British public life since the 1970s. In this acclaimed biography, now available in paperback, Susan Watkins analyses in detail his rise to prominence, from his early entrepreneurial exploits as a schoolboy to his position today as a peerless businessman and multi-billionaire. All aspects of his business and racing exploits are examined, and contrasted with intimate insight into his personal life.

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Bernie: The Biography of Bernie Ecclestone + No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: J H Haynes & Co Ltd (3 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857331310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857331311
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Susan Watkins has written acclaimed biographies of Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Jane Austen. She has lectured internationally on her historical subjects, and recently has written a stageplay and screenplay on the Guinea Pig Club and Sir Archibald McIndoe, maverick WWII plastic surgeon. Married to Prof Sid Watkins, F1 surgical and safety consultant, she has been an F1 insider since the early 1980s, and her extended family has included Ayrton Senna, James Hunt, Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bernie.. the biography he approved.... 20 Mar 2011
By Spudgun
The nearest thing to an authorised biography of Bernie. Lots of details and stories, and I think the early part of the book is quite interesting, the used car days, the racing, the involvemnet with driver management, and the early days fo the Brabham purchase, but the second half seems to get bogged down once it goes into Bernie's financial dealings for FOCA, and successive ventures.
Biggest problem is that I'm sure some of the stories have been cleaned up, and some stuff carefully omitted. You don't get to where Bernie is, without "breaking a few legs" or something similar, it's just too nice and simple, "he's a wonderful chap, buys his mother flowers", none of the real "Doug and Dinsdale" stuff.
However, compared to the alternative Tom Bower book, this is a work of genius.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book should be titled 'Saint Bernie' 14 Oct 2011
By Andy M
This book paints Bernie Ecclestone in the loveable rogue, business is business mould.

Frequently the author describes a scenario and then informs the reader that this was a clear demonstration of the man's caring disposition (or his business is business attitude). I could see many of these scenarios in a completely different light. BE was required to authorise the books publication - I think this is very evident.

The thinking reader will see numbers of situations where the author allows BE's version of events to take precedent. Where the events are controversial, there is no questioning of these events by the author - or views from parties that would have been on the other side.

As such I don't see much point in buying this book - it simply does not penetrate enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revealing Portrait 30 Jan 2011
Having followed F1 for several years I was interested to find out something about the man behind the scenes. This book delivered in all respects, painting a vivid portrait of Ecclestone during his rise to the top job in motorsport, including some fascinating insights into F1 in general. Very hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Susan Watkin's biography of Bernie Ecclestone 30 Jan 2011
The enigmatic Bernie Ecclestone lives a private life and I've always wondered what he's really like. This book provides quite a few clues. It charts Ecclestone's life from selling cakes at school to becoming a used bike and then car dealer to his his enormous wealth creation through the promotion of F1. There is much detail so the book appears to be well researched. I found it a very enjoyable read quite fascinating in places. Susan Watkins wites in a kindly style so there is not much criticsm of the way Bernie operates. I would have liked more information about the Mclaren spy scandal and the demise of Max Mosely as head of the FIA. Overall though if you want an insight into the life of this famous billionaire then I would recomend this book but understand it's rather biased in his favour.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
`Bernie, The Biography of Bernie Ecclestone', is written by Susan Watkins who is married to Professor Sid Watkins (ex-F1 medical guru). This was the only Ecclestone biography that I could find and it's been on my Wish List for years, literally.

This title has had more than one rescinded publication date and it has also had more than one cover photo. The present `Smilie Bernie' seems like the least appropriate but, I imagine, the one he insisted upon. (If the link still works, the previous `Cold, Lonely, Windy Bernie' seems much more suitable.)

Watkins is an accomplished biographer and her writing style is informal, extremely well informed (as you'd expect), bright and intelligent. She does well in explaining the bizarrely complicated business interests of Ecclestone and succeeds in telling a deep, almost bewilderingly multi-facetted story while managing to maintaining a sense of journey: you really do want to find out `what happens next'.

The author's style is not without it's irritating girly quirks though: `[Bernie's] sense of fun is always... just below the surface, fluttering like a jar-full of butterflies'. Fortunately, I only noticed two or three, appearing in the first half of the book. I also didn't like the whole attempt at making Ecclestone seem `cuddly': like many super-rich, super-successful people that I've read about, he seems perfectly happy to use people mercilessly and nothing, but nothing, is as important as making money.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing 5 Feb 2011
I have a large collection of motor racing books and looked forward to adding this from the point that rumours about it having been written started to circulate.

I have been very disappointed. From very early on I began to get the feeling that this was a very sanitised biography. As with another review certain phrases began to grate and I found myself skipping through it, eventually giving up half way.

My copy is now in the care of our local Oxfam book shop and I hope that someone else does get pleasure from it. For me it was one of those rare failures, but there are so many good books around at the moment that I'm hardly short of something decent to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling portrait of a fascinating personality
The author took on a huge challenge in choosing to do a biography of one who is both a close friend and a controversial public figure--she must tell the truth, the whole truth,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by RDK
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
This book left me with mixed feelings; obviously, the author thoroughly researched her topic and the book is pleasant to read, but, at the same time, you wonder to what extent the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Rjm Theunens
4.0 out of 5 stars Bernie - A Decent Read
A good read. Beyond the already known business knowledge and power of the man, we get a glimpse into the human side of the great man with entertaining anecdotes otherwise unknown... Read more
Published on 10 July 2011 by I_Am_Smash
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read
I've read a number of biographies and usually sail through them in a few days, however Susan Watkin's brilliant biography of Bernie takes longer. Read more
Published on 2 Mar 2011 by iainecg
3.0 out of 5 stars The lovable Bernie
As other reviewers have said this book paints Bernie in a favourable light and whether a family friend - as Susan Watkins is - was best best placed to act as a biographer is open... Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2011 by P. N. I. Jeffrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Sue on Bernie
This is the best book on Bernie yet. A phenominal amount of research must have gone into this, even though Sue Watkins
is quite close to him.
An excellent read. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2011 by Mr. P. C. Anderson
3.0 out of 5 stars Business Bernie
This is an interesting book for fans of Business Bernie, however, if it's the lowdown on what ticks inside F1 this isn't it. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2011 by skipppy
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing biography of Bernie Ecclestone
The book give a fairly good account of the mans life but generally I found it disappointing and lightweight. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by J Lyle
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