Cheating the Impossible: Ideas and Recipes from a Rebellious High-Wire Artist can be summed up in one sentence: this one sentence is the first phrase that Petit uses in the "About the Book" section: "I'm taking you with me on the high wire!" For those unfamiliar with the man, Philippe Petit is the high-wire artist made famous by the 1974 stunt in which he walked between the two World Trade Center buildings. There's been a documentary about this event (MAN ON WIRE) and a book recounting this experience (TO REACH THE CLOUDS).
If you've seen his TED Talk (I will provide a link in the comments section of this review), you'll know a lot of what Cheating The Impossible has to offer. Petit is a self-described man of passions, and this Kindle Single stresses his role as an artist above all else. Each brief chapter offers a musical accompaniment, literary suggestions, and the essay is littered with colorful photos and art. These additional bits do well to bring the reader into the mind of Petit, who, as it comes across, is constantly inspired by different media of art. Many of the lessons here (combining intellectual and physical efforts) can be extrapolated into almost any artistic arena, and need not only apply to walking on a high-wire. Petit is constantly pushing the limits of what is possible, and Cheating the Impossible focuses primarily on the kind of attitude needed to pull it off.
One of the things I really enjoyed about Cheating the Impossible is its voice. Where some ghost-written books eliminate some of the storyteller's voice, this Kindle Single is rife with Petit's manic, passionate voice. Both great in their own rights, TO REACH THE CLOUDS and MAN ON WIRE don't quite capture Petit's sense of storytelling like Cheating the Impossible does.
I would recommend this to anyone who loved MAN ON WIRE, his TED Talk, or anyone interested in diving into the mind of a man inspired enough to walk between the World Trade Center. It's a brief read (not too brief), and well worth the price.
(Additional release information:)
Readers would do well to view Cheating the Impossible on a color-enabled reading device. While not imperative, it will be needed to experience the color in many of the vivid photographs included herein.