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Jonny: My Autobiography [Paperback]

Jonny Wilkinson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 May 2012
Jonny Wilkinson's career has crossed three decades and four World Cups. He has accumulated phenomenal achievements, world points records, an impressive list of broken body parts, and a drop goal that will be remembered for ever. But the peculiar calmness with which he played the game masked a very different reality. In JONNY, he reveals the extraordinary psychology that he had to tame in order to be able to dominate his sport. For most of his life, he was driven by a quest for perfection and an obsession to be the best player in the world; here he shows how these two facets of his competitive mind took such a hold of him that they sent him to the top of the world, then swept him up and dragged him down into a spiral of despair. Jonny's career has spanned the far reaches: amazing highs and iconic moments, then a fight against injury that culminated in a battle with depression. Here he tells of the physical toll he knew his body was taking from rugby, even from his youth; he tells of how he never wanted to be a kicking fly-half but learned to adapt his natural game to play the style that Clive Woodward believed necessary to win a World Cup, and how he nearly walked out on Martin Johnson's England team 13 years later.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755313402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755313402
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A remarkable account of an obsessive perfectionist trapped in a desperately imperfect world' -- The Guardian 'This autobiography is different. Penned with the bravery with which Jonny played the game' -- The Sun 'A candid and deeply personal voyage into the farthest reaches of Wilkinson's complex character... a gripping read and an examination of the human psyche that throws up many thoughts and experiences that will be uncomfortably but reassuringly familiar to others haunted by self-doubt' -- ' excellent memoir, a compelling portrayal of the psychological drawbacks of his fabled quest for perfection' -- The Times 'Searingly honest' -- Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

JONNY is the unrelenting, brutally honest account of one of the most revered, successful and complex athletes ever to play rugby for England.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jonny: My Autobiography 18 Nov 2011
3 nights into book and 250 pages read.

This is undoubtedly the best autobiography I have read.

From an outsider looking in it seems that Mr Wilkinson gave a lot of time and thought to it. This makes a pleasant change to books where it is clear the subject was not that interested in the process and end result.

The media have always suggested that he was a perfectionist but prior to reading this book I was not fully appreciative of what `perfectionist' meant.

His relationship with his brother is fascinating and as a father of 4 I would be delighted if my children are as close as Jonny and Sparks.

Haydn Hertz
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memoirs of a perfectionist 24 Nov 2011
By matthew
Jonny has once again surpised us with this brutally honest but totally absorbing autobiography.
JW is not just a great and unique sportman who stands out head and shoulder above all rugby players.
Jonny is also a fascinating complex intelligent sensitive human being who is on his own personal quest to enlightement, always learning and searching for the truth.
This is a great book from an truly exceptional young man. Thanks Jonny!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book 22 Nov 2011
A very good read from start to finish. The book gives a truthful and honest account of Jonny`s life and career. It takes you through the ups and downs of a top sportsman. A must read book for anybody interested in sport.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book 21 Nov 2011
It has been apparent for many years that Jonny Wilkinson is not just an 'ordinary' sportsman; this book is further compelling proof. Committed, if not driven, beyond the comprehension of most of us, Jonny has always been a bit of an enigma. The national hero of 2003, he unfortunately saw the other side of the fame coin through countless injury setbacks but always kept his own counsel and dignity, refusing to flaunt his fame in the outer reaches of the 'celebrity' goldfish bowl.

Like the man this book doesn't disappoint. Open with the truth and hard hitting it gives a unique opportunity to view in close-up a unique hero of English sport. Should be required reading for all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OCD and Angst but a great read!! 24 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must admit it is difficult to be objective, as an ex rugby player who thinks Jonny Wilkinson is a God. However I will do my best.

The book starts with psychological self analysis from childhood and continues much in this way throughout the rest of the book. I suppose you could say it is a little repetitive. That may be true but it is an insanely addictive read to have laid before you the inner, darkest thoughts, of a professional sportsman.

To be honest I have never been a knocker of Jonny W and always hoped he would get fit quickly and come back to play for England again. The book will give you a great insight into just how hard he tried. In fact he couldn't have tried any harder.

The book will give you another side to Jonny W. The fragile, self doubting, side a real opposite to his media profile of hard tackling hit man.

This is an excellent read and it is the first book I have read, cover to cover, in under 3 days.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most honest autobiography out there 18 Nov 2011
This was a gripping, honest and touching book, which you can tell was written from the heart. Never before have I read such an open account of someone's career and life.
I can't recommend this book enough. One of the greatest sportsmen of out time delivers the most powerful book of the year
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jonny, we're sorry... 17 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was absolutely infuriated about how Jonny Wilkinson was treated by both British press and much of the public during, and after, the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Oh how short the public memory can be - and how fickle the armchair sports pundit. One of the many reasons this book is a must-read is that Jonny never let much slip in interviews during his career, being the consummate professional he is. But here, every possible emotion JW has experienced in his lengthy career is poured forth without compromise. After the first few chapters of this book, only the most informed of people on JW will not be stunned by what he has to say.

The perfectionist nature of the man is known - but learning the extent to which this trait has consumed his life came as a shock. The frank and sometimes distorted view JW has about his own talents and abilities are unbelievable. After reading quite a few Rugby Union autobiographies now - Ronan O'Gara, Lewis Moody, Martin Johnson and Donncha O'Callaghan among them - it is clear that a lot of insecurity exists in large union squads about competition for places. Keen to know how this affected JW during his significant spells through injury, I was extremely saddened by what I read. The man has had, despite the large point totals and achievements, a bittersweet career; and one of the most interesting points of the book is how the 2003 victory represented both a zenith and a nadir in his life.

Of every single sporting autobiography I have ever read, in terms of brutal honesty, only 'Open' by Andre Agassi comes remotely close to this. However, JW's book, unsurprisingly, is without any of the razzmatazz and hyperbole of 'Open', which leaves the reader with the closest thing to the working of a sporting mind yet written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking 6 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I am, without doubt, a rugby fan you don't have to be to be blown away by this book. There are all too many "celebrity" books which range from kiss and tell to just the most mundane. This is nothing of the sort. Whilst it will always have to have rugby in it, it is a truly stunning opportunity to see the inner machinations of one of the greatest, but introspective, sportsman I have had the pleasure to watch.

Before Jonny became a house hold name I used to know his father. His face would light up when he spoke of his boys. Having read the book it is easy to see why. I think than any father who had sons who lived with such integrity could quite happily stand tall.

A fascinating, unstoppable insight in to a man less ordinary. I'd like to thank Jonny for sharing it with us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good start but towards the end becomes a bit of a chore
Published 22 days ago by Geoffrey Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Move along, nothing to see here!!
After reading all the previous reviews I thought I was on to a winner with this book. How wrong was I!! Read more
Published 27 days ago by gavin wylie
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the insight, Jonny.
Quite possibly one of my favourite rugby players of all time, which I hope is praise indeed coming from a Welshman! Read more
Published 1 month ago by cardiffstu
5.0 out of 5 stars For any rugby fans. It's clear the guy eats ...
For any rugby fans. It's clear the guy eats sleeps and breathes the sport from childhood. Fascinating insight into the mental issues associated with the pressures of wanting to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. J. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars He has read it and loved it!
A present for my dad on Fathers Day. He has read it and loved it!
Published 3 months ago by Sally Townend
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible insight into the complex mind of the ultimate winner
The book offers an incredible insight into the complex mind of my boyhood hero and a true champion, including the triumphs and disasters.
Published 4 months ago by R1COAM
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Loved this book. Great insight to rugby England rugby and psychology :-). Read the book in 3 days easy read and really interesting
Published 5 months ago by Gavin
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insight into the mind of a professional sportsman
Would recommend this to any rugby fan or anyone who is interested in what drives a great sportsman.
It is a fascinating insight into the mind of a professional sportsman and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by clare young
5.0 out of 5 stars No Disappointment
I am always a bit nervous when reading an autobiography of someone I really admire. There is always the risk of disappointment if your idol doesn't live up to your expectations. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Stitcher Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insight into the mind of a rugby genius.
If you enjoy sport in any form you'll love this. An in depth look into the mind of someone utterly dedicated to the pursuit of being the best.
Published 6 months ago by Alice M
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