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on 22 November 2007
This autobiography (and, for once, it really was written by the man himself, no ghosting here I think) is a very well written account of John Young Stewart's entire life. By that I mean that we don't just get the racing career. The book includes a long section on how his parents met and set up their garage business (well before Jackie Stewart's birth) Jackie's early life at school (not happy...), his brother's racing career, his early sporting success at clay pigeon shooting, racing, then business, endorsements, testing Ford cars, his family, Rolex, his friends (oh so many... mostly famous), setting up Paul Stewart Racing, Ford, moving into F1 again as Stewart Grand Prix, Rolex, his dogs, his friends, charity work, his son's illness, Ford, his brother's illness, his dog's illness, getting suits cut to fit over a Rolex, his friends, etc etc etc.

So why only three stars for such a chunky and comprehensive book? Well, I'm a petrolhead. Yes, I know, limited horizons perhaps, but I'm guessing that some people buying this book might (as I did) hope for more about the actual racing life, and the time spent within the team and behind the wheel. You notice how the racing career gets a little lost in that list I cobbled together above? Well, that's a little like the way the book comes across too. His racing doesn't really get going before about a quarter of the way into the book, and by half distance he's shown it the black flag and gone on to other things. Even within that section there are curious holes in the narrative. Where did the 1967 season go, for instance? During this year JYS was lumbered with the infamous BRM H16 powerplant, a unit on which his scathing "anchor for a ship" comment has passed into legend. But we get very little about just why it was so bad. This may well be the natural sportsman's attitude that you forget the bad and dwell on the good, but to find yourself slammed straight from 1966 into the front end of 1968 is a narrative car crash of Kubica-at-Montreal proportions. Similarly, 1972 seems to have done a bunk, although we are treated to an absorbing eulogy to Tyrrell 003 (hence, 1971 is quite well taken care of).

But... only once, on page 194, do we really get an idea about what went on in Sir Jackie's mind during a race. And this from one of the most thoughtful racing drivers in the sport's entire history! During his career Stewart drove an amazing variety of machinery, from the light and delicate BRM P261 F1 car of 1965, through the increasingly potent and rapid 3-litre cars (during the nacent slicks-n-wings stage, no less!), to monsters of CanAm. However, somehow we never really get an idea about what it was that lit Jackie's fuse about motor racing, other than the fact that he turned out to be good at it. What comes through is that Jackie Stewart (rightly) regards his driving career as a strictly limited period in his life. Having seen many interviews with the man, and heard him enthuse about motor racing, I really can't understand where all that went when he was writing this tome.

Despite the star rating, I would actually recommend this book, but be aware that this is not a driver's eye view of the glamourous late-60s and early-70s F1 circus, it is a portrait of a man. An acutely observed one, at that. I will stick at only three stars, however, as I can't help but feel that this book is being missold. The dust jacket features a shot of 006/2 (his last F1 car), a chequered flag pattern, and the rear has a moody portrait of JYS in his full-sideburned, early 70s pomp. But, to be honest, it really ought to be emblazoned with Ford, Rolex and Elf logos. He seems to be more in love with these corporations than ever he was with the smell of Castrol. Them and the Mayo Clinic. As his racing career lasted only about a decade, and his subsequent corporate career has spanned nearly four times that length, perhaps the balance is about right. Unfortunately, for me, while the ins and outs of corporate shmoozing, wheeling and dealing obviously push Jackie's buttons, they don't mine. Closing this book for the last time I felt that I had gained a huge understanding of the real Sir Jackie Stewart. Unfortunately, I think I preferred the fantasy. Ah well.
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on 3 March 2011
Others have said the same, but having just finished this very lengthy book, I also felt unsatisfied. The first third about his childhood and racing career is very good, albeit sometimes lacking real insights that appear in the very best sports biographies (like Graham Thorpe's brutally honest autobiography). After that it seems like Sir Jackie is primarily interested in providing an extended commercial for all those companies, royalty & celebrities he has been involved in for his 60 odd years. Some of this, like his car development work for Ford is genuinely interesting, but much of the rest comes across as rather gratuitous plugging and endless name dropping. An example - he can't just stay at a Hotel, its the Ritz Carlton. Every reference has a capitalized name associated with it, every name has an accompaniment like "brilliant actor", "wonderful businessman", or a lengthy royal title - always given in full every time.

To be honest, Stewart was never one of my favorite drivers and I found his acknowledgment of the late Denis Jenkinson a little sour given that Jenks spent so many column inches dismissing many of Stewart's ideas on safety. Clark was my first hero, then mainly the Lotus drivers that followed him like Ronnie, Mario & Emerson, but I was really interested in Stewart's take on an era where so many of the true greats are no longer around to tell their tales. After the racing period, with the exception of the PSR section, I found it a chore that I felt I had to finish to see if there was some great nugget buried in the text. Having said that, some of the odder chapters came close - especially the one on his dogs, but then I am a dog owner and could empathise.

So, if you want good racing stories, stop reading when he retires. You won't get much detail on what happened to Tyrrell later on for example. But as someone else said, you will learn where to get your suits made, how to handle replies to letters and what great guys Fred the Shred and Thatcher's favorite industrialist Lord King are.
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on 2 January 2008
As a fan of Formula 1 (though not fanatically so) and having lived through the Jackie Stewart era I suggested to my wife that this book would be a nice Christmas present. It duly appeared on the 25th beneath the tree and yesterday I finished reading it. To say I found it a fascinating and absorbing autobiography (and that is what it really is with not a ghost writer in sight) is a gross understatement. Certainly Sir Jackie covers his glory years in F1 in some detail but the book is much more than that. As a statement of belief from a man who has made a great success of his life despite early, and serious, deficiencies it is without parallel. I would recommend the book to any thinking person be they a fan of motor sport or no.
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on 25 October 2007
I expected this book to be a standard motor racing autobiography but it is much more than that. It arguably the best autobiography ever written by a racing driver and I have read most of them. In fact it is a highly absorbing read. And it is, for the most part, a very honest book.
Unusually, for this type of book, Sir Jackie wrote it himself without a ghost writer and it is all the better for that. And it is not only about motor racing it is about life in general with lots of self-help and business advice included. It is also quirky with a chapter on Sir Jackie's dogs that cannot fail to move anyone to tears. Anyone who buys this book - or gets it for Christmas will be totally delighted.
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on 13 February 2008
I have been a motor racing fan for 40 years and was lucky to see Sir Jackie race. Indeed my first Grand Prix was the epic battle at Silverstone between Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt. During that time I have read the autobiographies and biographies of all the greats involved in motor racing in various formulae. And, yes, if you are only interested in motor racing and nothing else, this book may not be to your taste. But this book is so much more than just another motor racing autobiography, which is not surprising considering that being a racing driver was less than 20% of Sir Jackie's life and being involved with Paul Stewart Racing and Stewart Grand Prix another 15%. This autobiography is about a man from a humble background who overcame learning difficulties to get to the top of two sports and then go on to become a very successful businessman. Yes, there is a bit of name dropping, but that is inevitable when describing a life that has involved so may famous and successful people. And to the reviewer who commented on Sir Jackie having the length of one his shirt sleeves tailored to allow his Rolex to be seen, it was merely used as an example of attention to detail was important in being successful. This book is a good, easy read and the lack of a ghost writer makes the reader feel that Sir Jackie is speaking to him in that so recognisable Scots accent. This book is simply an inspirational story of a great and highly successful man.
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on 14 March 2008
Of all the racing driver biographies I've read (only about a dozen, actually)this is a standout. Enhanced by the free 'VIBE' DVD, this gives a very readable, honest account of a fascinating life.

Sir Jackie's humanity, honesty and integrity are highlighted throughout the book. Apart from his experiences with family illnesses and the constant loss of friends and colleagues through racing, he has been a lucky man who has worked very, very hard to make his own luck.

I was priveleged to hear him speak at a book launch prior to the 2008 Australian Grand Prix, he spoke for half an hour but it seemed like five minutes. Thats's what this book is like; it was largely dictated by Sir Jackie himself, not just ghosted, and you can almost hear him reading it.

There are several parts of the book which will bring a lump to your throat, but that's to be expected.

It would have been good to have more photos, more information about his races, cars and rivals, but that would have occupied another 500 pages.
By the way, most of the video is from the 'Flying Scot' DVD which is one of the best motor racing/biography films ever made.

Highly recommended.
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on 8 January 2013
This book had the potential to be brilliant with Jackie Stewart having raced in such dangerous times and having done so much to change the sport for the better over the years and then in later life having set up and run a new team.

Starts off really well but when his F1 career finishes it starts to turn into an award acceptance speech and an advert for the Mayo Clinic, big long lists of people to thank and attendees at charity events. There is a time and a place for these things and if less space had been given to these bits we could have had a much better memoir. Reading the last chapter felt more like a chore to finish the book.

The first half of the book is brilliant, what a shame this didn't follow through into the second half.
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on 11 February 2009
Stewart's racing career has already been covered in extensive detail, so, aside from personal anecdotes, there is very little new to tell here. This autobiography rightfully places greater emphasis on the other aspects of his life before and since, some of which may seem a little vapid to a racing fan, yet has been so full that he never stands still for very long and the book always remains interesting.

On the downside, Stewart's incessant banging-on about his rich and famous friends gets a touch wearisome, and occasionally he gets sidetracked with irrelevancies. I also found his philosophising gets too 'preachy' for comfort in places, but there are some pleasant surprises like his views on religion and his love of dogs.

Generally the book is superbly well written in an intensely personal style that oozes deep emotions and strong convictions. Some light-hearted stories would be welcome to relieve the intensity from time to time, but the narrative is well thought out, progressing on a chronological framework with key issues being addressed in their own space as special subjects.

Overall, a 'Winning Is Not Enough' can be recommended to a reader who desires to gain an insight into the character of a complex personality, despite it's sparse presentation.
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on 8 July 2015
This is a fantastic reading up until the point Jackie retires from F1. It's fast- paced, honest, revealing. emotional. Like he said, you'll feel like you're onboard with Jackie aboard the rocket ship.

Then, after he retires from auto racing for good at the end of the 1973 F1 season, thinks go downhill. I mean, really downhill. All of a sudden, the book becomes a self-indulgent tale, a thing that surprised me, since his humble beginnings ad relative humility.

Than, all Jackie can talk about is how he got to know princes, princess, kings, queens, corporative moguls (whom he thinks are the best men in the world, it seems). Ok Jackie, it's not everybody that can go to the Mayo Clinic once a year to make a complete check-up. Congratulations, you made it pal, I got it since the moment you were F1 World Champion. You didn't have to keep reminding the reader all the time.

Everybody in the book (again, mainly the top corporate men and the kings and queens) are either "fabulous", "tremendous", "fantastic", "bright", "enthusiastic" people. The book almost becomes disgusting, when he keeps talking and talking about hunting birds with the rich men, playing golf with them, etc. At least, he was involved in a lot of charity work.
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on 18 December 2013
I like reading biographies and aotubiographies about anyone in various spheres and have read and have many. This is the only one I have ever put down part way through having got fed up with the constant self praise.
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