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Karl McCann

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I'm Here To Win: A World Champion's Advice for Peak Performance
I'm Here To Win: A World Champion's Advice for Peak Performance
by Chris Mccormack
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pacey, honest and direct account by Triathlon legend, 13 July 2011
Unlike many other sports, and even unlike the three parts that make it up, Triathlon as a sport is very young. As a result, compared to other sports `Legends' are comparatively rare, and biographies about them are even rarer. So when I heard that Chris McCormack was preparing to publish a biography, I pre-ordered on Amazon and waited patiently for it to come; readers in the US and Australia seemed to have earlier access than us here in Europe, their glowing reviews and tweets about it making me anticipate it even more.

When it arrived, the book did not disappoint. It is a frank, no-holds barred and fast-paced guide to competing at the top in triathlon. Loosely structured around a few themes, the book details Maccas early interest in the sport and his decision to abandon a corporate career for an uncertain and unproven future; the people around him, his personal tragedy in losing a best friend and his Mum, the change of direction from ITU to WTC, his dominance of races in Australia, Europe, and the US, right through to his crowning achievement - the 2010 Ironman Championship in Kona, his second win on the course.

For me the most useful part of the book was the emphasis Macca placed on the psychological, strategic part of triathlon. It is easy to think that our sport amounts to endless training, and spending more and more on equipment, being scientific about nutrition, while little value is placed on planning, strategy and competing with your strengths. The reality is that all of these things are important and none can be neglected. Maccas continuing achievements in his late 30's demonstrates how powerful this different mindset can be.

I have read reviews on Amazon,com, and can certainly see that certain criticism of the book is valid (there is some repetition, for example, and there is a loose structure), but overall this is a fascinating read, and something I will definitely return to again. I figure it would make an ideal pre-season read for motivation and focus.

If you have any interest in triathlon, I am sure you will love it also.

One little request to finish - can we have this on Kindle please?


True Believers
True Believers
by Joseph O'Connor
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in places, 7 Jun. 2005
This review is from: True Believers (Paperback)
A collection of a dozen or so short stories, True Believers reads like a weather forecast for Ireland - "Good in places". The opening story "The Last of the Mohicans", which won O'Connor his first literary prize and ultimately launched him as a writer, is excellent. Perfectly-formed, well-balanced and beautifully written, in retrospect it may set a very high standard for the rest of the book.
"Mothers Are All the Same", "Volunteers" and the closing "Tru Believers" are also excellent, each exploring Irishness and personal relationships from new angles.
Some of the weaker stories appeared to me to be well-written, but perhaps meaningless, or less rewarding. "The Long Way Home", for example, is a story of a journey that is both physical and spiritual, but one that appears far less real and much less believable than the other journeys in the book - a loose theme of the book is a personal journey of discovery the lead character makes.
There are more reasons to pick up and read this book than there are to dismiss it. My 3 stars is a blend of the 4-5 stars I would give for the best stories, and the 1-2 stars that I feel some of the others deserve.


Rough Ride
Rough Ride
by Paul Kimmage
Edition: Paperback

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 2 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Rough Ride (Paperback)
Many sports books are written to celebrate the glory of winning and achievement. Kimmages book is different because it is an honest account of an also-ran, a dreamer, a slogger. Paul never enjoyed the trappings of success, never earned anything more than a pithy wage and experienced in rare measure the dream of winning.
Against all this, Paul is forced to deal with the ever-present tumour of doping in cycling. As he struggles to accept his physical limitations as a human cyclist, he finds himself having also to compete against the drugs that fuel those around him to success. Eventually he leaves the sport, disillusioned, bitter but with his head held high.
The honesty, frankness and innocence of the book makes it compelling stuff, and I think it should appeal to anyone, not just those interested in cycling or sport. The 1998 drugs scandal, which happened several years after this book was published, sadly verifies much of what Kimmage describes.


The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, original love story, 2 Jun. 2005
This is a love story, but one with a twist. By using Henry's "condition" that accounts for him slipping from the present into the past and the future, the author is able to explore the relationship between him and Clare in a very full way.
While the initial concept is science fiction, the emotions and feelings of the characters are written in a very real, human way. Keeping up with all the time shifting, and reading the book from two perspectives may have you concentrating, and stopping to think about where the plot is at at any one time - this, however, just contributes to the reward you get for reading this book in full.
A real joy, the sort of book you don't want to end.


The Best A Man Can Get
The Best A Man Can Get
by John O'Farrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny book, well worth a read, 2 Jun. 2005
This review is from: The Best A Man Can Get (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book, it drew me in at the start, and kept me laughing throughout. While the ending is arguably weak, and the funnier parts are at the start, the book is about a journey of self-awareness.
Michael Adams is essentially a good father and a loving husband, caught up perhaps in his own selfishness and always aware of the mess his own father made of being there for him. As he tells the story, O'Farrell adds observational, sardonic humour but still manages to produce a tale that should resonate with any father, or anyone who has ever questioned their commitment in any long term relationship.
Well worth a read.


Papillon
Papillon
by Henri Charrière
Edition: Paperback

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 14 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Papillon (Paperback)
This book is a masterpiece. Don't let the size of the book (600 pages plus), or the size of the text (small!) put you off. Brilliantly written and engaging from the very start, you will be immersed in thsi tale of human endurance, survival and spirit.
As measure of the impact this book will have on you: while reading this book I was approached on two separate occasions by complete strangers - fans of the book who simply couldn't resist telling me what they thought of the book - brilliant and unforgettable.


The Surgeon: (Rizzoli & Isles series 1)
The Surgeon: (Rizzoli & Isles series 1)
by Tess Gerritsen
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller, 14 Mar. 2005
The Surgeon is a tense thriller about a serial killer with a perverse appetite and a methodical approach to the murder of his female victims. Well written, with plenty of clinical medical references and illustration, along with direct thought input from the killer, this book will keep you reading until the end.


From a Buick 8
From a Buick 8
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read Christine Instead, 4 Mar. 2005
This review is from: From a Buick 8 (Paperback)
Stephen King's second tale of a possessed car is not as good as his first. Although it is over 15 years since I read "Christine", it remains with me as one of the best novels I have ever read. By comparison, "From A Buick 8", is one of those books that you find yourself persisting through - I finished it for no better reason than not wanting to abandon it mid-book.
Perhaps it is just me, but the more of King's later work I read, the less satisfied I am. Is it just that his early work was so good, or is he just worn-out trying to be prolific? Skip this book and read Christine instead.


Tell No One
Tell No One
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Paperback

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining stuff, but not Coben's best work, 4 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Tell No One (Paperback)
Having read "Tell No One" by the same author, I knew what to expect with "Darkest Fear" - a high-octane, fast-moving plot with plenty of twists and turns. While "Darkest Fear" did not thoroughly disappoint me, I did feel it was not as good as "Tell No One".
Darkest Fear combines a serial-killer plot with a life-and death situation that is complicated by the lead characters continually-challenged notion of fatherhood and family. While some of the plot stretches your imagination, it works as well as any other thrashy novel in holding the readers attention, moving them quickly through the story and entertaining them throughout. Harlan Coben is, however, a better writer than this novel suggests - I feel "Tell No One" was a tenser, more enthralling, and more engaging tale.


Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse
Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse
by Laura Hillenbrand
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't regret buying this book!, 4 Mar. 2005
Selecting a book purely on hype is something I don't, as a rule, do. However, if I was relying on a description of Seabiscuit alone, I don't think I would ever have bought it. Horse-racing would not be a subject matter to excite me; before reading Seabiscuit, I had never heard of the horse, its jockey, its owner or its trainer. I don't even have a particular interest in the time the story is set - pre-WW2 USA.
With the book read, I can tell you that from the opening words, right to the end, I was fascinated. It is a wonderful tale of sport, emotions, commitment, survival and the human spirit. The overriding achievement of Laura Hillebrand in this book is to take a subject in which a reader has no interest, and yet write a tale that fascinates him. In a strange way, I do not ever want to see the movie 'Seabiscuit' - I feel the book is so well written that it could only be spoiled by a movie.


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