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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 4 April 2016
Leaves the overwhelming impression that nobody in F1 is worthy of trust nor sympathy. Ecclestone comes across as more slippery than the rest, but you can't fault what he's achieved. Just think what he might have done if he ever read a book in his life? Interesting and depressing in equal measure.
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on 16 May 2014
This is a great book for anyone who like me is an anorak over F1.
It gives a full history on Bernie, how he started up and his wheeling and dealing that led him to the position of power and extreme wealth that he has now.
Its all down I think to the fact that he had the vision of what F1 as a brand could become and all the teams around him were so caught up with the bickering within teams that they took theirs eyes off the ball and took the easy option of letting Bernie deal with it, and good for him!
I can well understand that Bernie doesn't authorise the book as the title suggests it doesn't paint him in the best light sometimes, but then to get to where he is you have to be ruthless. Bernie has certainly broken a few eggs to make his omelette!
F1 Fans pull the anorak on and get reading on what its all been about for the past decades, you will love it!
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on 11 November 2013
As with all books of autobiographical nature it is impossible for an outsider to tell what is fact and what is fiction. In any case I can confirm that this is a very enjoyable read and everyone knows without questioning that Bernie Ecclestone is the dominant figure in F1.
It is the story of a young boy who grew up in humble homes but made it thanks to his outstanding entrepreneurial spirit. His first endeavour was setting up a successful second hand car business before acquiring a Formula One team. Throughout the book the reader is given plenty of examples showing his cleverness in seizing opportunities and to outsmart competitors, also by creating his own version of truth to say the least.
The book gives also great insights into the world of the rich and might and how they play their "games of thrones" up to government level in general and the Blair era in particular.
I can recommend this book to everyone with the slightest interest in Formula One but also to people who seek some advice how to play games further up in the food chain.
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on 3 November 2014
An excellent insight into the very peculiar mind of this very peculiar individual who is on record as saying 'The money is not in itself important. It is just a way of keeping score'. For Ecclestone life is war; hIm against everyone else. That he feels compelled to continue 'putting one over' on those around him at the age of 80 suggests an inferiority complex of truly gigantic proportions.
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on 11 May 2011
Bernie Ecclestone would surely be a very tough subject for any biographer, such is his apparent way of doing business. He plays his cards very close and seems prone to statements which, while appearing correct in fact, are less than the whole story in context or substance. Bower possibly relied excessively on explanations from Bernie regarding certain technicalities, events and the timing of events in the past and, as noted by other reviewers, this has resulted in not a few errors appearing from time to time. Having been a very close follower of motorsport for many years, while seeing these errors is slightly irritating at worst, I don't feel that any or all of them had the effect of detracting from the complex core subject at all i.e. Bernie, his 'ownership' of F1 and how he built his apparent one-man empire in a sea of greedy, highly political and disloyal sharks.

The book built a picture of Ecclestone's character in a consistent context and provided a far more in-depth understanding than I had before reading it of who he is, how he operates, how he built his power and influence in F1, and how he has been able to sustain it in the face of ever-changing threats over the years. Bower very cleverly drew on lots of input from friends, allies and adversaries of Ecclestone and this made the journey through the book much more 'alive' than I expected it to be. It was at all times captivating, sometimes very amusing (not least in reading about the behaviours of some very image-conscious and self-important players in F1,) at times nauseating, cringeworthy and even sad and - by the end - I felt that I had read a story of admirable substance.

Were it not for the factual errors, I would easily have given it 5 stars. It definitely deserves a solid 4.9 at least - the most substantial of the two Ecclestone biographies I have read ... by far. Highly recommended.
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on 4 April 2011
The story sounds very convincing and you feel that you're gaining real insight ... except that there are such an extraordinary list of basic factual inaccuracies from dates, people, team names, who won races etc that you are left with the feeling that you can have no confidence in any of the information in the book. If the writer has not been bothered to find out the basic facts, which are all readily available, then how can we be sure that the rest of the book is not similarly poorly researched and therefore how can we feel that his conclusions are anything other than wild stabs.
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on 26 May 2011
I must echo the other reviewers rating this book at one star.

I was not so much interested in a chronological account of the emergence of Ecclestone and Formula One, as I was in the story behind the facts. However, Bower seems entirely unable to tell a story. I had to stop at page 106, as I simply couldn't read on. This book is no more than a collection of notes thrown carelessly together, without a thread or a coherent narrative.

It is frankly dull and even for an avid F1 fan and someone with a keen interest in the politics and business behind F1, this book is nothing less than awful.
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on 17 April 2015
You certainly get into the character of Bernie. I have not quite worked out if that's a good thing or bad. A role model? not so sure, as a model of where grit, drive and determination can take you? second to none.
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on 3 March 2011
Another classic dissection of a life in business by Tom Bower. I bought this book having previously enjoyed his works on Maxwell, Rowland and Branson , not as a fan of Formula One. As previously the research into the subject was meticulous, and Ecclestone does well to come away as strong willed but basically decent. Bower is unable to release any thunderbolts, one is left feeling some compassion for Ecclestone's treatment by his wife and respect for the his foresight in seeing the commercial potential for Formula One.

Compared to Bower's damaging revelations about his previous subjects Ecclestone has come out of this book comparatively un-tarnished.

It is a shame Bower was unable to release his book on Richard Desmond, and I am pleased he has written another book.
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on 6 March 2011
Fascinating book - couldn't put it down. Though in this case - compared to Maxwell and Branson - Ecclestone comes out of it pretty well. You do get the feeling that when he finally goes - and he is apparently 80 - he will be a very difficult act to follow. I predict civil war (no change there, then).

I've always thought the shenanigans off the track are way more interesting than those on it. The difference between what is reported publicly and what actually happened is quite astounding. For example the Labour £1M 'cash for ash' donation in the late 90's: completely different report in the book to what was spun publicly. Of course you don't know absolutely who's telling the truth, but the two are just not reconcilable - so somebody wasn't.

The only niggle I'd say is that since I've followed F1 closely for a very long time indeed, have quite a good memory, and and have also worked in that industry, I can pick out some little errors in it. Nothing major that has a real significance, but it does make me wonder what - if any - inconsistencies there are that I didn't notice.

But on balance, excellent. If you have any interest in F1 - read it.
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