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on 7 July 2012
As anyone with the fortune and privilege to witness "Nico" in action will confirm, there is a certain irony in the title.

Whenever he took to the field, before his playing career ended in 2011, he could never be described as a shy and retiring type. Indeed, he was one of the most vociferous English players of the modern era, perhaps of any era.

For one of the all-time cricket legends to pen a foreword to the book would be regarded as a great honour. The fact that TWO - Steve Waugh and Sir Vivian Richards - have chosen to do so is an indication of the respect with which Nixon is held throughout the world game.

Both of those giants recognised, from an early stage in their careers, the importance of mental fortitude at the highest levels and used this knowledge as a springboard for their achievements.

As Nixon acknowledges (and relates in some detail), he took somewhat longer to come to terms with such demands. However, once doing so, he was successful in prolonging his career well beyond the standard retirement age, and even earning international recognition at the age of 35. The pride he took in receiving his first England cap, on the troubled but ultimately triumphant 2006-07 tour of Australia, is particularly evident here.

Nixon was renowned as a cricketer with passion, commitment and honesty. It is a delight to report that this book bears the same positive traits.

Throughout his career, he played hard and by his own admission, partied even harder.

This led to many adventures, many of which may have seemed amusing at the time (and perhaps even more so in hindsight), but also others which were downright scary and led him to reflect on his good fortune.

While Nixon rightly revels in the role he has played in successes at county and England level, he also tackles some of the darker elements of the game, covering dressing-room divisions, international match-fixing, and undue media influence in a typically-direct style. He and his co-writer should be proud of their work, which deserves recognition when awards are being considered.

Paul Nixon has been, over many years, a credit to both his native Cumbria and his adopted city and county. Long may he continue to be so!
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on 6 July 2012
Keeping Quiet is the new autobiography by Paul Nixon, with Jon Colman and published by The History Press. Quite frankly, I couldn't put it down! It is a brutally honest and frank account starting with family tragedy, Nico's battle to overcome dyslexia and the way he overcame his demons, and the negativity and doubts that affect all sportsmen. It shows the rise of a man from growing up on a Cumbrian farm to playing cricket for England.

Although Nico is as mad as a badger, as his nickname suggests, he is a warm person and nothing was further from the truth when he was the first cricketer to do a Q and A with us here at The Middle Stump [...], when we were starting out. No thoughts of thinking it was beneath him, and that is just a small part of the man's generosity. This shines through in the book, and you get the feeling right through that Nico is a good guy.

With forewords by greats such as Sir Vivian Richards and Steve Waugh, this book is bound to be a major seller and covers banter, sledging and describes how he even upset Graham Gooch one day with his chat. Waugh himself described Nixon as, " A mosquito buzzing around in the night, that needs to be swatted but always escapes".

Keeping Quiet is honest and covers everything from Leicestershire to Lord's, from Fredalo to Farming, and what I like about it, is Nico telling you what he earned all the way through from his first £3200 annual contract at Leicester to substantially more representing England.

Just when you think most autobiographies are drifting to a slow and boring conclusion, bang, the book hits you with major, controversial and new match fixing revelations and it is a classic from start to finish. With the excellent and award winning writer Jon Colman, a fellow Cumbrian on board, Keeping Quiet is entertaining, funny, unique and if you like the type of banter we cover here at The Middle Stump, then this book is a must read for you.

Leave Fifty Shades of Grey to the missus, an autobiography of one of the biggest characters of the last twenty years, is what it is about!
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on 3 July 2012
Paul Nixon is known in cricket as the Badger and as a man who is always probing for an opponent's weakness, someone who stands up for himself and his team mates and who never gives in and makes the absolute best of his ability.

In other words a great team mate and a total pain in the proverbial when he is playing for the other team.

"Keeping Quiet" provides a interesting and captivating account of Nico's career as well as the obligatory match fixing scandal to attract the media's attention, but the book thrives on its own without that as it captures his voice perfectly, is well written, honest and pugnacious - just like the man himself.
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There are a lot of overhyped celebrity 'autobiographies' out there, but Keeping Quiet really deserves all the attention it gets and more. It's very candid yet is filled with humour too. From his early days in Cumbria right through to the Indian Premier League and England duty, Nixon's story is quite remarkable and is full of triumph over adversity - not least Nico's openness about dealing with his own inner-demons and The Little Man who seemed so intent on ruining Nixon's career. I genuinely couldn't put this down. It's superbly written (a far cry from the idiotic dross pedalled out by far too many celebrities and their writers) and you really feel it's Nixon narrating the story, testament to the careful handling of Jon Colman. Nixon is not above self-reproach but his opinions are well-informed and when he talks I find I just want to listen. Featuring the likes of Hansie Cronje and Freddy Flintoff, this is a behind the scenes look at cricket and the many characters - and above all it's honest!

A very gracious and funny man, Nixon's story is one that I could (and will) read time and time again. I actually couldn't recommend it highly enough.
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on 14 August 2012
Keeping Quiet follows Paul Nixon's life from young "farming assistant" through to his playing career, most notably at Leicestershire, Kent and England. It is a very interesting and honest assessment of Nico's life and all he faced, whether cricket-related or not.
Few autobiographies will dare to delve into such personal issues and "demons" and what a joy to read a sporting autobiography which has been published after retirement, rather than the current trend of publishing a book 2/3 years into a career. Keeping Quiet is a simply, but very thoughtfully written book and is not just a chronoligical run-by-run (or in this case catch-by-catch) account of a cricketing career, but tackles such issues as death, self-doubt, game-fixing, club infighting, banter and funny stories and an insight into acceptance (or lack of it) into the England set-up - plus lots more.
I was unable to put the book down and i believe most with an interest in sport, most notably cricket, will feel the same.
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on 18 July 2012
I read this in one go, I couldn't put it down before I'd finished. This is a MUST read for any cricket / sports fan and not your usual one with a list of stats at the back as Paul Nixon has no need to show off in that respect. COME ON , BUY THE BOOK AND LOVE THE BLOKE! (and I'm a Yorkshire CCC member)
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on 20 August 2013
Nico's book is an absorbing read. Having read endless cricket bios, riddled with stats and egos, this is a refreshing read where he cites real human challenges in making it to the top of his profession, albeit briefly. This is a story of likeable journeyman county cricketer, with nuggets of wisdom that can be found from his many and at times, disarmingly honest anecdotes.

The book does jump around sometimes, which with a little editing would help the reader out of a little chronological confusion. That said, his revelations regards his dyslexia, his poor eyesight, letting down his family, his playful nature and using running to clear his head are easy to relate to. He introduces the concept of a little negative man that distracts him from performing as he should and is fairly explicit about his confrontation with authority and 'K' the match fixer, shows us how easy it is to be tempted to do the wrong thing.

I was pleasantly surprised towards the end to learn that Nico 'doesn't like to miss an investment' shows a competitive spirit that goes beyond the cricket field. He seems to embrace the Steve Waugh philosophy of playing hard on and off the field. Hence, his few quotes from the many well known cricket heroes that he befriended, Waugh, Lara, Vaughn, Viv Richards (to name a few) became maxims that he learnt from. Being a man that read little and spoke lots publicly, he must be an incredible listener. He made people skills his art form. Something that he made clear, was that Michael Atherton may have had success, but his people skills were poor.

Coming from South Africa myself, I found the references to his visits to Cape Town interesting and accurate when depicting living conditions there. Also, it was pleasing to learn more about the drive of Hansie Cronje, a notorious fallen hero. The break-up of his parents marriage was sensitively handled, yet highlights again, how our heroes may fall. The book is about the human experience of growing up successfully, no matter the odds.

I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to any cricket or sports fan.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 January 2013
I love cricket and I do enjoy reading sport autobiographies so, on the face of it, I couldn't really go wrong with this book.
I remember watching cricket on the telly with my Dad, he was from Leicester and obviously supported his county team and we both really enjoyed watching Nico bat and keep - his enthusiasm and spirit coming across in bucketloads. I think my Dad had a soft spot for him as a player. I certainly did, although I really supported Warwickshire.
The book itself is easy to read, sticks mostly to the point and the stories themselves sell the book without any need for sensationalism which is rife in celebrity biogs but is also creeping into sport biogs these days. The anecdotes are punchy as well as being funny. I can imagine Nico being a great after dinner speaker indeed. I especially liked the forays into the world of sport psychology. I also enjoyed his attempts to integrate the firsts and the seconds - brave man!

Great character, batsman and keeper - cricket will miss him now he has retired.
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on 8 August 2012
Paul Nixon was certainly one of the more colourful characters of county cricket, but he had limited national exposure and only a short England career. Therefore he is not very well known outside of cricketing circles, but sports fans will get alot from the book as it lays bare the often unseen changing room politics and intricacies of being a 'jobbing' sportsman.

Nixon has charm and humour a plenty, the book is not quite warts and all and nor does it ever fully explode into the expose it could have been. As a read, it is never less than entertaining but the writing is haphazard and narrative structure jarring and disjointed. The timeline of his career and personal life often overlapped and I found it hard sometimes to relate where he was in either in some chapters. I'd compare this in style to Brian Moore's autobiography - were that differs is the brutal and genuinly traumatic past that drove Moore into the man he became. Nixon does attemtpt to show the 'demons' of confidence with his negative man, but this bit felt a little hollow. Who, in any walk of life, doesn't have confidence issues and go through periods of ups and downs. He isn't the first and certainly wont be the last sportsman to need visualisation and positivity training.

The section that came most to life was the issue of match fixing and corruption - it was refreshing and genuinly revealing insight into how players reacted to it and how much it may have been (is) going on. For the average cricket fan this is good and punchy read that entertains. For the the wider sports fan it is entertaining but the jarring narrative style and timeline issues make it harder work than it needed to be.
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on 1 September 2013
Though a cricket fan I can't actually recall Paul Nixon playing! There's an overall impression that cricket was incidental to excessive drinking around the world for him! There are some interesting anecdotes about well known players that sort of fit with my perception of them. Nevertheless I read it all through and it's Okay
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