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on 17 January 2012
I am a team-mate of Richard at Brentford FC since 7 months. Because english is not my first language - I'm german - , please don't mind any wrong spellings or grammars. And therefore don't think that all footballers are stupid :)
The best example against this is the guy who wrote this book! I really appreciate his guts to write down his inner feelings, such as fears and questions about himself. And then publish it! He did a great job in telling us about what's happening in a mind of a person in the football world who is under pressure, struggles with injuries or rejection by the "gaffer". And - what is even more impressive in my opinion - how to reflect himself and handle all the negative attributes of this job with a positive and optimistic attitude towards his person and his environment.
Rich gave me a copy of this book last week on Tuesday after training. I started reading on my way home. Don't worry, I take the tube... And I finished it the same day. It's easy to read, but not unsubstantial at all. I could see myself in many situations he went through as well. I was often like: "Yeah! Yes, exactly!"
This book is a most-read for footballers! But I'm sure it is in the same way transmittable to any other job or different situations in life.
I'm a centre-back and it gives me a very good feeling to have someone like him behind me on the pitch. But even more important for me were the perceptions that I took out of his words for my personal life and future.
Just Do It ;)
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on 6 January 2012
There is a long-established viewpoint that goalkeepers, if not mad are totally different from their team mates and Brentford goalkeeper Richard Lee has certainly brought out a book that stands out from the norm.

Using the structure of a diary of a roller-coaster 2010/11 season at Brentford as his framework, Lee provides an acute, revealing and painfully honest account of how it feels to be a professional footballer and the way in which he has transformed his outlook, training and preparation in order to maximise his playing potential.

Lee opens himself up to the reader as an intelligent man quick to question himself and also riddled with fears and self-doubts who is not even a particular fan of the sport in which he makes his living. Yet he is open and perceptive enough to challenge the traditional preconceptions of life as a footballer and search out and then institute his own methods of preparation and training both his mind and body which result in him producing the best and most consistent form of his life.

But don't think it was an easy ride. Lee was brought in from Watford as first choice, was dropped before even playing a League game, fought his way back from third to first choice, was the hero of several heart stopping penalty shootouts, suffered the dressing room gobbledy gook of a manager in Andy Scott who he claims was a poor man manager and who was to end up with the sack, and suffered the heartbreak of missing a Wembley final through injury after doing so much to help the team get there.

Don't feel sorry for Richard though as what comes through loud and clear is his clear analysis and understanding regarding his self-development and growth as a man who is becoming far more comfortable in his own skin and at peace with himself in terms of his occupation and level of achievement.

The book is written clearly and lucidly and peppered with anecdotes and self-deprecating humour. Lee is quick to give praise and thanks to the series of mentors who have helped him in his quest

As Gary Player said, "the harder I work the luckier I get" and Richard Lee has worked enormously hard to become the footballer and person that he is.

This book is a unique, uplifting and inspiring read which will live long in the memory due to its difficult subject matter and the honesty with which it was written and it never falls into the trap of becoming preachy or full of jargon.

For me, Michael Calvin wrote the football book of 2011 and I suspect that Richard Lee's wonderful effort will take some beating in 2012.

Just read it!
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on 12 January 2012
This is by far one of the most intelligently written "football" books I have ever read. I came here as a goalkeeping brentford fan and quickly realised that this was a mere backdrop to an insight into the world of the most psychological positions in the highest pressure arenas. If you cannot apply the contents of this into your own thinking then more fool you!
However, the greatest feat is the fact the Lee weaves an actually narrative - far from being preachy, it is drenched in real, personal examples - albeit ones that I've actually watched him go through as a fan!
He talks of many idols, and perhaps it would be nice to see the books he refers to with regards NLP (Edit: he does in the Q&A!), but this is more than made up for with an extensive QA session at the end from players fans nd other keepers
Quote literally something for everyone.

Working in sales there are a number of books which talk hyperbolically of these ideas. This is a man who has been there, done it, got the (number 1!) shirt!
Englands englands number one!
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on 19 January 2012
I am a member of staff at Richard Lee's present club Brentford, so have had the opportunity to get to know Richard on a professional level for some time. With that in mind, I was present to witness the rollercoaster journey that Richard experienced during the season he discusses in this book. A book which I was intrigued to receive a copy of last week and one that I was unable to put down for more than a few minutes at a time. The book is an easy read due to the relaxed style of writing that Richard has adopted, ensuring that it can be picked up and focussed on clearly at any point.

Richard's account of that period of his career is not only an honest, accurate account but also one delivered with great diplomacy given the extreme stresses that he encountered during that time. Richard depicts a number of experiences that he faces in his professional capacity and links them succinctly to his own recipe of psychological and thought management processes. These processes enable to him focus on the goals that he sets himself for success and the route he intends to follow in order to get there. Richard clearly discusses his thought processes and expands on them to the point where it is clear that many of his techniques can be applied to a great variety of experiences in any field.

Richard is a rare charactor in the industry in which he chooses to ply his trade and portraying himself in a book of this nature is both brave and pioneering. I would recommend this book, not only to young sports people, but to any individual who feels they have lost their focus and needs to reassert some clarity using simple but affective exercises of the mind.
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on 17 January 2012
Richard Lee is one of Brentford FC's most popular players currently in the squad, having risen to first choice goalkeeper last season and is now reliably expected to stop any ball that goes anywhere near him. It's about his first season at Brentford that he has written in Graduation and the mental journey that he undertook to get to the number one spot.

It is unusual for a footballer, especially not a famous Premiership player with an over-sized ego, to write a book. It's even more unusual for a player not to need a ghost writer. More unusual still is one who can actually write coherent prose. A quick glimpse at Brentford's squad on twitter shows that written English is not necessarily their strong point, but then that's not why we like them.

Graduation is a warm, conversational read. It's carefully crafted as a mixture of autobiography and personal development techniques. As such it's for the football supporter, or the armchair psychologist or both.

Last season was a roller-coaster year for Brentford supporters and Rich gives us an insight as to what that roller-coaster looked like from his position in goal. At first assigned to the bench he had to fight his way to favoured goalkeeper, beating Everton on penalties at home in the process ("better than sex") and reluctantly but sensibly giving Wembley a miss. Brentford had managerial problems and eventually got rid of the then manager Andy Scott with team mate Nicky Forster taking temporary charge with a dramatic effect on the squad's attitude. If you were there you know all this. Rich shows admirable professional reticence in discussing his differences with Andy.

What makes this interesting is that Rich talks about the struggle and self-doubt that he goes through and ultimately conquers to become the solid goalkeeper he is today. Goalkeeping is a difficult role with long periods of relatively little physical exertion interrupted with short bursts of extreme activity. This applies both mentally and physically and Rich talks about his mindset and thoughts before, during and after a game explaining how he's learned to maintain focus. The pressure and focus of the crowd and pundits also puts a spotlight on a goalie with no mercy given.

It's not just about the psychology of the game or of goalkeeping but more the psychology of life. It's about how to change your mental attitude to get what you want, whether it's career or personal success. Just as he's improved his physical fitness and capabilities by picking what suits him best, including basketball exercises designed to improve his spring (£2.99 on ebay, money well spent), his mental development has been helped by a combination of hypnotherapy, goal setting, positive thinking, letting go of what you can't alter or predict, NLP, striving for constant improvement that is all summarised in a beautiful 3 page methodology (should be a cut out and keep section.)

One is made aware of the place football has in his life. From "I don't even like this game" and "I hated football more than ever" to "I chose to like football" at the end, and regular mentions for his business enterprises he makes it clear that football is not his life. It's part of his life, and a big part, but it's not, and shouldn't be, all of it. He also contemplates his future post-football.

It's not all serious of course. If you don't have a chuckle at his teenage encounters with girls you're probably not human.

This is not the greatest autobiography ever written; there are occasional clunky phrases and the psychological techniques he describes are not new or unique. I'm not convinced of the value of the appendices. But what makes this worthwhile is Rich's honesty as he describes his personal journey during those twelve months. He asks and answers questions of himself that many of us would do well to consider.

He is generous with his thanks to the people who have helped him along the ways, fully recognising that you can't do it alone. If you've been, or are on, a personal journey of your own then you will find this thought-provoking, with many opportunities to contemplate how you handle some of the philosophies described with respect to your own life.

You don't need to be a Brentford supporter and I'm not even sure you need to be that fond of football to appreciate this book.
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on 9 July 2012
As a Watford fan, I knew quite a bit about Richard Lee before reading this book. I was aware that he went beyond the stereotype of someone who went to training for a couple of hours, then spent the rest of the day down the bookies or playing on his XBox. I learned about the book when he publicised a lot of the work he was doing with hypnotists and with NLP, so thought it would make interesting reading and was certainly not disappointed.
Obviously, there will be an attraction for football fans to read this book, but I think also it is a good read for anyone who struggles with confidence in what they do, or ensuring they make the most of the opportunities they have. Richard has put in a lot of effort to come through the struggles he has faced - he has by no means had the best of luck during his career with ill timed injuries and errors in crucial games - and has worked through to come through an extremely positive individual as a result. The title sums the book up lessons using football as an example. I'm sure Richard Lee will go from strength to strength in his remaining football career and then in one of the many career paths he has available to him in the future - he is an example to us all.
I have given further thoughts here[...]
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on 15 January 2012
An excellent read!! The biggest compliment I can pay is its a book that I struggled to put down, I just wanted to keep reading it until I had finished it. I like the way the book is set out with lots of Richard's tales but also then Q & A with both Richard and three other professional goalkeepers making their way in the professional game. These questions and answers probably answered and gave insights into the thoughts that intrigue most of us involved in goalkeeping.

Richard comes across as a very down to earth guy and I found the information on the mental side to the game very interesting as its a massive part of what a goalkeeper goes through.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in goalkeeping!
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on 9 May 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It may be not be Anthony Robbins, but Anthony Robbins hasn't played football for Watford and Brentford FC. If he had, I dare say he'd write a book like this although it may be a little more bombastic). This is an endearing, enjoyable, and easy read. Whether you're a footballer, someone with a passion for football, or just a sucker for interesting motivational stories, this really is surprisingly good read. And I happen to know somewhat modest with other achievements, too.

Richard Lee is the embodiment of a professional footballer and entrepreneur.
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on 30 January 2012
This book is such an easy to read and inspiring book that I couldn't put it down until I finished it! The football context adds to the anticipation. This is a great insight into the sports and footballing arena, where the mind set and positive attitude is just as important as physical fitness and skill. The writing is from the heart and inspiring, even if you are not keen on football, the lessons are there for us all. I love the humour and honesty with which it is written. Suitable for all ages and walks of life, this is a great book I'll be recommending for years to come...
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on 31 January 2013
If you are a goalkeeper then this is a book you must have on your shelf but let's be honest a book on the shelf is great but in your hand reading it will be a million times more beneficial to you. This book could influence the way in which you approach football and possibly life in general for many years to come. A stereotypical autobiography by a footballer, many would assume, is talking about fast cars, women and the high life of the professional game. This book started off setting the scene about the world of a goalkeeper as a young scholar but it had feeling and at every point I could imagine myself being Richard Lee going through some of the emotions he mentioned. It relived some immense stories about the highs and lows of goalkeeping, from high profile penalty saves to being on the bench after transferring to a new club.

The emotional element behind being a professional footballer is evident but what makes this book unique, in my opinion, is how this is reflected as a goalkeeper on a day to day basis and how this may differ from those outfield.

For anyone out there who wants to learn more about the game, the professional life and also how making the right decisions can affect the results both on and off the pitch then this is a must read. I found myself going back over key pages and re-reading the points about the psychology behind putting those gloves on every day. I like the way in which the book offers a clever blend of football experiences and Neuro Linguistic Programming. (If you know nothing about NLP then don't worry as this fully explained brilliantly by Richard) I do not recollect any book of this kind, especially for goalkeepers!

Buy this book and you will not look back I can assure you! I couldn't put this book down and was determined to read it.

Simon Clark from [...]
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