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on 27 February 2012
Chrissie Wellington's book is a fascinating read. I write that with some surprise, because I have read many sports stars' autobiographies and I thought hers would be written in the same pattern: readable, quite interesting, but hardly surprising and certainly not compelling - one dimensional, perhaps.

Wellington's book is much better than that - I learnt things about psychology, about coaching, about charity and about people - all of which were really, really interesting. Of course, her triathlon story is amazing and achievements unparalleled, but these were thrown into sharp relief by her emotional fragility and her rather accident-prone nature (clearly her "muppet" nickname is well deserved). She is at her most assured when laying out her academic credentials and achievements in the international development field - her intelligence and ability to look behind political posturing come shining through. Her first hand experience with the benefits and failures of international aid efforts sends powerful messages to those of us who would appease our consciences with the occasional donation to some apparently worthy overseas cause.

She is less comfortable in discussing her sporting career, where her surprise, almost disbelief, at her achievements, coupled with her insight into the driving forces underpinning athletes and their coaches, make for some uneasy reading. The contrasts between the "healthy" aspects of being a physically fit athlete, and the mentally unstable, tangled and decidedly murky, motivating forces and athlete-coach relationships are striking. She is clearly more fortunate than many athletes, as her life, family relationships and friendships formed before her career as a sports professional have kept her feet well and truly on the ground.

The book is fast paced, a little like the apparent whirlwind of her life, but laced through with humour and self-deprecation. The attention to detail in the book clearly reflects her attitude to many other aspects of her life - some may find the sections on triathlon training tedious, although to a triathlete her training sessions are there to be marvelled over, emulated and discussed endlessly. In summary, this is a compelling book written about only half a life so far, but it certainly has not been a life lived without fear. I, for one, certainly look forward to the next instalment.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 23 February 2012
Chrissie Wellington's autobiography is in her own words, and, in short, one of a self- confessed obsessive- compulsive and 'self-control freak', to do the best her body and mind can. We ordinaries may not begin to comprehend. This means total dedication and pummelling the body and mind to regimens that are beyond compliance and endurance for all but the elite. Ironman is a gruelling non-stop swim, cycle,run. (2.4 miles, 112 miles, and a marathon). Chrissie has won all 13 ironman competitions entered including world titles from 2007-2009 (ill 2010) then regained 2011. The book contains the obsessive-compulsive nature of the author. Nothing second best accepted.3 A's at A-level, Ist class degree at Birmingham. Masters (MA). Entered law. Became professional in 2007 (aged 30) with the considerable help of Australian coach Brett Sutton. Her coaches put the press on. Eating disorders (bulaemia and anorexia) are put into her overall life. Vegetarianism followed by meat-eating are not surprising in the challenges faced. Questions on her sexual orientation. Broken limbs, muscle strains. Nothing stops. Parents and brother were of great help and acknowledged. The middle part of the book is bogged-down somewhat with training, split times, personal dilemmas. Nothing to detract overall as they must be part and parcel of any drive and ambition to success. Try all, I suppose.

There is no doubt that Chrissie Wellington is a supreme, dedicated, successful athlete right at the top. Whether the agonies of self-discipline, denial, sacrifice have been worth the achievements, the answer from the author would seem to be yes, at present. A look back in years to come, who knows? Whatever, Chrissie is on the map with goal setting, achievements at the highest level, but also recognition (MBE), sports awards etc. Remarkably open in her description of her gruelling yet rewarding life.Comes over as a lovely, considerate generous person.
She quotes Martin Luther King, "If you can't fly,run;if you can't run,walk;if you can't walk,crawl". An excellent autobiography of a super woman.Great read. No Muppett (her nickname). Highly recommended.
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on 9 April 2012
This is one of the most inspirational books I've ever read.

I am not a triathlon fan and came by an article on Chrissie Wellington by chance and thought I would give her autobiography a try. As with all other autobiographies I've read, it wasn't the most finely crafted book, but I couldn't put this one down. Despite having no knowledge and little interest in triathlon, I didn't find any dull or over-technical sections - in fact it was surprisingly varied for a sports autobiography due to Chrissie Wellington having lived an unusually varied life. This is one amazing lady and she is testament to what you can extract from life with positivity and determination.
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on 26 March 2012
Are you the kind of person who is driven beyond ridiculousness to keep going, keep aspiring, keep asking questions, keep pushing, keep exploring? Want to know why?

Read this book. For those of us who don't quite know ourselves as well as Chrissie obviously does it's a bit like having a torch shone into your mind. I'd never have described myself as driven particularly until I started identifying with some of the thought patterns and behaviours Chrissie described. The magic thing is, I know what to do with it all now. No triathlons for me but other things.

Psychology aside, this book can be brutal in places. It strips away societies 'mustn't talk about...' attitudes and talks about everything, eating disorders, bodily functions...but if you do any kind of exercise at all you'll know it's rarely always elegant. From exploring the world to exploring the inner mind, the book feels like going on a journey with a friend rather than someone you've never met. I imagine the author is quite a difficult person to keep up with and get to know but you find yourself realising that maybe the figures you see running up and down hills, along tracks or through sand dunes might be human after all. Might be just like us.

I've read this book in 3 days. I've never written a review before. It's ace. It's inspired me, comforted me, given me a focus.
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on 4 March 2012
I am in awe of Chrissie Wellington. Her never-say-die attitude is inspirational and makes you believe that anything is possible. It's all the more moving because she is a a regular, down-to-earth girl whose compassion for others equals her passion for her sport and I am at a loss to understand why she wasn't nominated for Personality of the Year award. Her story moved me to tears more than once and I will be eagerly watching for what happens next...
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on 14 March 2012
If like me you are familiar with Chrissie Wellington's achievements or have an interest in triathlon, then you don't need me or anybody else to tell you to buy this book. For those of you who are not, then this book will take you on an honest and enlightening journey into the world of one of the most inspirational and successful athletes in history. Chrissie's experiences and interests outside of sport also make for a fascinating and thought-provoking read; her passion for development really shines through. Reading about Chrissie's achievements is nothing short of awe inspiring and goes to show that 'a life without limits' can be lived by us all. As someone who is interested in development (and, like Chrissie, a geography graduate) and taking on my first Ironman event later this year, this book is a reminder that anything really is possible. Buy this book and be inspired.
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on 16 March 2012
I don't read that much. And to be honest often find myself dropping off to sleep when reading, and I only ever read stuff that I am genuinely interested in , so it's not the books that are the problem. For me reading is labourious.

However I could not put this book down. I've read Lance's book, and Paula's, I would rate Wellington #1, Lance #2 and Paula #3. What a life she's lived! Obviously inspirational, you'd expect that, but there is so much extra interesting content that you would not expect and the book is written really well. There is an underlying philosophy that came across to me that was realy interesting and affecting. Its on another level from the 'be all you can be'/'Yes you can' platitudes that too many over-play.
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on 26 March 2012
Chrissie's philosophy on life can be best summed up with the quote from her book that I've used as the title of this review - Hard work and an open mind. Chrissie Wellington was not born a physical prodigy as many athletes are. Her success in all areas of life (academic, career, travelling, Ironman) has been about getting her head down, working hard and pushing through. In this she's an inspiration to everyone, not just the elite. 'What Would Chrissie Do?' is my new training and competing mantra. There are very few people with the mental fortitude to be like her, but every now and again we can try. A terrific read to anyone interested in achieving anything. It should be required reading for every young woman in the country.
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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2012
I admit - I had never heard of Chrissie Wellington. I am a recent conver to cycling and swimming in particular and I kept coming across this book so I was intrigued to find out why so many glowing reviews.

Chrissie Wellington is an extraordinary woman - she never started out life wanting to be a sportswoman, despite being a member of the local swimming club. What is aparant from her early life, though, is her passion and dedication to everything she cares about: Chrissie does nothing at half measures and sets out to win at pretty much everything she does (academic, career or sport).

What is fantastic about this book is that it grips you from the beginning and doesn't let you go. Chrissie takes the reader through her younger life and early career to show us how she came to be the winner of so many Ironman triathlons. Her early travels and career which took her all over the world, pretty much, were just as intersting to me as the "sports bits" as it really shows us the sort of person that she is. Cycling with friends though Nepal was also a grounding for her future career in competing triathlons and I loved hearing about the rides and adventures she went on there as well as New Zealand, Argentina and so many other places. Chrissie's passion for the charities she worked for shone through too and I am sure it is this dogged determination that has seen her win so many races since.

Whether you are a lover of sport or not, I would highly recommend this book. It is engaging, interesting, passionate and a gripping read. And even if you haven't even got on a bike in the last 20 years I guarantee you'll be wanting to enter an Ironman after reading this...
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on 5 March 2012
This is such a good book. I have not finished reading it yet, but felt compelled to come here and write a review.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in cycling, running, competitive sports, endurance, athletics, determination, and good writing.

She writes well - as you'd expect from a 1st-class degree + masters + a good career - and this is before her sports achievements even start. She writes so engagingly that as I read it, I think 'I'll only read a few pages now' but she draws you in and another 20 or 30 pages are read - I have to put the book down, otherwise I'd read it all on one gulp.

Her travels world-wide in the pursuit of her athletic career astonish me. Her determination and enthusiasm should astonish anyone interested in these sports, but not at that peak of athleticism to do it themselves.

If there were a 10-star rating system, I'd give this book 10, a first for me.

This lady should be honoured, somehow, in her own country. Sports personality of the year? OBE?
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