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4.8 out of 5 stars106
4.8 out of 5 stars
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2013
I have read a very large number of books that help one to develop strategies and action plans to help one clarify and reach life and work goals. Many of them are extremely good. This book by Olympic rowing gold medal winner Ben Hunt-Davis and executive coach Harriet Beveridge is quite the best I have ever read.

Whether you are keen on sport or not, whether you have your sights set on becoming a chief exec or just an all round decent human being, the stories and ideas in this book will significantly help you on your road. Ben's stories of the effort, trials and sheer guts employed by the GB Men's Eight in reaching the top of the podium at the Sydney Olympics for the first time in nearly a century of British rowing are an emotional roller coaster that will inspire even the most exercise phobic amongst the audience. At each stage Harriet, then draws out the practical lessons that can be made use of by normal human beings to make a significant difference to their lives and the world they seek to touch. The book is so much more than a story or a recipe book for success. The messages in here will profoundly affect many who read it.

From a personal perspective, I have already made use of the inspiration and practical ideas to refocus my own goals, strategies and tactics - the proof of that pudding will be in the eating but I am grateful to Harriet and Ben for their contribution.

... and if you want a real "fix" of adrenaline and emotion that sums up this extraordinary book then check out the YouTube clip of the 8+ final at [...] and compare it with the last chapter of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2013
There is a plethora of mediocre motivational business books out there, and I often question the credibility of the authors and their subject matter. Such books just stay on the shelf and don't get anywhere near my shopping basket. But every now and again, a book with real backbone and gravitas attracts my attention.

This inspirational book from Ben Hunt-Davies is derived from a career in pursuit of the ultimate achievement: an Olympic gold medal in one of the toughest and most competitive sports, rowing. If you know nothing about rowing, here is a description of a poster at the Harvard University boat club that sums up the sport for me: there is a photo of a men's eight in the middle of a race with the caption "The same refined European spirit of rivalry that gave us cricket, badminton and [referring to men in a boat] the medieval torture rack."

Ben's book is intelligently and authentically put together with Harriet Beverage; it tells a genuine story of the journey to Olympic gold, drawing on the positive and negative experiences to provide the reader with insights into the team's and Ben's personal approach to success. These insights have produced personal and team development techniques and are all written to enable the reader to implement these in practical steps. The chapters on belief systems, bull**** filters and making it happen are absolute gems - I've referred many junior executives to read these chapters when they are finding work tough going and need to refresh their motivation.

This book is a practical, no nonsense, honest and human approach to personal and team development. If you are looking for an academic piece, full of research papers and theory, then look elsewhere. If you want to know how to apply real-world techniques for real-world success, then this is no-brainer... don't leave it on the shelf with the mediocrity, add it to your basket.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2014
I bought this book because i was interested in reading more about this kind of thing. That is the psychology behind great victories and how our minds work. This book also had no 1* reviews so seemed promising. I will be reading this again to allow some of the ideas to sink in. There were two chapters that definitely were useful to me so i am hoping that with a second read i will be able to get much more from this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2012
For the person with a general interest in motivational theory or interest in sports psychology then it is an interesting read.

It uses simple language and does not make an attempt to associate the experience of the Author to the technical aspects of psychology so it is a light hearted read but does not push the boundaries of the subject matter.

A personable and personal account of someone's life experience that no doubt people will be able to relate to and for some it might given them the starting point or motivation to make a change in their life.

The book has a simple messages and does not pretend to be anything that it is not.

Unpretentious but not necessarily innovative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2013
I thought it was about time that I reviewed “Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?” I initially read it from cover to cover, referred to it endlessly, and I am now reading it again.

Have you ever had a crazy dream? Something that you want to achieve that seems tantalisingly out of reach? Nothing could be more extreme than spending four years aiming for a goal that could only be achieved on one day and in less than five and a half minutes.

But the Olympic 8+ rowing team did achieve their crazy dream. They were the first British 8+ rowing team to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Sydney in 2000. And this compelling book explains how they did it. It is a personable account of the highs and lows of their journey. But the magic of “Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?” is that it translates the far-fetched, other worldly aspirations of Olympians into take-away chapters for real life. After each gripping chapter describing Ben Hunt-Davis’s Olympic experience is a chapter summarising the lessons that can help you achieve your (perhaps) more humble dreams. In this way, the book covers topics such as goals, motivation, how to filter out unhelpful information, dealing with change and overcoming setbacks to name but a few.

I had no interest in rowing when I picked up this book, but I found the information about the rowing itself fascinating. I have recommended this book to rowing fans as well as people who are just looking for some inspiration to help them with business or with life.

As Lord Digby Jones, Former General of CBI and Minister of State for Trade and Investment is quoted as saying on the back cover,

“I challenge every Business woman & man in the country not to take something away from this big contribution to Business thinking.”
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2015
Can't really rate this any more than 2 stars at best, the little anecdotes that create the chapters are not in any way ordered and just repeat how they trained really hard and lost the races, then trained really really hard and kept on losing.

At the end of each chapter, there's an analysis of the methods used in the preceding chapters to gain success (except they kept losing!).
The methods are say 1,2,3,4 then sub divided into 1a, 1b, 2,a , 2b etc etc until you have about 12 - 15 per chapter of things you should try and replicate.

The strategies are all over the place, one tip if you are struggling to get the kids to eat their breakfast faster in the mornings, is to give them rice crispies instead of shreddies - because they are smaller, so will be consumed quicker lol.

At the end of it all, after all the losing and the trying and the developed strategies, the finely tuned and massively rehearsed planning, they bin it all for the Olympic race and just decide to row really really fast at the same time, beating the Aussies by a bead of sweat, this is called 'luck', not strategy.

The web address they provide for downloading strategy/planning goals system, you guessed it, dead link - amateurish.

I bought based largely on the reviews, lesson learned, at a price too.
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on 4 August 2011
I first spotted "Will it make the boat go faster?" in the Henley Regatta shop and feared it would be just another book about a rowing crew that won something (which, given one crew always has to win any race, isn't really all that interesting...)

Actually this book isn't really about rowing at all. Nor is it a dry management theory textbook, or a vague touchy-feely self help book. It breaks down the recipe for what makes a successful team into very focused, specific elements, chapter by chapter, and illustrates each one with a real life example that just happens to be from the world of rowing: the down and ultimately up career of Olympic oarsman Ben Hunt-Davis.

As someone about to start a new job which involves serious management responsibility, I found the advice incredibly useful. In particular, I liked the sections on instilling belief within your team; on what constitutes a clear common goal; about the importance of focusing on the process that gets results, rather than just the result alone; and about continuous learning and feedback.
The book also very helpfully addresses the common problems of perceived lack of individual competence or commitment within teams, which can often be major roadblocks to team cohesion and progress.

Most of all, I thought this book was about challenging the slightly lazy and defeatist patterns of thinking and acting we all fall into from time to time, whether at work or in life in general. Shades of choice theory, positive psychology and mindfulness....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2015
I purchased this book as it was recommended to me by a business colleague. I work both in sport and business psychology and found this book very useful. The book breaks down performance into simple, easy to understand segments which has allowed me to apply it to my ongoing work. I would highly recommend anyone working in business or sport to buy this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2011
this really is an enjoyable read! not only is this a story of dedication and sheer motivation - a totally inspiring account of how a team went on to win a UK gold medal at the olympics, but it is also extremely funny... i have enjoyed dipping into the insights offered at the end of each paragraph that give you practical and realistic tips - life skills and pointers that make you think - and offer you ways of applying some skills to your own life. An excellent read that once you start, is hard to put down. Loving it....
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on 30 October 2012
The story of Ben Hunt-Davis is awe inspiring. This tale of a man who managed to overcome the set backs of his early Olympic rowing career, most notably those in Atlanta, to achieve his life long goal of winning Olympic Gold in 2000, provides an excellent platform to a gripping story. However, `Will it make the boat go faster?' also has the added dimension of providing practical advice, that Ben developed throughout his journey to the success in Sydney, which can be applied in a business setting. Written by his partner writing this book, Harriet Beveridge, each chapter provides an easy to understand and follow section on how to apply the elements of Ben's journey in a practical scenario.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in not only sporting achievement, but also in developing their leadership skills, looking for motivation and inspiration to achieve their life/work goals.
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