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The name Bear Grylls has become synonymous with outrageous and dangerous stunts presented on TV - eating worms, jumping out of aeroplanes etc. However his autobiography says very little about his survival exploits or extreme behaviour, and `Mud, Sweat and Tears' is largely limited to his childhood, his training for service with the SAS, his ascent of Mount Everest as youngest Briton to do so, and his marriage on return. Even his role as Chief Scout hardly gets a mention, and it is clear Bear Grylls is saving his derring-do on TV shows for a sequel.

Bear Grylls adopts a simple style of writing with very short chapters that make it easy reading, but there is much repetition. Unlike some of his earlier books 'Mud, Sweat and Tears' is often too frivolous to be inspirational. Bear Grylls has undoubtedly led a fantastic life and he seeks to use this to assist others, making references to his faith and including numerous homilies - but his book is not self-help.

`Mud, Sweat and Tears' gives comprehensive cover to the author's family and education, then his gap year after Eton which includes visiting the Himalaya, his SAS selection and a parachuting accident that broke his back, his rehabilitation and renewal of a childhood dream to climb Mount Everest. Success on the mountain was the start of his commercial adventuring for TV shows and motivational speaking, and though the book contains photographs of various events so much of his life is missing. It is not a cliché to describe Bear Grylls as a legend in his own lifetime - a lifetime that has nearly ended on numerous occasions. Bear Grylls has been there, done that, and got the tee-shirt - but this autobiography is only part of the story.
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on 31 October 2012
This is quite an entertaining read; not challenging and full of interesting pieces. However, it never quite lived up to the hype. Climbing Everest is an impressive feat but it's one that many people do seemingly as a package holiday. Also, SAS selection is hard, apparently, but it's been covered before several times and this book does not give much exposure to what happens after selection, which other books do. And school, college anecdotes...really?

There are other books I have read recently that have more detailed stories and are better written. Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have spawned a lot of literature. Company Commander, An Ordinary Soldier, even an Officer and a Gentlewoman are all worth a read. I also enjoyed The Trouble With Girls which is also an autobiograpphy and sees the protagonist SCUBA diving, rafting, riding, skiing, getting lost in the jungle, petrol bombed in Cyprus and having some very illicit affairs. It's sometimes hard to believe.

Mud, Sweat, etc is entertaining but limited.
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on 3 August 2012
If you have read Bear's adventures on the Frozen Ocean and his assault on Everest, you will find that you already know an awful lot about his life.

This book covers a decent amount of other stuff too, so it is worth the read, though much more so if you've not read the other two books.

As always, Bear is engaging and appears to be a good bloke. He opens up quite a lot too, and you realise that despite being able to survive on the innards of a decaying squirrel, he's not superman, just a normal man who does extraordinary things.

So, a decent read if you like Bear.
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on 28 December 2011
Not a bad read at all.I am not really into stuff like this,but the chapters flew by pretty quickly.A bit of a slow start,but things pick up,and i was a little sad when the book came to its end.I thought that at times,the book rushed too quickly,and a bit more detail would have been good.All in all a pretty good read,and having only seen this bloke on the box,i really was quite impressed with his cv.
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on 20 September 2012
It has been interesting to learn a bit more about this guy, who has certainly had an exciting life. He is clearly no literary genius, though, and the tale is a bit repetitive - tried something really difficult/dangerous - got knocked down - got back up - triumphed - over and over again.
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on 22 March 2014
This was a fair, balanced account of Grylls' life that didn't leave too much out. I was surprised at his Christian beliefs as I didn't know about these before reading. Well written though the chapters are very short.
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on 20 August 2012
I enjoyed Mud, Sweat and Tears - however, labelling it as 'The Autobiography' is slightly misleading.

You can split the book roughly into three sections:

1) Bear growing up / at school
2) SAS selection
3) Bear's 1998 Everest expedition.

Reading about the SAS selection was fascinating, and for me the absolute highlight of the book. It gives an excellent insight into the willpower and mental strength required for these tests (basically pushing your body to the absolute limit, exhausted and deprived of sleep - and to then have the mentality to keep on going). I found this really inspiring.

To say it took up a third of the book, I found reading about the Everest expedition slightly underwhelming. Bear at this point was not an experienced mountaineer - he was basically part of an expedition following the "well trodden" route. If you've read any other books on the topic (e.g. 'Into Thin Air') you'll feel like you can skim over a lot of these pages, as Bear's expedition (with the exception of one big scare early on) was largely in line with what the hordes of paying customers do on the mountain each year. Don't get me wrong - climbing Everest is a mammoth challenge to undertake, but after reading about him pass SAS selection it seemed inevitable, weather permitting, that he would be capable of succeeding.

After the Everest expedition, the rest of Bear's life is summed up very abruptly - I was disappointed by this as I was eager to read about the many amazing expeditions and experiences Bear has been involved in since this. There will surely be a "full" autobiography in years to come, but I did feel slightly sold short with this book.

Personally, another slight irritation was the ever increasing references to and interpretations of Bear's faith, which seemed a bit too much in places (but he's obviously a very religious guy, so you can't really knock him for talking about it in his own book!)

All in all however, Mud, Sweat and Tears is an enjoyable book. It is easy and quick to read, so well worth a bash if you can pick it up for a few quid.
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on 7 June 2012
Bear Gryllis lives the life most men would secretly love to. It's life on the edge filled adventure and obstacles yet all the perseverance and heroics to match them. However we can't all be Bear Gryllis. Reality demands there needs to be 'normal' people too. So while most of us will never live a faction of what Bear has, it still is fun to read about a man who has and continues to live a life of Mud, sweat and tears!

While overall it is a fast paced and easy read he did harp on about the SAS selection a little too long for my liking. I mean how many times can you say, "They made us run and it was bad" before it gets monotonous. I enjoyed the honesty he spoke about life and the fears and struggles he faces just like the rest of us.

*This next bit is written from a Christian perspective so 'bear' that in mind before reading

So why only three stars then? Bear is no doubt a gifted motivator and inspiration for adventure but is he the christian role model we make him out to be? I guess what I was expecting and hoping to read was a man who while living a life of daring deeds was also passionate about Jesus but I have to say I was disappointed in that regard. In the Christian community we are very quick to pounce on anyone famous who calls themselves a christian and make them our poster child which is what we've done with Bear. Reading between the lines I am not so sure he wanted that way either.

This is only my personal opinion and I can only based it on the book as I don't know Bear personally (although I like to meet him) so I could be wrong. In the book he talks a lot about this is what 'my faith' has done for me when I really wish he had said 'this is what Jesus has done for me' or at the very least, 'this is what my faith in Jesus' has done for me. I understand he has a book to sell to a larger audience and 'my faith' goes down a lot better than mentioning the name of Christ. (He did mention Jesus once in the book to be fair) Secondly, he makes Everest almost a deity, referring to it as 'she' and writes about it in a way that 'she' has powers. At the end of the day it's a mountain, yes a very big bad mountain but nothing more than that. He also talks a lot about 'luck' and being 'lucky' which as a man of faith seems at odds. Either you believe in luck or you believe in providence. Thirdly, in the book it seems he almost boasts about his transgressions. I am certainly not saying that I expected him to be morally perfect and appreciated the way he was brutally honest but as Christian shouldn't we least be a little contrite when talking about our moral failings? The only time he admits to making an error was then his reputation was damaged from some controversy over his TV show.

I am glad there are men like Bear and have no doubt he is a great husband, father and inspiration to young people everywhere. I also know he is on a journey like the rest of us that follow Christ and may Jesus continue to lead him but think twice before passing this book as a great example of a follower of Christ.

Well worth a read and it does get the blood pumping!
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on 20 September 2011
The title of my review says it all, I expected a lot from this book and was left feeling slightly cheated. I have total admiration for Bear Grylls, what he's achieved and his sheer resilience, determination and physical & mental strength, anyone who drinks stagnant water through their smelly socks gets my respect!

I enjoyed the beginning of the book and reading about Bear's childhood, particularly the adventures with his father. However I felt that too much of the book was dedicated to the SAS selection process, I understand that this was a big part of his life, and the effort exerted in passing, however for me it went on too long at the cost of missing out virtually all of his more recent adventures and how he got into presenting etc which I felt was a real shame. Unless of course there are plans for a Part 2?

Its easy reading and good for a plane or train journey, but as for it being inspirational, not for me I'm afraid.
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on 1 October 2013
hard to get into maybe only me but thought it was more tips than a autobiography but will finish it
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