Top critical review
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Waste of Time
on 30 July 2013
Dan John is a man who is well respected in the field of weight lifting and body building. I have read lots on the topic of weightlifting and conditioning and John is often referenced. I was excited to get to grips with the methods of a man who has been alluded to in so much of what I draw influence from. I was disappointed.
The book itself is a collection of articles written for numerous publications. This means it has coherence and the structure of the Minotaur's lair. John repeats himself numerous times. You could eliminate around a quarter of the book just by editing out repetition. There is no direction to his book so instead of having a breakdown into the different areas, for example, philosophy, training principles, training practices and examples of his programs the reader is left with a spluttering, incoherent book. I am not sure what the point of the book was.
My second complaint with this book is that John clearly suppresses both his ability to write and his knowledge. I do not know if this is for fear of alienating his audience, but I do know that it leaves the impression that he does not have much to say. The problem is that this is obviously the opposite of the reality. The man makes subtle references to the classics, he alludes to programs he uses for college athletes but this is all skimmed over. He never gets to grips with what I wanted. The most testing thing about this book is that the style is so appallingly folksy and macho so as to be annoying. The great books in this field do not sink into this quagmire. Unfortunately Dan is knee deep.
My third and most important criticism is that this book has little to offer apart from telling you what you already know, again and again. His message is so simple: learn the power lifts, the Olympic lifts and the kettle bell lifts. Master them. He does not offer a reason why, nor a system for programming these lifts and he fails to provide his take on a program to reach his recommendation of mastery. John's problem is that he never tells you what to do to get to where you want to be. Let's say you want to be big, John says nothing. Let's say you want to be fast, John says nothing. And that is the essence of the book. A clearly knowledgeable and experienced man has created a book that will only sell because of the name. There is nothing of any substance.
In summary, do not buy this book. It annoys me to even remember the contents to write this review. If you want great training books start with Ripptoe's Starting Strength, Kubik's Dinosaur Training and McRobert's Beyond Brawn. You can get to an advanced level in a few years with the knowledge in these books. Save your money and more importantly your time and do not buy this book.