Biography but with a focus on performance,
This review is from: Gold Rush (Hardcover)
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This book is about Michael Johnson and by him, but it's mostly about how he succeeded as an athlete. Pesonally I was glad not to have to read too much about his family or school days, or about his first big break -- all the usual stuff that gets biographies going in the first three chapters.
Johnson's chapters are about motivation, technique, preparation, etc and based largely on his approach. The material about other top sports stars is used here and there and illustrates that Johnson's way is not the only way. He comes over as very serious-minded at all times when training and competing, but the information about Usain Bolt, Mark Spitz, and Daley Thompson (for example) show that you don't have to be quite so serious as that, if you have the body to win. Having said that, he did convince me that if Usain Bolt could only sort out the multiple technical faults in his running he would be even faster.
There are few details about his training schedules, which were many and varied for his different events and stages of competition, but he does explain the attention to detail and the scientific character of his work.
On mental preparation I found his advice reassuringly rational. He does not advocate trying to create a baseless conviction that you are going to win. He does advocate putting in the work and gathering the evidence so that you know you are prepared and know you could win. It seemed to me that, in his case, his defeats were so few that it was perfectly reasonable for him to feel confident that he was going to win. For others such confidence would be a mistake.
He also explains the background to those gold shoes, but I won't spoil it by including the explanation in this review.
Despite the somewhat scientific nature of his approach the book does not cite scientific sources or studies.
Overall, this book is correctly classified under Biography, but it contains enough information about athletic performance to be very useful advice, despite the lack of scientific citations.