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Slaying the Dragon
on 11 February 2014
After completing his historic double gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Michael Johnson was the hottest property in Athletics; a superstar who transcended his sport. Unlike his more recent offering, Gold Rush, this isn’t directly biographical but more a success manual of sorts. By shining a light on some of his techniques for preparation, attitude and motivation Johnson tries to apply these for inspiration for mere mortals in everyday life.
The trouble is that the rest of us are just mere mortals whereas Johnson, being an elite athlete, works in a slightly different way and the book runs the risk of making the rest of us feel inadequate. But in looking at methods for dealing with failures and disappointments, and ways at setting goals and developing strategies in order to reach those goals, Johnson’s methods can certainly be applied to any situation.
The book weaves the self development strategies with Johnson’s sporting rise, culminating of course in reaching his goals in Atlanta. It does also deal with disappointments and downright failures that he encountered along the way, and how he used these to motivate his push to achieve what he set out to.
Yes, it’s slightly simplistic in the way it’s written and presented; a large font and numerous photos swell the page count considerably. But it’s hardly alone in that when it comes to self help books; a genre replete with much padding. And in using Johnson’s career as its focus it brings the added bonus of having a truly inspirational figure at its core.
He finishes off with a veritable pep talk that made me feel almost apologetic in my lack of get-up-and-go and drive to achieve all that I could achieve. It’s unlikely that this book would find too much favour with those who don’t count the great sprinter as a bit of an inspiration anyway, but for those like me who do, there are sufficient pearls of sporting wisdom to provide a level of motivation rather than a specific guide to achieving success. If you can take it for what it is, an easy going and quite enjoyable read, and ignore the slightly corny links to real world jobs then potential inspiration does lie within these pages.