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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2009
Boy, would I hate to be Jonny Wilkinson. I spent half of Tackling Life wincing at the horrible injuries Wilkinson's suffered and the other half cringing at the anguish he puts himself through. Never be a perfectionist - that seems to be the take home message. It hurts.

I read the book mainly to see what Wilkinson says about Buddhism. As far as I can tell, his interest is genuine but trivialised and sensationalised by the media.

Wilkinson doesn't actually discuss Buddhism that much - the noun occurs only 2 times - but apparently that was deliberate. But I did wonder whether you can be a Buddhist and have such an unparalleled, single-minded devotion to winning?

That said, I found Tackling Life an intense, enjoyable read. The flat prose style might have begun to pall after a while, but the copy editor has done a fine job of breaking the copy up and scattering pullquotes around.

The inspirational advice from Steve Black 'Blackie' is useful, if a little repetitive.

And as he does on the pitch, Wilkinson never ducks a tackle. He's honest to the point of obsession about the demons that drive him.

This is a man who felt [page 79] that being lucky was worse than losing because he felt it meant he didn't deserve to win!

Wilkinson has had a tough time of it since the famous Rugby World Cup win of 2003.

Not only with injuries. One of the biggest problems he faced was the disappointment of reaching the top of game and then having to come down the mountain. Where do you go when you've won the top accolades your profession has to offer? What do you do when you've won?

In many respects this book is an attempt to answer that question, which is perhaps why it has such a ring of the self help about it.

That's not a bad thing, by the way.
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on 18 May 2009
This purchase was for my grandson who is not the world's most avid reader. He devoured it in a few days and found it absorbing reading and well worthwhile. The experience galvanised him into a book a month all to do with sports science and training. His full time job is Golf asst Professional and he finds that this sort of book is an ideal adjunct to his work.
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on 1 January 2016
OK, I made a mistake by thinking this was Jonny's autobiography. It isn't. Rather, it's a history of Jonny's life from the 2003 World Cup with interjections from his coach, Steve Black, focusing on Jonny's approach to the game and his mental travails. I ended up flicking past Steve Black's sections and only reading Jonny's, although even those sections are quite bland and anodyne. If this is Jonny's attempt at an inspiring, self-help style tome, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.
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on 30 January 2009
Bought this for my 23 yr old son for Christmas as he is a big Jonny fan. He absolutely loved it and could not put it down. Constantly refers to philosophy parts in his own part time job as a sports coach. Brilliant read.
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on 12 November 2012
I quite enjoyed this book,if for nothing else finding out how complex a character Jonny Wilkinson is,the asides from Steve Black were also interesting,and it does make you wonder if football managers read s deeply into the philosophy and dynamics whether we would have a more successful England team.At times it did seem rather repetitive,and he did seem to be saying the same thing in a different manner. I imagine a psychologist could have a field day with Wilkinson's inner thoughts,and what would appear to be his almost paranoid behaviour towards perfection,and practice.
Nonetheless this is an interesting and enjoyable read that gives an insight into one of the iconic heroes of English rugby in the last few years,and obviously his epic drop goal in the Rugby World of 2003.
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on 17 November 2009
I have always been a fan of Jonny. His modest, down to Earth personality twinned with his incredible desire to win and be the best is the recipe that deserves him the title of a legend of rugby union. However this book runs deeper than him talking of himself, and his glorious return from being injury stricken. rather, Jonny readily puts himself forward as an example of the darker sides of searching for perfection in yourself. He does not seek remorse for his wilderness days and his mind frame after the 2003 world cup, but instead justifies why it was he thought like that, and what he had to do to get over the demons he faced. He urges the reader to relate and offers personal experience on the best way to tackle the problems. The excerpts from Steve Black, his close friend, provide inspiration on applying yourself as much as you can, be it in the workplace, on the pitch, or striving to be a better person. Relating to his successful teams such as Wales or Newcastle Falcons, 'Blackie' puts life lessons into an easy, relatable format through the median of rugby.

Seriously, for all who look for inspiration, or are open to new ideas for thinking, this book is brilliant, as you can come back to it again and again for quotes and extracts.
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on 8 April 2009
I was given this book as an appreciated gift as I am a rugby player and huge fan of Jonny Wilkinson's.

From the first page I was worried about what the following 300 odd pages or so had to offer. I have the hard back version and the font size is ridiculously large. Now you my think this is a trivial aspect but my initial reaction was, 'Oh Jonny hasn't written a full book's worth then.' This was reinforced with the headline style recaps indented throughout the pages. The inclusion of Steve Black's prose pretty much confirmed my theory. It just comes across that the editors told Jonny he didn't have enough source material for a book of his own so they asked someone else close to him to write pretty much exactly what Jonny has but from a coach's point of view. Also the number of spelling mistakes is unforgivable and just makes the publishers seem lazy in releasing the book in it's current state. On a personal level misspelling Lewis Moody's (Mood) name is just inexcusable!

There are interesting insights into Jonny's old training regimes and mental state throughout his career whilst at the top of his game (in the eyes of everyone but himself) and also during his injury riddled years between the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups but what the book really requires however is more about the events that were happening as a result and less on Jonny and Blackies own opinions on life as a whole. They just become repetitive ramblings from clearly inexperienced writers. Now I appreciate what both men have achieved in their chosen fields but I wish they had both trained as hard at writing as they clearly both have in their rugby careers.
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on 15 January 2009
I couldnt disagree more, I thought this was a great book, well written and intelligent. It makes a change from reading about famous peoples personnel lives. It makes you understand what the man has gone through for his sport and how he has learnt to change his life for the better.
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on 8 February 2009
I bought this as a Christmas Present for my friends who love their Rugby and are great fans of Johnny Wilkinson and they have thoroughly enjoyed the book
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on 1 February 2009
This book was bought for my dad for christmas. He says it's excellent and gives a deep insight into Jonny Wilkinson's life. A good buy.
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