This is another one of those Tarcher Perigee books that I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to read, but the publisher reached out to me and it sounded interesting enough that I figured why not through it into the mix and thankfully, it covered a lot more than just sports (which I was really worried about at first).
The entire premise of this book is Weinman’s son throws a fit after a tennis match he “clearly” should’ve won, but didn’t and Weinman pondered the idea of losing and not just losing, but losing in such a way that it became iconic in certain aspects of our culture.
Weinman takes examples from sports, acting, business and politics to bring home the basic idea that we, as humans, are made so much stronger in our drive, our dedication and ultimately how we perceive and present ourselves to others, all through losing. In essence Weinman says it’s not the winning that makes us who we are, it’s the utter crushing defeat that should wipe us out and make us never want to do it again.
I enjoyed the breath of his examples from Susan Lucci to one of his college buddies’ attempts to start a new business. There was something easily identifiable with all of his examples and Weinman continued to draw the connection back to the story of his sons and how he could use these as examples.
If there was one thing that irked me, and I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again because the next galley/ARC I’m reading does it to, it is the quotes at the beginning of the chapter. I get it believe me, and maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t have a book with quotes at the beginning of the chapter, but it’s so cliché at this point! Seriously, I can show you any number of papers from high school and college where I used the same thing and I think it’s a great idea, but so many of these books would be elevated up that little bit more if the quotes were left out or included in an “Inspiring Quotes Appendix.” Maybe it’s just me because it doesn’t really detract from the book so much as it just distracts me momentarily.
Recommendation: Check it out. This was an interesting look into the psychology of perseverance and improving oneself after what seems like life altering failure. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and even found his conversion of psychology to pop psychology to super simple language refreshing.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion, no additional goods or money were exchanged.
Opening Line: “The most important sporting event I ever attended was a kids’ tennis match on an August afternoon.”
Closing Line: “Give me a little more time and he may even start to believe it.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)