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“Will it make the boat go faster?” by Ben Hunt-Davis and Harriet Beveridge

Phoenix’s MD, Bill Osmond dips his toe in the water and joins the ever growing band of amateur reviewers.

Writing a book review is not something I have ever done. I have often read book reviews and thought “that’s just your opinion” and I am not sure I have made a decision about buying or reading a book on the basis of a review, good or bad. So I wonder as to why I should bother. These days’ people can review everything, there is always a forum or a website you can off load your opinion about the last restaurant you went to or the last film you saw. I guess it depends on your thinking type as to how useful you find them. Social buyers would probably seek reviews above everything, status buyers maybe not. At the end of the day, it comes down to opinions and, joining the army of reviewers, I have decided to put forward my opinion and thoughts about a book I have read recently.

As someone involved in learning and development, I read a fair amount of books, articles and blogs. I am, however, always looking for inspiration and ideas to use on workshops and programmes and to help my own business. When it comes to my own development, I like a book that provides genuine practical advice and help. Many books offer this but I find that few fulfil their promises. “Will it make the boat go faster?” written by Ben Hunt-Davis and Harriet Beveridge, has the strap line of “Olympic-winning strategies for everyday success”. Strap lines of this nature tend to leave me a little cold. I often think that the distance between such achievements as winning an Olympic gold and day to day success is too great and books I have read in the past that try to connect these two levels of achievement have missed the mark. I always seem to have a feeling of “yes, all well and good but how does that help me in my job”!

I was introduced to the book by a friend who is not one for, as she would put it, “blah, blah, blah crap”. This should have been and was indeed a good sign. The book combines the story of Ben’s rowing success with genuinely practical ideas and tactics that could help almost anyone, regardless of your role or ambitions. Its eleven chapters are divided into a ‘your bit’ / ‘my bit’ style. Ben writes about his experiences as an Olympic rower and the journey to winning the gold medal in Sydney and Harriet examines the strategies and tactics used and creates practical techniques that non-Olympic rowers can use - a simple, but very effective, formula. The story itself is genuinely interesting and exciting to read and the analysis is practical and creates a “can do” way of thinking. The lack of jargon and combination of step by step advice and practical examples make it easily applicable to whatever role you have. I certainly found it inspiring and motivational from a running my own business point of view and also found that it gave me new ideas to help develop my approach to delivering training.

Where I think this book really succeeds is in the way that it gives you plenty to think about and plenty that you could use but leaves it up to you as to which “bits” you do use and how you do so. It is not an arrogant book, it does not set itself as the be all and end all. It actually does do what it says on the front cover and provides “Olympic strategies for everyday success”. It’s up to you whether you use them or not.

 Find out more at www.willitmaketheboatgofaster.com