No Limits by Michael Phelps
The new Michael Phelps book, No Limits: The Will to Succeed, has a creative twist: Phelps as the author with the contributions of Alan Abrahamson. The book won't give much new information to those who already know and follow Phelps, from his performances to his interviews that underlie his "performance is reality" outlook, but it is great for someone who would like to learn more about the legendary swimmer like me.
He goes through the trials of what he has said to interviewers before, explaining his training regime, eating habits, and hardships, but he does it in one location. He discusses the impact that bullying had on him, how he overcame the pressure and joined the great ranks of inspirational athletes to tune out the world in his performances.
For those that have known the great athlete and have read the countless information on him, the book is a bit of a drag. The former LA Times reporter knows it himself, providing what little new information the world already doesn't know in the media frenzy that surrounded Phelps leading up to the Beijing Olympics. The book isn't much about Phelps the man as much as it is Phelps the 2008 Beijing Athlete with 8 gold medals, with a reference here or there about myths and rumors. For example, he did break his hand in 2005 with a punch.
Ultimately, though, the book was well-written and fairly interesting, but it felt repetitive at times. The great story that has become Phelp's life revolved around his ADHD and his unparalleled ability to focus, which would have made for a great story if it went beyond that (which we know) and looked to the man. What does Phelps think will happen in 2012? What about 2016? What will he do after the Olympics? Is there anything else interesting in his life, something that doesn't revolve around swimming? I can't say that there is as far as my knowledge from the book goes. However, I know now quite a lot of numbers and facts about Phelps that are really better left to ESPN than what I thought was meant to be an inspirational life story of a young man.
Overall, it has great moments, but it doesn't have that consistent, focused drive that Phelps has in his swimming. It is a quick read, and put together by the eight 2008 events, making it interesting and engaging, but I wish it would have reached for something more than just interesting. Definitely for someone who doesn't know about Phelps very much and would like to learn more. (Photo: WENN)
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