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on December 25, 2008
First, if you've read Michael's autobiography he published shortly after Athens Olympics, this isn't book's sequel. It doesn't claim to be, but you may think it is if you look through chapters' headings, as they're based on all events Michael swam in Beijing (autobiography as it is published now stops pretty much shortly after Athens). What that means is that some of the stories are repeated, but if you keep that in mind and ignore it, you'll enjoy all the new stories he shares.

As a former college swimmer and now a masters swimmer I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. It's well written, and gives you an idea of what it takes to get to the level that Michael is at. He's obviously gifted with a body well suited for swimming, but it was 99% hard work and effort that got him to the top where no other swimmer have been before. He tells you how he got there while also sharing other stories about his life outside of the pool.

This book also provides a chance for Michael to tell you more about Beijing experience. He was too busy during the Olympics to sit down and give a lengthy interview, and in a way, this is what this book is all about. For example, 12,000 calories a day diet that everyone talked about is actually a myth.

What always impressed me about Phelps was his focus and determination on staying on top of his goals. I have no idea how he was able to remain focused and execute to perfection every single stroke and turn in 17 races he participated in Beijing. In this book he shares how you can overcome distractions and remain motivated to reach your goals.

Finally, if you're into setting any kinds of goals in life, this book is a must read.
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on January 7, 2009
I am listening to the audio version of this book narrated by Holter Graham. I am really enjoying it but it did take me a while to get used to the format. Phelps and Abrahamson skip around a lot, but you have to realize this isn't Phelps' autobiography. It isn't "Then when I was 14, I tried out for the Sidney Olympics." There's no "This one time, in band camp..." moment. The chapters are headed with words like "Perseverance" and "Redemption" and the authors use Michael's various races to illustrate their point.

That said, there are a LOT of stats and figures and it is hard to keep them all straight, especially in an audio book. But it's really fun to find a particular race on YouTube and then watch it while listening to Michael (via Graham) narrate what is going on.

To those who say Abrahamson wrote the whole book, I say, "Funny I didn't see him in the pool. How does he know that Phelps was smiling to himself underwater on the final turn of the 200 Free in Melbourne?" It may be Abrahamson's words, but it is Phelps' voice. I gave it four stars because really nothing besides "To Kill a Mockingbird" gets five from me. OK, maybe "Kite Runner."
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on January 13, 2009
If you're looking for an inside glance at what was going on behind the goggles in Beijing, this is the book for you.

If you're looking for more of an autobiography, you want Phelps' other book (written after the Athens olympics) Beneath the Surface.

If you're a Phelps fan, or a swimmer (or just a fan of good swimming) you want both. There are a few stories that appear in both, but the vast majority of material is different.

This book is a fast read, and I feel that Phelps' voice comes through clearly. Both this and Beneath the Surface were very down to earth and easy to understand. At times the stories are a bit disjointed, and maybe some work could have been done to connect things a bit more clearly, but I don't think this distracts from the book overall. In fact, my only real complaint is that it's too short!

If you watched in awe this summer, are a swimmer, are a fan of the olympics or of athletes at their greatest level, pick up this book. You won't be disappointed.
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on August 6, 2012
This book was a nice and quick read. It is simply a motivational book by the worlds greatest swimmer: Michael Phelps. I was expecting more of a biography. Instead, the author takes us race by race throughout the entire 2008 Beijing Olympics, for a total of eight races/chapters. In each chapter it digresses to different parts of Phelps' life. In addition, each chapter has a different title geared towards achieving your goals.

Many times this book felt repetitive. It simply reinstates the same messages about setting goals, focusing and working hard to achieve them. Plus, I really didn't understand how many of the chapter titles stress that point in each chapter. It really felt like one repetitive message throughout the book. I also got lost many times throughout the technical points of swimming. You really need to be a hardcore fan to keep up with the different swim strokes, races, times, etc. (I guess Phelps underestimates the audience as most of us are not as familiar with swimming as he would like us to be).

The good part of the book is that it is not dragged out. Despite the points above, it is a brief and quick read. It is very manageable to quickly read through this book and get its overall message very clearly. I am one who loves motivation and inspiration, especially when it is given by someone that is very accomplished in his/her field. Therefore, if you want a quick reinforcing motivational tool, this book is for you. You can probably finish it in a few days or a week at most. Plus you'll get a glimpse at the life of probably the greatest swimmer in history.
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on January 3, 2009
This is a fast, interesting read. It does not have a personal voice though. While written in first person, it truly reads like his coauthor did most of the writing, and Michael added an anecdote here and there -- young people just don't "talk" like the language used in the book, which reads more like a scripted inspirational speaker's writing. Good for the library if you have a sports collection. Otherwise, his previous book "Beneath the Surface" covers much of the same territory using a better co-author who gets the "voice" right....I can say from personal experience (I live in Ann Arbor and have met and spoken with Michael on occasion) that the words here are heartfelt and true, but that his co-author did most (if not all) of the writing.
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on January 14, 2009
This is a great read for young and old. If your looking for inspiration this is it. Michael will wake up your senses, give you a new sense of the importance of setting goals and you'll appreciate his maturity and integrity. Every High school, Middle school, Elem school and Recreational coach will benefit from reading this.

Michael Phelps defines the American dream.
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on September 16, 2015
This book like every one I have ever read about Michael Phelps is so inspirational. His life wasn't "a piece of cake". He made it what it is. I cannot imagine ever knowing of another athlete who observed a schedule like his from childhood. And in fact perhaps lost some of his childhood because of his goals. This to me is a really great person who deserves to reach the extreme highest honors.
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on January 12, 2014
My two young grandsons have won gold medals in their age division and I could not think a better book for them to read first than this one. I am a page turner so they will get books rather than Kindle copies whenever I can get them. This was in great condion and arrived on time. Kudos to the seller fo having such great merchandise. I will buy from them again. My grandsons were beyond the moon.
All my grandchildren receive books for Christmas.
A 70yo Nana Page Turner
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on August 11, 2012
I am not a swimmer, but I found Michael Phelps' story really inspiring, so I got this book to learn more about his journey. He talks about his races and competition in a lot of technical details (some of which I skipped) but also gives a couple of personal stories - e.g. about his coach and family. While I wanted to learn more about his motivation and how he decided on his goals, this is not really in the book. But overall, it was a great read. Very quick, too!
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on December 19, 2013
I really enjoyed this book. Even though I am not a swimmer, reading the details of times and splits..all the swimmer talk was very well written and something I enjoyed learning about. The little personal notes and things on Michael Phelps were nice and shows that his head still seems to be on straight.
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