Friedman brings together essays written over the last 20 years into a fascinating anthology. The individual pieces concern sports as varied as bowling, cycling, basketball, boxing, and golf, but they are linked by a common theme: the pursuit of excellence as a path to self-destruction. For example, take Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, a man so determined to excel that he built his own bike (out of washing-machine parts and other scrap metal) and pitted himself against the giants of the sport. He won, too, and kept winning until cycling's regulating body changed its rules to prevent him from competing; so he changed his technique, and they changed the rules again. Finally, after he started coughing up blood months after a race, his career came to a close. His storyand the book is full of stories just like hisperfectly illustrates the physical and psychological toll that the drive to win can take on a person. An apt counterpoint to the multitude of winning-is-everything books, this one says that winning is nice, but it isn't everything (and maybe, in some cases, it can be lethal). Pitt, David
About the Author
Steve Friedman is the author of four books, including Driving Lessons
and The Agony of Victory
, and the co-author of two New York Times
best sellers, including Eat & Run
. He has written for Esquire, GQ, Outside, The New York Times, New York, Bicycling
and Runner’s World
. His stories have been published in The Best American Sports Writing
, The Best American Travel Writing
and many other anthologies. Friedman grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, attended Stanford University, and lives in New York City. Visit Stevefriedman.net.
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