From Publishers Weekly
Sheridan (A Fighter's Heart
) examines what contributes toward a successful mental approach in professional fighting, interviewing people such as mixed martial arts icon Randy Couture, legendary college wrestling coach Dan Gable, and tai chi master Josh Waitzkin. The author gains some interesting insights from his investigation. Losing, it turns out, is a crucial component behind a fighter's success. Confidence is fine, but ego is an evil thing, with humility being a great equalizer. Those interested in pugilistic psychology may find some value in Sheridan's reporting; for others, too often the sources' lessons sound similar, and the book frequently drifts into a lengthy, somnolent discourse on fighting styles. Sheridan also can't stay out of his own way; his first-person prose is clunky and long-winded. His misguided attempt to merge elements of memoir and sports journalism derails the book, keeping it from succeeding in either genre. (Feb.)
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Starting with the premise, “We are all fighting something,” Sheridan follows his successful A Fighter’s Heart (2006) with a wide-ranging exploration of how great “fighters” succeed. Among those he profiles are 1972 Olympic gold-medal-winning wrestler Dan Gable, ultra-runner David Horton, mixed martial artist Randy Couture, 2004 Olympic gold-medal-winning boxer Andre Ward, and even chess wizard Josh Waitzkin (from Searching for Bobby Fischer). Some are defined not by their victories but by their defeats (boxer George Foreman); others need “killers in the room” (MMA champs); others win by a certain stealth (Ward)—not to mention thousands of hours of training. To explain just why these men do what they do, Sheridan says that fighting, in whatever forms that it takes, forces you to “learn who you are.” Like its predecessor, this book should find an audience well beyond the ring. --Alan Moores