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Showing 1-10 of 165 reviews(4 star). See all 915 reviews
on September 15, 2005
By now it seems just about everyone -- certainly anyone interested in this book -- knows at least something about Lance Armstrong's story, and probably expects the full story to be inspiring. Well, this book certainly delivers, meets, and often surpasses those expectations.

I think there is a wide cross-section of readers who will find many parts of this book totally absorbing. As for me, I love reading about cycling tactics and the drama that unfolds in and around the pro peloton. There are many details about cycling in this book. (Though, of his TDF victories, only the first is described in full. The 2000 tour is described in an "Encore" chapter.) Among the most interesting to me were the few pages about a heated topic that is rarely addressed by the parties involved -- Armstrong's sponsors -- which companies vowed unconditional support, and which company all but abandonned.

Though I didn't expect to find details about cancer and its treatment as interesting as the cycling details, that part of the story is among the most inspirational. It provides another example of Armstrong's intensely competitive nature and astonishing capacity to remain confident in the face of unthinkable pain, suffering, and adversity. In Armstrong's narrative, the story reads like that of some insane, year-long time-trial, cooked up by TDF organizers just to see if Lance will crack.

Finally, perhaps Armstrong's greatest strength as an autobiographer is his willingness to candidly describe his weakest and most desperate hours.
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VINE VOICEon September 22, 2008
Its not about the bike, in fact there are only two paragraphs in the whole book that talk about the bike. This book is about Lances diagnosis, his struggle to accept his new reality, the aftermath of living as a cancer survivor, and trying to have a baby using frozen sperm. Oh yeah, and also winning the Tour De France.

I enjoyed the book because I like the "overcoming really bad odds and still becoming a champion" type of story. I do not cycle, unless you count the sporadic bikes rides with my kids. I was hoping the book would not be loaded with unrelatable stories and details about the bike, training, and the actual races, and luckily for me it wasn't.

This book was a personal account of a serious athlete struck with cancer. It gets a little whiny in a few places, but I have to give him points for being honest. I am sure I would be whiny if I was struck down in my prime and had to endure the horrors of chemo and brain surgery.

The writing is excellent and you can almost feel the rain hitting your face during his grueling training rides in the mountains of Europe. My legs are burning right now just thinking about sitting on a bike for 6-7 hours of non-stop riding. Wow.

To me, this book left the message of be happy because it can all change fast. Enjoy what time I am given and try to forget about the small stuff. Its a great book with a great message.
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on February 23, 2004
These days everyone has heard of Lance Armstrong, but before he was known worldwide he was a cancer patient. In his autobiography It's Not About the Bike, he tells the story of his youth, his rise to become a champion, and, most of all, his battle with cancer. Armstrong tells the story of what it is like to be diagnosed with cancer and how he himself dealt with it. he describes in detail his treatments and the people who helped him through the tough times during his chemotherapy.
Lance Armstrong's book about his fight against cancer really helped me understand what cancer and cancer treatment is all about. He described his experiences in a way that anyone reading the book could understand. It also helped me understand chemotherapy so that I could apply it to my project. Although he never got scientific with his descriptions, he broke everything down to give you a taste of what he went through. Reading this book gave me a perspective of cancer that I had never known because I have never known anyone close to me that has gone through it.
Personally, I thought the book served its purpose well. It was not a long, drawn out book, but a story of Armstrong's amazing life put into a few day's worth of reading. I also enjoyed how he explained the medical terms so that they would not go over the reader's head. Not only did Lance talk about the medical strains of cancer, but he explained to the reader how cancer can effect a person emotionally and socially. The whole book, not just the parts about Lance's battle with cancer, really taught a lesson about what it meant to be a positive human being. Overall, I felt that the book makes us look at who we are and ask ourselves what kind of person we are. It was a written lesson on how to be a fighter and a survivor.
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VINE VOICEon December 22, 2001
We get to see the self-described Lance Armstrong with a large assist from Sally Jenkins on a journey from a somewhat disadvantaged childhood where Lance and his mother battled mostly economic odds to the present as a well-to-do Tour de France winner who has found a measure of contentment with a wife as devoted to him as was his mother and a newborn son.
The book is pretty well balanced between describing Lance's cycling and his difficult battle with testicular cancer. There is no doubt that the book is part of an overall effort to capitalize on Lance's amazing Tour de France win in 1999 and after, but the sometimes angry, sometimes cocky Lance may be a little difficult to understand or tolerate by some.
Lance acknowledges a great deal of good fortune in surviving cancer but does so rather disingenuously. The fact of the matter is that over 99% of the population would have never had the instant access that Lance had to specialists all over the country who as it turned made all the difference in his recovery. In addition, Lance was quite fortunate in that a bike store owner in Texas took Lance under his arm when he was very young and developed his cycling ability virtually from the ground up. It is vintage Lance Armstrong when he has falling out with his patron just as he is starting to gain some national recognition of his cycling talent. On several ocassions Lance benefited from the right guy entering his life at the right time to provide the right kind of help with his cycling. It did not have to happen that way.
Some may find the book inspirational and it is to a degree. Others may see just how thin is the thread that separates success and even life itself from failure and even death.
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on October 3, 2017
When I read it I loved it, now I am not so sure - but true- this was not all about the bike
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on March 1, 2015
Nope, wasn't about the bike after all, was it....SMH.... so disappointed in his actions about the doping scandal. He had been a role model and someone I'd cheered for, never missing the race. However, Humans are flawed, his pedestal was made of cardboard & his yellow jersey stained, his honor diminished & his legacy tarnished in the eyes of the world . However the achievement of even attempting to compete in such a grueling race - enhancement drugs or not - was something most of us couldn't do.... the temptation & pressure to use those banned substances in order to win must have been enormous .
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on December 16, 2000
By the end of the book the reader feels as if he has walked a mile in a cancer patients shoes. Obviously, the struggle a cancer patient faces is greater than most of us will ever experience. However the author does an excellent job to realistically describe the daily regimen of a cancer patient. This is an uplifting book that stirs the empowering thoughts we all have within us. The only disappointment I have is that Mr. Armstrong went to great length to describe in detail how reckless he can be while riding his bicycle. I only hope that the younger readers will disregard Mr. Armstong's tendancies to speed through intersections with caution thrown to the wind. I also am hopeful that Mr. Armstrong has now realized just how precious life is and that he will change his behavior.
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on October 12, 2015
Interesting personal story of a very determined man. Inspires me to ride more.
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on August 10, 2005
This book basically tells you the biography of lance armstrong. How his childhood affected him and his comeback from cancer. Its a very good story telling you that life is meant to be tough and only the strongest will succeed. Alot of stories about lance's childhood, his mom, cancer treatment and how he came back to win the Tour De France. Alot of many cycling and business aspects to this book as well. However the language is abit crude and story lacks transition. Its almost a story telling book with alot of random stories, mumblings, and then moves on to another part of his life.
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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2001
This is the autobiography of Lance Armstrong, now three time winner of the Tour de France, quite arguably the most grueling athletic event in the world. This is the story of how one man fought cancer and became "the first American, riding an American-made bike, on an American team ever to win the Tour," catapulting the sport of cycling, before, a primarily European sport, into the awareness of Americans.
In short, Lance was a promising biker when in 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He went through brain surgery and difficult chemotherapy to eventually lick the disease, and then returned to biking to win the 1999 and 2000 Tour de France. (He's also won the 2001 Tour, but the book doesn't go that far.)
But the book is not just about the cancer. For a reader who is new to bicycle racing, it makes a fairly good primer on racing, explaining the different events, the terminology, and the tactics; and introducing the reader to the big names in the sport. It is also a love story of how he met his wife, Kik, and goes almost as in-depth into the in-vitro fertilization process necessary to have their son, Luke, as it does into the cancer treatment.
The book charts Lance's transformation from a young, brash competitor who usually angered the other racers, to a more disciplined, thinking stategist. It's also interesting to note that Lance, now considered the man to beat in the climbs, used to be a sprinter before the cancer transformed his body.
The only thing that I found disappointing about this book is that Armstrong neither depends on a faith in God nor develops any through his ordeal, so it fails to be the inspirational story that I had hoped it would be. Despite that, I found the book very interesting, informative, and difficult to put down.
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