- Author Nigel Mansell
This book was recommended and loaned to me in physical format, meaning I’ve read it in gradual stages at work, as it was quite a hefty hardback and I didn’t want to lug it back and forth. The tale inside is an incredible one though, with great insight into the troubles that Nigel Mansell faced trying to get his career off the ground. From near bankruptcy, through some horrific injuries, and then the steady progress towards the F1 World Championship, it’s all documented in great detail, and honesty.
I’m not a big fan of autobiographies as a genre, although the occasional one always slips through the net. The trouble is they are very difficult to get right, the balance of telling an interesting story about yourself - most likely being successful at something - and yet remaining humble. Mansell treads the line very carefully, occasionally crossing over into an odd kind of boasting about character.
He’s straight-forward about it, but occasionally puts in a few paragraphs of “I take people as I find them,” “I work supremely hard,” “I’m driving at 100% all the time.” These are fine occasionally, but bundled together can come across a bit wearing. It’s not so much arrogance, although sports people do have to have a bit of that to get ahead, but it’s just unbelievable because no one can be that perfect.
Nevertheless, that’s my problem with autobiographies as a whole, I’m not sure if that’s just a Nigel Mansell thing. It’s an interesting story, there are some great explanations about things that the press liked to spin a different way, and getting closer to the inner workings of contract negotiations in F1 is always fun. It’s also good to see some honest analysis of the drivers around him, the good and the bad. The only real problem with the tale is that it’s left hanging a little bit as it was published over a decade ago, seemingly in the middle of him deciding what his future may hold.