If there’s a book you should read, Total Competition is it

When I get time, I enjoy a good read. It’s great to unwind reading someone else’s exploits, challenges and (sometimes) successes. Now and again, a novel might float my boat, however, mostly you’ll find my nose in an autobiography.

Like everyone, I’ve read some good stuff and I’ve encountered some real turkeys. The latter are the books I don’t even get half way because they’re so dreary or they’re not what I thought they’d be.

However, this blog is focused something so good I’m urging you to read it. Total Competition is an amazing read, and, to me, is highly influential. So much so, it’s importance is up there with The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters. Their topics are entirely different; however, both are united in their educational value.

"Realising the success Ross and his teams achieved takes more than luck. And that’s where it transcends the boundaries of F1, the topics could influence every industry; from accountancy to zoology."

Total Competition is a collaboration between Adam Parr and Ross Brawn. Adam is the former Chief Executive of the uber successful Williams F1 team, whilst Ross has steered Benetton, Ferrari and his own team – Brawn GP – to world championship success in competitive world of F1.  Ross has also worked at Mercedes Benz F1 and Williams, whilst also technical directed the successful Jaguar sportscar team in the early 90’s. A seriously impressive CV. Before you read on through this blog and the picking up the book, you DON’T need to be a fan of F1 or motor racing. What’s also important to note - at this juncture -  is I’ve never written a book review. I’ve found the exception; Total Competition.

Let’s get straight to the point. The value you will garner from this read can shape and benchmark whatever walk of professional life destiny has taken you. I am a fan of F1 and of both writers, but I am speechless at what I learnt in the book from the lives Adam and Ross led, and the approaches they took.

The book takes the form of a Q&A; Adam asking the questions. Ross is in the perfect position to answer given the success he achieved, perspiration expended and hours procrastinating with the teams above. Ross also guided drivers including Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

From reading Total Competition, you’ll immediately appreciate Ross enjoys and values working as a team. When I relate to “he”, it’s inadvertent.

Realising the success Ross and his teams achieved takes more than luck. And that’s where it transcends the boundaries of F1, the topics could influence every industry; from accountancy to zoology. The contents of Total Competition encapsulates change, strategy, attitude, culture, determination, managing conflict confrontation and trust (amongst numerous touchpoints).

Whilst I appreciate there has been a lot of editing to get this to the finished article, the questions are robust yet engaging, and I can imagine Ross answering in his charming, yet detailed manner - putting reasoned thought into them. Likewise, the questions get to the heart of the matter, referencing real life scenarios or strategic lessons, including Napoleon.  If you can’t put the book down, you know it’s a good read. I was fortunate enough to read this whilst I was taking a family break in Italy. Feet up, book in hand who knows how many opportunities for ice cream I missed from reading this highly engrossing account.

In my office, I have a few reference books I keep close to hand. Total Competition rightly occupies a position with them. Would love to get my book signed. 

You can buy your copy from Amazon or from all good bookshops.