Karl has picked out one of his latest favourite reads and offers a brief overview of what it encounters.
Having steered four Formula One teams to a dozen world championships, Ross Brawn’s memoirs were always going to make a compelling read. But “Total Competition” is more than that.
Subtitled Lessons in Strategy from Formula One, “Total Competition” is positioned as a guide to strategic thinking. It’s even styled to resemble one of those management self-help books. Fortunately it nothing like as excruciating to read.
Co-author Adam Parr, who spent three years at the sharp end of F1 politics with Williams, explains Brawn’s approach to Formula One through the context of Sun Tzu’s two-thousand year-old reference work on warcraft, The Art of War.
The digressions into the history of warfare are the least engaging parts of “Total Competition” but they are brief. What grated more were the lapses into question-and-answer format which made it feel like an extended magazine article.
But these minor stylistic quibbles don’t detract from the fascinating substance of the book. “Total Competition” can be read both as a biography of one of F1’s most successful off-track competitors and a reference manual for aspiring team bosses. Both of these are illuminating, but it has a third dimension which is even more interesting.
Brawn has remained in the headlines after confirming he has been in discussions with Liberty Media about the future of F1. This has inevitably prompted speculation he might play a role in it one day.
Sections of “Total Competition” make a convincing manifesto for how Formula One could solve the deep-rooted problems which have been ignored and even cultivated under Bernie Ecclestone. Is this the white paper on how to fix F1?
Karl has also been busy writing his own second book ‘Educate My Money’. If you’d like a copy, call by one of our offices for a free copy or get in touch and we’ll pop one in the post.