Michael Phelps – Pool Shark

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1. One of the fond memories I have of middle school in Dubai was of reading books. I had just discovered Enid Blyton and was mesmerized by her books. And then I discovered Fredrick Forsyth, Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer. They served as my escape from reality. I remember I used to just get on to this local bus which would go all the way across the city and take about two hours to reach the other end of the city. I’d sit in the last corner seat, read my book for a while and then stare out of the bus and daydream about all the adventures I’d have when I grew up. The bus would halt at the last stop for a few mins (the driver would go and stretch his legs) and I’d get off with the driver and have some tea and stretch my legs too. And then I’d buy a return ticket and read all the way back home. Each trip would be about four to five hours and I’d come home exhausted and satisfied. In retrospect, I think it was those trips which made me realize two things 1) I could hang-out by myself for hours 2) Books have the amazing ability to change my life.

2. If there was one thing I missed doing at IIT, it was reading books. And I had promised myself that I’d read, no matter what, once I got to grad school. Since time is always an issue and there are always a gazillion things to do, I picked up this nifty trick from Pee (who is a voracious reader despite being uber busy with n other things). The trick is to keep a book next to your bed. So, just before I go to sleep, I read a bit. Days when I’m too tired, I just read a paragraph or one line. But I read. And I set a goal for myself of reading one book every month..

3. .. I just finished reading Michael Phelps autobiography Beneath The Surface. Phelps is an incredible swimmer who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and in doing so broke Mark Spitz’s seven gold record in Munich in 1972.

Now, I read autobiographies mainly because I like to be inspired and learn from their lives. But I was quite disappointed. The book is not that great. It talks a lot about his personal enthusiasm, but its not like Lance’s book. I am not inspired to take up swimming, whereas if you’ve read Lance’s book, you have to start biking. When you read about Ali or Lance, you feel their passion and their fighting spirit. Reading Phelps gives you the impression that he’s just a guy with incredible genes and a damn fine coach.

So, worth reading if your a Phelps fan. Nevertheless, after reading this, I am intrigued to wait for a couple of years and then read about him and see what he does with his fame and success*.


I’m the same kind of guy before all this happened.
~ Michael Phelps

*He’s already been in the news for driving under the influence of alcohol and smoking marijuana.

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