“Winning is not enough: the autobiography” (Jackie Stewart, 2007)

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How many F1 books are titled as an afterthought? There are plenty of biographies on my bookshelf with cheesy titles like “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Driven to Win”.

But “Winning is not Enough” is not just a casual pun.

It’s a theme that runs right through the core of an autobiography of a man, Jackie Stewart, who was far more than just a world champion.

Autobiographies are fiendishly difficult things to get right and perhaps that’s why, even in the ego-fuelled world of professional sport, there are so few of them.

None of F1’s recent great champions have one. The most recent I can think to is Nigel Mansell’s “The People’s Champion” – which is painful reading even for Mansell fans like myself.

This is an entirely different book. From start to finish the voice of the book is unmistakably Stewart – methodical and logical with a deep sense of conviction.

The most striking portion of the book comes just a few pages in – the second chapter ‘Am I stupid?’, in which Stewart recounts his struggle with dyslexia and efforts to improve recognition of the condition in schools. It’s uncomfortable reading after hearing Max Mosley’s recent ill-advised attack on Stewart as a ‘certifiable halfwit’.

The book gets into its stride in the middle section where Stewart recounts his racing career, focusing not just on his successes but also on his tireless pursuit of improved safety standards and the conflicts this created.

There’s so much packed in that 500 pages seems on the short side. Even before he was a three times world champion he was an enormously successful shooter, and after being an F1 driver he was a sports commentator, business man, team boss of Stewart Racing and president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.

Finishing the book it’s hard to imagine how one could get a clearer impression of the man short of actually meeting him. This is the whole story on Stewart – driver and man, personal and professional. It’s a really excellent piece of work.

The title sums it up. Would “Winning is not Enough” work as a title for a book about Michael Schumacher? Ayrton Senna? Alain Prost?

Perhaps not. But for Jackie Stewart it’s the least that can be said of him.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on ““Winning is not enough: the autobiography” (Jackie Stewart, 2007)”

  1. I know it’s several months since this article was posted, but I’ve just this minute finished reading this book and agree whole-heartedly with this review. It is a gripping, interesting and highly emotive read from start to finish – easily one of the best autobiographies I’ve read. The DVD that comes with it is a great ‘special’ feature as well. Good stuff.

  2. Always glad to hear good feedback on a recommendation. I don’t give 5/5 that often but "Winning is not Enough" easily deserved it. You can see other books that rated well here.

  3. great review keith, i finished the book myself a couple of months ago and it was captivating. I would recomended this book without hesitation to any F1 fan. A must read.

  4. Hugo-The-Rabbit
    17th May 2014, 8:47

    I have just finished this book. I got the book after seeing your full mark review and really couldn’t agree more with what you say about Sir Jackie. I really feel like for the last week I have just been with the man himself, the book is that good. Thanks for the recommendation as I have really enjoyed this book.

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