Monkey Say Monkey Do
After an eventful day in The Pyrenees on Monday, it appears ever more likely that Britain will be able to celebrate a first Tour de France winner this year.
If, as expected, the popular Bradley Wiggins claims the revered Yellow Jersey then the loudest cheer is sure to come from the publishers of 2012’s smash hit self-help sensation: The Chimp Paradox by consultant psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.
For the author, this has already been a vintage year, since his book appeared in paperback in January.
Shortly before winning his fourth world snooker title in May, Ronnie O’Sullivan credited the consultant psychiatrist with getting his life and career back on track. In this era of slick, stage-managed self promotion that Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ chose to do so in a clearly self-penned, warts and all, stream of consciousness review of the book on Amazon is truly remarkable. So much so that it compelled me to pick up a copy in order to put a face to all the fuss after I was alerted to the review by a Progambler reader.
Like the maverick O’Sullivan, Bradley Wiggins has also publicly credited Dr Peters’ ‘unique Chimp Model’ as the reason for his improved performance.
Sir Chris Hoy, the cyclist who can complete an impressive summer hatrick of sporting success for Peters’ prodigies at the upcoming London Olympics, supplies a quote for the testimonials page. He says simply: “Without Steve, I don’t think I could have won gold in Athens in 2004.”
After whizzing through 156 breathy pages of this 335 page tome it is hard to decide if The Chimp Paradox ultimately has the substance required to back up its heavy simian swagger.
Certainly, as this back cover extract shows the book’s ‘call to action’ is a fairly compelling pitch:
“Do you sabotage your own happiness and success? Are you struggling to make sense of yourself? Do your emotions sometimes dictate your life?
The Chimp Paradox is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. Dr Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life so you can:
- Recognise how your mind is working
- Understand and manage your emotions and thoughts
- Manage yourself and become the person you would like to be
The Chimp Mind Management Model is based on scientific facts and principles, which have been simplified into a workable model for easy use. It will help you to develop yourself and give you the skills, for example, to remove anxiety, have confidence and choose your emotions. The book will do this by giving you an understanding of the way in which your mind works and how you can manage it. It will also help you to identify what is holding you back or preventing you from having a happier and more successful life.”
The book was suggested to me for its obvious application for punting and on the face of it there is much to recommend. Who couldn’t benefit from keeping setbacks in perspective, working more efficiently or recognising the self deceptions of one’s mental processes?
Make no mistake, it would be churlish to impugn either Dr Peters motivation, or his credentials. At last count, the sincere former addiction expert turned elite sports guru de jour has his finger on the pulse of 12 Olympic sports, all sorts of cycling franchises, England Rugby and at least one Premiership football club.
However, it is equally hard to dismiss the feeling that the pleasant shrink from Sheffield University is simply making a monkey out of gullible sports stars by rehashing the bleeding obvious: simplified science clothed in a suit of monkey metaphor.
In 179 pages time, I have no doubt that this agnostic ape will be significantly wiser – one way or the other.
If you have read the book or feel motivated to read it on the back of this article I would love to know what you think.
You can contact us and let us know or even better use the comment form below so others can also read your wise words.
You can buy the book and read Ronnie O’Sullivan’s ringing endorsementat the Amazon link below.