Tag Archives: Bob Bowman

WWW Wednesday, 24-July-2019

24 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s been even slower with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. I’ve been having lunch with a friend a lot the past few weeks since it’s nice out. We can’t do this as much come winter so we’re enjoying the sun and I’m reading less. Oh well.
My husband and I haven’t moved forward with Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. We have a drive coming up this weekend (more on that tomorrow) so we’ll get a bit more in then. This one might be a long time running.
I was finally able to start The Map of Time by Félix Palma! It’s been really interesting so far, though I’m not far into it. The narration style is reminding me a bit of Marcus Zusak. We’ll see if that continues.
I’ve already made great progress with A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab due to some longer training sessions last week. I’m optimistic that I’ll finish this in two weeks, but we’ll see. Optimism!
I start Burial Rites by Hannah Kent in my car. Not too far into it yet, so no real opinion. I added this to my TBR when I planned my trip to Iceland but I’m a year late on reading it. Oh well, better late than never!

Recently finished: Finally, there is so much to report! I wrapped up The Golden Rules by Bob Bowman which was a great one to listen to while training for a Half Ironman. It was really inspiring to push toward your goals. It helps that I’m an avid swimmer and swim fan and this focused on Bowman’s most famous athlete, Michael Phelps. My review went up last Thursday and I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I was glad to finish A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers late last week. It was dragging on more than I wanted and I was eager to start something new. My review went up yesterday so you can check that out. I gave it Two out of Five Stars.
I finally finished A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin! 39 disks and over 47 hours completed. It feels amazing to be done. I’ll have a review up next week I expect. I hope I can remember it all.

Reading Next: I’ve got one more book club pick coming up soon that I need to start so I’ll be listening to Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage next. I’ve read Jones before and liked her and this one has had a lot of good press so I’m looking forward to it.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Golden Rules by Bob Bowman (3/5)

18 Jul

If you’ve been here for some time, you know I love swimming. I grew up swimming competitively since the age of nine and I still compete as an adult. Needless to say, I watch the Olympics religiously and Michael Phelps was a big icon of my childhood. Behind every athlete is a coach and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, is a legend. He coached at the University of Michigan while Michael was in college so he almost feels local, too. When I heard Bowman had a book, I knew I wanted to read it and unfortunately it took me a few years to finally get around to it.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Golden Rules: 10 Steps to World-Class Excellence in Your Life and Work by Bob Bowman and Charles Butler

Summary from Goodreads:

Bob Bowman, best known as the coach for the record-breaking run of Michael Phelps, is one of the most successful coaches in sports history. He is lauded for his intense personality, incredible dedication to his athletes, and his ability to nurture talent in athletes who have the heart and drive to win. This is his motivational book about winning in all walks of life and what you have to do to get there. He presents ten key concepts that all people should live by. Illuminating his lessons with spirited anecdotes, Bowman will teach you how to get gold out of every day by setting goals and getting motivated to achieve them. He will explain that taking risks is the key to success in any pursuit, and coach you on how you can become more risk-tolerant.

By following The Golden Rules, you will learn to visualize in order to achieve your goals, and that above all else, dedication to your training, your job, or whatever area it is you are seeking to triumph in is paramount for success.

As much as Bowman kept talking about how his rules could be applied to any job and pursuit, it was very focused on swimming. He uses examples of how he applied the rules with his swimmers and their preparation for meets. He talks extensively about Michael and his accomplishments following the rules. I would recommend this book for swimmers, but I’m not sure if I would recommend it outside that community. I also like Bowman less after reading this book. He talks about how hard he is on his swimmers and while I know that’s an effective coaching style for some, it’s not a system that would work on me. I guess I’m lucky I was never an elite caliber athlete who had to decide if Bob would coach me!

Bowman portrayed himself and his swimmers in a very real way. He talked about his shortcomings and the times when his swimmers stumbled. I’m a big fan of one of Bowman’s other swimmers, Allison Schmidt, and the way he described her was in line with the athlete I’ve watched for years. (As a side note, Schmidt went to high school 30 minutes from me and is about the same age as me.) I’m glad he talked about the times Michael stumbled because those were very public and large mistakes, and I’m glad he talked about himself in a very truthful way as well. I didn’t feel like he was showing only the best of himself.

I liked the message Bowman had and the method he shared. The stages he has made sense to me and I can see how I’ve applied some of them in my life and the adventures I’ve undergone. I can apply them to my triathlon endeavors, sure, but I can also apply them to planning my trip to Europe last summer or the career change I’m thinking of making now. Going all-in is helpful, having a team support individual success makes everything better, and overcoming adversity makes success even sweeter. I liked how Bowman detailed how his athletes had overcome this and it helped me see it in my life.

Bob Bowman
Image via ASU Website

Bowman talked a lot about a swimmer I wasn’t familiar with, Jessica Long. Her story stuck with me more than any other athlete Bowman mentioned. I was very inspired by her goal of making the qualifying time for the standard Olympic trials despite being a decorated Paralympian. Her story of meeting her birth parents had me tearing up, too!

I disliked when Bowman talked about motivating his athletes by telling them they weren’t trying hard enough and that their effort level was unacceptable. Maybe it’s because I’ve never gone into practice and just gone through the motions. I’ve never done just enough when I was first asked to do as much as I could. I’m very internally motivated so a coach who relies on external motivation to push a swimmer forward was an odd concept for me and it made me feel like he didn’t tailor his style of coaching to fit what his athletes needed.

My audiobook was narrated by Peter Berkrot. Bowman mentions several times being from South Carolina and Berkrot’s southern accent seemed to go perfectly with Bowman’s energy and hometown. He seemed to channel the Bob Bowman I’ve seen on interviews and fit the personality I’ve heard of from his swimmers. He really nailed it in my opinion.

Bowman focuses on excellence in whatever you do and achieving goals. He talks about how goals are often based on meeting a target and not on beating another person. Instead of setting a goal of Michael winning a medal, they would figure out what time he would likely need to win the medal and focus on swimming that time. Similarly, I’ve set a goal of finishing my Half IronMan in a certain time (though I’m being flexible with it) and have certain criteria for my next career move that I’m focusing on. Excellence can come in many forms, but Bowman’s advice of setting large and small goals to get there and how to go toward chasing those goals resonated well.

Writer’s Takeaway:  Bowman shared his message mostly through anecdotes which were helpful. I could see the point he was trying to make illustrated. What was hard about it was that the timeline was a bit messy. He jumped backward and forward in time, skipped from one swimmer to the next, and I wondered if I followed only because of my personal interest in the sport. If I was going to write an inspirational book, I would try (and probably fail) to tell a story in order and talk about how the process worked sequentially instead of in spurts.

This book was enjoyable but I’m not sure it had the universal appeal it was meant to. It also fell short for me in a few ways. I’m giving it three out of five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Bob Bowman’s Golden Rules for World-Class Excellence in Your Life and Work | The Tao of Wealth
Bob Bowman discusses ‘The Golden Rules’ on TODAY | NBC Sports

WWW Wednesday, 17-July-2019

17 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Still going slow with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. I keep pecking away. Slowly but surely. I’ll get there.
I think I’ll finish A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin this week. I’ve made some really good forward progress and I’m prioritizing it when I’m in my car. Maybe wishful thinking, but I’ll stay positive.
I really wanted to say that I’d finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I guess the style has started to grate on me and I’m not reading it as quickly as I’d like to. At this point, I just want to finish it so I can move on.
We haven’t had a chance to listen to more of Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. It might be a few weeks before we have a substantial car ride together again. We’ll be driving to Ohio at the end of the month for my Half Ironman so I know we’ll have some time then.
I’ve been listening to The Golden Rules by Bob Bowman while I workout. I’m not sure if anyone outside of the competitive swimming world is familiar with Bowman, Michael Phelps’ and Allison Schmidt’s coach, also named head coach of the Olympic Men’s USA Swim Team. This book seems like it’s trying to appeal to non-swimmers, but swimming is a huge focus of it just due to Bowman’s job. I’m enjoying it, though.

Recently finished: I finished Being Mortal by Atul Gawande quickly after I got back to running and biking. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected and was able to post my review on Monday. Please go check it out! I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars.
It’s more of a short story than a book, but I listened to Ajax Penumbra, 1969 by Robin Sloan. This is a short prequel to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and it was really fun to revisit the world Sloan created for that one. The review for this one posted yesterday and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Not a bad week for reading!

Reading Next: I can’t wait to start The Map of Time by Félix Palma. It’s taunting me from my bedside table and intimidating me with its length. I really want to start soon!
I’ve decided on my next eaudiobook since I’ve been flying through them so fast. I want it to be A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. It’s been more than three years since I read the first one but I think I remember it pretty well and I can’t wait to jump into the world again!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!