The Gladiator Mindset is the debut self-help book / autobiography from Olympic gold medallist swimmer Adam Peaty.
I’m not normally the type of person to read self-help books as I do usually prefer fiction mainly for escapism (though I have read a couple of autobiographies, such as Yeonmi Park’s In Order To Live). However I am a big fan of Adam Peaty who is one of the UK’s most successful swimmers, plus his journey was regularly reported on our local news as he also comes from the Midlands.
I first heard about this book when he was competing on the most recent series of Strictly Come Dancing (the UK version of Dancing With The Stars) which made me want to give it a try.
The book is first and foremost a self help book as Peaty takes you through his ten steps involved in building the “Gladiator Mindset” and the book covers quite a diverse range of topics – from outlining your goals, to welcoming pain and adversity as an opportunity to grow and get one step closer towards achieving those goals.
Peaty also talks about the anger he experienced growing up and how he learnt to channel that into his swimming to further improve. As well as the natural talent vs graft discussion and also how to find the balance between rest and working hard.
The book then concludes with some specific information on Peaty’s diet and exercise routine as well as him talking about his relationship with his swimming coach, Melanie Marshall (plus her views on him) and what his views are of society and what holds people back in general.
Overall I did like the structure and order of the book as each chapter felt like a progression on the previous chapters which really gives the book the impression you are being taught something as you read your way through.
Of course with self-help books I think some parts tend to speak to some people more than others. For example the chapter about finding the balance I found very interesting as I do find it hard to switch off when I’m at home as well as the learning from failures to further improve. However as I wouldn’t really describe myself as an angry or aggressive character, the chapter about channelling aggression didn’t speak to me as much as the others.
Also I will say the book gives you a great insight into Peaty’s mindset and how he became the swimming champion he is today and contains autobiographical elements which are fascinating to read. For example he writes about the hours leading up to his first Olympic gold medal win at Rio 2016 is fascinating and gives you a glimpse behind the curtain as obviously as spectators or that we see is the actual race rather than the work over years that goes into it.
My only critique is at the end of each chapter there is a challenge to help you put into motion what that chapter was about. Whilst I do think this helps reinforce the idea the book is teaching you a mindset and helps make it more accessible, I will admit some of the challenges I have seen elsewhere – for example on YouTube motivational videos or in my day job when I’ve heard motivational speakers so whilst this probably reinforces they do work it doesn’t really feel like new information as such (although that could also be one of the challenges suggests having a cold shower which is where I drew the line!)
However ultimately a book like this is meant to make you feel motivated and pumped-up and it definitely did that so for that feeling of motivation and also gaining insight into the minds of one of Britain’s most successful Olympians I would recommend giving this book a try.