Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Way of the Fight, by Georges St Pierre

Very impressed with this book. Good insights into what makes Georges St Pierre a champion and generally impressed with Georges' depth of character. Liked the format of the book too where each chapter has comments from a single person in Georges' life. Very good book. Here's some short quotes to enjoy!

"... the goal is to avoid mediocrity by being prepared to try something and either failing miserably or triumphing grandly..."

"... the more I learn, the less I know..."

"... [look] within yourself and imagine the greatest thing you'll ever do..."

"... Fall down seven times, stand up eight..."

"... losing changes me and turns me into a better man..."

"... it takes fear to make a person courageous..."

"... Humility is the first rule of martial arts. Either you learn humility quickly, or you leave because your ego can't handle losing repeatedly..."

"... My front foot always points to my adversary. This is important because it stops my opponent from having or developing an angle on me..."

"... there are two kinds of people who do martial arts: those who practice a thousand different kicks one time each, and those who practice one kick a thousand times minimum..."

"... my heel almost never touches the ground, except for when I'm resting... this brings my weight onto the balls of my feet, and that's where I have an advantage over most of my opponents: I'm always ready to explode or change directions..."

"... My interest is not in making my muscles bigger or stronger. My interest is in making my muscles smarter and more coordinated..."

The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright

Good book on the development of Al-Qaeda from the mid-1900s through to the events of September 11th 2001. The day and events of September 11th are hardly touched upon. Its the history and development of the ideology that led to it which is the focus of this book. The main two characters that feature throughout the book are Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawihiri and there's some focus on Syed Qutb in the first chapter. The places and events that get special mention are the early years of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the 1940s, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Afghan civil war and the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the arrival of US troops in the 1990s. The book is a little tongue in cheek in places but overall it's a good, easy to read narrative. Very beneficial and highly recommended.