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One Epic Drama of Motivation, Perseverance, and Focus

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Sadness descended upon me when the book ended. I like I was saying goodbye to a boatload of dear friends. Literally.

The Boys in the Boat is a compelling drama involving the lives of nine American athletes and their journey to Hitler’s Germany in the 1936 Olympics. Author David James Brown—almost poetically—weaves the personal lives of these young men into the gripping events leading up to World War II. Incorporating romance, suspense, history, drive, and dreams, he brings the reader to practically sit inside the boat with these University of Washington boys on their heroic adventure to the Langer See in Berlin.

Inspirational Quotes: Motivation

A smorgasbord of quotes from George Yeoman Pocock, the team’s shell builder, add intrigue and insight into the overall wonder of the manuscript.

Rowing is perhaps the toughest of sports. Once the race starts, there are no time-outs, no substitutions. It calls upon the limits of human endurance. The coach must therefore impart the secrets of the special kind of endurance that comes from mind, heart, and body. (p. 71)

Rowing a race is an art, not a frantic scramble. It must be rowed with head power as well as hand power. From the first stroke all thoughts of the other crew must be blocked out. Your thoughts must be directed to you and our own boat, always positive, never negative. (p. 105)

Good thoughts have much to do with good rowing. It isn’t enough for the muscles of a crew to work in unison; their hearts and minds must also be as one. (p. 297)

To see a winning crew in action is to witness a perfect harmony in which everything is right…. That is the formula for endurance and success: rowing with the heart and head as well as physical strength. (p. 321)

Insightful Lesson: Perseverance

When you row … your body burns calories and consumes oxygen at a rate that is unmatched in almost any other human endeavor, Physiologists, in fact, have calculated that rowing a two-thousand-meter race—the Olympic standard—takes the same physiological toll as playing two basketball games back-to-back. And it exacts that toll in about six minutes. (p. 40)

Invaluable Take-Away: Focus

“M-I-B, M-I-B, M-I-B!” This command shouted from the coxswain … was a reminder that from the time an oarsman steps into a racing shell until the moment that the boat crosses the finish line, he must keep his mind focused on what is happening inside the boat. His whole world must shrink down to the small space with the gunwales … Nothing outside the boat—not the boat in the next lane over, not the cheering of a crowd of spectators, not last night’s date—can enter the successful oarsman’s mind. (p. 89)

In summary, I agree with author David Laskin: “This is Chariots of Fire with oars.”

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When did you last read a book that left you sad for it to end?

Describe the inspiration you gained from its contents.

What was one lasting, invaluable take-away?