Bookcase: Winning Matters

•By Sean Fitzpatrick
• Penguin
• RRP$42.00

If watching your kid’s footy team thrash their unhappy mate’s by more than the now recommended 35-point margin offends you, don’t read this book. As the title of former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick’s latest literary effort states: Winning Matters.
The subtitle, “being the best you can be”, provides some elaboration of his life philosophy. He doesn’t subscribe to the view that – whether in sport or in business life – simply taking part is reason enough.
Fitzpatrick has played to win ever since his older siblings, sister included, used him as an excuse to exercise their inner demons. And he’s never really stopped trying to better others. The bigger and more threatening they are, the more he enjoys the challenge.
Leadership was not, however, something he aspired to. Like many things in his life, it happened because he worked hard, was in the right place at the right time, and, once he had his hands on the mantle, he was determined to learn what it took to be the best All Black captain he knew how.
Fitzpatrick’s business career has been equally successful, and for much the same reasons. He can be little “nasty” when needed. He is disciplined, he practises and he plays to win. The book draws interesting parallels between the leadership truths he discovered in sport and how they apply to his business life.
The book is peppered with personal tips on how to “be the best you can be”, which is his motivating mantra. The endeavour to be the best provides Fitzpatrick with “genuine enjoyment”. Watching others “working at being the best they can be is infectious, attractive and compelling”, he writes. It can be “bloody difficult … but very rewarding”.
His life and leadership thoughts are interesting. Many of them are, as he says, pretty obvious. And I have to concede, it was the generous sprinkling of insights and incidents that took place under the grandstand that kept me involved. Winning Matters is an open, honest, engaging and nicely written book. And, at just 200 pages of nicely spaced text, it is an easy weekend read.

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