Vote for your favourite sports book and win £50 in book tokens

Tomorrow is the last chance to win £50 in National Book Tokens by voting for your favourite sports book from among the winners at the British Sports Book Awards, announced earlier this month.  Follow the link to an online form to register your vote an be entered automatically into a draw.
To help you chose, The Sports Bookshelf is highlighting each of the eight contenders to be named the overall British Sports Book of the Year. Today's category winners:


What are the hidden factors which allow the most successful sports stars to rise above their competitors? Are they shared by virtuosos in other fields?

Award-winning Times sportswriter Matthew Syed, a former Commonwealth table-tennis champion, seeks to discover what lies behind world-beating achievement in sport and other walks of life.  The answers - taking in the latest in neuroscience, psychology and economics - challenge conventional ideas about what it takes to become the best.

Syed debunks the cherished belief that some competitors are born brilliant and questions the idea that they can be restricted by genetic make-up or social background.  He discovers the impact on performance of intense religious belief, and why athletes and others ‘choke’

From the upbringing of Mozart to the mindset of Mohammed Ali - via the recruitment policies of Enron - Bounce weaves together stories, insights and statistics in a thought-provoking read.

Along the way, Syed talks to a Hungarian father whose educational theories helped his daughters become three of the best chess players of all time and explains why one small street in Reading - his own - has produced more top table-tennis players than the rest of Britain put together.

Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice


The Story of Your Life is an intriguing and turbulent history of a newspaper Charles Dickens praised for its 'range of information and profundity of knowledge', and which Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, simply endorsed with the remark: 'Of course I read The Sporting Life'.

It was the Queen Mother's love of horseracing that made her such an avid reader of the Life and coverage of that sport forms the core of this book, but there is so much more to fascinate the reader including eyewitness accounts of the first fight for the heavyweight championship of the world and Captain Webb's heroic Channel swim of 1875.

The paper's strident campaigns for racing reforms are also chronicled along with its coverage of major news stories, from Fred Archer's shocking suicide to its own untimely demise.

Its travails in the law courts are documented from its first year, when it was forced to change its title, to its last, when it had to pay libel damages to the training team of Lynda and Jack Ramsden and their jockey, Kieren Fallon.

Buy The Story of Your Life: A History of "The Sporting Life" Newspaper (1859-1998)


The officially endorsed pictorial record produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Tottenham Hotspur's famous League and Cup Double in 1961 -- the first 'Double' achieved in the modern era of football -- won the award for Best Illustrated Title.

Beautifully presented within its own real-cloth slipcase adorned in silver with the book's title and the iconic badge worn by the team during this historic season, 61: The Spurs Double showcases previously unseen photographs and memorabilia and tells the story of the season through original newspaper cuttings, tickets and match programmes.

Put together by the editorial team behind the Spurs Opus, the book was produced with the full co-operation of leading figures and the official approval of the club, who allowed unique access to the historical archives at White Hart Lane.

The 1961 Double was truly a remarkable feat given the competition the team faced that year. Unlike today, any one of 10 teams could be a contender for the league title and every top-flight team fancied their chances of winning the FA Cup.

Buy 61: The Spurs Double

Winners in the other categories were
Best Autobiography -- Beware of the Dog, by Brian Moore
Best Cricket Book  -- Slipless in Settle, by Harry Pearson
Best Football Book -- Promised Land, by Anthony Clavane
Best Rugby Book -- The Grudge, by Tom English
Best Biography -- Trautmann’s Journey, by Catrine Clay

Vote HERE for your favourite book from the winners of each of the award categories at the British Sports Book Awards at and you'll be entered -- free of charge -- in a draw to win £50 of National Book Tokens. Closing date June 12th. Full terms and conditions on the voting form.


To browse more books on sport, visit The Sports Bookshelf Shop.

Read about the other award winners.


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