This week's bestsellers in sports books


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1 - Running with the Kenyans

Author: Adharanand Finn
Published by: Faber and Faber

Ever since the Mexico Olympics of 1968, when the athletes of Kenya claimed an unprecedented nine medals, the sporting world has been eager to learn the secrets that seemed to set the runners of one African nation apart from the rest, and turned the likes of Kipchoge Keino and Naftali Temu into legends of the track. Adharanand Finn, a freelance writer and running enthusiast, moved his family to Iten, a small high-altitude town in the Rift Valley that has become a mecca for long-distance runners. Finn ran side by side with Olympic champions and barefoot schoolchildren. This beautifully written book reveals what he learned about Kenya’s runners and their country.

2 - Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice

Author: Matthew Syed
Published by: Fourth Estate

Matthew Syed, Times sports writer and former international table-tennis champion (after many hours of practice) explores the true nature of talent and attempts to reveal what really makes a champion, debunking the myths that we can be born brilliant and that genetic make-up and social background matter.  World record triple jumper Jonathan Edwards says: 'Intellectually stimulating and hugely enjoyable at a stroke… challenged some of my most cherished beliefs about life and success.’

3 - Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Author: Christopher McDougall
Published by: Profile Books

How an American former war correspondent with a love of running discovered a remote Mexican tribe, the Tarahumara, whose frugal, healthy diet was undermined somewhat by a love of grain alcohol but who achieved longevity through running extreme distances, barefoot, without the need for training schedules or recovery regimes. He finds them to be capable of running as fast and as far as the best prepared, most finely tuned marathon runners of the developed world and dreams of seeing them compete in the ‘greatest race’ of the title.

4 -- London 2012 Olympic Games: The Official Book

Author: The Press Association
Published by: Carlton Books Ltd

A stunning illustrated guide to the world's greatest sporting event and essential reading for sports fans everywhere. Packed with glorious photography and expert analysis of the star athletes and their prospects at the Games, written by the specialist journalists of the Press Association, the UK's leading national news agency. An authoritative and comprehensive preview of the 30th Olympiad, featuring a guide to each of the Olympic Games sports and venues, a brief history of the Games and the full competition schedule, so that you won't miss a moment, whether you are watching live in London or from the comfort of your own living room.

5 - Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2012

Editor: Lawrence Booth
Published by: John Wisden & Co Ltd

First published in 1864 and probably the world’s most famous sports book, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has been in the hands for the first time of Lawrence Booth, the Daily Mail and former Guardian cricket writer who is its 16th editor. The 149th edition contains everything its readers have come to expect -- coverage of every first-class game in every cricket nation, reports and scorecards for all Tests and ODIs, the Cricketers of the Year awards and some of the finest cricket writing, its trenchant tone set by the Notes by the Editor.

6 - Playfair Cricket Annual 2012

Editor: Ian Marshall
Published by: Headline

The classic pocket companion to the English cricket season, the 65th edition of Playfair reviews England's triumphant 2011 home Test series against Sri Lanka and India, as well as their matches against India and Pakistan on tour this winter. The book is packed with essential information to follow events on the field, with unrivalled up-to-the-minute statistical detail on all first-class players registered in the UK at the time of press, plus fixture lists for the coming season.

7 - A Life Without Limits

Author: Chrissie Wellington
Published by: Constable

Chrissie Wellington, a former civil servant and hobbyist jogger, a complex character whose insecurities as a young woman led her to develop eating disorders, ran her first marathon 10 years ago and surprised herself by completing the course in three hours and eight minutes.  She tells a gripping and deeply human story of how ultimately she quit her job to train full time as a triathlete, became world champion within a year and is currently Ironman Triathlon world champion, the fastest on the planet for an event that comprises a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.

8 - Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike

Author: William Fotheringham
Published by: Yellow Jersey

It says something about Eddy Merckx that Lance Armstrong, who won the Tour de France a record seven times, amassed fewer than a hundred career victories compared with 445 by the obsessive Belgian in professional races alone. His career brought outstanding success but also personal tragedy, horrific injury and a doping controversy, and masked a surprising level of insecurity. William Fotheringham, the Guardian cycling writer, speaks to those who watched and knew Merckx to produce the definitive biography.

9 - Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels

Author: Karren Brady
Published by: Collins

Karren Brady did not become Britain’s best-known businesswoman by being a pussycat and her autobiography reveals she had a hard-nosed streak even when she was a child. When she entered the world of work, it enabled her to form the partnership with David Sullivan that led her to become managing director of Birmingham City at the age of 23. Lord Sugar, with whom she worked on TV show The Apprentice says: ‘Karren’s story will be an inspiration to women everywhere.’

10 - My Story: Tom Daley

Author: Tom Daley
Published by: Michael Joseph

Tom Daley started diving at the age of seven. Specializing in the 10 metre platform event, he became the youngest British world champion in any sport. He represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he was Britain's youngest competitor, and won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. In 2007, 2009 and 2010, he was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.   In this, his first official memoir, illustrated on many pages with his own photographs, he shares the pressures, challenges and fascinating experiences of his career as well as glimpses into his life away from his sport in the build up to the London Olympics.

As listed by amazon.co.uk on May 14, 2012

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