Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness

By Tim S. Grover
Image of the cover of The Unforgiving Race to Greatness by Tim S. Grover. Wesley Donehue's book reviews and recommendations.

Are you willing to pay the price of winning?

If you’re like me, somewhere along the way you’ve struggled with the concept of work/life balance.

It’s a term used so often that sometimes it’s worth considering its meaning. When you hear work/life balance today what most people really mean is that they go to work and then go home and the two are separate like church and state, in both time and thinking. That’s just not how winners roll. Winners are obsessed with what they do.

They’re never off work because they never stop thinking about work. They’re rarely truly present. And the implications of that mentality are what Tim Grover tries to tackle in this book.

A few years ago I was working for a candidate with a net worth of about $100 Million. He called me needing help with one of his staffers who said he needed more work/life balance.

“Wesley, you know work/life balance is bullshit, right” he asserted. “If you want it bad enough you wake up thinking about it and you go to sleep thinking about it. Even when you’re sitting on the couch with your wife you’re thinking about it. You’re never off work.”

I think about that every day because he was absolutely right. Winners don’t have a work/life balance. They have a work/life symbiosis.

Yes, I know, science nerd. Symbiosis is in itself a form of balance. Two distinct organisms live together, and in a mutualist symbiosis, they depend on each other to live.

That’s work and life.

Look, I’m not saying that’s a good thing. Tim Grover isn’t saying so either. He writes that this mentality can have a damaging impact on a person because they aren’t very well rounded. It can devastate a family.

Kobe Bryant, who Grover trained, figured it out. He was as obsessed with his family as he was with basketball. That’s what made him so remarkable. Somehow he was able to be a winner at both. When he died he was chasing his obsession of turning his daughter into the Kobe Bryant of women’s basketball.

Now if we look at Elon Musk, not covered in this book, we see a man obsessed with his work, who doesn’t sleep and often lives from his factory. We also see a man who can’t seem to hold down a relationship. Elon is a winner, but at what cost?

I loved this book because Tim Grover doesn’t bullshit around. He’s as honest here as he was in his first book, Relentless. He tells you how to become a winner, but he gives warnings along the way. Winning comes at a cost. You have to decide if you’re willing to pay it.

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