Sunday, February 9, 2014

Driving to work with Sir Alex Ferguson

Reading and writing are among my biggest passions, but sadly, I don't find enough time to do either. This blog often only manages to get a monthly entry, and books, apart from long hours on planes, usually only get the last 10 minutes of my attention at night just as my eyelids are dropping ... but I frequently yearn for a time when I can just get away from it all and get myself engrossed in a good book.

Perhaps fatefully, or just by mere coincidence, two friends recently mentioned audio books to me. Something I had obviously heard of, but just dismissed as no substitute for reading a real book. One of those friends told me he used an audio book to accompany him on one of his marathons ... something I am not likely to emulate anytime soon, but the other mentioned that he just listened to them in the car during his daily commute ... a more appealing scenario to me.

The coincidences continued as, shortly after, Amazon sent me an offer of a free trial for any book on Audible, their audio book app and service. I opted for the Alex Ferguson biography. Downloaded on to my phone in seconds and hooked up to my car audio with bluetooth, I was listening away on my way to work.

In this particular book, the forward is read out by Sir Alex himself, and the rest of the book by a Scottish "actor". This certainly keeps the authenticity alive, and I have to congratulate the reader on his interpretation. He brought the story to life with terrific intonations and even voice impersonations where necessary. Where I had imagined a dull text book style rendition of the pages, this story telling had me riveted. Listening to how SAF looked down upon David Beckham's extra curricular activities but cherished his class of '92 team mates, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. How he respects and (now) likes Arsene Wenger and Jose Morinho but doesn't really care for Rafa Benitez and his management style. How he grew his teams with a blend of nurturing young apprentices and buying big stars, and how he masterfully managed a football club to record success again and again and again.

The story, which had in any case intrigued me, nevertheless brought to mind the words of my friend who recommended audio books for a commute ... "you will look forward to your drive to work just to get back into the story". And that sums it up perfectly! I would get in the car and enter Ferguson's world. Often, upon arriving at my destination, I would remain in my parked car, not wanting to leave until the end of a chapter.

What a great find and a big thanks to those who suggested this to me. While I am still reading ebooks at bed time (at a snails pace), I am searching for my next audio book to download. Who knows, it might encourage me to run a marathon!

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