Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One, by Ross Brawn and Adam Parr
© 2016 Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781471162367 (Paperback)

Total Competition can be read as both a memoir of one of Formula 1’s most accomplished leaders and as a self-help guide on how to become a business leader. Either way, this book will stand among the best motorsport titles ever produced.

Having played a leading role in the resurgence of Ferrari, an unthinkable championship sweep at his own team’s first attempt and in the return of Mercedes to the championship dominance it enjoys today, Ross Brawn’s story is always going to be compelling reading.

Positioned and even styled as a management self-help book – mercifully without the tedious content and banal clichés – and co-authored by Adam Parr, who spent three years at the helm of the Williams team, Total Competition explores Brawn’s history and approach to Formula 1.

After his sudden ousting from Formula 1, Parr penned a graphic novel in 2012 called The Art of War – a useful companion piece to this book – and it is through Sun Tzu’s two-thousand-year-old warcraft guide that Total Competition is structured.

Taking either interpretation of this book – as a biography or a management guide – is insightful and illuminating.

There are some truly juicy anecdotes in this book. Apparently Brawn was unaware of Ferrari’s veto power over the sport’s rules; more insightful still was the background story over how his relationship with Mercedes’ leadership broke down as the trigger for his departure as team principal.

After several years away from the sport, Brawn has since returned to Formula 1 under the employment of its new owners, Liberty Media. What will be of interest is in how he applies the lessons of Total Competition to solve the sport’s deep-rooted challenges it faces today.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.