Twelve Times To The Max: One Man's Journey to, and Recollections of, Setting Twelve Verified World Records by Stuart Burrell
|Twelve Times To The Max: One Man's Journey to, and Recollections of, Setting Twelve Verified World Records by Stuart Burrell
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: An inspirational look at what one man has achieved. You might be expecting some bragging, but there's none at all: the book is a delightful, feel-good read. Recommended. Stuart Burrell popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
|Date: August 2017
The first of Stuart Burrell's world records, well, the first two, actually, as he's not a man to do things by halves, came about by accident. There had been a plan to raise some money for the Children in Need Charity and quite late on the people who were to have been the main attraction got a better offer and Burrell is not a man to let people down. What could be done to bring people in and raise some money? Most of us would have thought of jumble sales and cake bakes, but Burrell had made a hobby of escapology and idea of a sponsored escape had life breathed into it. On 3 November 2002 he went for the Fastest Handcuff Escape world record and immediately afterwards Most Handcuffs Escaped in One Hour. Both were successful and more than £300 was raised for Children in Need.
And that might have been that. Holding a couple of world records hadn't really made a difference to his life. They were useful anecdotes, but difficult as he says, to segue into conversation. But it was when talking to a local gym owner that the idea of another world record came up - and this time it was more physical: Most Squat Thrusts in One Minute. Unlike the first two world records, which were almost off the cuff (if you'll forgive the pun) this attempt on the world record required research and planning.
The attempt was successful, as were a further four physical records and at this point Burrell's motivation began to fail. He'd been there, done that and got the certificates to prove it. He didn't feel the need to do any more and there were other things in life to do. Only, an opportunity came up which he couldn't, didn't want to pass up - the chance to retake one of his original records: Most Handcuffs Unlocked in One Minute. It would be the first of another six records, all related to escapology which would follow.
Burrell spares us the precise details of his training regimes, feeling that we don't really need to be troubled by them and he's also quite definite about the fact that he's not going to share details of how locks can be picked. He acknowledges that people might well be able to find the details on the web, but he's not going to be the one to broadcast them, so if either of those thoughts were tempting you to read this book, than it might not be the one for you. On the other hand if you're interested in all that needs to go into a world-record attempt (some people fail because they don't get the paperwork right) and you'd like an insight into the mental attitudes which are required to achieve something of this magnitude then you're in for a treat.
I read the book in one sitting, completely drawn in by the story. There's an element of pride in what he's achieved, but it's almost the most understated pride I've ever encountered. He's keen to give credit to those who've helped him and I finished the book feeling uplifted and inspired. Do I intend to go after a world record? No - I don't, but I have seen what one man can achieve from a serendipitous accident and I know that his attitudes can be applied in areas of my life.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Michael Long took a similar approach with running.
You can read more about Stuart Burrell here.
Stuart Burrell was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Twelve Times To The Max: One Man's Journey to, and Recollections of, Setting Twelve Verified World Records by Stuart Burrell at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Twelve Times To The Max: One Man's Journey to, and Recollections of, Setting Twelve Verified World Records by Stuart Burrell at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.