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Summary

Total Competition is the most compelling, comprehensive and revealing insight into what it takes to get to the top in Formula One that has ever been published.

Across four decades, Ross Brawn was one of the most innovative and successful technical directors and then team principals in Formula One. Leading Benetton, Ferrari, Honda, Brawn and Mercedes, he worked with drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to make them world champions. In 2017, he was appointed F1's managing director, motor sports, by the sport's new owners, Liberty Media. Now, in this fascinating book written with Adam Parr (who was CEO and then chairman of Williams for five years), he looks back over his career and methods to assess how he did it and where occasionally he got things wrong.

Total Competition is a definitive portrait of modern motorsport. In the book, Brawn and Parr explore the unique pressures of Formula One, their battles with Bernie Ecclestone and the cut-throat world they inhabited, where coming second is never good enough. This book will appeal not only to the millions of Formula One fans who want to understand how Brawn operates; it will also provide many lessons in how to achieve your own business goals.

©2016 Ross Brawn, Adam Parr (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio UK

What listeners say about Total Competition

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Compelling

Excellent insight into Ross & his approach not just to F1 but in general, thoroughly enjoyable listen & a must listen for anyone in a leadership role

8 people found this helpful

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Are You Ambitious? This is MUST READ

Clearly both individuals are educated, shrewd, highly successful, wealthy and well connected. What could they possibly have in common with every day working people striving to reach for better than just paying bills?

Well, their willingness to show their weaknesses, how they feel and responded to challenges are just like so many every day people I have observed over many years.

Once you feel this connection it’s liberating to listen to their strategies to resolve challenges. More significantly their processes to think ahead, foresee the problems and engineer them out. Then, engineer in wins in each step of the process of getting a winning end result. Races are largely won before each race day..

Their style of talking encourages you to adopt these winning strategies. Something I am now doing. Thank You to both authors.

Richard Baker

7 people found this helpful

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An interview with Braun

This fails because it is not a book, it’s a podcast. Then it goes on to try and correlate Parrs over indulgence on the Art of War and compare it Brawn style. As best I can tell Brawn never gave these ancients works a second thought.
I look forward to a Ross Brawn autobiography. This was not that.
On the plus side Chapter 6 was a good summary, and there is value in some of the politics.

5 people found this helpful

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Understanding Strategic verse Strategy

Brawn and Parr come from different backgrounds and joined together through F1. This difference makes this book work and the use of F1 to support examples from both authors brings reality to the theory.

The clear explanation of the difference between Strategic Direction usually of shareholders/owners and Strategy of those implemeting strategic direction is vital to making this book work and also to show how Brawn was so successful in F1 with a number of teams. You also see that Parr would have been the strategic direction and Brawn the strategy implementation.

The book is written is an clear and easy way to understand and as it is based on conversations the two had together and narrated in this way, the conversation flows and you can imagine them sitting opposite each other simply talking, you also know this is the case as at one point Ross tells his dog off mid sentence, shows they are human.

I picked up a lot from his book, yes a management book, yes for leadership, but the benefit was how it is written, how things are explained and as someone in a management position it helped be clearly split Strategic and Strategy which to be honest get blurred easily in the workplace and senior management always have their interpretation to fit the needs. Use this book to allow your brain to distinguish the differences and allow the fog to lift.

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I wanted to like this.

This is more across between a biography and a story of Ross Brawn.

I've always been interested in him so that made up for the gaping lack of strategy, as a F1 fan I was very much looking forward to these two parts coming together however there is very little on actual strategy beyond how he setup the teams around him.

nothing to do with strategies used in F1, no insights into when and how or why decisions are made, more like being down the pub and listening to him chatting about things.

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A+++

A must read for any formula 1 fan, but also contains very valuable lessons for anyone in a management or leadership role in industry.

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Excellent insight into F1 team management

An excellent insight into the inner workings of the teams Ross managed and his story of getting into F1. Well worth a listen for any F1 fan.

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Great insite into the inner workings of F1

Great to get inside the head of Ross Brawn, to understand the level of commitment that goes to make F1 be successfull.

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Ross Brawn is great, the other guy is not

Ross Brawn is great, worth it for his extracts, the other guy is more filler rather than content

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leadership

it is always quite interesting listening to a leader 's experience expecially if in a high competitive environment.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marsha
  • 20-08-17

great insight

Was a great listen for those interested in F1 beyond the glam. Technical insight and strategic philosophy make it worth the time.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Josh C.
  • 12-01-18

Incredible

awesome insight into the technical aspects of F1, great read for anyone interested in the sport

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 18-02-19

Bravo for Braun

I stumbled into Formula 1 shortly after arriving in the UK in 2009. I became totally absorbed by it. And I quickly learned that Ross Braun is a genius. Yes it takes a fast car in a great driver to win championships but as this book points out it takes a whole lot more that goes on with hundreds and even thousands of people preparing for lights out every race weekend. One person has to oversee the entire program. Is there any better than Ross? This is an excellent book that draws back the curtain and gives you a glimpse of the process that is the man that has led to more than 20 world championships. The information is so good I am actually going to buy the hardcopy because it is difficult to mine all of the gold in two listenings.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Devil Centurion
  • 09-11-17

Intellectual and brilliant.

I have followed f1 all my life so that is why I bought the book. The lessons here go way beyond f1.

1 person found this helpful

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  • wcadkins
  • 21-02-22

De-mystifying is not always a good thing

I love reading F1 books and thought this bites from a strategic point of view would be perfect but I have to say it just left me wanting a bit. Good insights, great being the scenes stories, but Ross comes off a bit of a whinger and his ego seems weirdly placed for certain circumstances in the stories. Overall I enjoyed it but have to say my view of Ross diminished as I had previously thought him as “above” some of the pettiness that he clearly is beset by.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-12-21

Great Listen

A detailed but straightforward discussion/lesson on Leadership and success in competitive environments, even for those who are not as knowledgeable about formula one racing

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  • Mark Arranz
  • 15-09-21

F1 Insider Info + Applicable Strategic Principles

Having only gotten into F1 in the last four years, I was excited to hear the experiences and the way great team principals operate. Ross and Adam not only deliver a behind the scenes look into the technical, economic and political strategies that make F1 go round, but also delve into how those strategies map to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Reflecting on their decades in the sport, Ross and Adam deliver lessons in history, business, engineering and politics that entertain and educate curious minds.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-08-21

Interesting but way too fanboy like.

I must say it was interesting. I don't like Ross Brawn and I have to oppose a lot of his ideas and claims and solutions, but I tried to listen to this with an opened mind and let him tell his story from his perspective. I was plessantly surprised and angry at the same time.
It brings interesting perspective in to history of F1, but unfortunatelly it is also crystal clear how alibistic Ross is. For example his ''risk with mentioning how new rules didn't work, was in fact an gross attempt to make his double diffuser even more effective by making rules for normal diffusers even more restrictive. The way he is talking about it in this book is just ridiculous.
And uintentional rule breaks?! Are you kidding me? Every single team Ross was in, was cheating like crazy. Every single one :-D

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  • William C Scott
  • 11-08-21

Fantastic story and narration

I could not recommend this book enough! Great organization and structure. The dialogue/interview was phenomenal as an audiobook. The narrators were as good as it gets.

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  • Brandon-lee lucas
  • 09-08-21

More Advice than History

Satisfies the F1 nerd in me while also providing a level of professional development. I was definitely expecting this book to be more about Ross Brawn's career instead of a professional development/advice book but I do understand how this can be valuable to those in the business world who also happen to follow F1.