The first was an interview with Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling and the man all Frenchmen hate. He explained why we Brits are better on two (especially round) wheels than anyone else. Put simply, he and his team broke a cyclists life down into tiny little chunks. Then they looked at each chunk to see how it could be made a just a tiny bit better. Although each improvement was very small, together they added up to a big improvement.
As an example – hand washing. You wouldn’t think this makes much difference, these are bike riders after all not surgeons and if you look at cycle couriers, they don’t look the most hygienic people in the world but seem to work the pedals OK. Apparently though, proper hand washing means less illness. Not big illness, but the sort of “under the weather” feeling that for most of us means hiding behind a computer at work but for the Hoys and Pendletons adds hundredths of a second to a lap and keeps them off the podium.
Translating this to The Book, that means going through each section of text and seeing how it can be made just a little bit better. If every page is tighter, faster and funnier, the end result is happier readers. Detail matters.
The second lesson came from Samantha Murray who won silver in the modern pentathlon’s post event interview.
“If you have a goal, anything you want to achieve in life, don’t let anybody get in your way because you can do it. There are so many people and so many things that are trying to set you back. Find a path that you want to take in life and follow it and stick to it. If I can do it, I’m a normal girl. Anybody can do anything that they want to do.”