The Sheer Force of Will Power – Book Review

The “Sheer Force of Will Power” in short is a book about the rise of a young Australian from driving go-karts at the young age of six all the way to his 2014 IndyCar Verizon IndyCar Series championship. In between his beginning in karting and his dominance in America’s premier open wheel racing series are a plethora of stories from on and off the track. Author David Malsher did his homework on this book, providing great insight into the publicly shy Will Power.

Sheer Force of Will Power

The Sheer Force of Will Power – Photo by Parker Hall

David Malsher’s link to auto racing, which includes being editor at RACER magazine since 2008 and at Autosport Special Project, TRMG, and Motor Sport in various editorial roles, has enabled him translate many of racing intricacies to the layman. David has written, or should I say composed this book in way that it reads much like an ESPN 30 for 30 special. The writing is very visual and provides several different point of views from Will’s family, friends, and even rivals.

The visually striking cover breathes of Will Power’s intensity and competitive nature. That intensity and competitiveness are quickly conveyed by one of racing greats: Mark Webber; currently an FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 driver for Porsche. Mark and his partner Anne has played a critical role in Will’s transformation into a world class driver, and Mark has written a wonderful Foreword that sets the tone and content of the book superbly. The hardback book is 329 pages and includes two sections of color pictures that visually show his personal and racing journey. With racing being such a visual sport, it was a nice touch to include so many great pictures to soak in while reading the associated stories.

Will Power’s story of perseverance in a sport where “no bucks, no Buck Rogers” rings especially true, and is rather enlightening. Will’s natural God given talent, combined with his extreme focus and intensity could have allowed him to race against the world’s best in any series. With dreams set on Formula 1, circumstance and opportunity led him across the pond to compete in American open wheel.  Will profoundly likens a racing team’s plan with a racer’s life. Plan for A, B, or C situations that may pop-up, but oftentimes it is plan D that is needed to win or open a career path that wasn’t previously considered. This book covers all of the different forks in the road that occurred during Will’s path to becoming a Verizon IndyCar Series champion… some of them leading away from racing altogether.

So, who is this book for? Well, the more I thought about it, the broader the audience became. Obviously this book was written for all of the hardcore Will Power fans out there that can’t get enough of him. But besides all of the hardcore Will Power fans, I feel that racing fans of all levels will enjoy this book. A glossary provides definitions for some of the common racing terminology and along with great explanations throughout the book can smoothly transition the novice motorsport fan into becoming more knowledgeable when it is all said and done. For the more advanced (or knowledgeable) motorsports fans, the book dives into the often misunderstood, or unknown side of the sport; the off-the-track side that illustrates the difficulty most, if not all drivers have balancing the commercial side with the driving aspect. Most importantly, I think this book is tailor-made for the non Will Power fan! I can honestly say that going into the book you wouldn’t ever catch me actively cheering for the guy, but by the end of the book I had a much better idea of who Will Power is as a person and I have no problem watching him continue to improve and push the other drivers in the series to their limits.

The Sheer Force of Will Power is available in hardback on March 29th, 2016; published by HarperCollins, ISBN: 9781460751022. You can find it here on Amazon in hardback or for Kindle. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is, or isn’t a Will Power fan, along with motorsport enthusiasts everywhere that just can’t get enough racing on the weekends!

By Parker Hall

(Full Disclosure: I was fortunate enough to be given a copy of the book by Will’s publicity manager at the IndyCar media day)