Wholeness Healing Today

Book Review: Will It Make The Boat Go Faster

Per recommendation of someone working to incorporate leadership qualities in her job, I sat down with this book. Ben Hunt-Davis is a British rower, a member of the rowing team that went from mediocre performances to winning the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Beveridge is a speaker, coach, and comedian. They came together and became members of the company, Will It Make The Boat Go Faster, which now helps businesses move their companies forward.

First a little about the structure of the book: Hunt-Davis begins each chapter with his narrative. He tells the story of the men and their team, their journey, their failures, their practices, and how they began to incorporate more winning attitudes into their lives. He shares the struggles, the boat mishaps, the personal sacrifices, and the joint disappointments in their quest. He walks the reader through their wins and losses, weaving their personal stories into the mosaic that ends with them winning the gold medal.

Beveridge then follows up each story in the chapter with the “coaching” sections, which are breakdowns of what happened and why certain things worked. Her part begins with a summary and looks at the goals, the behaviors, and the challenges. Her reflection is the analyzing of things that made a difference, that changed the trajectory, and that influenced the motivation of the team moving forward. It is about the beliefs and habits, the explanation of the “layers” of goals, the break-down of steps needed and steps taken, and the eventual success of all put together. She notes strategies for keeping motivated, beliefs and their sources, BS filters, and role models, among a few. Her contribution is full of ideas to build on, to pay attention to, all to help a person or business capitalize on what they have and push to full potential. She also identified risks and which are beneficial to take and how to identify those that may not be useful.

The story of the fight to the gold medal is inspiring. We see victories and often don’t see the pieces of the fight to get there. Hunt-Davis lays out the story in such a way to draw the reader in and row right along with them. He shared his goals, then how he noted things that would (or could) de-rail him, and how he walked through those. He wrote of his sacrifices, and of others’ and of the team dynamics that came into play. His story is one of a battle, the plan the team had to row to “maxamise our chances” (Will It Make The Boat Go Faster, p. 358) and his personal perception as they neared the finish of the race.

The analytical parts of the coaching chapters (not rowing coach, but motivational coach, if you will) in part dissects the story, and The Final Chapter of both are awe-inspiring. The rowing team’s perseverance, and then Beveridge discussing the “how” really gives the reader insight into the specific tools. In The Final Chapter-What Now?, she asks “What are the key things in this book that have leapt off the page for you? What actions are you going to take?” (Will It Make The Boat Go Faster, p. 368) These and other reflections then allow the reader to “see” steps needed, steps taken, and the outcomes possible.

The book is much more than the story, although the story is great. The book is much more than the coaching steps to achieving a goal, although the chapters are packed with those nuggets of awareness. The joining of the two really provides a great blending, which is a valuable lesson, in living the story and understanding the story and the motivations behind the behaviors.

Works Cited

Beveridge, Harriet and Ben Hunt-Davis. (2020) Will it make the boat go faster. Matador, Leicestershire.


  • Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist

  • Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.


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