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Summary

Author of Sunday Times best seller Life to the Limit.

In his 17 years as a Formula 1 driver, Jenson Button has picked up a thing or two about how to do the job properly. Sure, you need to be able to drive a car fast - and Jenson is on hand to pass on a few tricks of the trade here - but you also need to know the real rules for making it to the top. 

Like, how to tell a multiple F1 champion they need to check their blind spot. What the difference is between a helmet and a hat, and indeed a 'helmet-hat'. How to practise your champagne spray ahead of the big day. Why it is never, ever, under any circumstances a good idea to buy a yacht. And how to face down your team when you've just stacked their multi-million-pound car into a wall during practice.

But 'JB' (nicknames in F1 run the full range from initials to, well, just using first names) doesn't stop there. HTBAF1D (catchy) lifts the lid on the people, the places, the weird rituals, the motorhomes, the media, the cars, the perks and the disasters. Join Jenson as he reveals how not to race a stupid big truck, why driving Le Mans is like having five shots of tequila before lunch and what to do when you finally hang up your helmet-hat.

©2019 Jenson Button (P)2019 Bonnier Books UK

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What listeners say about How to Be an F1 Driver

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A fantastic insight into the enigmatic world of F1

I loved this book. I wouldn't call myself an F1 nut but I do watch Grands Prix races where I can. The author, a former world champion, but also the driver of less than successful cars, provides a brilliant insight into this nebulous, star studded and elite sport, and what it is like to be a driver at the heart of it.

Other than the well organized content, broken down by theme, the author displays a refreshing self awareness about his sport, his former racing driver colleagues and he himself. He is able to take a critical analysis of his time in F1 and seems to have been grounded enough to realise the sport's vacuousness, vanity and eccentricities. He also makes a robust defence of the sport, and clears up a number of myths that many will have been led to think about F1, especially any notion of it being too glamourised. With candid insight, the author opens up in his own failings and the vulnerabilities of those in the sport.

More importantly, he explains how he has adjusted to life outside this elite sport. This is an extremely interesting aside and opens up an aspect of elite sport that isn't covered enough. The writing is concise and humourous. The author has done for F1 what Peter Crouch has done for football in this book

Even better is the narration. The book is absolutely benefitted by excellent narration. Fans of 'The Secret Barrister' will understand this !!

5 people found this helpful

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Who doesn’t like Jenson Button?

What’s not to like? A normal lad who won with a low budget team and has always kept his feet in the ground. Well worth a read as it’s an interesting insight to life as a F1 driver.

3 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable

I think the reviews on this book citing arrogance etc are a sad reflection of modern day society. A sportsman who has literally made it to the very top - and won - can’t be proud of his massive achievements without being dismissed as arrogant and/or up himself. I’m not sure what these people were expecting from this book. I’d actually argue that this is the very opposite of arrogance from Jenson.

F1 autobiographies are probably my favourite genre of book to read/listen to (particularly Jenson’s - excellent book). However, they tend to focus on the highs and lows, and not the in-betweens. This book is all about the in-betweens.

This is far more lighthearted than your average autobiography, and that definitely makes it more fun and engaging for the listener. Jack Hawkin’s excellent narration plays a very big part in this too. There is a good ratio of humour to seriousness, and the stories are exciting and interesting. I found Jenson’s description of his experiences at the 24hrs of Le Mans particularly enjoyable and informative.

All in all, I think this book delivers a nice [Maze]spin on your average F1 book, and introduces you to some of the little quirks of the sport that you wouldn’t expect to exist. I would certainly recommend giving it a go - I trust that you will enjoy it.

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I am loving it!

Interesting that the reviews on Amazon for the printed book are so far not great. I used a credit to get JB's previous book to listen to just before this one came out. Maybe it's because of the continuity in going straight in to this one or the extra realism and involvement that audio books seem to bring, but I am thoroughly enjoying it! Jack Hawkins does a great job of narrating both books and this book picks up pretty much where the first one finished. For me at least a great listen.

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Disappointing narration

Ignore the star rating, I just wanted to point out that this book isn't read by Jenson himself, even though he has a shared credit on the "narrated by" section. All Jenson does is read the 2 minute introduction, the rest of the book is read by Jack Hawkins.

I never listened to the book itself, so can't comment on its quality.

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interesting but hardwork.

Didnt flow very well for me, interesting aspects but on the whole not terribly enjoyable. Would benefit from Jenson reading it himself.

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decent

interesting book for real race fans only. Lots of technical stuff. Brilliant narration. overall 7/10

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Only for the fan!

Reader struggles to make it lively, get Michael Caine or Jackie Stewart instead! Always better when the writer takes the time to read themselves

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Read this book!

It is a really fascinating insight to Jenson Button’s life and the narrator is good as well.

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Excellent Insightful Listen

loved it, Jenson really gives an insight into the inner world of F1 racing and what being a driver is like.

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  • Ashley
  • 20-10-19

Great Book - Great Narration

Jenson's second book is as interesting and entertaining as his autobiography. In "How to Be a. F1 Driver", JB offers the reader an inside look at the life and lifestyle of a modern F1 Driver. In addition to general insights such as the money, the glamour, and the lifestyle of an F1 driver, a massive amount of topics are touched on ranging from; the different systems and setups of the car, driving techniques, how race teams operate, crashing, and how to outperform a team mate, to air travel, fitness, and diet; with everything in-between. Jenson speaks in both general terms and anecdote-laden experiences spanning his racing career. This book is both compelling and a pleasurable read. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Formula 1 or racing in general.

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  • RC Ackermann
  • 24-03-22

An insight of the mind of a World Champion

I enjoyed JB’s book on many levels.
Being an F1 fan myself, and familiar with the public commentary, the behind the public view stories were very interesting.
His coverage of the World Endurance Series was fascinating.
I enjoyed the touch of British humour.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-12-21

Absolutely Enjoyed It!

As a High-Performance Mindset Coach moving from Motorcycle racing to F1, I found this quite enlightening and enjoyable.

Thanks Jenson, you’re a great man.

Dr. Jay Cavanaugh
RAK Racing

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  • DrSwank
  • 21-04-21

More detail about Le Mans than F1

Great book, great guy, great story, glad I read it, but man… I wish there was the same level of detail that he goes into a Le Mans race toward the end. Oh well. Mr Button is a cool guy though!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-20

great book about Jenson

The book gives some super insights into the world of racing that to tell the truth I had never thought of before.

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  • OOnne
  • 07-10-20

Great Book! Non race fans will enjoy too!

Jack Hawkins knows how to land the jokes and put us right in Jenson’s mind. Pretty rare for most narrators!
Thanks Dudes...

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  • BH
  • 30-05-20

Fantastic

This is one of those that could have gone either way. It’s either a biography and how he got into racing in F1 with some insights here and there. OR, it is what life in F1 is all about. This is the latter. This book is fantastic and allows the reader/listener to experience “Formula 1-ville” as JB calls it. You get insights into other drivers, what sponsor events are like. Hands down, best book I’ve listened to this year!

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  • Anthony E Foulk
  • 26-05-20

Arrogant narrator

The narrator makes Jenson sound like an arrogant jerk, but he’s not. Ruins the listening.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-01-20

Great Story

Wonderful insight on what a person must do to get & stay at the top

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  • Clean desk guy
  • 29-12-19

Another win for JB

I am a big fan of JB. I have always respected how he handled himself as a driver and since leaving Formula 1. I enjoyed his first book immensely and frankly, I purchased this book more as a supportive curiosity with my expectations set lower as I did not think he would have the content to fill another book after already having published his first. I was wrong to ever doubt this book.

Jenson completely delivers a very interesting and engaging book in a format that I initially feared would be gimmicky. The format of “guidebook” for becoming a F1 driver was creative and helped with the flow of the book. The anecdotes and stories were fun and engaging. Excellent narration by Jack Hawkins as well.

After having read several autobiographical works of folks who drove or have been involved in motorsports, I have found (quite unexpectedly I might add) both of Jenson Button’s books to be among the most interesting in the genre. Bravo!