cover image Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing

Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing

Craig Lambert. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $22 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-395-85716-8

Although fishing has had many advocates who see it as a metaphor for life, Lambert, a staff writer and editor at Harvard magazine, draws many comparisons between rowing and life. The first such deals with the importance of steering and finding one's way. The second, ""Equinox,"" relates to balance, as both rowing and life are difficult, if not impossible, without it. The last section, ""The Powerhouse Stretch,"" involves the endgame and giving your all, and ""never taking no for an answer""--familiar tropes from any comparison of sport and life, sport and business, sport and love. This is not a ""how to"" manual, by any means, although there is quite a bit of description about the mechanics of rowing. Mostly, Lambert's aim is to mesh his philosophy on life and rowing, and, on occasion, on other pursuits, such as electronic engineering and gardening: ""To gain greater effect as athletes, we do not necessarily have to do more. The secret may be to do less, to suppress noise.... The skilled athlete eliminates motions that do not serve the desired result. Our tomato plants thrive when we weed the garden."" As in this example, much of the writing is exceedingly earnest and many of the metaphors exceedingly forced. Although rowers will no doubt be hooked, others will likely head back to their Izaak Walton. (Oct.)