Written By: Ant Middleton
I was first introduced to Ant Middleton by a mate from the UK who I met whilst climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He recommended me his first book, First Man In: Leading from the Front believing it would be a read right up my alley, boy was he was right I loved it. First Man In: Leading from the Front is a thought provoking autobiography of Mr. Middletons life as an ex SBS (Special Boat Service) soldier, convict and current TV personality. Throughout the book Mr. Middleton lists leadership and life lessons he’s learnt throughout his life whether that be on the battlefield, in prison or on a TV show. He conceptualises these lessons and outlines how we as the readers can learn from them and become better leaders and people ourselves and he does so impressively, combining his life story and the lessons he’s trying to teach. His second book “The Fear Bubble” the one I’m reviewing somewhat expands on this, using his past experiences and outlining lessons we can learn from them. However instead of focusing on leadership lessons he focuses more on maintaining a positive mindset and overcoming fear and anxiety by using his fear bubble concept. Also instead of re-using his past experiences in the army, in prison or TV Mr. Middleton uses his story of climbing Mount Everest, drawing relevant examples of how he used his own fear bubble concept to get though the extreme challenge that is climbing Mount Everest.
Without a doubt I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Middletons second book. Just like his first book Mr. Middleton does a great job of combining the writing task of a story teller and a teacher. Mr. Middleton takes you with him to Mount Everest, as if you were there, you could feel the anxieties and frustrations of white outs, extreme cold, strong winds, storms and other climbers. He does all of this whilst introducing us to the concept of the fear bubble, where basically and putting it simply to improve, to be positive and to be happy we need to be popping fear bubbles which opens new doors. We encounter these fear bubbles everyday and to improve and move forward as people we need to enter these bubbles, embrace them and burst them. When we do this new doors of opportunity arise, bringing new fear bubbles, and with this we must repeat the process. My explanation doesn’t do the concept justice but the concept is a great, simple concept that I believe could truly make a positive impact on many people lives, especially those with current mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and/or those with negative mindsets.
As usual I listened to the audiobook version of the book, read by Mr. Middleton himself and I couldn’t turn it off. I was connecting, understanding and learning the lessons Mr. Middleton was teaching. I was thoroughly enjoying being immersed in Mr. Middletons confident, disciplined, courageous, determined but arrogant and stubborn mind, as he climbed Mount Everest and embraced the local Sherpa culture. Mr. Middleton has that confident arrogance most successful people have however unlike most he doesn’t shy away from it, or deny it. He knows who he is and is confident with that, this makes the book all that more real and sincere. You know that Mr. Middleton has nothing to hide from the readers and he’s writing from the perspective of someone with real experiences, you can tell he’s been through life and the lessons he’s teaching are coming from a person with real knowledge to share. This adds to the book in significant way because his harsh honesty demands you to respect and listen to him which engages us as the readers/listeners.
In summary I adored this book, I really related to the fear bubble concept and feel as if I’ve been doing something similar without even knowing it. The concept is something I feel comes naturally to those who enjoy pushing themselves and to those that don’t, Mr. Middleton does a remarkable job of explaining how we can start introducing the concept to our lives, which for many could be a positive life changer. Mr. Middleton also does a great job of describing and painting a clear picture of his climb of Mount Everest. You felt as if you could hear the storms and see the white outs through his eyes. Mr. Middleton also wrote with pure honesty even if at times it made him seem stubborn or arrogant. It made the book all that more relatable and sincere.