Review of Above All Else: A World Champion Skydiver’s Story of Survival and What It Taught Him About Fear, Adversity, and Success
As a regular skydiver and also an avid reader, I’m always looking for new reading material that revolves around the sport of skydiving. While there is usually no shortage of good reading material on the internet about skydiving, I often find it difficult to find new books about the sport which I haven’t already devoured. Also, while I do enjoy self help and development books that utilize skydiving as the main theme, a lot of them use the same concepts over and over again, to the point where if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.
After finishing yet another self help book that read just like all the others, I wasn’t overly enthused with reading another one. A friend recommended Above All Else to me though, and said I had to read it. When I said I was sick of the same types of books over and over again, he shared my thoughts. While I was apprehensive to give another book like this one a try, I figured I would try it out anyways and see what happened. What was the worst that could happen? I waste a few hours before I go to sleep reading a book that I didn’t like?
The book is written by Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, who has a reputation as a world class skydiving champion and coach. While that might sound impressive to some, most of these types of books are written by skydiving champions and coaches. Still apprehensive, I opened the book and began reading. I have to say, it hooked me instantly. Dan definitely has a way with words, more so than most of the authors of other skydiving books I have read. Most of the time, a person will be more than qualified to write about skydiving, although their writing qualifications themselves are sorely lacking. Since reading the book, I’ve recommended it to several people who had very little interest in skydiving, and they all said they were blown away by the quality of the writing contained in the book.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of the book, because I couldn’t explain it anywhere near as well as Dan has explained it himself. That said, I will say that Dan had a near death experience which completely changed his life, for the better. While near death experiences traditionally do have a tendency for changing people’s lives, the way in which it changed Dan’s life is truly gripping.
After this experience, Dan became much more serious about competing and his spiritual approach about being the best person he possibly can be. While he does use skydiving as a template for how to apply these tactics to your own life to become a better person, the same principles can be applied to any other sport or hobby. Skydivers in particular will truly resonate with what is contained in the book, but there is enough good information contained there to help improve the lives of all types of people.
My only regret about this book is that I didn’t get the chance to read it much earlier. I could have used the lessons applied in this book long ago, as they would have been hugely beneficial. I’ve since started recommending the book to everyone I know, regardless of whether or not they are a skydiver. I seriously can’t recommend this book highly enough.