Top critical review
Terrible book with an extreme message
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2018
I really, really disliked this book. It was frustrating and creepy at times in my opinion, but it was assigned reading so I did have to finish it.
I’m not the type of person that enjoys self-help books; I think the majority are either too cheesy or too self-righteous. “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” was the latter. The author is very full of himself, and it comes through in every page. Tim Grover loves to constantly mention all of the famous athletes that he has coached, which is fine to an extent, but it got to the point where it felt like name dropping.
However, my main issue with this book is the overall philosophy. Tim Grover postulates that you can only be truly great at one thing; he call this being a “Cleaner”, and encourages the reader to ignore every aspect of his or her life EXCEPT that one thing they want to achieve greatness in. Want to be an expert in the stock market? Welp, I guess you are going to have to ignore your wife and kids. Has it always been your dream to ski professionally? I guess you are just going to have to be poor until you make it big. This all-or-nothing philosophy is, in my opinion, inherently false and I believe a way for Tim Grover to feel better about ignoring most everything but is coaching career. I do think that it is important to work hard to achieve your goals, but philosophy outlined in this book takes it way too far.
A few other disturbing parts of this book:
1. There is a lot of talk that reminds me of an “alpha male” mentality. One chapter is called “When You’re a Cleaner...You Don’t Compete with Anyone, You Find Your Opponent’s Weakness and Attack”. I don’t want to “attack” anyone, I’m not an animal. I know that I can be successful without dragging others down.
2. Tim Grover thinks that everyone has a dark side, which is true to an extent, but he also believes that no one should apologize when they wrong other people. He believes that cleaners embrace that dark side. Do you think that Tiger Woods acted inappropriately and was right to take a break from golf? Tim Grover doesn’t! He thinks that Tiger Woods should not have apologized and that he was showing weakness by doing so.
3. According to this book, you should never be satisfied with your achievements. There is actually a chapter called “When You’re a Cleaner...You Don’t Celebrate Your Achievements Because You Always Want More”. Make sure that nothing you do is ever good enough, and be sure to work yourself into an early grave.