In the library of... Kévin STAUT (1/2)
In order to try to get a handle on the Covid-19 pandemic, the French Government has just announced an extension of the national containment by at least one month. We knew Kévin Staut was passionate about literature and we contacted him to find out more about the books that make up his library, and thus to share with you those that have impacted him and in which he can fully immerse himself during this containment. It’s true that reading is an integral part of the Olympic Champion's life, even though he also tells us that he listens to music and is "crazy about certain series on Netflix and MyCanal".
The man who travels around the world every week with his horses has selected six books that stand out for him: two novels, two books on mental preparation and two more specific books on horseback riding. Let's discover them in this first part on the first three books!
"The first novel I selected is almost seven hundred pages long. It’s a big book that was offered to me in 2012, the year it was released in bookstores. I didn't know the author and hadn't heard of this book before, which then went on to have good sales figures and won several prizes (Editor's note: Prix de la Vocation Bleustein-Blanchet, Grand Prix du Roman de l'Académie française and Prix Goncourt des Lycéens). It is Joel Dicker's “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair”. For me to like a book, first of all I need a story that captures me because we now have a pretty crazy amount of books to choose from, and then it has to be fluid in the way it's written so that I can read a few pages when I’m at a competition, and pick it up a little later on the plane, and so on. And I found all this in this book of Dicker’s!
I loved it because the story is set in the United States, in the Hamptons, and I was reading the book when I was riding my first big competitions there, with the Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles shows. It’s a little confusing at the beginning of the book because of the title, because you don't know if it's fiction or a true story. It's got a very good plot. It’s a pure detective novel that is beautifully written by the Swiss writer. The story, without spoiling it for you, revolves around a girl who disappears. The link is quickly made with a formerly successful novelist, who went to the Hamptons to recharge his batteries and try to avoid writer’s block. A young in vogue writer comes to help and tries to prove his friend's innocence. Dicker plays with time and space which makes this story even more intriguing, and which I highly recommend!"
The book on personal development
"For this second book, we remain in the American mentality since it deals with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), which is based on the principle that from the moment we take the step of always speaking positively, everything that happens will be positive. It's very American and it's true every day! In the United States, we say "How are you?" "Amazing", while in Europe it's more like "How are you?" "Meh". I admit that there’s a lot of hypocrisy in this over-expression of joy among Americans, but just the fact that speaking positively leads to positive thinking and therefore to a positive philosophy on life appeals.
It is a thought process that I have always liked, and one that I have been able to discover through the autobiographies of great athletes such as Andre Agassi, Jonny Wilkinson, and even politicians. They prove to you that the mind has a huge impact on the result. All this led me, after several recommendations, to Anthony Robbins' book, Unlimited Power.
This book has made me change some of my daily practices even if it is difficult to appreciate because it’s not at all my normal way of being. I'm more into British humor; saying the opposite of what I think so as not to talk myself up, and I disparage myself, because it was my way of strengthening my position. This book gave me a totally opposite way of thinking and allowed me to see that there were other philosophies on life and understanding how it works."
The book on horses
"I have always read riding manuals to complement what my coaches taught me. Sally Swift's Centered Riding has been really beneficial for me because this book deals with the biomechanics of the rider a lot, whereas we usually talk about the biomechanics of the horse. Once again, this approach is very American. First we work on the rider as an independent athlete. This gives us very important information in the knowledge of how you work; in the management of your balance, your center of gravity, and how you can use your aids, legs, hands, seat and pelvis.
Sally Swift, a famous American rider, wrote this book when she was quite old and I really think it impacted the beginning of the glory days of classic American equitation; very light. I read it when I was young and it's a book that I often recommend to pupils I'm working with!"
See you tomorrow for the second part of this series: "In the library of… Kévin STAUT".
(The links to the books refer to the Website lalibrairie.com, an online bookstore that bring together two thousand five hundred booksellers and defends independent booksellers, and thus a local book economy.) Featured photo: Sportfot.com