Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life
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Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  502 ratings  ·  99 reviews
From legendary Olympic gold medalist Dara Torres comes a motivational, inspirational memoir about staying fit, aging gracefully, and pursuing your dreams.

Dara Torres captured the hearts and minds of Americans of all ages when she launched her Olympic comeback as a new mother at the age of forty-one—years after she had retired from competitive swimming and eight years since...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Crown Archetype (first published 2009)
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Being in the over 40 crowd and a lover of swimming, it is easy to be drawn to a finely tuned athlete like Dara. Yes she did have a life of privilege and seemed to walk onto sunny pool decks of elite swimming clubs with ease. But one cannot determined the life they are born into. They can only exceed in and with the gifts they are given. Dara does this with determination and a never-failing competative spirit. I enjoyed reading this memoir (not a how-to book) as it gave us Dara's view on the jour...more
Let me start by saying that I have not much cared for the writing of most celebrity memoirs - this one does not differ. I don't like to read stories that are out of order except for the occasional murder mystery or novel with an artfully woven timeframe. Memoirs are not the case. They should be written from beginning to middle to end. I have only read two memoirs so far that follow this basic concept.

On the content of the actual athlete - she is freaking amazing! 41 sounds seriously too old to d...more
Chris Norman
"My favorite thing to do is dive into a pool when no one's around. A big 50-meter pool, preferably outside, with the lane lines in. In competition, the water is so choppy you feel like you're in the ocean, in a storm. But to me an empty pool is the most peaceful place in the world. I love diving in, breaking the surface, slipping to the other side. And once I'm in, I don't come back to the surface right away. I stay under. I turn over on my back and look up at the sky, under water. I watch the c...more
This book would have been better if it were titled, "Age really slows you down, especially in high intensity activities, unless you're a freak of nature. Fortunatly, oldies are wiser, train better, and enjoy better supporting technology, so if they are freaks then it's possible that they can still be very competitive." Of course, you can see why they decided to stick with, "Age is Just a Number".

I liked this book, but I'm really glad that I read it when I did, because I just reviewed some biome...more
Pleasant, motivating read. I try to read a good selection of motivating books each month - to help me with my life, health, fitness, and mental goals. Dara Torres is pretty much the perfect example of someone who works hard, trains smart, and follows through.

I also have an insatiable urge now to hop into a pool. Hah!
I think she is an amazing athlete. As a writer, not so much. This book was short and loosely written. It bounced around in time and lacked the details of her training and daily life I was interested in.
LA Carlson
Jul 09, 2012 LA Carlson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: not sure
Recommended to LA by: Torres has been in the news
Shelves: historial-memoir
It's easy to be intoxicated by Dara Torres. Her spirit, attitude and amazing presence in the field of competitive swimming is hard to miss. This is a memoir about her life and what she's been through as a swimmer. It offers some insights into the sport but doesn't offer specific tips to inspire. The writing is a bit unfocused especially with the guidance of a listed writer. Torres has a type A lightening personality in everything she does and I would assume it might be hard for her to find other...more
First off, the title is misleading - this is not a motivational or a how-to book. It's a memoir. I knew this beforehand so it wasn't an issue but others could be confused. Dara Torres won three silver medals at the 2008 Olympics - an incredible achievement, especially since she was 41 at the time. I was curious about her story and hoping to be inspired at the same time. Unfortunately, I was distracted by the poor writing (even with the help of a co-writer) and the extremely disorganized chapters...more
I really liked this book, part of it is that I swam competitively as a kid. Not on the scale that Dara talks about as I lived in a podunk town, but there was so much of what she talked about that made me think of the good old days when I was swimming daily. The other big thing that this book did was make me want to swim again, which is effectively what her message was about, that you can do whatever you set your mind too, you just have to believe in yourself.

I really liked how positive the book...more
Mindset Self-Defense
I highlighted quote after quote as I raced through this electrifying book. Dara Torres swam for the
USA in the Olympics at the age of 41! What an amazing and inspiring woman. Even if you don’t have any Olympic aspirations, you will find tons of useful life lessons in Dara’s book. It will leave you inspired and motivated to drive through any obstacles barring you from your dreams. Enjoy!
Wendy Hall
An amazing swimmer, but not an impressive writer at all. The book was so unorganized - it was clear that no one encouraged her (or the ghost writer) to even make an outline before beginning the book. One paragraph you would be reading about the 1990's, the next about 2008, then back to the '80's.

I love what Dara has accomplished and how she inspires others, but I actually thought less of her after reading this book. It was very interesting to read about the swimming aspect of it and since this...more
Douglas Larson
A inspiring book about doing what it takes to reach for and achieve your dreams. Dara Torres is amazing as she competes as a swimmer in 4 Olympic games, winning 12 medals over the span of 25 years.

The book does have some drawbacks though. It isn't a How-To manual for achieving one's dreams. One could look at the approach that Dara Torres took and perhaps model a similar path for oneself. While that might turn out to be useful in your own life, it isn't guaranteed.

Also, while Dara Torres is cle...more
Jul 27, 2009 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: swimmers and older athletes
Shelves: memoir, swimming
Yes, Dara Torres is driven and competitive and physically gifted, but she's very forthright about both the good and the bad. I think the book has a slightly misleading subtitle (probably tacked on by the publishers to sell more books); it's not really a how-to motivational in the traditional sense, but rather an honest recounting of Dara's life and the events that lead her to make the decision(s) to continue swimming. Through her journey we learn that so many of the limitations placed on us simp...more
The chronology of this book was awful, crazy jumping around even within chapters. By the end I was skimming. She obviously accomplished amazing things, but she was also born into a very wealthy, privileged family. I didn't even like her by the end of the book, to be honest. I was hoping to be inspired by her story, but the other stuff was just too distracting.
(Audiobook) I'm afraid to say that I had never heard of this woman until I read her book. Never been really interested much in the Olympics. However I was interested in her achievements at her age. I thought it might've been a motivational book but it isn't. I'm interested in the body biomechanics and she is certainly a freak of nature. She was blessed to have such a body for her sport. It takes great discipline to train and sacrifice as well. I only have one small child under 5 and I still can'...more
Carlos JP Navia
I've learned so far that I'm not the only person in the world who defines oneself, feels a sort of "calming" effect, and an understands the sometimes virtually overwhelming desire to exercise. For both Dara and me (and, surely, countless other competitive perfectionists), there is no middle ground, no, "I'll just get my feet wet." We'll either choose not to train/play, or we'll run/swim/bike(/etc.) our asses off. In her book, Dara even mentions how, in the interim years when she stopped competin...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chad Sayban
Dara Torres is an inspiring athlete - of that there is no doubt. The trouble with Age Is Just A Number is that the book doesn't really capture that story. Instead, it is a memoir that spends too much time on the mundane and skips around abandoning the narrative thread over and over. How much of what she was able to accomplish was due to her lifestyle versus freakish genetics? This book really won't bring the reader any closer to an answer. A light read with little real meat. If you are looking f...more
feeling mixed about this book. I enjoyed it, and Dara Torres is certainly inspiring. I just did not find it very easy to relate to her (we are the same age.)
Alternatively inspiring and insipid...given that Torres had a named ghostwriter, I was expecting better. Not all memoirs have to be strictly chronological, but her attempt to do essay-like chapters around a theme meant she was often referring to things that were only fully explained later. And really, Dara, we get it that you're don't have to tell us that a gazillion times. I also felt like the people in her life who were important to her...her coach, her boyfriend, her daughte...more
As an ex-swimmer I find Torres's training notes interesting and can relate to her experience slightly - even being not particularly talented at the sport, her comments on swim practice being a place that leaves you alone with your thoughts brought back a lot of memories. Her story and her commitment to her goals is inspiring, but I really wish she'd left out the recurring advertisement for her preferred brand of supplements. Books are really the last remaining media that doesn't interrupt your e...more
Stacy Charlesbois
I'm a sucker for books by and about swimmers. not that there are many of either.
This is a really inspiring book. Especially for anyone who has tried to use age as an excuse not to do something!
Amazing athlete obviously. A little annoyed when she took second at some meet and gave the medal away because she wanted to be first. Seriously? I understand being driven and wanting to succeed but really? Appreciated her being able to be a mom and in training. I'm not a swimmer so I was a little lost with a lot of the details but still kept me interested in the story. Enjoyed the info on her training and how she prepared before each comeback.
I enjoyed reading about Dara Torres experience with her many comebacks to the 5 olympics she participated in. I was a little disappointed that she didn't share more about her struggle with infertility, but I know that's such a personal battle, and it wasn't the focus on the book.

Dara Torres has access to an incredibly amount of resources that made her amazing comeback possible and I appreciated that she was aware of that. I'm curious to see if she'll try for a 6th olympics in 2012. The end of th...more
Aug 06, 2009 Linette rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: swimmers, older athletes
Recommended to Linette by: Amanda
I was overall disappointed by this book. I am a swimmer, so I appreciated the swimming details, but could see how non-swimming readers may be bored with the description of the workouts, split times, coach interactions, her preparation, and so forth. It is merely a story of her very competitive life. If you are looking for inspiration, I suggest you watch a video of her swimming instead. I respect her as a swimmer more than a writer.

The writing was overly simplified. It is a very quick read, non...more
Amy Moritz
An interesting read. Dara takes us through each of her comebacks before really delving into the 2008 Olympics. I learned things about her story I didn't know, but while she discussed her personal life, she was more story telling her life story rather than being extremely self-reflexive -- like most sports autobiographies.

Still, she got into depth about her anxieties about making a comeback, about being a mom and a swimmer, about being a role model when she wasn't before. Like it and find her ins...more
The book was not particularly well written and tended to jump around in time. But overall, I enjoyed Dara's view of the aging athlete. She talks about the good and bad of aging in competitive sports. I felt a bit like she was hard to relate to as she was born with a silver spoon, so to speak, and had many advantages that the average person would not have. But still, we all have to overcome our bodies' breaking down over time; that was a universal theme I could understand.
Krusher Basta
I enjoyed the book. Dara seems to be very open and honest about her life; in and out of the water. As a 40-something year old runner who tries to remain competitive, in my age group anyway, I found a lot I could relate to. And, it was interesting to get an inside look from an elite athletes perspective of the Olympics and world class competition.

Regardless of your sport, any middle aged athlete will get a lot out of this book. Dara is right, age is only a number.
Brady White
Fun to see inside the life of an Olympic gold medalist swimmer and how much effort it takes.
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“I've wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid. And time doesn't change a person, it just helps you get a handle on who you are. Even at age 41, I still hate losing--I'm just more gracious about it. I'm also aware that setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.” 50 likes
“The water doesn't know how old you are.” 15 likes
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