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First Man In: Leading from the Front

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,984 ratings  ·  207 reviews

No one is born a leader. But through sheer determination and by confronting life’s challenges, Ant Middleton has come to know the meaning of true leadership. In First Man In, he shares the core lessons he’s learned over the course of his fascinating, exhilarating life.

Special forces training is no walk in the park. The rules are strict and t
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 31st 2018 by HarperCollins
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,984 ratings  ·  207 reviews

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I have really enjoyed this book (listen) and it was easy to finish. Overall though I don’t really like him having listened to his account of his life, honest that it was, he’s actually a bit of a prick when it comes down to it.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book wasn't really my cup of tea. Not because of the genre, which I generally find fascinating, but I found it to be a bit tedious; I didn't really care about him as a person (he seemed a bit of a dick, that wasn't very likeable to be honest) and rushed the last few chapter so I could finish the book and return it to the friend I had borrowed it from. I very nearly didn't bother and finishing the book did not enrich the experience for me.

Also we don't know how good a leader he really
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not one for leaving reviews for anything, however with this book I just couldn't resist. Not only is this book one of those precious few that you can't put down until you've digested all of its contents, but it's also a book that enables self-reflection and self-evalutaion, encouraging you to be the best version of you. I would recommend this book for anyone, whether you're the most self-assured person out there or someone who is lacking self-confidence because I garuntee you will learn some ...more
Pippa DaCosta
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ant makes no apologies for who he is and if you've seen him on TV, he says often enough that it takes a special kind of person to excel in the SAS. The kind of person who is trained to plunge into insane situations and thrive. Unfortunately, in Ant's case, he walks that line between good and outright nut-so, just erring on the side of good (he could easily go either way), but it makes him unlikeable for most readers. (His persona is much "nicer" on TV) In this book, he refers to himself as god-l ...more
Andy Allsopp
If I had to sum up the entire book in one quote, it'd be the following:

"People might think I’m an arrogant twat, but that doesn’t bother me because I’ve looked in the mirror and I know that I’m not."

If you think he's right, then this is an interesting book full of life lessons that you can apply every day.

I don't think he's right.
Zoe Hall
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
An absolutely fantastic read. After first seeing Ant on SAS: Who Dares Wins, I’ve been fascinated by his life. I recently saw Ant on his tour and think he’s an interesting and endearing speaker. This book felt like an extension of that night. A great read, filled with real stories that convey important life tips. I would highly recommend this book.
The problem with leadership books based on experiences while kicking in Afghan doors, or smashing up squaddies and getting arrested, or re-enacting the mutiny on the bounty is that they're often quite specific to that experience. The value gained is applicable in that and similar situations, but it isn't necessarily obvious how to apply this in your regular life.

Honestly, if this hadn't been Ant Middleton's book, I definitely wouldn't have got it. It's badly written, using the sort of analogies
Teena Evans
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was outstanding!
I literally could not put it down.
I was quite intrigued after watching Ant on various TV shows, as to the kind of man he is. The thing with TV is, you always wonder what is actually the truth and what’s shown for entertainment value. So, suffice to say I was hopeful that the book would be as brutally honest, as Ant seems his whole on-screen demeanour to be. Thankfully, I was not disappointed!
The book recounts an amazing history of a man who is at peace with himself an
Ruthi Burgess
I sort of enjoyed it but was left with the overwhelming thought that being in the armed services is an excuse for thuggery. It's great to use anger as your motivation but can it always be channelled like that against an enemy of some sort. It bothers me that someone can see red and knock someone out with a single punch, dislocating their jaw. I get that there's an over all message and he seems like a likeable bloke but I struggle with someone proud of being able to kill and even more so of being ...more
Ryan Chadderton
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, great author. Bought the book at Ant's signing in Manchester. Read the first third in the queue and the remaining over the next 24 hours. The book differs from other special forces biographies in that its underlying story is a lesson of leadership.

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone. There are such a wide number of things to take from this book; whether you come for the story of his life or the leadership lessons he provides, you won't be disappointed.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great insight in to the life of Ant Middleton and how he came to be the man he is, wow what a life he's led! By the end of it I wondered if there is anything this man isn't capable of?
But the purpose of this book was to inspire the reader to take control of their life and harness the lessons we learn and use them in a positive way. Initially flicking through the book I wondered what the ending of each chapter entitled Leadership Lessons could really do for me in my normal life with my nor
Feb 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really disappointing, l thought this might be a good read unfortunately not
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book with principles of Leadership and self development/awareness of Ant Middleton’s life Journey.
Matt Oliver
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book about leadership and lessons from the military. No nonsense and motivating.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read. Leadership lessons all in one.
Ollie Rising
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book - less of a life lesson and more of an autobiography. Really interesting bloke.
Jonathan Downing
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, very good book. Most chapters had pretty cheesy titles, but his "leadership lessons" were good and highly applicable.
Xiang Li
Not much of the content is actually teaching you how to lead. To me this book seemed more like a marketing tool for Middleton to show the world, this is where he began and this is where he is now. Majority of the book is actually about what not to do, i.e. not hit a cop.... not do anything stupid to get into jail as you will disappoint your family and friends... etc... these things are pretty standard for most people.

Some chapters were quiet interesting, particularly the first couple of chapter
Abbie Hooton
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most shocking thing for me was realising that he hasn't had the straight forward life that I thought he would have had. I figured he would have gone straight into the army and everything work from there, but not for this guy, he definitely fought some demons and plenty of battles before deciding where he was happiest!
It was so interesting to read about the different parts of his life, the highs and lows and some of the frankly crazy stuff he has done throughout it! I like that he has manage
A very readable book, especially the first half covering his training which is particularly interesting and gives you a really good insight into. It's very ghostwritten in that way that it's super stylised in it's depiction of events, that's not a criticism as such but just sometimes I found it took you out of the story a little. The clunky 'Art of War' observations that you could apply to business or everyday life I also found a little cliche and at some points a tad patronising. It's conflicti ...more
Patrick Oakley
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True leader, ultra positive human being!!

Really enjoyed this book, bit of comedy from the moment he turned up for basic training (1 week early!!) to the more serious stuff like Afghan. I'm guessing Ant wasn't aloud to reveal too much about the SBS as he only really speaks of the recruitment/selection, no mention of any missions.
Enjoyed the story regarding the young girl he helped reunite with her mother.
Rose Auburn
I've waited a day to write this review (normally write them the day I finish a book) purely because I am not entirely sure what to say. I had been looking forward to reading this and it was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe I expected something different, I thought there would be more about his military career whereas it's kind of 'Life and Lessons with Ant'. It's certainly readable, the writing style is very easy and basic, you could easily polish this off in a day or couple of afternoons. I fou ...more
Sam Smith
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A truly inspiring read about an incredible man.

I thought this book was great. I really enjoyed reading through it and learning all about Ant's past. This book doesn't act as if Ant has always been this incredible, inspiring, godlike man. This book shows what he really used to be like: a bully. Even as I was reading some of the things he's done, I thought to myself "Jesus this guy was a twat". But the story of how he has turned his life around, and the things he's done, is nothing short of incred
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jag misstänker att jag till viss del inte riktigt ingår i den särskilda målgruppen för den här boken, då jag vare sig är man, särskilt inriktad på militären, träning eller den specifika typen av ledarskap som Anthony Middleton står för, men den här boken har ändå gett mig mycket att tänka på.

Dels en väldigt stor tacksamhet för att jag inte har mött samma typ av svårigheter som Middleton har gjort i sitt liv men också en rejäl dos av densamma för att jag inte har fått samma äventyrslusta, den sku
Ruth Taylor
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started watching the celebrity special of SAS who dares wins and quickly got hooked, the other four series were on sky demand and I quickly downloaded those and became obsessed and had watched them all within two weeks. I’ve had Ant’s book sitting on my shelf for a while, I’m not entirely sure what compelled me to buy it other than I had an interest in the military, because at that point I hadn’t heard of or seen the programme. I pulled the book of my shelf after a few episodes in and started ...more
Sara Hunt
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't a fan of Ant before reading this book. I have never seen him on the telly either. This book is a very interesting read. It chronicles his life through all it's ups and downs and it highlights the personality traits we all have but don't always recognise. At the end of each chapter Ant summed up the main points you should take away from the book and how you could help yourself be a better person. Ant's life hasn't been easy. There have been enormous challenges. Some brought on by stupidi ...more
Will Peach
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a big fan of Ant Middleton's TV series; both SAS and Mutiny, I was curious to read this book and see what he had to say on the topic of leadership. Ant, for me, is a little like a British Jocko Willink (another guy I'm a huge fan of) but perhaps not as insightful. That's not to downplay this book though, as it is a relatively easy and enjoyable read about life before, in and after the forces.

Even if reading about a military guy isn't for you however, a lot of Middleton's experiences (espec
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ant Middleton is ex British special forces and most famous for his appearances in the TV programme SAS: Who Dares Wins, where members of the public take part in a curtailed version of special forces selection. And when I say members of the public, clearly these are hugely fit people who are as hard as nails, not people like me who’d cry 200m up a mountain path and try and order an Uber.

This book is a bit of a curiosity as it’s part memoir, part treatise on leadership. What does shine through is
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is so nearly a good book. Elements of it are interesting, and parts of the story of Ant’s life are sufficiently unusual to make for an engaging narrative. But oh dear god the toxic masculinity, the unexamined sexism, the lack of true self-awareness in something that calls itself some kind of self-help book. I counted about thirty times when I was deeply disappointed as I read this book - not that things happened in Ant’s life, but that he wrote them down without reflecting on their meaning ...more
Jim Dennison
More autobiographical than self-help but inspiring in places and quite a page turner. I wasn’t convinced the early part of the book (Ant’s time in the paras) was a very good example of how to live a good life ... and many aspects of military life are probably the opposite of what helps in civilian life IMO ... but I think he came to that conclusion himself and certainly his time in the Marines and SBS has more valuable examples. The last few pages of the book are the most helpful IMO. A leader i ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add book cover 2 13 Mar 17, 2019 03:43PM  
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