Back at the start of the year, I must have mentioned to Helen that Ant Middleton was doing a speaking tour. More specifically, that one of the venues would be Scarborough Spa. In case you don’t know, we’re not that far from Scarborough so this was of particular interest.
I must have forgotten about it because come the week before we were due to go on holiday Helen reminded me we were going out for my birthday present. As my birthday is March, and this was early September, I was confused. I’d completely forgotten she got tickets to the talk. It was a nice surprise, even second time around!
We had a lovely time and I really enjoyed what he had to say. It was quite an empowering talk and not what I think most people expected. The fact is he can’t talk about what you really would like him to – his time in the special forces – due to the fact he signed the official secrets act.
Who is Ant Middleton?
If you’ve ever seen SAS: Who Dares Wins on Channel 4 then you surely you know that Ant Middleton is the lead guy. The former SBS (Special Boat Service*) operator turn TV mercenary, and now speaker and author. There
are other on there, such as Foxy, but Ant is the definitely the leader.
* The SBS is to the Royal Marines what the SAS (Special Air Service) is to the regular army in the UK. It’s the UKs military special forces.
About the book
I bought the book, a signed copy, from the theatre on the night of the talk. My intention was to read it whilst on holiday. I didn’t get through it in Kos as I was having too much fun in the pool.
I did finish it about a week after we got back though. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The book is not a traditional autobiography at all. Yes, it charts his life from childhood to where he is today, that much is true. But, it’s also an instruction book on leadership. He draws on his experiences to give specific lessons in leadership and I found this fascinating.
I’m not ex-military at all. The nearest I got to the military life was RAF Air Cadets in my teens. I did flirt with the idea of joining the Navy, even visiting the recruitment office once or twice. So my interest in Ant was purely through what I knew of him from TV.
As with the talk, the book doesn’t go into much detail of his special forces operations – simply because he can’t. The training aspect is covered in quite a lot of detail and this I was interested in. The brutality of special forces training is unimaginable.
Each chapter closes with a bullet list of lessons that can be drawn that eh preceding pages. I really think there’s a going to be one or two (hopefully more) lessons in there that everyone could benefit from.
Ant’s writing style is easy to read. I’m not sure if it was ghost written or not, but that doesn’t bother me massively as it’s clearly his story and his teachings.
What I’ve noticed since reading the book is how I can relate my real life experiences to the leadership lessons in the book. For this reason, I think I will be reading it again soon.
I can’t recommend Ant Middleton: First Man In enough.
What book next?
Well, Ant’s colleague on SAS: Who Dares Wins, Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox, is releasing his book on 1st November so I think that will be a must-read.
Thanks for reading