Jason Dorland has written an insightful and significant book. As in Shakespeare, the wisdom of the book is revealed in the conversations or asides between him and Robyn Meagher. Robyn, an Olympic runner, provides Jason his awakening, teaching the world-class rower to get a grip. To pull together is, really, to pull oneself together.
Jason Dorland has written a deeply personal and brutally honest account of the highs and lows of growing up within a ‘winning-is-everything’ sport culture. His journey from athlete to Olympian to retiree to coach is intense and fascinating. This transformative story of one man’s struggle to conquer his own demons in order to better the lives of those he teaches is as remarkable as it is inspiring.
It takes courage to examine the anatomy of a failure and use it as the seed of greatness and fulfilment. [Jason’s story] is not only honourable, but highly inspirational.
CHARIOTS AND HORSES breaks through the stagnant waters of our egoic attitudes towards competition to reveal the true golden heart of interpersonal connection, self-discovery and the availability of a deep altruistic love that can be fostered through the challenges of sport. Ultimately a healthier, sustainable expanded view and worth in undertaking a quest for athletic excellence emerges. Jason Dorland corrects the course of the inner voyage that every competitor inevitably faces.
What a beautiful, deeply moving story. It is an excellent read. CHARIOTS AND HORSES should be must reading for every coach and rower.
CHARIOTS AND HORSES is a special book, written with an amazingly refreshing honesty. I have always believed that Olympians are special people and had an immense appreciation for what they achieve. Addressing the side of the Olympic Dream so many people refuse to mention, whether on paper or to their families and friends, has allowed me to better understand someone close to me who is going through a similar experience. This book is a must read for athletes as well as their coaches and those who are part of their sporting experience.
Jason Dorland’s CHARIOTS AND HORSES is about how a man changed his path to excellence. It’s all about passion. This should be required reading for any middle or high school students to help them get on the right path from the start whether their interests are athletic, academic or artistic.
In his book CHARIOTS AND HORSES, Jason Dorland confronts and gracefully overcomes a lifetime of negative influences and archaic traditions in sport to discover that personal evolution, the end result of his inspiring journey, is a thousand times more valuable than an Olympic Gold Medal. A great lesson in life for us all.
As someone who works in the publishing industry, I have high respect for what Jason Dorland has accomplished with his book, CHARIOTS AND HORSES. In addition to his insights, it is his honesty and openness that makes this book work. It’s extremely difficult to write an autobiography-esque piece without becoming overly self-indulgent—Jason avoids this trap in spades.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jason Dorland’s CHARIOTS AND HORSES – what a journey and what a great message. In my business, I believe that “structure, process and discipline” are the keys to success. If you believe in that and execute them with excellence, the outcome takes care of itself. I think Jason’s message very much aligns with this fundamental belief. As such, I found his story to be both insightful and inspirational. Even though I have heard him speak on a number of occasions, and hence knew the outcome of the story, I couldn’t put the book down. I truly appreciated the sincerity and intimacy Jason shares with his reader – I found it very emotional.
Lots of good rowing literature coming down the pike lately. One book really stands out: CHARIOTS AND HORSES by Jason Dorland. At the risk of being arrested by the cliché police, I consider this book to be a ‘must read’ for coaches and rowers – especially coaches.
Jason Dorland has created a fascinating account of his quest to win an Olympic Gold Medal, and his subsequent difficult years of coping with not achieving his goal. His story is heartbreaking and excruciatingly painful at times, but always captivating to the reader. It is also heartwarming, as friends, his future wife Robyn, and his dog provide boundless support over the years of his second journey to discover a more humanistic and integrative approach to training and coaching. Here is where his story takes on so much importance in that he has had such a positive and profound effect on young athletes in his charge. They have benefited from his struggles and his eventual growth and wisdom. This book is a must read for coaches, athletes and educators at all levels; it will certainly be an important and valued part of my library.
Jason’s story of personal growth bravely describes, with conspicuous vulnerability, a worthy lesson for many of us in sport.
All coaches should read this book. Jason Dorland’s insightful and somewhat disturbing look into the effect we all can have on the young athletes we coach is a powerful tale of a trip into his soul and back.
It takes courage to examine the anatomy of a failure and use it as the seed of greatness and fulfillment. [Jason’s book] is not only honourable, but highly inspirational. CHARIOTS AND HORSES is a compelling, brutally honest and heart wrenching story of one man’s journey of finding inner peace after suffering bitter disappointment. What strikes hard in this story is how the medium of sport can not only deliver cruel messages but how by focusing on the process, the journey, no matter what the outcome can lead to happiness and fulfillment. This should be a must read for all high performance athletes.
Not your typical story about a young man finding his way through sport and his Olympic dream. Inspiring.
Dorland gets it. Winning is only one part of the sporting adventure. His captivating story will empower you to use sport as a catalyst for the next generation.
CHARIOTS AND HORSES is not a handbook in the art of coaching rowing, but it has many different levels about how to handle failures (yours and others), how to recognise and overcome your demons, and how to inspire and give young people a healthy approach to competing and keeping the spirit high even though they are not the first ones to cross the finish line.
You don’t have to be a rower to identify with Jason Dorland. You don’t even have to be an Olympian or an elite athlete. If you’ve experienced the challenges of sport competition at any level, you will likely identify with, and be inspired by, his story. His struggle to transform his impressive credentials and experience into a positive legacy so he can coach and mentor young rowers is candid and courageous. Insterspersed with behind-the-scenes look at high-level sport is a love story . . . making the book an engaging read for athletes and coaches of all sports, and particularly relevant in this Olympic year.
Dorland gives a raw and open account of his experiences as an athlete [and] then his years of torment that ensued when he constantly relived what he perceived as absolute failure.
Jason provides us with a new definition of winning. He inspires us to live each day with integrity.
This is one of the best Canadian sports books that I have ever read. The author talks in moving terms about learning from failure & disappointment and carrying on to become stronger as a person and then become a role model for young athletes. Whereas most sports books celebrate victories and heroes, Jason’s story speaks about humility and finding a deeper meaning in losing – and then making those lessons a life mission to share with others. I wish I had read this book when I was a competitive athlete (I will make sure my daughter does) but I wish more that every young athlete would read or at least be exposed to Jason’s story. His core principle, however, the ‘Win is Within’ is applicable to all of us, in every part of our lives where we set goals, compete, seek to do better – and then evaluate whether we ‘won or lost’. Jason believes that if we focus on this binary outcome, we are bound to be disappointed. This is a life book that uses sports to imbed the deeper meaning.
My guess is that the titans of the rowing “industry” will look skeptically upon the central argument of this book. Clearly, the Olympic movement in Canada is led by those with a gold fixation, revealed in jingoistic slogans like “Own the Podium”. But my hope is that some of the athletes that aspire to reach the heights of Olympic glory will be inspired by this story to look within themselves to find the motivation to reach their highest potential. My only disappointment with this book is that, by being focussed on the esoteric sport of rowing, it won’t receive the wide readership it deserves. This is a book that should be read by coaches and competitors regardless of their sport – in fact, it will be valuable for anyone who has to confront the challenge of setting goals, staying motivated and inspiring high-performance athletes to reach their highest potential. It’s slightly frustrating that what isn’t revealed is exactly how to motivate those athletes in the absence of trying to beat the competition. But perhaps that’s the point: don’t look to someone else to tell you how to reach your potential. Look within to learn that.
As a therapist, I have read a significant number of inspirational/self discovery books over the years, and find some of them simplify the experience into a marketable “how to.” Not Jason’s. It was refreshingly free of instruction or expert advice, and this is what made it so appealing. Jason trusts the reader to make it personal, and to develop his or her own “how to.” Furthermore, this book offers men a way to examine themselves and their motivations and the possibility to evolve into collaborators without loss of masculinity.
Although I know very little about rowing, Jason’s succinct technical details made it easy to stay in the story. I finished CHARIOTS AND HORSES in record time and so enjoyed the journey! I trust this engaging, witty page-turner will warm, challenge and inspire anyone who chooses to read it.
Reading CHARIOTS AND HORSES has changed my life, forever. I can’t even describe in words what your thoughts and views have done for me. I used to see rowing the same way you did as a teenager—that every race was a war and if I lost then I have and am nothing. Everything I’ve learned from your book has changed me for the better.