Sport by Colin McGinn

Will Robins gets sporty with Colin McGinn.

Part of Acumen’s ‘Art of Living’ series, Sport by Colin McGinn is aimed at a level somewhere between the casual and the academic: something that the uninitiated could grapple with, but which would still be perfectly acceptable for a university professor to read on her day off.

The book takes personal experience as its starting point, beginning with the school ­yard game of ‘faggies’, moving on to gymnastics, kayaking and tennis, among many others. It analyses the author’s athletic excursions by using techniques borrowed from a range of disciplines and thinkers.

McGinn does tend to use autobiographical narrative as a crutch when he needs to finish a chapter or flesh out a smaller point. While one cannot use this to criticize too harshly a book that states on page one that it will follow the form of a memoir rather than a straight topic-by-topic analysis, one feels that the memoir theme is invoked rather too easily when there could often have been some deeper analysis of a chapter’s more interesting philosophical points.

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