Book Review: The Sheer Force Of Will Power by David Malsher

By Steve Wittich


The Sheer Force of Will Power by David Malsher is not your average racing biography, and that is the absolute highest compliment that I could pay this recent biography.

Bluntly put, too many racing biographies are full of puffery and read like extended press releases. Available now on Kindle (or pre-order for release on March 29, 2016), this tome delves deep into Power’s unique and focused psyche and uses his brutal honesty to take the reader on the same emotional roller-coaster that he has experienced during his 20 year career.

Does the book cover Power’s victories? Of course it does, they are an important part of his story. But, where this biography differs from so many others, is Power’s willingness to talk about some of the lowest and darkest points of his life and career.

Not to give too much away, but when Power recounts that terrible day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 16, 2011, the reader experiences the true first-hand emotions of what a race car driver faces when they lose a colleague.

Malsher immediately sets the tone for the 329 lap (page) race through Power’s career during the first stint (chapter) of the book, with the intense Aussie fighting the demons of past championships lost while preparing for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series finale at Auto Club Speedway.

But, before the reader gets to see the checkered flag waved, the trophies distributed and the champaign sprayed, Power’s career must make numerous pit stops. From the earliest races as a 16 year-old in a Datsun sedan at Millmerran, to battles with Will Davison in Formula Ford at Phillip Island, to three seasons on the best circuits in Europe, to his early years in American open wheel racing, through his seven years with Team Penske, Malsher deftly weaves his words with the words of Power and those closest to him to fabricate an entertaining, yet educational read.

Malsher’s writing style is fluid, but it’s his skill as a journalist and his ability to ask the right questions of his subjects that make this biography a step above so many others. The actual words of those that play a role in a story tend to hold the most weight with readers and Malsher’s skill as an interviewer is able to coax the most personal of observations from Power’s family, team bosses, engineers, crew, and teammates.

But, it’s still Power who is the star here, and it’s his willingness to candidly talk about the emotional highs AND lows of his career, that make The Sheer Force of Will Power not only one of the best racing biographies that I’ve read, but also one of the best sports biographies that I’ve read.

If you want to get to know a championship winning IndyCar driver a little bit better, I highly recommend purchasing this book. Five out of five checkered flags.