All people have extraordinary life-stories to tell but since I met Jim Rees over 20 years ago I have found his story to be one of the most fascinating. I first engaged with Jim in my work as a Psychologist, while advancing a new concept at that time called ‘emotional intelligence’. Characteristically Jim was an early adopter who went on to master the subject and inspire countless others, including myself.
Jim’s story is intriguing, not only has he completed the world’s toughest ultra-cycling event, but he is one of only a handful of people to repeat the event several times! Which takes us into the core of this book; Why would someone choose to do this? And, What can others learn from it? Having spent his career as a professional coach, forensically analysing the motivations of others, Jim is eminently qualified to examine these questions.
What makes Jim’s story special is his authenticity. In this book, he unravels past experiences, explores his vulnerabilities and questions his relationships with the same ruthless honesty and compassion he does as a coach. I thoroughly enjoyed Vicious Cycle which reads with the same contagious emotion and enthusiasm as when meeting Jim Rees in person.
Jim Rees is an accomplished athlete, executive coach and author. His professional career has been focused on emotional intelligence and leadership development. His new book, Vicious Cycle, provides a look into the mind of the athlete while he takes on the challenges of the world’s toughest endurance race.
Race Across America (RAAM) is a 5000-kilometer non-stop bicycle race coast-to-coast across the USA. Participants and their support crews come from all over the world to participate. In nearly four decades there have been only 347 official solo finishers. Rees has finished Solo RAAM three times, each time improving his performance.
From the initial decision to race to a successful finish, RAAM presents a seemingly endless array of challenges – financial, organizational, physical and emotional. Rees is uniquely qualified to take on these challenges and tell the story. Few individuals are able to objectively look at themselves, question why they make the decisions they do, and make changes that allow them to become a better person. Rees does that. More importantly, he inspires those around him to do the same.
For most RAAM participants, the race is a life changing experience. Many books have been written about the RAAM experience. But Vicious Cycle stands out in that it is a compelling read, offering a unique perspective, by a particularly well qualified author.
I met Jim some 13 years ago at an event for a sponsor which Jim was speaking at.
I heard him speak and was instantly engaged. I loved his story, but it was more about his passion for changing the way people think.
We chatted after and instantly hit it off.... both having the same passions and energy for life.
Jim is always wanting to help others, so there was only one way he could tell his story, be vulnerable and tell the truth.
We have been best mates since that day and my life is richer for it.
Im very close to Jim and know his story really well....
But I still get blown away by obstacles he had to overcome as a child and his reflection about how his childhood created patterns for him as an adult.
Vicious Cycle is a brutally honest story of his journey using his insights and blind spots to show others what they might be missing and how to see it!
The race is crazy... but it shows you with the right mind set what can be achieved, but be aware at what cost.
We all have a journey and story, this book may help you look a little more at your own... its never too late to try new things.
Raw, powerful, profound. This is a searingly honest, heartfelt book which inspires the reader to both introspection and action in equal measure.
This book speaks to our soul and then looks behind the mirror. A brutally honest and beautiful account of what it is to be human. Insane odds confronted and conquered. Mirrored by relationships that come and go. That is the Vicious Cycle
I was a teenager when I first became aware of Jim. Watching the 2007 RAAM documentary left me in awe of the mindset of this indestructible man. I had to meet and learn from him, and that was precisely what I did. Jim has always been generous with his time and encouragement, even for a young man who he didn’t know. Invariably one of the first to offer words of wisdom when I tackle the biggest challenges in my life.
Jim’s book will leave you in no doubt about why he goes out of his way to help those who reach out to him. A gripping, brutally honest and touching account of how a life of adversity and success can be embraced and harnessed for personal growth and the benefits others. Through Jim’s experiences, as well as cleverly selected proverbs and teachings, you will struggle not to walk away from this read compelled by his story and left profoundly contemplating the positive changes that we can all apply to our lives.
The world needs to read, hear, and be inspired by Jim, a man I feel fortunate to call my friend.
I first met Jim late in 2016, it was an introduction from a mutual friend and i really met him only as a matter of courtesy. I didn’t believe i needed the services of a professional coach, chiefly because i viewed it as an extravagance that was a bit egotistical.
We had a short meeting and although i was sceptical Jim offered me the first session for free. Being a Yorkshireman i find it difficult to walk past a good deal so i completed my EI test and had my results and feedback from Jim at my office in Canary Wharf.
I had a lot to work on! He reflected some patterns i was running which i was either unaware of or had buried.
Since then i have spend two hours every month with Jim. I think that speaks volumes.
He has influenced me to read and face things which i simply would not have without his support. As a consequence i have become a better leader and i would like to think a better person. I am so much more aware than i was four years ago and as a result my career has progressed well. His influence on me has also helped support positive change for the business i work for at a corporate level.
Jim has become a close friend over that time, we see each other socially as well as professionally. He has also helped me navigate some difficult personal issues over that time.
Having read this book i can honestly say, this is Jim. Open, vulnerable , spiritual, kind, generous, compassionate and yet determined to always make a positive difference with who ever he works with.
This book contains many useful insights and messages for readers, i am sure a spark will be created with some readers that leads to personal improvement. Like the spark that helped me four years ago!
I read Vicious Cycle at a time when Jim was not only a mentor for my RAAM journey, but also someone who helped me as a life coach focusing on my awareness of how I interact with the people around me. Jim has been there and got the t-shirt, but rather than shouting about it, he gently guides you through his story and exposes his vulnerability. This book explores success and self-development, while also addressing the importance of our close relationships and how the struggles we all face are what shape us as human beings.
"I have the pleasure of knowing Jim and feel lucky to be able to call him my friend.
Vicious Cycle is a beautiful book packed full of insights and lessons.
Delivered in his signature warm and relaxed style, Jim’s willingness to share his vulnerabilities gives you, the reader, the courage to take a peek within your own life and start asking questions.
If you’re interested in getting to know who you really are, then you should read this book."
I have known Jim Rees for many years, I have had the pleasure of working with him on numerous occasions. Jim is a consummate professional who has ‘lived through’ what he teaches so well. Human development is a triadic interplay between physical, psychological and societal factors. The human life cycle depicts a developmental process through which a person gains the “virtues” or “strengths” appropriate for ever-widening social interactions. Jim skilfully aligns his personal quest to the learnings he experiences in ‘Vicious Cycle’ that outline this interplay so well. This has informed how Jim has approached his own Emotional Intelligence building it to an extremely high level. How he developed his own ‘hybrid’ approach to his compelling learning style and approach. A must read.
When I was done reading Vicious Cycle, I read it again. Raw, gritty, and refreshingly honest, this is not another vanilla self-help book that you read and shelve. Quite the contrary, it inspired me to reflect more deeply on my own patterns (cycles) of behaviour - good, bad, and ugly. Jim's personal story is compelling, and his insightful reflections on his physical and emotional journeys really struck a chord. You don't need to be an elite athlete to appreciate this book (thankfully!), as so many of Jim's lessons and anecdotes are exceptionally candid and relatable. The real power of Vicious Cycle is that Jim brings to bear his rich perspective as an experienced executive coach, and turns this light on his own life in a powerful, vulnerable, and instructive way.
An exceptionally rare honest account of what it takes to achieve truly extraordinary things. Not just the how to but also the reality of the sacrifices made and challenges faced. An authentic and compelling read.
Vicious Cycle is a powerful, raw script encouraging the reader to recognise and challenge self-limiting patterns.
Jim is refreshingly open and honest regarding his own susceptibilities and significant life battles. He manages to harness his life experiences as a high performing ultra-athlete and specialist practitioner in Emotional Intelligence to provide expert insight in navigating some of life’s greatest challenges.
This is a compelling guidebook to understand the core concepts, importance and power of Emotional Intelligence and is testament to the amazing power of human spirit in the face of vulnerability.
Emotions play a significant role in individual success and great leadership. Vicious Cycle reveals how we can understand and connect with our self-awareness to help us overcome our own damaging self-defeating emotional impulses.
Prepare to be moved, entertained, and expertly directed by a man that has been taken to physical and mental breaking point on his journey. Jim inspires us to redefine our individual capabilities.
My cousin Jim came to stay with us when he came back from Australia in 1984. He was a pleasure to have around, he helped us with our eating habits and exercise, we needed it!
Jim has always been there for me, when my mum died he was one of the first people to come and see me, he knew just the right thing to say and he was there again when my Dad passed away years later with a long a protracted illness, he was on holiday but it didn’t matter. I thought I knew Jim pretty well but when I read his book I struggled to put it down. I found the stories about the 4 Raam’s all very exciting. He just got on his bike and kept riding, I didn’t realise how much went into it. The book also gave me further inspiration for my London to Brighton walk and a marathon I’ve signed up for, so thank you Jim. I was also very sad to think that Jim had been there for me but I had never been there for him in all his hours of needs because he was always busy doing something and always so positive, I didn’t think that he would actually need me.
Vicious Cycle taught me to look closer at people and make sure that they are really OK, don’t just think of yourself and your own little bubble.
It also helped me look at myself and the patterns that I’ve run through my own life.
Ultimately, this book deserves to be read by anyone who wants to improve areas of their own lives.
Having been a reconnaissance soldier in the British Army for 18 years, completing almost every gruelling course the Army has to offer and with 5 frontline tours in Afghanistan and Iraq to my name, I know a bit about sleep deprivation and physical endurance. To try and understand the impact physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, in a twelve-day sleep deprived race and being in a constant physically active state is something I cannot comprehend. Jim, does a great job of putting us in his shoes, along with his support crew and impact of those closest to him that are affected by such a feat, in the epic Cycle Race Across America.
This book will get you thinking, inspire you to have a deeper understanding of who you are and why you are here. Through Jim’s story it has allowed me to not only ask myself questions but guide me towards some of the answers to those deeper more meaningful questions we should be asking ourselves in life.
Jim came into my life early 2020, with a chance encounter at a local gym we both attended. At this point in my life, I had recently made a conscious decision to be more social and interactive with people I did not know. Jim mentioned the words Emotional Intelligence to me. Words even at the age of 34 I had not heard together and after years of severely suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These words instantly had a huge impact in to how I conducted myself in every aspect of life and my journey to recovery.
Jim has become a close friend and mentor in the short time we have known each other. He has certainly had a part to play in the founding of a military mental health charity I have founded and helps to be a fount of knowledge as I prepare for a 5,800-mile run around the UK coastline within 200 days.
In Vicious Cycle Jim courageously explores childhood wounds in his quest to become an even more compassionate and effective father, coach and leader. I felt privileged to witness Jim's extraordinary physical and mental feats and the amazing vistas as he cycled across the vast US continent. In his story he reminds those of us in the helping professions that we need to clear our own issues to avoid projecting them onto our clients. And that with care, commitment, practise and self-awareness we are all capable of making significant shifts in our personal and professional lives.