Thoughts on: “King of the World” by David Remnick

You don’t have to be a big fan of boxing yo enjoy this book. Only a small percentage of it is spent on the actual boxing while he bigger chunk of it deals with the early career of Ali; him joining the Nation of Islam and racial tensions of the era.

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For me the book really shines in two aspects. I loved the story of Ali relationship to Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad and the whole Nation of Islam narrative.

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The second high point was the fights. After lots of build-up and getting to know the ins and outs of the opponents made the description of the fights super exciting to read about. Then YouTubing these classic fights added another layer of depth to the experience.

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📝 In the first Liston fight, Liston crew is believed to have “juiced” his gloves with some substance that felt like needles in Ali’s eyes. Almost ending Ali career before it started.

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📝 His greatest weakness and biggest betrayal of Muslim ideology was his insatiable need for women. He was called “The Pelvic Missionary”.

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📝 He was sentenced to 5 years in prison, what would be the prime of his boxing career, for refusing to join the army.

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📝 Ali after finding Islam: “A rooster crows only when it sees the light,” Clay said. “Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Travel more! Both Ali and Malcolm X changed their quite extremist and intolerant political views to more holistic and nuanced ones after their trip to Africa and Mecca. A testament to the value of travel.

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3/5

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“King of the World” by David Remnick

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

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