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Book Review: How to Be Champion by Sarah Millican

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Sarah Millican has always taken an honest approach to her comedy yet always focusing on the brighter side. I have several positive memories of my friends and I watching her DVD’s with snacks (of course!) and going to see her live! So I was thrilled when Sarah released her own biography, “How to be Champion” and even more excited when I found out she read the audiobook. I prefer when the author reads out the book, especially when its a biographically based book.  Sarah accurately describes the book as being a mix of a biography and an advice book. She discusses a part of her life in each chapter which ends with a “How to be Champion Tip” based on what she learnt in that chapter.  Some are funny and others are more serious but all are helpful!

Sarah Millican’s Early Life

The book starts with Sarah discussing her childhood including her time at school and growing up in a mining family. This was fascinating as I knew little about how the strikes affected families and towns. This chapter explores how even at a young age she focused on the positives, such as free school dinners! This chapter reminds me that we should be more like children and appreciate the smaller things in life. My blog is helping me to focus on the smaller things and I have noticed I am having fewer bad days.

Work Experience

She then goes on to discuss her previous jobs which though she didn’t always enjoy them, she learnt something valuable from each one which she passes on to the reader. She also discusses her passion for writing and her experience starting out in stand up. This chapter reminded me to focus on life as a whole not just on a job.

One piece of advice which particularly stood out to me was the “Millican Rule”, which I have decided to apply to my own life. Whether Sarah has a good or bad comedy show she can only be happy or angry until 11 am the next day. Then she has to go back to being neutral as to influence her next gig. I have adopted this rule in my own life. whether I have a good or bad day at work I am only allowed to feel happy or glum until 7 am the next day. I hope this will help me to improve the emotional roller coaster I often find myself on.

Her choice not to have Children

A chapter which was particularly poignant for me was when she discussed her reasons for not wanting to have children. Though I would love to have children one day I respect that it is not for everyone.  It makes my blood boil when people that women are treated differently just because they have chosen not to have children. Maybe as I had adults around me growing up who didn’t have children, it never occurred to me that was anything different about that. Women have the right to decide what they want to do with their body and lives but comments are a reminder that society still feels they have an opinion on women’s bodies.

Divorce and Mental Health

Sarah discusses her divorce and subsequent depression that followed. She describes crying as opening a valve so you don’t explode. I agree sometimes you just need a good cry and then you can crack on with life. I think it is important to keep talking about mental health as sometimes its just nice to remind those suffering they are not.  She also discussed her experience of depression at work something which was refreshing for me to hear. Again I think it is also an important topic which is not often discussed how to handle mental health in the workplace. From the basics of reducing stress to supporting mental illness.


I was surprised and comforted to know that Sarah struggles with confidence. Along with everyone else on the planet so I don’t know why I was surprised. She discusses her experience honestly and so is easily relatable. Something she discussed was dressing to impress herself. sometimes I have to remind myself, so what if no one compliments me on what I am wearing, if I like it then that’s all that matters. She also reminds the reader of the models isn’t the norm they as part of a marketing plan to encourage us to buy their product. Something we all know but need to be reminded of sometimes.

Sarah also discusses how you decide your worth no one else. This something I struggle with. My feeling and self-worth are often linked to others praise and criticism in equal measures. I need to remind myself that my core is the same and that one piece of negative criticism doesn’t make me an awful human being and equally one piece of praise doesn’t make me a superhero!

The book ends with how we as an audience help Sarah to feel normal when we laugh at her jokes. Just like how reading/listening to her biography has made me feel a little more normal too!

If you have read Sarah Millican’s biography let me know what you thought below!

Also what is your favourite biography?


E. x