#UAEReads: Triathlete David Labouchere on his healthy mind and healthy body


International triathlete David Labouchere is a book lover – but with all the other activities he squeezes into his action-packed life, it’s a wonder he finds time to read at all.

The 52-year-old Englishman – ranked 19th in the All-World Athlete rankings – spends 25 hours a week training and often sleeps for only four hours a night.

He will compete in the Ironman World Championships – a 3.86-kilometre swim, a 180.25km bicycle ride and a full 42.2km marathon run – in Hawaii in October.

“It’s an endurance race, so life becomes an endurance life,” says Labouchere, who lives in Dubai. He is also a managing partner of the boutique gym Optimal Fitness, in Studio City, a brand ambassador for the athletic apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica, and an executive coach for 2b Limitless.

“At least I won’t look back and say I wasted my life,” he says.

Labouchere describes himself as a health-and-fitness expert, and says his choice of books reflects his desire to stay ahead of his game. “We must always move forward – anybody who says he is an expert in anything must be current,” he says. “But to stay an expert in health and fitness, I have got to read what other people are saying and doing. If you don’t, you are yesterday’s model. You constantly have to continue to read to re-establish your knowledge in a subject, to move from a bachelor’s to a master’s and from a master’s to a doctorate. I’ve just done my second master’s degree in strategic project management, because I felt I needed to do something academic.”

Labouchere also enjoys books on the English language.

“I probably read two books a month,” he says. “I tend to dip in and out of them, because I read a lot of non-fiction.”



His five favourite books:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn had to run away from his dad and had lots of adventures. Luckily, I didn’t have a dad that I needed to run away from. But adventures, as a 13-year-old boy, are very important. I became Huckleberry Finn, as I fought my way through the ditches and the woods around my home. I look back on that as one of the greatest reads because although I don’t think I would ever go back to it, I still remember it so well.


The Jungle Books

by Rudyard Kipling

I can probably recite Kipling’s poetry to you. It is not at all politically correct these days but it is fantastic. Kipling has a wonderful way with words. The Jungle Book was the first movie I ever saw at a cinema, back in 1976, then I read the book and have reread it several times. It goes back to what really impressed you as a child.


Seven Pillars of Wisdom

by TE Lawrence

The autobiographical account of the experiences of the British soldier known as Lawrence of Arabia, during the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks in the Middle East. It helps one understand the different cultures that make up the Middle East.


Strategy and the Contemporary World

by John Baylis, James J Wirtz, and Colin S Gray

This book is about how we’re getting away from the nation state and more towards a situation where government is in the hands of a lot of new actors. Anytime a book is written by several people, and has footnotes, as this one does, it is going to be dull as ditchwater. But it is really quite clever, too, if you have that sort of brain. I was a political adviser in the UK before coming here, and I always keep current on geopolitical strategy.


Finding Ultra

by Rich Roll

The true story of an American corporate lawyer who transformed himself by focusing on his inner self and the values that he wanted to bring to life. He became an ultra runner, having been fat and unfit. It is about the human spirit overcoming any obstacle. This book demonstrates how we can do amazing things if we just set our minds to it.

Published: September 10, 2016 04:00 AM


Editor's Picks
Sign up to:

* Please select one