BOOK REVIEW: The Men on Magic Carpets by Ed Hawkins



Review: Vicky, FCN Founder

“Now here is a book that peaked my interest right away. A book incorporating sports and the power of the mind, two big interests of mine.

I came across this book randomly one day in my favourite book shop, and was so intrigued by it’s description, I had to buy it.  The description of the book starts like this:

“Ever wondered if the mind tricks used by Luke Skywalker or his Star Wars brethren were real?  Ed Hawkins did.  A Jedi-wannabe and sports nuts, he pondered: what if a coach or athlete had tried to harness such mysterious powers?  They would be unstoppable”

Another tick in the box for me as Star Wars is mentioned!

Ok, I can hear the clicks of most coaches reading this as they close down my review on this page…but trust me – this book will peak your interest from the get go.

For those coaches who believe in the power of sports psychology, or that 90% of an athletes performance is all in the mind, this book will reinforce that belief ten fold.  For coaches who are yet to delve into that world with their athletes and players…I would take a bet this peaks your interest!

Investigative journalist Ed Hawkins, takes us on a journey into the beginning of sports psychology and how the belief of the power of mind can turn a human into a superhuman.

It is an easy to read, funny but dark at times, mix of the woo woo and the practical.  With the explanation of how the ‘New Age’ science which began in the 1960’s developed into the highly sort after and respectable world of sports psychology as it is today.

From a sports point of view, there is a big focus on American Football and how Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll uses his learnings and belief of spirituality, mind control and positivity to turn his players into “superhumans“.  Pete, who is known to put his players well-being before winning, is ranked as one of the best football coaches of all time and is one of only 3 coaches to have won both Super Bowl and NCAA Championships.

Other sports and athletes mentioned are basketball legend Michael Jordan, Golfer Jack Nicklaus, boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson and even English Football Coach Sam Allardyce (yes I know…there is a lack of female athletes in this book – although Serena Williams is mentioned…once), this is a ‘not so normal’ look into what really makes sports people great.

The books story also has a backdrop about the Cold War and the Military as it explains the history of these mind control theories which began and were explored in great depth (sometimes very gruesome depth) during the Cold War.  America discovered Russia were heavily into the belief of mind controlling their soldiers and opponents to win the War and prove they were superior.

Not to be left behind, America soon joined this ‘mind race’ with the inception of projects such as the CIA’s Stargate programme (no it wasn’t just a film!) and the Spooks project, with millions of dollars still being plowed into the exploration and training of soldiers to improve their “extrasensory perception”

I would highly recommend this book to coaches with a keen interest in sports psychology, fans of the Seattle Seahawks and anyone searching for a sports book with a different angle!”


 Star Rating: 4/5





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