The Fear Bubble, by Ant Middleton

The Fear Bubble recounts how former SAS sniper Ant Middleton climbed Everest with little preparation and lots of close shaves.

What is The Fear Bubble about?

The Fear Bubble is the second book by Ant Middleton, whom you may know from reality TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins.

After an encounter in an exclusive members’ club, former SAS sniper Middleton seeks out a remedy for cushy celebrity life. The fix turns out to be an attempt to climb Mount Everest, an adventure that comes together with incredible (and almost alarming) speed.

It was an ego thing. And ego gets you into trouble.

The Fear Bubble, Ant Middleton

As with First Man In (Middleton’s first book), there’s a mix of autobiography, adventure and life coaching. The Everest climb, which is daunting and dangerous, becomes a backdrop to lessons in fear management.

We all have fears – some reasonable, others not so rational. How do we overcome them to achieve our full potential? Middleton gives a candid account of the fears he’s experienced, and then explains the mindset that can defuse them.

Is it similar to First Man In?

Both books exude a spirit of adventure, courage and personal achievement. Whereas First Man In is more biographical, The Fear Bubble is more focused around one main event. The writing in the latter also feels a lot more stylised:

‘Cheers, buddy.’
I took a few rapid, light puffs of my cigar and heard it crackle into life between my fingers. The smoke that licked the back of my throat was rich and smooth, almost spicy.

The Fear Bubble is compulsively readable. That springs from a mix of simple but narrative language, and Middleton’s plain-speaking about his own emotions and judgments on others (pretty much as he is on TV).

The story of the Everest ascent – and the near misadventure along the way – contributes to the pace.

Last thoughts

What’s interesting about The Fear Bubble is that it pokes its fingers into several genres all at once, and seems to get away with it.

Its life coaching advice is convincing and heart-felt, and is easy to put into practice (it’s helped my anxiety about flying, for example).

For non-mountaineers, the adventure story that underpins the coaching is nicely done, too. There’s plenty of background into the Everest climbing community, and what such an expedition involves (and how it feels).

How much the story becomes life-changing for readers depends how much you want to invest in it. It’s readable, likeable, and – for those in search of self-improvement – highly practical, too.

Ant Middleton, The Fear Bubble: Harness Fear and Live without Limits. HarperCollins (2019)

Other books like The Fear Bubble
  • The Courage to be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga (self help)
  • Happy, by Derren Brown (self help)
  • The Chimp Paradox, by Steve Peters (self help)

Picture credit: Martin Jernberg