Datuk Nicol Ann David.

AT the tender age of 5, Datuk Nicol David first picked up a squash racquet in an attempt to emulate her elder siblings, Lianne and Cheryl.

That perhaps was a precursor of what’s to become a glittering career for the Penang-born as an iconic squash personality with a string of successes under her belt.

The 33-year-old queen of squash’s achievements include holding on to the World No. 1 spot for nine consecutive years until September 2015, winning eight World Open titles, five British Open titles and nine Asian Squash Championships!

So yes, the iconic sportswoman is one of the most recognised faces in Malaysian sports annals.

The Last Word delves into David’s book preferences and discovers that beneath sweatbands, racquets and court shoes lies a person who’s determined to harness her talents and believes in continuous self-improvement.

Unsurprising? Definitely. After all, she keeps a keen eye on her goals the same way she keeps an eagle eye on a squash ball!

What’s on your reading list?

After You by Jojo Moyes (the sequel to Me Before You). This is one book I’m taking with me on my travels for tournaments. I’m just about to get into it!

What’s the last great book you read?

Body Mind Mastery by Dan Millman. A book that’s great for both athletes and just about everybody else. It contains very powerful key messages using sports terms that calls for us to get in tune with our body, and to constantly remain current or present. I’ve learnt a lot from this book and can relate to it in so many ways.

What’s the one book that most people would be surprised to find on your bookshelf?

The Little Book Of Clarity by Jamie Smart. This book illustrates a simple of way of thinking. It helps to declutter the mind and gives a sense of awareness that everything is actually already within us. We don’t have to look for it, we just have to “be”.

I know how important it is to be clear-minded to compete. I found this book especially helpful in bringing clarity to my mind when I was going through the ups and downs of life.

What’s the best book-gift that you’ve ever received?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I love this book. It presents a

yet another life teaching in such a beautiful way. It contains a spiritual element as well, which I love.

If you were marooned on an island, what would be the five books you’d take with you?

1. Seriously.I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres.

She writes in the exact manner she talks and she just cracks me up all the time when I read her books.

2. Yes Please by Amy Poehler.

Another funny comedian who is hilarious.

3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

It takes me on this adventure of self-discovery. This book makes me realise that we can embark on a journey of self-discovery too.

4. Open by Andre Agassi.

It’s the best biography of an athlete I have read. A lot of truths are revealed about the real life and struggles of an athlete which I can identify with. It’s very inspiring.

5. Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Another one of my top female comedians who writes the exact way she speaks. I really enjoy having a good laugh and humour for me is cathartic.

What’s your favourite childhood book?

Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I remember growing up with a lot of Disney stories. I was given a really nice hard cover copy of the Jungle Book when I was really young and always treasured it.

I enjoyed the characters in the story and the animation too which came shortly after when the story was finally put together by Disney in an iconic unforgettable cartoon.

What is the one book you’d wish every Malaysian read?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This book can bring that extra boost of encouragement for all Malaysians. It tells us that those who are successful are those who put their heart and soul into their passion completely when they believe it’s possible to achieve their dreams. It also comes with sheer determination and hard work too.

Malaysians must realise that we have so much talent in our backyard. There are many who excel in different areas of expertise but are not challenged enough to pursue greatness. This book can unveil their best traits if the belief and support is there.

elena@nst.com.my

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