John Britten – The Boy Who Did Do Better – Book Review

John Britten, the boy who did do better

John Britten, the boy who did do better

Every serious motorcycle enthusiast has heard the story about John Britten and the V1000. Dozens of magazine articles and 2 good books have been published since his famous bike hit the track. There's a third book that is much less well known: John Britten, The boy who did do better, by Jennifer Beck. She was one of John's classmates when he was young. And that's the intended readership demographic: 8 and up. Since I fit in the "and up" category, have younger children, and am a Britten enthusiast, well, I needed it. The book sells for under $20.00, so there was little reason not to buy it!

The book is only sold new in New Zealand and Australia, making it a challenge to buy it from the US. I did find one used copy for silly amounts of money on Amazon, but figured it would be worth finding an overseas seller. A short search found an Australian bookseller who didn't object to shipping me the book, and I didn't object to paying more for the shipping than the book. A few weeks later, it arrived - all 40 - 8.5x11 pages of it. It is well illustrated with lots of pictures I've never seen before, including a copy of a report card.

That's where you get to see what this book is really all about. Sure, John's bike and architectural work is a worthy source of inspiration for people of all ages. But John also had a serious learning challenge. He was dyslexic and found reading and writing very difficult. A lot of teachers weren't impressed with him at all, but noticed that he was a very talented with art and mechanical devices.

For even the most serious Britten enthusiasts, it might be hard to justify spending about $1.00/page for a children's book. But I have a son who has a serious learning disability and finds reading very painful, yet has a 137 "mechanical" IQ. His education has been extremely challenging for all of us. But this book provides a much needed source of optimism. The subject matter sure doesn't hurt, either!

Thanks, Bob, and welcome, as a new contributor here on The Kneeslider.

This book shows another great example of someone focusing on the skills and abilities he had, even if he didn't shine in every other area, and the results were remarkable by any measure. I'd never seen this book before. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
- Paul

Yes, it is available on Amazon, but priced accordingly due to the import costs.


  1. todd says

    Bob, what a great inspiration for you and your son! Like many recent cognitive skills studies have been showing, having less abilities in one area just means you have enhanced abilities in others. Thanks for the tip on the book!


    • rohorn says



      Should have another book review soon on another talented rider/builder/etc… (AKA Kneeslider kind of person) from New Zealand – but not John Britten or Burt Munro…

  2. v4racer says

    My wife found this book in an op shop (Sunshine Coast, Queensland) a year or so ago, my 6yo son loves it :)