Soul of a Butterfly

Reading time: 2 mins

The Soul of a Butterfly by Muhammad Ali.

I know I’m not alone in my admiration of this man, and I know that that admiration may be flawed but when you begin to understand what he has been through in his life, Parkinson’s aside, he becomes all the more remarkable. I don’t share his religious/spiritual viewpoint and I do think he still lapses from his self professed humility but the facts remain that he IS one of the most recognisable people in the world – in this book he mentions a dream of travelling across the world with no money or luggage, seeing if he could get by on his fame.

This book is written by the man himself, with help from his daughter Hana Ali and offers an insight into his life, his decisions and his spirituality. The book itself is short and disjointed but roughly follows his life, interspersed with writings on spirituality and anecdotes from his life. It’s undoubtably written from the heart and does offer a few glimpses into the real person behind the “personality” but you soon realise that whilst he is hugely genuine there aren’t too many levels to the man, and that is probably one of his greatest assets. There is no two-faced cowardice, no lying counterpoint, everything you read is from the heart and there to be interpreted in the only way it can be, honestly.

I’d say this is either for the completist or for those wanting a quick read into the life of an extraordinary man. If you own or have read other books on the life of Muhammad Ali you’ll probably know all the facts, there is nothing revelationary in here, and although you’ll glean a few gems the lack of real content is a bit disappointing. However it’s lack of length will benefit the casual reader as it zips through the key moments of Ali’s life giving you a simple yet penetrating overview of the man.

If you are interested in reading more about Muhammad Ali, I can highly recommend King of the World by David Remnick.