Wow! I now own both the book and audio version, and have been through it a combined 3 times in about 6 months. This is a profoundly good book; books like this only come by once in a great while for me. The writing style is exceptional. The topics are well-woven together, and the plot (although non-fiction) is absolutely engaging. This book was life-changing for me. I think maybe it could be for most people. I disagree with one aspect of the author's thesis...he somewhat glorifies a vegetarian diet while later demonstrating that humans evolved because of their fantastic ability to run down prey (hint: prey = meat), and the underlying theme of the book is something along the lines that there is a runner in every one of us (and I'd take it a step further to say there is a meat-eater in every one of us :). That is nitpicking on my part, however. This is one book that I can whole-heartedly recommend and I don't think too many people will be annoyed with me after reading it.
Recently started running again and was suffering. This book has motivated me to sign up for a half marathon and pointed me in the direction to figure out how to run without pain and injury. And it's a great story too, even if you could care less about about the primary subject.
As a runner and triathlete, I had heard a lot about this book and was excited to listen to it. From the first chapter, I could tell this was going to be one of those books that only the non-athlete (or very novice athlete) could believe. This is not meant to be condescending (although I realize it sounds that way!). The author's love of minimalist-shoe (and barefoot) running is in direct contrast to his personal use of a modern running shoe. In another instance, he claims Lance Armstrong ran his first marathon (NYC where he ran an impressive sub 3 hr debut) while 'needing to eat a gel every mile'. Anyone who has done distance running knows it is highly unlikely that anyone COULD eat 26 gels in a marathon (maybe if you walked an 8 hr marathon). In almost the same breath, the author implies that we could all do just fine (if not better) by just taking in water and eating chia seeds. You don't need to be much of a runner to imagine the carnage that would follow a modern marathon with only water and chia seeds offered at the aid stations. His criticisms of shoe companies' over-emphasis on cushioning and motion control is well-founded but his conclusions (i.e. that we would all be fine if we just threw out our shoes and ran like our ancestors) are far too extreme and would lead to a huge spike in serious running injuries. Bare foot run training and minimalist shoes have their place in modern running; this book does not.
A good reason why audiobooks are better than paperbacks. Going through this tome would have been quite a task. But the exciting narrative brought it alive and kept me hooked in. Really sad to reach the end of this fun ride.
I am a fan of both fiction and non-fiction with a recent bias toward fiction, possibly due to my history background. ]
I love this book. I listen to it all the time. Just turn it on in the middle somewhere and it's good listening. Inspirational also. I broke out my running shoes for the first time in 5 or 6 years and went for a nice run with my daughter.
The characters are all interesting and the way the story weaves back and forth is most entertaining. Several times I would arrive at my destination after listening while driving and just sit and listen for a few more minutes because it so good. I've listened to it once and I am working my way through it for the second time. I highly recommend it!
Could not be a better blend of the adventure, history, and science of running! If you want to read a book about running that keeps your interest throughout, look no further!
whether you are a life long runner like me, or just interested in the fascinating story of the evolution of humans into the most efficient runners in the world, this has to rank among the top 10 books I've ever encountered. Christopher McDougal is incredibly talented at taking a subject that could be considered mundane (running) and making it into a story you just can't "put down." Kudos to both the author and the reader.
A good book. Very interesting plot line. Combination of technical, physiological, and entertainment issues. Learned quite a lot about ultra runners.
Awesome, front to back, top to bottom. Narrator was superb. Story was so enthralling by the end I felt like I knew each character on a personal level. Made me want to get out and run! A must listen for any outdoor enthusiast.
If you do not run better, faster, longer, healthier than ever before after reading (listening) to this book, then you are trying too hard. Throw away your running shoes and injuries and run like you were always meant to. It's easy. GREAT BOOK!!!!!