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Publisher's Summary

Finding Ultra is Rich Roll's incredible but true account of achieving one of the most awe-inspiring midlife physical transformations ever.

One cool evening in October 2006, the night before he was to turn 40, Rich experienced a chilling glimpse of his future. Nearly 50 pounds overweight at the time and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he could see where his current sedentary lifestyle was taking him. Plunging into a new way of eating that made processed foods off-limits and prioritized plant nutrition and daily training, Rich morphed - in a matter of mere months - from out-of-shape midlifer to endurance machine. Ninety days into his physical overhaul, Rich left the house to embark on a light jog and found himself running a near marathon. It was time to scale up his goals.

Finding Ultra recounts Rich's remarkable journey to the elite Ultraman World Championship competition, which pits the world's fittest humans against each other in a 320-mile ordeal of swimming, biking, and running. Following that test, Rich conquered an even greater one: the Epic5 Challenge - five Ironman-distance triathlons, each on a different Hawaiian island, all completed in less than a week.

But this is much more than an edge-of-the-seat look at a series of jaw-dropping athletic feats and much more than a practical training manual for those who would attempt a similar transformation. Yes, Rich's account rivets, and yes, it instructs, providing information that will be invaluable to anyone who wants to change their physique; but this book is most notable as a powerful testament to human resiliency, for as we learn early on, Rich's childhood posed numerous physical and social challenges, and his early adulthood featured a fierce battle with alcoholism.

Ultimately, Finding Ultra is a beautifully written portrait of what willpower can accomplish. It challenges all of us to rethink what we're capable of and urges us, implicitly and explicitly, to go for it.

This revised and updated edition of Finding Ultra includes a new and original foreword, a bonus chapter, and updated resources.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Rich Roll (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Underdog He Is Not

In the beginning of this book, Finding Ultra, Rich Roll tries so hard to make himself out to be an underdog. Calling Rich Roll an underdog is like calling Warren Buffet an average investor.

He's an Ivy League swimmer and says on one of his first college swim meets he was hung over, but still got 2nd place. Or he didn't apply himself in college, but still got mostly Bs. Or passing on Harvard instead going to Stanford. One point in the book he's like because I didn't really know what else to do went to law school at freaking Cornell mind you, then got a job at a NY Law Firm then later became an entertainment lawyer, and finally got into endurance racing. He tries to dramatize everything and even tries to sound like an underdog.

At his heaviest he was around 207 I believe (At 5′ 11″ that's not that very big by modern standards) and once he beats addiction goes into endurance racing and places very well pretty much immediately. The book is like a 400 page humble brag, but even though some of it annoyed me I did really enjoy this book and learned a lot. Especially about what it takes to live your life at a very high standard, even when life throws you curve balls. It's a fascinating page turner from someone that had it all, good family, good genes, intelligence, good education, then self-sabotaged, but came back even stronger. Recommend this book especially if you like fitness/sports/athletics.

116 of 119 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • DeKalb, IL
  • 06-24-18

Gave Up

The people here calling this a humble brag are spot on. But more than that, half of the book is about his alcoholism. That's fine; more power to him for getting clean and sober. But it felt like I kept waiting for him to move forward. I didn't want to hear hours of details about his alcoholism. Just.... wasn't what I was expecting and I couldn't make it though

70 of 72 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Mastery of the humble brag!!!

I've never heard the word "I" as many times as in this book. While Rich Roll says that he's humbled by a myriad of difficulties in his life, there's nothing humble about him. Here is a man who had every advantage in life, yet somehow made his upbringing sound pitiful and difficult. I get that life is hard for everyone at some moments, but he made the lavish gifts of his parents seem like hardships.
While gifted with genuine athletic ability and opportunity in his youth, he threw all of that away for a life of drug abuse and then gets really preachy about how his recovering body enjoys a vegan life and can perform outstandingly well with very little training. He also gets on his high horse about how bad all meat is for everyone and how eating meat is the worst thing for the planet, I'm not exaggerating. He states outright that we should all eat simple veggies to make the world a better place, and then the concoctions and extreme vegan super foods that have been made in a lab that help him get through his extreme sports, seem ridiculous and extravagant, to say the least. I can imagine the amount of waste that goes into making his super foods is pretty profound.
I almost threw up when he talked about his ungrateful and even mean attitude towards the woman who helped him get through his 5 ultras. That woman was a saint and she did it all for his vain glory. And when it comes down to how much he put his own vain pursuits in front of the welfare of his family, you realize what a messed up set of priorities this man has.
I have recently listened to "The Pursuit of Endurance," and "Born to Run" and both of those books have inspired me to be more athletic and hopeful of accomplishing long hikes and learning how to run better to improve my life. So when I picked up this book, I was hoping for more of that inspiring love for the big, beautiful outside and all that working hard on our own two feet can do for a person. Instead, Rich's inspiration just made me want to make sure and never turn into him. The only reason he seems to want to accomplish his long, dramatic, made up ultra races (specifically the 5 ultras on 5 islands) is for his own pride: something no one else has done, but for the benefit of no other soul, but his own.
And don't get me started on his overly dramatic reading of his own self glorifying book. His rise and fall of his voice made sure that I knew when he was feeling sorry for himself that life dealt him any blows; even though most of his blows were 100% his own lack of self control and self awareness.
Don't listen to this book unless you want to learn how to be more self important, or how to recognize self importance in others.

232 of 241 people found this review helpful

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Worthwhile listen, not entirely relatable

While it’s impressive that Rich Roll overcame alcohol addiction and turned himself into an elite endurance athlete, he can be hard to relate to. He seems to be a person who is always addicted his pursuits, whether it be his trademark “plant power diet” (which he endorses a bit too much) or risking all his finances to run in races of enormously long distance for not much purpose. Luckily it worked out for him in the long run and he’s able to essentially self-promote for a living thanks to social media and the like. I do admire his success, but there is a certain lack of humility in this story that is annoying. I find he’s a bit too quick to ascribe his success to his plant diet and following his dreams, and not quick enough to be like “ok, so maybe it helps that I was an Olympic level athlete in college.” Nevertheless, Roll is an interesting guy who has a lot of interesting things to say. I personally just like to take him with a grain of salt (is salt allowed on the plant power diet?)

The performance would have benefitted from a professional narrator as well.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Presently Surprised

So, I'm on chapter 9 and this book does not disappoint...I'm not even sure what prompted me to buy this book initially as I'm not a runner at all and the book cover can be quite intimidating. Let's just say I was drawn to it beyond my understanding. It's a raw and fantastically written biography about life's ups and downs and how we're the only ones holding us back but, more than that, it digs deeps and leaves you with no excuse as to why you are not meeting every challenge with one foot in front of the other. For me, consciously, I do not have an addiction but, unconsciously it speaks to my core, knowing we all have some type of dependency on something...it's about facing yourself, letting go of your fear and allowing your brightest version of yourself to shine through. If you're looking for a book that touches every emotion and reaches way beyond the surface, you've found it! P.S. My favorite statement is his reference to his wife, "To this day she's the coolest woman I've ever met." Awesome job Rich Roll.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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More of a Testimony than Instructional

First off, let me say that regardless of how I characterize the content, this book is inspirational. It allowed me to self-reflect on my goal-setting, during which I realized that I fail because I seldom set deadlines. It caused me to set a measurable, firm, and publicized goal. More than anything, his testimony motivated me to pursue my goal.

I would characterize this book as follows:
30% childhood-college testimonial dealing with athleticism cast aside in favor of alcohol
10% college/grad/early career alcoholic testimonial
10% couch-attached family man testimonial
10% becoming healthy testimonial
10% anti-meat, pro vegan rant
20% triathlon challenge highlights
10% motivational speaking

...roughly in that order. That said, I feel it was written quite well, with the exception of the vegan rant. It was perhaps because of him familiarizing me with his backstory that lended more weight to the instructional. I simply mention the amount of testimonial so that the reader will know what to expect. I expected less testimonial, and although surprised, not disappointed.

My only issue is with the anti-meat rant. Not with the lifestyle so much as with the way he presented making the decision to adopt a vegan diet. In short, he goes from eating platters of hamburgers, to a diet of what he deems “vegetarian junk food” (simple carbs, gluten, sugars), to a plant-based, vegan diet. Even by his own admission, he remained overweight during his vegetarian phase. Yet he villainizes MEAT rather than sugars and simple carbs. Never once does he mention trying a plant and meat-based diet, which could have worked out just as well. From personal experience, a plant and meat-based diet yielded me the same feeling of well-being he describes achieving with veganism. Please just try something (or mention you did) before you bash. And certainly don’t hastily generalize solely based on your own body.

What I really loved about this book was how he explain all of the triathlete and nutritionist jargon, breaking down the complex concepts into language anyone who is not athletic can understand.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to rekindle or make changes to
their health.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great listen! Deeper and more expressive.

A great update to an already fantastic first edition. There is a clarity of time and more of the warrior path under the author's belt in this new version of Rich Roll's extraordinary life story.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Devoured this update

I very much enjoyed this update of finding ultra. It was very nice to hear Rich talk through some of the same story line from his updated perspective as well as provide additional reflection on his journey since 2012.

As a play on something Rich is fond of saying, this was a great experience between the earbuds.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brand New Book

Read the first version. This one is even better. There is so much to this story. Hope there is a third book in there.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Read

I've thourghly enjoyed Rich Roll's "Finding Ultra". This is the third time I've read/listened to this book. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an inspirational story and jump start to your own fitness.