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Tietoja tekijästä

Christopher McDougall, guest editor, is the best-selling author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, and the forthcoming Natural Born Heroes.

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Kanoninen nimi
McDougall, Christopher
Pennsylvania, USA
war correspondent
Associated Press
Men's Health



I enjoyed the audio book. It was not too difficult to follow. The interesting story and occurrences with the writing style of McDougall made this a worthwhile read.
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coldmustard | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 21, 2024 |
la historia de una tribu oculta, un grupo de superatletas y la mayor carrera de la historia
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JP_AMP | 228 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 25, 2024 |
I have very mixed feelings on this book. It's an easy book to read, and the story is fascinating, yet something about the author and the story just rubbed me the wrong way. I think it's all the hype in the running world surrounding the author and barefoot running. I was fascinated by the science behind barefoot running theory (see also the book The Well Dressed Ape) and I love to read about ultra-runners and the Indians were interesting so I don't know why the book bugged me. I guess I found the storytelling choppy (and hard to believen- are Jen & Billy really that crazy/stupid?) and I can't figure out why he's become a barefoot running guru since nowhere in the book does he ever say he's going that route. Or maybe he does and I just missed it, but he seems to be mocking Barefoot Ted (who in my minds eye is Coach from Survivor) right up until the very end. I think more than the barefoot thing, I was struck by the Scott Jurek stuff and the sheer joy of running. How he takes strength from being part of a group and the bonus of his easy going attitude is victory. It's worth reading but I won't be running out to get a pair of Vibrams any time soon.… (lisätietoja)
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hmonkeyreads | 228 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 25, 2024 |
Headline: I love this book; you should read it.

For a more considered analysis read on...

Born To Run is a great book. It's a fantastic story, backed up with a load of fascinating research. If you're at all interested in running or have a slight curiosity why you're not while others inexplicably are, you should get a lot out of this book. I assume this covers pretty much everyone, so.... Read This Book.

McDougall has constructed Born To Run very well, effortlessly linking sections on
topics as diverse as evolutionary biology, anthropology, diet, physiology, and a great deal of history about endurance running and runners, with the surprising story of the creation of the "Mas Locas" ("Most Crazy") endurance race in the Mexican Copper Canyons. Thanks in part to a cast of great characters, the story itself is really fun and interesting, and that threads its way through a bunch of eye-opening anecdotes, facts and theories. In particular, McDougall reaches the startling conclusion that, far from running being an unnatural activity that inevitably leads to injury, humans have specifically evolved to be the best long-distance runners on the planet.

A lot of the hype around this book has centred on McDougall's argument that modern running shoes cause many of the injuries associated with running, and that going barefoot is a healthier way to run (as it is what we evolved to do). While McDougall's case seems strong - to this layman at least - it is a relatively small component of the book. Indeed McDougall himself uses traditional trainers (Nike Pegasus) during the book (although has since started using minimal or no footwear).

McDougall is a magazine journalist, and this shows through at times. Occasionally he builds up a lead-in to the next section a little too much; once or twice the tension he creates is a little artificial; and he may at times grab over enthusiastically for a soundbite. As a review in the Washington Post notes, McDougall sometimes reports incidents as if he were there, when we know he wasn't. I don't think this is to the book's detriment - it's just its style; I found it noticeable, but that's all.

I genuinely think that this is a book that could change lives. McDougall takes pains to make running seem accessible; he manages to convey his initial frustration with running (with which many will empathise), but then also communicates the interest which keeps him pursuing it, despite advice from his doctors to give up. He comes across as an ingenuous and incuisitive, and occasionally callow, everyman, and throughout his sheer enthusiasm for his subject shines through. It is a winning mix, which should draw a wide range of readers into his engaging and frequently surprising book.

There was one section of Born To Run which really took me by surprise. If you haven't read the book and think you might, I'd suggest reading no more of this review - you will probably enjoy reading it there more than here.

Anyway - for those still with me - McDougall covers some theories about the importance of running to the evolution of Homo sapiens. The basic idea is that we evolved for endurance running so that we could hunt animals (which could run faster over short distances, but not over a sufficiently long distance), which he backs up with lots of tantalising and intriguing evidence.

So far, so "okay, interesting". One of the biologists who conceived this idea, and in lieu of direct evidence, wanted to put it to the test, and tried hunting deer simply by chasing them until they could run no more. The problem he found was that he would lose the deer he was chasing in the herd, where they could rest while another was hunted for a bit. The experiment failed utterly, and the basis of the running theory of human evolution looked shaky.

However, based on another person's experience with the Bushmen of the Kalahari, the theory was adapted: the hunters do not just chase, they also track. They pick a particular animal, following its footsteps and other markers, and make sure it is singled out so that it couldn't escape back into the herd.

This then implies that the ability to follow a single animal - tracking - would have been entwined with running as an evolutionary advantage; running or tracking on their own would not have been anything like as much benefit. Tracking involves reasoning, time projection, empathy... even imagination; in short, some of the basics of consciousness.

That is, to me, such a surprising conclusion that I think it's worth reiterating: the theory posits that the human mind evolved alongside, and in some ways as a direct consequence of, our evolved ability to run.

I have no idea whether this theory (clearly over-simplified here) is accepted or discredited or under review in the scientific community (although it is supported by the human brain showing massive development at the same time our bodies seem to have adapted to running).

Whichever way, it is a fascinating and surprising hypothesis, and elevates Born To Run from a sporting memoir to something loftier. McDougall goes from discussing his problems with training shoes, to profound thoughts about the origin of the species - literally from the banal to the sublime.
… (lisätietoja)
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thisisstephenbetts | 228 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 25, 2023 |



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