I almost didn’t pick up this book because it shares the same title of that cheesy 70’s tune sung by Bruce Springsteen. Thank God I did because one of the highest compliments I believe you can give a book is it persuades you to take action. That’s exactly what happened. I’ve started running quite a few times this past week and its all based on this exciting tell all tale about running called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
Now this book is much more than simply about running. There are so many life philosophies that can be taken away from this. But what initially got me was I couldn’t stop reading – I was 40 pages into it and laughing my ass off. The quirky characters the author encounters just to learn about running are mixed in with compelling science and a bit of mystery. This is why this book has become a national best seller – that is a lethal combination. It throws all conventional wisdom out the window. Like there are times when reading this that it just felt like propaganda – but the science and results don’t lie – humans are born to run and the modern shoe doesn’t seem to be helping.
Thats how the book starts. The author questions why his feet are hurting. Then he goes into how important feet are, ie your feet are full of sensory neurons that rocket straight to your brain. After your hand and lips, your feet are the most sensitive part of your body. He then comes across this native tribe in Mexico that are known for running. This society doesn’t have crime, no war, no disease, no greed, and no obesity. What’s the reason behind this? They love running. They love it to the point that Tarahumara tribesmen have been reported to have showed up as far north as Siberia. Wearing sandals. That wasn’t a typo.
Another super interesting aspect of this book is his attack on Nike and its powerful marketing. The basic conclusion? They have created a 20 billion dollar industry based on NOTHING. Lets just say my jaw dropped when I got to this bit. One Spoiler? Don’t buy expensive running shoes. Read this article if your really curious. Oh and check out these shoes.
“It wasn’t art, it was a business, a hard-nosed quid pro quo. No wonder so many people hated running: if you thought it was only a means to an end – an investment in becoming faster, skinnier, richer – then why stick with it if you weren’t getting enough quo for your quid? “
You don’t dance because you ll become skinnier, you do it because you just wanna dance, you cant’ help it when there blasting MJ from the DJ booth. Right? This story is essentially about passion and how powerful self-belief can be.
Another one of the conclusions I took from this book is people become attached to whatever they believe in. Your doing something wrong, your told you need to buy something to fix it – ie a running shoe. I am almost feel scared to ever buy a running shoe again. I am gonna use my current ones till they fall apart. Support an area, it gets weaker. Use it extensively, it gets stronger.
PS : Want the endurance food of the Tarahumara tribe? Get Chia seeds. I just ordered a bag.