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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the… (2009)

by Christopher McDougall

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6972122,490 (4.23)109
McDougall reveals the secrets of the world's greatest distance runners--the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico--and how he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans.
  1. 50
    ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer (ahstrick)
  2. 30
    Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (zhejw)
    zhejw: Both books are stories of outsiders changing the conventional way of approaching a sport. Both authors write compelling narratives that draw the reader into the stories of the individuals who are at the center of this new way of looking at their sport.
  3. 30
    Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich (jochenB, Ronoc)
  4. 20
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (bluenotebookonline)
    bluenotebookonline: There are interesting parallels between Caballo Blanco and Chris McCandless (the protagonist in Into the Wild).
  5. 00
    Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves by James Nestor (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Both about a common activity we all do (running/swimming), giving up technology (shoes/scuba gear) and ancient latent ability in us all.
  6. 00
    Runner's World Guide to Road Racing: Run Your First (or Fastest) 5-K, 10-K, Half-Marathon, or Marathon by Katie Mcdonald Neitz (Ronoc)
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    A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins (_Zoe_)

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» See also 109 mentions

English (206)  Spanish (3)  Russian (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
This made me ready to hit the rail with minimal shoes. I think I'm ready to try running some instead of just walking.

At least a little trotting on occasion. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Oh, goodness, another full-length non-fiction book by a journalist, my favorite genre. Born to run, however, may be the best-written one of the three I've read this year, though I'm not exactly sure how the audiobook format may have affected that comparison. I read - or listened to - Born to Run several months removed from my Western-style exercise routine (and half-marathon training), and this book didn't exactly inspire me to get and go out to renew it. What it did do, as I listened from the vegetable garden and rice fields of my Nepali host family in Chitwan, was cause me appreciate the seemingly "backwards" culture I've been immersed in - in particular their tendency to work and play and do many daily tasks with bare feet. A sizeable portion of the book contrasted the details of the primitive Taura Umara's (right, so audiobooks don't give you proper spellings and Nepali internet makes research challenging) lifestyle with the supposed advantages of the USA's running culture. In researching and then helping plan an ultra (long-distance0 race between a handful of elite American runners and several members of the native tribe in some obscure, ultra-dangerous corner of rural Mexico, McDougall finds experts and enthusiasts on topics like Nike, barefoot running, injuries, sports psychology, and the anthropology of human running form. His basic conclusion - that each and every one of us is really and truly genetically programmed to run long distances - never directly addresses the injuries that he introduces at the book's start. Obviously, it's not a coaching book, but his glorification of the Taura Umara runners yields vague instructions about altering form and strides and such. I enjoyed his discussions about their "backwardness" and the Western world's misgivings about progress the most. ( )
  revatait | Feb 21, 2021 |
Great book about running. ( )
  littlemuls | Jan 28, 2021 |
This is a good book. My review might not sound like I enjoyed but I did. The book just had so much more potential that if fell short when you measure it on that scale. I also have some personal bias for writing that makes me think less of this book. Besides my own personal issues I think this book could have flowed a little better. It seemed like he went around talking to so many amazing researchers, scientists, and runners that I would have enjoyed hearing a lot more about them and their knowledge instead details about certain characters. Also, I would have loved more historical information about the Tarahumara and other running tribes or even the ultra races around the country. Who cares about how Jenn and Billy met and proceeded to become the most lewd runners when you could have spent the chapter on more evolutionary biology or running techniques. Anyway, the informative chapters don't really begin until ch. 25 and for me it was a little choppy the way the information was presented.

Now for my personal problems. Why write about an amazing culture, cutting edge research, history of marketing in a free economy, the evolution of mankind and make it sound like it came out of a white trash trailer park. I guess the best way to explain it is that it sounds like a long magazine article written by someone who has to put out articles everyday. McDougall did an huge amount of work, research, training and interviewing to get ready for this experience and yet conveys very little of the knowledge he gained. I really think if he had a taken a slightly different approach he could have had a book that people would be referring to for years and set a high standard. Instead we got the magazine version of running books.

( )
  mcsp | Jan 25, 2021 |
Truly incredible tale. Made even *me* want to run. ( )
  donblanco | Jan 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
“Born to Run” is not the best book on the intricacies of the sport—my pick would be Timothy Noakes’s “Lore of Running”; for a training guide, I’d select Scott Douglas and Pete Pfitzinger’s “Advanced Marathoning”—but it’s certainly the most accessible and the best selling... the real virtue of McDougal’s book is that it reminded readers about our primal connection to running, the purest of sports. It reminded us that there are different ways to run—some of which hurt our bodies more than others. And it gave us new ways of appreciating distance running. It has, in other words, made hundreds of thousands of people look at the sport again
"Born to Run" uses every trick of creative nonfiction, a genre in which literary license is an indispensable part of truth-telling. McDougall has arranged and adrenalized his story for maximum narrative impact. Questions crop up about the timing of events and the science behind the drama, but it's best to keep pace with him and trust that -- separate from the narrative drama -- we're actually seeing a glimpse of running's past and how it may apply to the present and the future.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher McDougallprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sanders, FredNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The best runner leaves no tracks. - Tao Te Ching
To John and Jean McDougall, my parents, who gave me everything and keep on giving
First words
For days, I'd been searching Mexicon's Sierra Madre for the phantom known as Caballo Blanco - the White Horse
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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McDougall reveals the secrets of the world's greatest distance runners--the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico--and how he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans.

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Haiku summary
Running shoes are bad.
Run long, run easy, run fast.
Run each race for joy.

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