Customer Reviews for

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

A great book!

This is an extremely well written book. I bought this while travelling in Dublin and was impressed with every line. This is a must read for anyone who is serious about running or understanding runners. This is the sort of book that readily inspires young and old alike t...
This is an extremely well written book. I bought this while travelling in Dublin and was impressed with every line. This is a must read for anyone who is serious about running or understanding runners. This is the sort of book that readily inspires young and old alike to rethink everything they have been taught and to just "get out there and run for the joy of the running". What a novel concept.

posted by richd484 on May 3, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

17 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

Born to Run by Cristopher McDougall

Although I am 71 and NOT a runner, I couldn't put this book down and have already given it as a gift. Having talked to many young runners about it, I have the feeling it has become a "bible" to them. The Indian tribe in the Copper Canyon that inspired the author and o...
Although I am 71 and NOT a runner, I couldn't put this book down and have already given it as a gift. Having talked to many young runners about it, I have the feeling it has become a "bible" to them. The Indian tribe in the Copper Canyon that inspired the author and others run barefooted and win all their races. It was SO inspiring that I almost felt like putting on my walking shoes and getting out onto a track to actually run. Alas, that was not to be; however, as I read, I could feel the sun beating down on my head, the wind in my hair and my bare feet no longer in pain!
The book also points how how the Running Shoe Industry has conned everyone into buying more and more expensive and complicated shoes in their pursuit of running faster. As a result, feet have suffered. This reminded me of the cigarette industry and how they duped the public.

posted by Gingy on April 17, 2010

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great book!

    This is an extremely well written book. I bought this while travelling in Dublin and was impressed with every line. This is a must read for anyone who is serious about running or understanding runners. This is the sort of book that readily inspires young and old alike to rethink everything they have been taught and to just "get out there and run for the joy of the running". What a novel concept.

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Born to Run by Cristopher McDougall

    Although I am 71 and NOT a runner, I couldn't put this book down and have already given it as a gift. Having talked to many young runners about it, I have the feeling it has become a "bible" to them. The Indian tribe in the Copper Canyon that inspired the author and others run barefooted and win all their races. It was SO inspiring that I almost felt like putting on my walking shoes and getting out onto a track to actually run. Alas, that was not to be; however, as I read, I could feel the sun beating down on my head, the wind in my hair and my bare feet no longer in pain!
    The book also points how how the Running Shoe Industry has conned everyone into buying more and more expensive and complicated shoes in their pursuit of running faster. As a result, feet have suffered. This reminded me of the cigarette industry and how they duped the public.

    17 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating and enjoyable and I am not a runner!

    I couldn't put this book down. This surprised me because not only am I not a runner, I rarely am inspired to read a book all the way to the end. After hearing an interview with the author on the radio, I felt that I had to give this book a try. I am glad that I did and I am telling just about everyone I know that they should, too. The main story, the people and their stories , and the theories proposed, were all fascinating. It was an enjoyable read that I wanted to continue after the last page. Satisfying in many ways.

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The joy of running - Rediscovering how we are all Born to Run

    Ever since I first read an article by McDougall in Men's Health about the Tarahumara, I have been fascinated with finding out more about these amazing people. With Born to Run, my appetite for knowledge of their running prowess has been kicked into overdrive.

    In Born to Run, McDougall weaves a Tolstoy-esque cast of characters, from running icons like Bill Bowerman to a virtually unknown and enigmatic gringo named Micah True, aka Caballo Blanco.

    Upon receiving this book, I was a bit wary of the pitfalls that many books of this type can fall into, yet somehow McDougall weaves a story of epic proportions while still filling your mind with the truly simple science behind why barefoot is better. Not only does McDougall come to this realization because of his extensive research, but by putting into practice all the techniques that he learns along the way.

    Every time I put this book down, I couldn't help but want to pick it up again, if only for one more page. The real joy and pleasure of this book, which is exactly the overriding message that lies within, is the joy of running that we have somehow managed to lose. Born to Run, through the wonderful words of Christopher McDougall made me want to put down this masterpiece only to go outside to run, like the Tarahumara, with a smile on my face

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Revolutionize the way you think about running

    A great overall read! McDougall carefully introduces a revolutionary running technique woven through the true stories of runners who prove it works. Both entertaining and inspiring to a wide range of runners and adds sparkle and interest to an otherwise mundane topic. Only disappointment is a few unnecessary f-words sprinkled throughout (which I find even more offensive to read than to hear.)

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2010

    Superb!

    Very well written and inspirational as well as informative. I'd highly recommend to either an athlete looking for inspiration and information as well as someone looking for a good read.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    an inspiring read for non-runners as well as competitive athletes

    I would recommend this book as an intriguing selection for anyone interested in anthropology, running or the quirks of human nature. McDougall's narrative cooks right along and keeps you turning pages to find out how the race turns out. His treatment of the characters is respectful and insightful and creates a desire in the reader to go out and push your body to it's limits just to see what you are capable of. A truly enjoyable story!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Run, don't walk, to get this book

    This book is great on so many levels: writing style, humor, research, a quest for self-awareness, what makes humans unique, sports, marketing, spiritual, physiology, even anthropology. It's all wrapped in this engaging ball of a ture yarn. The most engaging part is the cast of characters: from the mysterious to the eccentric to college kids gone wild. This book should be on every bestseller's list. Hunter S. Thompson's biographer should be Christopher McDougall. The only thing missing: illustrations of THE race. But even there, the cover entices the imagination and the author paints vivid images of people, races and our past. Even a nonrunner like myself (a contradiction based on the title alone) thinks this should be on everyone's list of must-reads.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Plantar Fasciitis

    Runners who have plantar fasciitis that interferes with their running might also be interested in "The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution."

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    You don't need to be a runner for this to be fascinating...

    Bleedin' great readin'. I guess the big thing about this book is that it doesn't matter if you run or not--it's still fascinating. I mean, especially if you don't run, you probably never hear of the Leadville 100, a 100-mile race through the mountains in Colorado. It's interesting to know about it, but then you add the characters that participate in it. It's a scream. Literally.

    I missed my subway stops on Chapter 28, which is about the evolutionary science behind long distance running and why some animals do better than others. Now, you may think, how interesting can this be? Try it and see for yourself. The part about training in the Kalahari with the Bushmen had me enthralled.

    I am not a runner, but I wish I was after this. In fact, I may just try it again, especially after knowing I don't have to be able to afford those expensive shoes. I do think there are some among us that are 'built' for running and the rest of us may be built for some other kind of sport, but there usually running can be incorporated into the cross training.

    The final race is a vision: 100 degrees in the shade, 6000 foot peaks, the Tarahumara with their white, embroidered skirts, the "pretty little witch", big-mouth Ted with his green, toed socks, and a Mexican town dressed to party...it's engrossing.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    My anesthesiologist recommended this book right before he put me

    My anesthesiologist recommended this book right before he put me out for my knee surgery. I thought it would be another technical read about proper running form (which it kind of is). I picked it up and started to read. I was confused at first because I was being pulled into an interesting story. With my interest peaked i tore through this read, rarely wanting to put the book down.

    Christopher McDougall has crafted an inspirational book that not only imparts good running technique, it makes you want to run! I was training for a triathlon before my injury and running was the part I always dreaded. After reading Born to Run I can't wait till I am out of recovery to get out in the world and run! It has changed my perception of why I am running, not to finish the third leg with blinders on, but for the wonderful experience of being there in the moment, for the shear joy of running!

    It's not just the joy of running but the joy of living life! I have started to employ this same idea to my daily grind, and it's not so much of a grind anymore. Since I have started finding the joy at work it has become infectious, and we are all having a more fun while working.

    Born to Run is also well crafted, drawing you in and keeping a steady pace. It imparts a lot of information, but never in a way that is dull or boring. I was suppressed how much I took away from this book in comparison to the library of other training books I have read.

    I recommend Born to Run to everyone!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Reinforced Life Experience

    I was 14 years old when I first wore shoes for my 8th grade elementary school graduation. Until then I went barefoot or wore flip-flops. Every day after elementary school, I ran home barefoot. (In the mornings, we were bussed to school.)

    "Born to run" does not have technical foot or barefoot running information, rather it has general data about running barefoot. It combines a very interesting story about running barefoot, 100 mile marathons and the Tarahumara indians.

    I don't run barefoot now but I do all my current karate exercises barefoot. "Barefoot Is Better."

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Running Man theory

    Like a few others, I don't know what drew me to read this book. I'm not particularly athletic, and I'm not a runner much less a marathoner so...

    The book tells many stories that weave together into one fun ride (read). You learn of a 'lost' Mexican indian tribe the Tarahumara, or more correctly The Raramuri. Living peacefully in the Copper Canyon area of the Mexican desert they seem to be able to run forever. They don't have the latest running shoes, or coaches or specialized nutrition. But when they run they seem to be just gliding over the ground, with an almost blissful expression on their faces. So why do we, with all the 'advantages' continually get hurt and wind up hating running so much?

    You explore the 'running man' theory, how we humans were put together to run. For food, travel, but most of all survival. What role does nutrition play? Or is running more in our heads, our state of mind? What about running shoes? Helpful? The answers may surprise you. Certainly they seem to run contrary to what we're currently being told. Makes you think!

    We learn about the Tarahumari, who ran a few races here in the USA only to reject our competitive ways, preferring a simpler, more cooperative life of their own. What secrets might they help us uncover and allow us to enjoy running more and become healthier in the process.

    Caballo Blanco (The White Horse) a near mythic figure who forsook modern life to live among the Tarahumari, accepted as family, careful to preserve an almost lost way of living has a dream. What if there was a race on the Tarahumari home turf that included some of the running world's true elite performers along? A race, competitive for sure, but also a communal sharing spirit. Could it ever happen? Would it?

    I was very glad I read this book. I won't go so far as to say it inspired me to start jogging (or at least exercise) but it made me think in some different directions than I expected. You may as well.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2013

    This is a must-read for anyone who loves running or loves someon

    This is a must-read for anyone who loves running or loves someone that runs.An amazing tale from the 
    first word to the last!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Born to Run, a must read.

    I loved this book and I have already recommended it to others as a must read. It has a fascinating story line with a few dull facts spots but in the long run, it could be a life changing book to read. At 71 I am giving it a shot, building muscle and endurance a little by little. And I really want to do this for the shear exileration of running. It is going well so far. I already feel stronger and straighter.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Will be Running through your mind all day! Born to Run is about

    Will be Running through your mind all day!

    Born to Run is about Christopher McDougall’s investigative adventure into the world of running, ultra marathons, the shoe industry, and the Tarahumara Indians; a secret group of "super athletes" known for their running endurance and speed. McDougall’s whole experiment begins with the question, "How come my foot hurts?" and ends with a race between a few elite ultra-runners and the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. McDougall wants to become a distance runner but struggles to do so because of the countless injuries he obtains through running. He blames his physique and genetics at first but he then realizes he is not the only runner experiencing injuries. He is then inspired to research why 8 out of every 10 runners have an injury every year with what is supposed to be advanced athletic technology like 150$ shoes designed to prevent injuries and how some people like the Tarahumara Indians, run every day of their lives nearly barefoot, with no injuries. The major messages and themes are mostly about the benefits of minimalistic running, but McDougall also ties in the importance of your form, why you should eat more vegetables and less processed food, how to strength train to build non-running specific muscles and increase your resilience, and ways vary your training. “Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn't live to love anything else. And like everything else we love—everything we sentimentally call our "passions" and "desires"—it's really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run. We're all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.” This passage really sums up the tone and message of the book and was biggest takeaway for me; that every human being was born to run, the design being coded within our DNA. What I liked most about this book was how captivating the stories were; I forgot it was a nonfiction book at some points! It is simultaneously thrilling, historical and informative. It not only recaptures the excitement of past distance running races (like the 1995 Leadville 100), but it also tells the backstories of elite ultra-marathoners and Super Athlete Indians running through Mexico’s trechous mountains, whose stories would otherwise not be told. Being a competitive runner myself, I thought I knew everything there was to know about diet and form, but I learned something new on almost every page of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in running but hasn’t started for whatever reason, to competitive runners, or anyone looking for an informational and exciting read. This book motivated and inspired me to revamp my current distance workouts through eating better and little teqniques that have already improved my form. You may even rethink wearing your supper supportive running shoes and go towards a minimalistic, more natural pair instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Born to Run is about Christopher McDougall┬┐s investigative adven

    Born to Run is about Christopher McDougall’s investigative adventure into the world of running, ultra marathons, the shoe industry, and the Tarahumara Indians; a secret group of "super athletes" known for their running endurance and speed. McDougall’s whole experiment begins with the question, "How come my foot hurts?" and ends with a race between a few elite ultra-runners and the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. McDougall wants to become a distance runner but struggles to do so because of the countless injuries he obtains through running. He blames his physique and genetics at first but he then realizes he is not the only runner experiencing injuries. He is then inspired to research why 8 out of every 10 runners have an injury every year with what is supposed to be advanced athletic technology like 150$ shoes designed to prevent injuries and how some people like the Tarahumara Indians, run every day of their lives nearly barefoot, with no injuries. The major messages and themes are mostly about the benefits of minimalistic running, but McDougall also ties in the importance of your form, why you should eat more vegetables and less processed food, how to strength train to build non-running specific muscles and increase your resilience, and ways vary your training. “Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn't live to love anything else. And like everything else we love—everything we sentimentally call our "passions" and "desires"—it's really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run. We're all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.” This passage really sums up the tone and message of the book and was biggest takeaway for me; that every human being was born to run, the design being coded within our DNA. What I liked most about this book was how captivating the stories were; I forgot it was a nonfiction book at some points! It is simultaneously thrilling, historical and informative. It not only recaptures the excitement of past distance running races (like the 1995 Leadville 100), but it also tells the backstories of elite ultra-marathoners and Super Athlete Indians running through Mexico’s trechous mountains, whose stories would otherwise not be told. Being a competitive runner myself, I thought I knew everything there was to know about diet and form, but I learned something new on almost every page of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in running but hasn’t started for whatever reason, to competitive runners, or anyone looking for an informational and exciting read. This book motivated and inspired me to revamp my current distance workouts through eating better and little teqniques that have already improved my form. You may even rethink wearing your supper supportive running shoes and go towards a minimalistic, more natural pair instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2013

    Born to Run is about Christopher McDougall┬┐s investigative adven

    Born to Run is about Christopher McDougall’s investigative adventure into the world of running, ultra marathons, the shoe industry, and the Tarahumara Indians; a secret group of "super athletes" known for their running endurance and speed. McDougall’s whole experiment begins with the question, "How come my foot hurts?" and ends with a race between a few elite ultra-runners and the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. McDougall wants to become a distance runner but struggles to do so because of the countless injuries he obtains through running. He blames his physique and genetics at first but he then realizes he is not the only runner experiencing injuries. He is then inspired to research why 8 out of every 10 runners have an injury every year with what is supposed to be advanced athletic technology like 150$ shoes designed to prevent injuries and how some people like the Tarahumara Indians, run every day of their lives nearly barefoot, with no injuries. The major messages and themes are mostly about the benefits of minimalistic running, but McDougall also ties in the importance of your form, why you should eat more vegetables and less processed food, how to strength train to build non-running specific muscles and increase your resilience, and ways vary your training. “Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn't live to love anything else. And like everything else we love—everything we sentimentally call our "passions" and "desires"—it's really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run. We're all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.” This passage really sums up the tone and message of the book and was biggest takeaway for me; that every human being was born to run, the design being coded within our DNA. What I liked most about this book was how captivating the stories were; I forgot it was a nonfiction book at some points! It is simultaneously thrilling, historical and informative. It not only recaptures the excitement of past distance running races (like the 1995 Leadville 100), but it also tells the backstories of elite ultra-marathoners and Super Athlete Indians running through Mexico’s trechous mountains, whose stories would otherwise not be told. Being a competitive runner myself, I thought I knew everything there was to know about diet and form, but I learned something new on almost every page of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in running but hasn’t started for whatever reason, to competitive runners, or anyone looking for an informational and exciting read. This book motivated and inspired me to revamp my current distance workouts through eating better and little teqniques that have already improved my form. You may even rethink wearing your supper supportive running shoes and go towards a minimalistic, more natural pair instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    A very well told story that injects knowledge without being over

    A very well told story that injects knowledge without being overbearing.  Many folks in the barefoot movement can be quite obnoxious about it, so its nice to see the argument presented differently.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Awesome Reading..

    I loved this book. So much great information. Inspirational for me since I love endurance sports. Highly recommend .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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