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Krishna Sundarram

Born to Run

/ 2 min read

3 words - low quality pseudo-science.

The author sets the tone with a clickbait style paragraph (“a beautiful forest ranger who slipped out of her clothes…”) and it goes downhill from there. He has an agenda - barefoot running and he pushes with the tried and tested Malcolm Gladwell playbook - deciding a conclusion and then cherry-picking evidence to support it. According to him, barefoot running is the solution to every problem that mankind faces - physical, mental, emotional. There might be some merit to this but the author pushing it so hard leaves a bad taste in my mouth. For the record, there doesn’t appear to be conclusive evidence in favor or against barefoot running, but the author doesn’t disclose that.

His writing has a host of other issues

  • Unsubtle product placements (“my Victorinox knife”, “washed down a ProBar - a chewy raw-food blend of rolled oats, raisins, dates and brown rice syrup”, “loaded up with a Cytomax carbohydrate gel”). Its hypocritical because he criticises people for focusing on Nike deals rather than running. Perhaps he could have followed the same advice.
  • Lack of regard for proofreading (“she could care less”)
  • Preference for telling rather than demonstrating (“his head was a Library of Congress of running lore”)
  • Propensity to make shit up (he claims that chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov once gifted a queen to psych his opponent out)
  • Tendency to take cheap shots at people (he criticises the co-founder of Nike and former Olympic track coach in many ways, almost none of which are well founded)

Almost all of the people in this book are officious, loud and annoying. Reading about them was a hard slog for me, though I’m willing to concede that this is personal taste. Others might find it bearable.

I would not recommend this book.

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