These are two books that I really loved. One is about how to perform best physically by living like the residents of the Greek island of Crete. The other is how to perform best mentally by thinking like Roman Emperor Maximus Aurelius.
Natural Born Heroes, Christopher McDougall
Is running natural to every human and have we actually done ourselves a disservice with “innovations” such as shoes and sports drinks? That’s the question Christopher McDougall tries to answer in “Born To Run,” the story of the world’s best ultra runners who travel to the hidden canyons of Mexico to race the tarahumara Indians. It’s one of my top five all time favorite books and I try to read it at least once every year. If you’re a runner, you need to read “Born To Run.”
This time McDougall tackles a similar but different question – have we humans done ourselves a disservice by concentrating on appearance and convenience rather than true strength and endurance? Have we harmed ourselves in gyms with weights and fancy machines rather than focusing on natural movements? He answers the question by traveling to the Greek island of Crete where he explores the story of how untrained natives fought off the Nazis in WWII. Mixed in between chapters are modern day stories of ultra runners, triathletes, obstacle course racers, doctors and dietitians. I especially enjoyed the story of a coach who wants to create a huge outdoor playground for adults. He reminded me of my coach, Chris, at Endurance Farm.
While I really enjoyed this book, I felt like the author forced two books into one – the history of Crete and the modern day endurance stories. It didn’t always flow well. Still, I recommend this book to anyone into health and fitness.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, Donald Robertson
BOOM! Half way done with my goal of reading 50 books in 2020. I’m stoked to have crossed the mark with such an awesome read.
Earlier this week I was on a conference call explaining a client situation to my colleague Matt. Matt unknowingly slapped me right in the face when he responded “go figure that two hotheads don’t get along.” I was one of the hotheads he was referring to.
It sucks that Matt said that. It sucks more that he’s 100% right. Actually, he was right about the Wesley of ten years ago. 40-year-old Wesley is certainly not the extreme hothead 30-year-old Wesley was. I’ve worked hard to change. I have changed. I’m thoughtful and logical, but occasionally that hothead creeps out like it does in most humans. In fact, it did earlier that same day on a text exchange with Matt and others.
I have a lot of weaknesses but perhaps my greatest strength is that I’m self aware. I know exactly what my weaknesses are and being the perfectionist that I am, I work very hard to be better than I was yesterday. That’s one reason I’m diving so deep into stocism. I don’t want to be known as a hothead and the only way to change decades of being known as a hothead is to not be a hothead. I also don’t want to feel anxiety, concentrate on materialism, give up when pain and suffering arrive or even fear death.
I really loved this book because it uses the lessons taught by all Stoic writers but focuses on the teachings and life of Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius and summarizes them into a How To book.
How to speak wisely
How to follow your values
How to conquer desire
How to tolerate pain
How to relinquish fear
How to conquer anger
How to view death
This is one of the best books live read during my journey to 50 books in 2020. I recommend it to everyone looking to be better and to do better.