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'Most of the serious thinking I have done over the past twenty years has been done while running.' Mark Rowlands has run for most of his life. He has also been a professional philosopher. And for him the two - running and philosophising - are inextricably connected.In Running with the Pack he tells us about the most significant runs of his life - from the entire day he spe'Most of the serious thinking I have done over the past twenty years has been done while running.' Mark Rowlands has run for most of his life. He has also been a professional philosopher. And for him the two - running and philosophising - are inextricably connected.In Running with the Pack he tells us about the most significant runs of his life - from the entire day he spent running as a boy in Wales, to the runs along French beaches and up Irish mountains with his beloved wolf Brenin, and through Florida swamps more recently with his dog Nina. Intertwined with this honest, passionate and witty memoir are the fascinating meditations that those runs triggered. He ends by describing running a mid-life marathon with absolutely no training. Woven throughout the book are profound meditations on mortailty, midlife and the meaning of life. This is a highly original and moving book that will make the philosophically inclined want to run, and those who love running become intoxicated by philosophical ideas....

Title : Running with the Pack
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781847082022
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Running with the Pack Reviews

  • Trev Twinem
    2019-04-28 03:34

    "It is indeed a form of worship, an attempt to find God, a means to the transcendent...I have power, power that propels me cross country, puts me intimately in touch with nature, strengthens me.....I own the day" This is the description that Joel Henning attributes to running in his very enjoyable 1978 book Holistic Running. He describes the magnificence of running throughout the year, the beauty to be felt during a sunrise and how both mentally and physically running prepares him for the day ahead.I have been a runner myself for some 40 years and complete even today a number of competitive races of varying distance always remembering the inspiration that I got not only from Henning's book but also James Fixxs' superb The Complete Book of running where he not only looks at the physical but also the psychological benefits.So what has Mark Rowlands, as a philosopher and dedicated runner got to offer to the running community that books from a bygone era may not have discussed or been aware of...the answer is not a lot really! A 48 year old man battling against the onset of injuries attempting to complete a marathon "I am a tissue of injuries, scars and weaknesses sown together in the mere semblance of a man" The impression I got from reading this book is that the author did not actually enjoy running but did attribute his inner calm and inner thoughts to the run...."It is something I understand only in moments and then it is gone. But those may be the most important moments of my life"I found the book heavy on philosophy and philosophical jargon and not enough time spent on actual running and what this did and how it made him feel. This is probably not unexpected as Rowlands is a professor of philosophy.Running and the marathon that he is training for appears to be secondary to his ramblings and thoughts indeed he openly admits that his running ability is poor with little incentive and no natural aptitude..."My current situation is that I am running, or at least trying to run, a marathon. I have no natural aptitude for this, quite the contrary in fact. I haven't even been able to train very much; in fact training has gone very badly indeed." In those rare moments when Rowlands manages to return the readers to the "run" he does manage to contribute some valuable and important insight..."Running is the embodied apprehension of intrinsic value in life. This is the meaning of running. This is what running really is."..."Running is a place for remembering. It is in this place that we find the meaning of running."Probably the greatest compliment and deepest thought is when at the start of chapter one there is a simple quote from Emil Zatopek, the great Czech distance runner of the 1950's..."If you want to run, run a mile. But if you want to experience another life run a marathon." So for me this book had a few highs, a number of interesting insights and some memorable quotes but in the final analysis the running was sacrificed at the expense of philosophical insights.

  • Mark Matthews
    2019-05-23 08:35

    This book is rich, deep and meaty. As a fan of anything that can capture the essence of running in words, I dashed into this book. It gave me as much as I could have hoped for.The author starts the novel at the starting chute of a marathon being "undercooked" having not trained for many weeks. Yet still he is going to run and acknowledges lying to himself about just running a portion to see how he feels. He knows full well he's going to keep going, and we get to hear his mental meanderings along the way.The author goes back again and again to running for the sake of running and not for the end results of something else. Running is whe we find play and get back to 'knowing' what it's like to play and remember things we have only known as a child. Getting wrapped up in the run itself is something that makes this life worthwhile.You won't find the typical "Just Do It,""Run Strong", or some Prefontaine or Sheehan slogans (both of whom I love) that will serve as mantras. What you will find are perhaps some of the deepest critical thinking of running you will ever read. Many parts will stick with me.I loved his examination of the question "what do I think about when I run" and referred to this material for a blog post. If there is any mantra that the book left me with, it will be the idea that every run has its own heart beat you get lost in, and if you do happen to be thinking too much during a run, that means it has gone bad, or has not yet 'gone right.' 'The Heart-beat of the run' will be tattooed in your memory after reading how the author's descriptions.I also loved the author pondering his decline of athleticism and mounting running injuries. No trite cliches to offer comfort, just more philosophical discourse on mortality. Yes, we are all a running tragedy, born as runners to get slower before we die, but first becoming more often injured as we age, never to fully recover. Soon we will run less, and eventually stop running altogether. This may be the only book where you will see Sartre's nihilist thoughts examined alongside a marathon route, and to help find meaning in running injuries and our tragic human predicament. While I may tell myself "my brain is just an organ asking me to slow, I don't have to listen to it", this author brings out not just philosophy 101, but snippets of Grad class.This is not pop-culture philosophy, this is Socratic dialogue, and some of his mental discourse was incredibly interesting to follow. Other times I got bored, skimmed, found myself outside of the heartbeat of the read, but after a few more miles it got right back in a groove I could totally keep pace with. When he spoke of the animals he ran with, it was clear the power of 'running with the pack' had on him, but at times it was like being shown one too many pictures of a parent's newborn.You can admire their love, but you only need one picture or two, not the whole photo album. Overall, it was when the author was showing his heart in this book,and not his brain, that I was really enjoying it. But both the way he thought about running, and the feelings it creates, have resonated with me. As I write this, passages are still being deciphered in my head, clarified, and the book is one you can pick up again and again and find wonderful new morsels.It is difficult to do such a meaty book justice in a review. If it is any indication, "Running With the Pack" is of the most highlighted books on my kindle. While I was reading it, I wanted to tell others about it, get their thoughts and opinions, and this is a sign it took a hold of me.

  • Ed
    2019-05-24 05:31

    What a fascinating, engaging and easily accessible exploration of running and philosophy. A great read. Highly recommended for runners in particular.

  • Trev Twinem
    2019-05-14 01:20

    Heavy on philosophy light on running "It is indeed a form of worship, an attempt to find God, a means to the transcendent...I have power, power that propels me cross country, puts me intimately in touch with nature, strengthens me.....I own the day" This is the description that Joel Henning attributes to running in his very enjoyable 1978 book Holistic Running. He describes the magnificence of running throughout the year, the beauty to be felt during a sunrise and how both mentally and physically running prepares him for the day ahead. I have been a runner myself for some 40 years and complete even today a number of competitive races of varying distance always remembering the inspiration that I got not only from Henning's book but also James Fixxs' superb The Complete Book of running where he not only looks at the physical but also the psychological benefits. So what has Mark Rowlands, as a philosopher and dedicated runner got to offer to the running community that books from a bygone era may not have discussed or been aware of...the answer is not a lot really! A 48 year old man battling against the onset of injuries attempting to complete a marathon "I am a tissue of injuries, scars and weaknesses sown together in the mere semblance of a man" The impression I got from reading this book is that the author did not actually enjoy running but did attribute his inner calm and inner thoughts to the run...."It is something I understand only in moments and then it is gone. But those may be the most important moments of my life"I found the book heavy on philosophy and philosophical jargon and not enough time spent on actual running and what this did and how it made him feel. This is probably not unexpected as Rowlands is a professor of philosophy. Running and the marathon that he is training for appears to be secondary to his ramblings and thoughts indeed he openly admits that his running ability is poor with little incentive and no natural aptitude..."My current situation is that I am running, or at least trying to run, a marathon. I have no natural aptitude for this, quite the contrary in fact. I haven't even been able to train very much; in fact training has gone very badly indeed." In those rare moments when Rowlands manages to return the readers to the "run" he does manage to contribute some valuable and important insight..."Running is the embodied apprehension of intrinsic value in life. This is the meaning of running. This is what running really is."..."Running is a place for remembering. It is in this place that we find the meaning of running." Probably the greatest compliment and deepest thought is when at the start of chapter one there is a simple quote from Emil Zatopek, the great Czech distance runner of the 1950's..."If you want to run, run a mile. But if you want to experience another life run a marathon." So for me this book had a few highs, a number of interesting insights and some memorable quotes but in the final analysis the running was sacrificed at the expense of philosophical insights.

  • Jessie Marshall
    2019-04-23 02:34

    "Joy is the experience - the recognition of intrinsic value in life. Joy is the recognition of the things that are valuable for their own sake: the things in life that are worthy of love." Third book by Mark Rowlands I've read and equally as good as the others. Can't wait to read the rest of his books.

  • Libros Prohibidos
    2019-05-13 03:35

    Recomendable. Reseña completa en español:http://www.libros-prohibidos.com/mark...

  • Damon Young
    2019-05-19 04:29

    Rowlands's arguments draw judiciously on theory, empirical research and anecdote. Aside from a little repetition, he is an evocative writer. In one chapter, for example, he moves from jogging in Florida (with a cameo by Rimbaud) to snakes, Eden and Genesis, to entropy and decay, and back to what slithers: the worms that we are, and which will devour us. More Lockean associations than logical step-by-step, these passages are arresting.Rowlands's account of love, in the same chapter, is striking. "Love is the acknowledgment that there is a bad end in store for all of us," he writes. All sentient beings have a tragic bond of mortality and deserve generosity and care. (Rowlands's 2008 bestseller about rearing a wolf, The Philosopher and the Wolf, featured a lot of running.) This is closer to 18th-century ideas of "sympathy" than the modern ideal of love. But in Rowlands's hands it is neither nostalgic not anachronistic.As this suggests, some of Rowlands's ideas are not strictly about jogging. But the thoughts arise as he runs, and are related to exercise's revelation of value in a world of anxiety, agony and rot.Running with the Pack is a lucid, touching book, modern in its prose and sophistication, classical in its concern with human flourishing. It is also a helpful reminder for those of us with short legs and thinning lungs: even bad joggers can savour the Good.Read the full review here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/...

  • Ron S
    2019-05-23 07:38

    Welsh philosophy prof Rowlands pens a memoir detailing some of the long runs over the course of his life and the the meditations linked to them. It's easy for me to imagine this being a very unsatisfactory read for many: runners put off by the philosophy, academics equally irritated by all the running, but it struck me as near perfect, the two main threads a complementary balance. Given my fondness for Schopenhauer, which as it turned out late in the book Rowlands unsurprisingly shares, my delight may be mostly a case of sympathetic viewpoints, but I think anyone with a taste for more literary running books, like Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About when I Talk about Running" and enjoys contemporary philosophy aimed at a general, rather than an academic audience, will enjoy this book.

  • Jamie
    2019-05-21 01:30

    Mark Rowlands makes philosophy so accessible and I really enjoyed this book. Mark talks about real life, his love of animals and his ineptitude for running. Woven within this is some serious philosophy, and some important things about the meaning of play. A quote from the book that sums things up for me, "There are those who run in order to chase something else. And there are those who run simply to run." I come away thinking, 'why do I do the things I do?' I think a great writer doesn't just create some words that can people can understand and mean something to them, a great writer, reaches into lives and asks them questions about who they are and challenges their thinking. That's what Mark Rowlands has done with each of his books that I have read.

  • Beachcomber
    2019-04-24 07:28

    Good grief. I wish I'd seen the small tag line, and had more idea this was largely philosophy with dashes of running. I struggled through 26 pages of pretentious waffling drivel before giving up. "What is the meaning of life?" - not wasting too much of it on things like this.

  • Evangelos Makrakis
    2019-05-08 04:28

    Ένα απίστευτο βιβλίο για όσους θέλουν να εμβαθύνουν την αντίληψη τους για το τρέξιμο και να ξανασκεφτούν το νόημα της ζωής, τις ´εγγενείς´ αξίες και την ουσιαστική σημασία της χαράς.

  • Robin
    2019-05-17 01:22

    One of my all time favorite running books. Life lessons and a bit of philosophy in each chapter, "Running, I shall argue, is a way of understanding what is important or valuable in life. "

  • Millie
    2019-04-27 01:44

    Some of the theories are hard to follow in places, but on the whole it's another good book from Mark Rowlands.

  • SteveDave
    2019-05-13 01:19

    I really enjoyed this book. It has a great mix of two interesting and, one would have thought, disparate topics - philosophy and running. Rowlands' central thesis is written in response to the seemingly simple question - why do we run?In answering this question he looks at the concept of value, dividing value into two types - instrumental and intrinsic value. Things that have instrumental value have no real value in and of themselves. Rather, they have value because they serve as a means to and ends. Things with intrinsic value have value simply for what they are. People may value running for its instrumental value - it makes us healthy, helps us lose weight, provides a sense of achievement, etc. However, Rowlands argues that running in fact has an intrinsic value; it is something that we should be able to enjoy just for the act of doing it.He links this argument to the concepts of work and play. Actions we take to gain things of instrumental value tend to fall into the category of work, whereas actions we take simply for their intrinsic value fall more into the category of play. Culturally, we have been conditioned to value work over play; play is something for children. But Rowlands convincingly argues that due to the intrinsic value of play, it is in fact more fulfilling and meaningful than work. In finding the intrinsic value of running, Rowlands argues that we may actually be able to find a deeper level of meaning and fulfilment in our life. In developing this argument, Rowlands shares a number of stories relating to significant runs in his life. This deeply personal way of exploring the ideas in the book helps keep the philosophical discussion interesting and easy enough to access. 4.5 stars.

  • Josh
    2019-05-03 03:41

    There are moments of unexpected power in this book, ones that caught me totally off guard. Rowlands has a way of weaving memoir and philosophy that creates a work greater than the sum of its parts. Even if you're not the slightest bit interested in running, dogs, or running with dogs, his meditations borne out of those subjects somehow crescendo into something resembling a full-blown strategy for living. It's worthy of a place on the shelf right next to The Philosopher and the Wolf.

  • frites
    2019-05-05 04:42

    A rambling, repetitive, unpredictable, occasionally arresting and beautiful enquiry into the philosophy of running, particularly running with dogs, that I enjoyed despite the flaws. It's the author's right to ramble and he warns us of this in the foreword. I valued his insights when they came along, and appreciated the angle he took. Had it been tighter though I would have given it more stars.

  • Mark
    2019-05-08 01:28

    More cerebral than most books on running this makes some very interesting points (and some highly contentious ones). I enjoyed it so much I will be rereading it this summer.

  • Ben
    2019-05-14 07:47

    Not entirely convinced by Rowlands abilities as a storyteller but aside from that there is brilliantly explained and accessible philosophy to be had in this book. Would definitely read more from him.

  • M.G. Mason
    2019-04-27 04:45

    Despite that I found his book The Philosopher and The Wolf a mix of profound, intriguing and disappointingly self-righteous with misanthropic tendencies, I eagerly got this on special offer from Kindle. I took up running just over a year ago and hadn’t yet read any books on the subject. As somebody who does a lot of his thinking while running (particularly about his next writing project), I was drawn to the fusing of marathon running and philosophy – right up my street considering this new found passion for a form of exercise I used to loath.The format feels like running a marathon from the early stages (not that I have run one but I imagine it would feel this way) – The self-doubt as you step up to the line in Chapter One and think back on all the preparation you have made for this race… getting ready… here we go… why am I doing this? Will my calf survive? Will I survive? He looks at the Ultra Marathons of Hard Rock and Des Sables and decides that this marathon will be quite enough. Chapter two is finding one’s feet in the early stages, the first floundering years of lacking in experience of this – not thinking about it and preparing to settle in for a comforting life (the innocence of childhood on one hand and the idea that this marathon will be a breeze on the other).Chapter three takes him into his twenties – the prime of life where he is finding his stride and he talks about his four-legged friends including Brenin, the subject of his other book. Those who have read the other book will not find much new here because if I recall correctly, he discusses his runs with Brenin in that book. Chapter 4 – the middle sections, shows how he has moved into the prime of life, and of the race and it settling in for a comfortable ride. We get plenty of anecdotes about his life as well as his thoughts about running, his animals, his career and new found family life all the way with quotes and thoughts from the great philosophers.And this is pretty much the fashion the book carries on until we reach those final chapters – the final stages of the race and that relief of where we are going… how much farther to go and finally “you’re here, enjoy the moment”. Yes, this book feels like a marathon in its format but certainly not in its length.This book is well-written; the narrative flows rather well and before I knew it I was halfway through the book. His anecdotes and private thoughts give intimacy to the text. It will make you laugh at times; at others you will be compelled to stop and think for a moment. His observations on the differences between American and British views on work and play are particularly compelling. I’d thought it before but only when you see a Brit who has lived over here and over there, seeing both sides for what they are critically and without judgement do you finally understand these differences.In a way, it is a shame that this was not published after the Boston bomb, it would have been enlightening to discover how he would have written this with that event in mind.A far better read than The Philosopher and the Wolf and far less preachy or misanthropic (despite having a lengthy and interesting discussion on Schopenhauer and The Fall around chapter 4)See more book reviews at my blog

  • Simon
    2019-05-09 06:29

    Mark Rowlands is an amateur runner and a professional philosopher. This book is a short but brilliant exploration of how running can help us to understand nothing less than the meaning of life. It jumps around a bit, and there are rather too many dogs involved for my liking, but it’s an absolutely compulsory book for anybody that considers themselves a runner and a brilliantly accessible piece of philosophy for anybody that considers themselves a human being. I’m wary of making hamfisted mincemeat of Rowlands’ argument but it seems to me that he stitches together four interlocking concepts: thought, freedom, play and joy. I never run with music, and I always do my long run alone, and this is precisely because it enables me to ‘spend time with the mind’, to ‘reach the run’s heartbeat; the place of dancing thought’, as Rowlands so eloquently describes it. Rowlands is clearly having much cleverer thoughts than I am when he runs, but I also recognise the freedom that running brings, not just in the physical sense of being able to get out and about (I suspect that most runs for most people are on a familiar circuit from home), but in the sense of inhabiting the gap between reasons (to run, to stop running) and action. You don’t have to do it, but you do, and ‘at its best, the purpose of running is simply to run’. That in turn delivers (in the book and in life) the most important bits of Rowlands’ philosophical view of running: that ‘the things we do that are valuable for their own sake are all forms of play’, that running is ‘the oldest and simplest form of play’, and that joy is ‘the most reliable symptom of what is intrinsically valuable in life’. In other words, when we run for the right reason, when running in freedom means running in joy, then ‘one is in touch with the intrinsic value in life’. And it’s intrinsic value rather than instrumental value that we should all be looking for.It struck me that Rowlands’ philosophy is a fairly muscular philosophy, at least as presented in this book. He’s irrepressibly good humoured but this a book that revolves around sport, that features wolves and snakes, that discusses fathers and sons, all considered against the inevitability of decay to ultimate death, with a soundtrack that includes Rage Against the Machine and Kid Rock. I guess it’s not unusual for a philosopher to reference male philosophers almost exclusively (Rowlands breaks down the long run into sequential Spinozist, Cartesian, Humean and Sartrean phases, which must sound staggeringly pretentious if you haven’t read it but is actually a nifty way of introducing us to the core philosophy of each of those thinkers), but nevertheless I’d be very interested to hear a female reader’s perspective on the book.Needlessly, there’s a supportive quote on the back cover from Robin Harvie, author of Why We Run, a book I really disliked. If you only have the time or resource to read one philosophical book on running, then whatever you do don’t read that, read this. In my opinion it’s one of the all-time great books on running.

  • Lars Williams
    2019-05-18 00:37

    Mark Rowlands is a philosopher who keeps big dogs and likes to run, and this book concerns those three topics in roughly that order. I enjoyed the book for the author's seemingly honest attempt to make sense of why he runs, using his grounding in Western philosophy to do so. Unlike 'Born to Run', for example, which seemed to be trying too hard to make everything fit a preconceived theory, Mark Rowlands comes across as genuinely curious and open to discovery, letting his experience ofrunning guide his theorising rather than vice versa.He warns us in the introduction that the book will flow a bit like a long run, by which I expected he meant it would be tight and focused in the beginning, fall apart through sheer exhaustion somewhere towards themiddle, then pick up again with a final burst of effort at the end. I would say that was a reasonable summary. His main point is that running is a meaningful activity only when it has intrinsic value, ie when we are running for the sake of running (play), rather than as a means to an end (work). When we run playfully we become free. It's hard to disagree with this, but I couldn't help but feel that he could have said the same thing using a lot fewer words, and without so much repetition. There was definitely a mid-race / book slump when my brain began to hurt and I started wishing the whole thing would end. I couldn't help wondering if the book wasn't a bit constrained by its single-minded focus on Western philosophy. Perhaps an exploration of running from a Buddhist perspective would have proved more enlightening - Zen and the Art of Running, anyone? (In fact, I now see that there has been a book published with just this title, but it appears to be a training manual rather than a philosophical examination. So the field remains open).

  • Alison
    2019-04-23 03:32

    Part memoir, part philosophical treatise, part sports book, Running With The PackRowlands starts each chapter with a reminiscence about a particular run that has meaning for him, and uses this as a jumping-off point to explore a philosophical idea, and how that idea might apply to running and to life. He talks about work vs play and games, about freedom, and about instrumental vs intrinsic value, as well an meaning, nothingness and grappling with the idea of death.While I didn't agree with some of his premises (I'm not as bleak as he is about existentialist ideas meaning, for example), I think he does an excellent job of articulating why running is intrinsically enjoyable, and the mental space it creates for reflection.Rowlands does most of his running with his dogs, and he is also skilled at describing the in-the-moment joy that dogs exhibit; and relating this to how humans play and seek meaning (or grapple with lack of meaning).It makes a good companion to Haruki Murakami's What I Talk Abut When I Talk About Running. It won''t make you a better runner, but it will make you understand why you do it. If you don't run, I think that you would find something to enjoy in this book if there's something in your life that you can lose yourself in.

  • Sophie
    2019-05-21 07:30

    I run, and I think. Mark Rowlands does, too, and is more accomplished at both than I am. I like his voice and I usually like the examples he uses to illustrate his thoughts. I very much enjoyed the down-to-earth way he described how running can be both a pain in the ass and a joy to do, and very often those two sentiments go hand in hand. I thought his ideas in some chapters were spot on ("American Dreams" in particular) but others felt rather forced ("The Serpent of Eden"). But then, it's a book that deals with running, and life, philosophically, and each person is a philosopher in and of herself and therefore has her own opinion. It asks what the value of running, and life (and everything else, really) is. And whether that value is instrumental or intrinsic, and which one you should aim for, if you are to find joy and pleasure in life, despite life's tendency to go downhill from the moment you hit adulthood, pretty much. It's philosophy and running for beginners, and I qualify on both counts, so it's got plenty of things for me to think on. If you are an accomplished thinker/philosopher, you probably won't get too much out of it that you don't already know. If you are a runner, you might find some enlightening ideas about why it is, exactly, that you run.I'm not sure whether to give this 3 or 4 stars, but I think that, on the whole, I will be remembering phrases and thoughts long down the line.

  • Peter
    2019-04-29 05:42

    15.03.2015 Schon wieder habe ich ein Buch wiederholt gelesen. Ausgelesen und wieder angefangen. Weil es so gut ist? Na ja, mir hat dieser Text in weiten Strecken gut gefallen und trotzdem gab es viel Unrundes in diesem Buch. Im Prinzip ist es ein Text der vom Älterwerden berichtet. Biologische Fakten und philosophische Annahmen werden einmal sehr gelungen und dann wieder furchtbar "patschert" erzählt. Der Autor weist gerne auf seine englische Geburtsnationalität hin aber das Buch ist ein typisch amerikanisches. Ein Satz wie dieser: "In meinem Alter, das von den gefährlichen Herzinfarktjahren nicht allzuweit entfernt ist (...)" zeigt das sehr offensichtlich. So einen Satz schreibt kein Europäer. Auch weiß ich nicht, ob das Buch lieblos übersetzt wurde oder einfach einen schlechten Lektor hatte. Wortwiederholungen die in ganzen Satzwiederholungen gipfeln lassen einen irrtiert zurück. Auch ist die Erzählstruktur holprig und ungünstig. Und trotz dieser Mängel ist das Buch klug, oft amüsant und lesenswert. Mir hat die zweite Lektüre grösserer Vergnügen bereitet als das Erstlesen. Vielleicht weil ich mich auf die philosophischen Auslassungen mehr eingelassen habe?

  • Brian Walker
    2019-05-21 08:48

    Rowlands gets four stars from me not because I agree with everything he says, but because he makes you think. Few books on running make you exercise your brain like Rowlands does as you turn the pages. I loved the passages on running and how he would continue to return to the sport in various stages of his life. His fascination with wolves creeps me out, but hey, I don't even like dogs. He has an interesting slant on doing things for their intrinsic value and the philosophy of play/game reminds me alot of A. Bart Giamatti's Take Time For Paradise. I feel he "runs off track" when he argues the laws of thermodynamics sets the stage for contending against God through acts of love in one's life. He says a life lived in love is lived in utter defiance against a creator who would have it out to destroy us through resignation to oblivion. Run on, Mr. Rowlands. May you one day be gobsmacked with the love of God.

  • Dave Irwin
    2019-05-08 07:18

    To be honest, Rowland gave me things to consider. I felt affirmed that I don't have to think deeply while running. When I run, the thoughts roll in and out. There is a rhythm...a cadence...a beat. And I feel, more times than not, that I am simply running just to run. But overall, Rowland's themes were depressing. I understand what he means when he talks about us "disappearing." Also, I am experiencing what he talked about in terms of my physically body not getting better...I am growing old. But his main premise is that we live and then die and then nothing. I wonder what he thinks of the term "hope?" He talked of joy and experiencing it. I agree with him that joy is not based on just good experiences. I can have joy even in difficult situations. But hope, what purpose would it serve, especially if life simply comes to an end. This is where I part ways with Rowland, l can run and experience joy, but also hope. Hope that there is something beyond this life.

  • Eduardo
    2019-05-06 06:23

    A deeply enjoyable book. In tribute to Rowlands, I write that I found pleasure in the book but I hope that, ultimately, the book will bring me Joy. Read the book and understand what I mean. Each chapter follows a common format, beginning with a tale of a time and of a run and ending with a philosophical insight that came about because of the run or through reflection on the run. As I worked my way through the chapters, I found myself hurrying through the former in expectation of the latter and was not disappointed. I found that I have much to learn from Rowlands and how he experiences running and life. The book is a wonderful intersection of running and thinking (but not necessarily at the same time) and I hope that I can do a little more of both as I continue my journey in life.

  • Jim Kahn
    2019-05-24 03:27

    A philosophical take on running, it has some poignant moments as well as some ramblings that were way over my head. This is not a book about being a better runner, completing a grueling race, the history of running, or the human evolutionary predisposition to running. This is a book that tries to explain running in the modern context and answer the simple question of "Why run?."The author presents a few different reasons but the one that resonated with me is simply that it is a form of play. Play which is sanctioned for adults. At one point he defines a game loosely as "Accomplishing something unnecessary in an inefficient manner." Running certainly fits this definition but it is a perspective I had never appreciated until after reading.

  • Ben
    2019-04-30 05:33

    In this highly original book philosopher and amateur runner Mark Rowlands explores the reasons why he runs.Interspersed with his ruminations on significant runs is a dialectical investigation into how the theories of various philosophers can be applied to running. Rowlands cogently argues that running returns us to something we have lost, as we are caught up in seeking the ‘goals’ of work and materialism. We intuitively understand the importance of play for its own sake during childhood and running was once an activity that was essential to survival. During ‘the beating heart of the run’ we are returned to what we once were and have forgotten. To run is to understand the intrinsic value in life, which for Rowlands is the meaning of running.

  • Marc Latham
    2019-04-30 03:23

    Great book for a philosophy, running and dogs/wolves enthusiast like myself.Lots of good insights into why living and running with animals can be good for health and mind; the intrinsic value of joy and play rather than living life instrumentally seeking fleeting pleasure.His descriptions of finding joy in the heartbeat of a long run, and when thoughts are flowing through the mind when running and writing rang true for me.It is a personal journey though, and perhaps Rowlands writes generally when he should take the fact that everybody is different into account. I think his 'Good' rings true for most people though; the family part anyway, but wolves still not so much for many people unfortunately!