4 out of 4 stars
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Life is unlike a marathon; it features a race of three animals—the ants, the chimps, and the dolphins—who all have different objectives in life. And not all of these animals are runners, anyway. As a matter of fact, chimps “don’t like sports” while, on the other hand, dolphins are “willing to try all sorts of sports,” not just running. That leaves us with the ants, which “keep doing the same exercise” (running), and far worse, “will invest all their energy in the wrong kind of runs.” This being said, that’s probably because the ant’s perspective in life “is less than an inch from the ground.”
Sam Brand employs imagery in this easy to read book Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons to impart some important life lessons to his readers. As a former “human ant,” who, therefore, understands the human ants’ pain, Brand waxes lyrical on the merits of becoming a “human dolphin.” Accordingly, each of the 25 chapters in the 199-page book extols a different quality of the human dolphin.
Besides, Brand’s punny headlines at the beginning of each chapter or mile, such as “Ants never stop unless they get run over. Better to be a dolphin,” are hard to resist—they’re funny, clever, and great advice all at the same time! Moreover, he uses a persuasive language that promises his readers a chance to be part of a group that they want to be in: “So, human dolphins and chimps’ readers: please show your human ant friends the way” (to avoid “food guilt”). In the end, it just boils down to the use of a good storytelling technique on the part of the author, which makes the pace of the book quite fast indeed.
My favorite chapter was Mile 17: “The World isn’t flat. Make sure you use all of it. Ants: you will love getting wet.” Herein, Brand encourages human ants “to stop running” and take the plunge to the sport of swimming instead. I felt the chapter was addressing me directly, as I don’t participate in any water sport activity currently. In his usual easy-going self, Brand recalls that first time he took to kayaking and donned a dolphin suit. Before long, he was paddling in deep water like a dolphin and liking it. Elsewhere, he talks about making one’s life an adventure, not work, and I guess the above description is now part of his idea of fun.
In the end, the themes of change, personality type, and pastime were handled quite effectively by Brand. Additionally, the editing was superb as I came across only a few errors made up of a wrongly phrased sentence, a noncapitalized abbreviation, a wrong form of a word, and a missing apostrophe. Though, I did notice a few unreferenced statistics quoted in the book; nonetheless, I didn’t penalize for this because I felt the work is informal and spontaneous. For this reason, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend it to the general reader who will find it an impressive and innovative way of discovering their personality type or embracing change. Even so, despite the cartoon characters featured on the book cover, the themes covered are adult in nature and not appropriate for children.
Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons
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