3 out of 4 stars
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The book Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons, by Sam Brand was a short read that takes you through the narrator’s experience of running marathons to eventual liberation. The chapters are brief; some are just a sentence or two long. Broken up by “runs,” the story is told through twenty-six chapters as the reader journeys through the author’s experience as a marathon runner-turned swimmer — the human dolphin.
The author’s approach to running is not unlike the attitude among many fitness enthusiasts — push hard, go long, and never give up. Every next goal is more significant than the last. According to the author, the human ant is the person who takes running marathons too seriously and misses out on the beauty of life. The human dolphin is the ideal persona to embody, with a healthy approach to life and health. The playful human chimpanzee is the inactive, fun-loving person who rarely participates in sports.
What I liked most about this book was its relatability. As a fitness enthusiast, I could easily see myself in each of the three animals at different points in my life. Brand does a fair job of explaining why being a human ant is detrimental to one’s health and relationships. It’s easy to get swept away in pushing yourself, at every cost, if it means success. But, Brand helps us to see, what is success if at the expense of a weakened heart, stressed joints, and even a strained marriage?
What I liked least about his book was Brand’s repetition of the whole “be a dolphin” stand. The tone is overwhelmingly biased toward a middle- or upper-class white American. The outlets he refers to are not available to all demographics and communities.. Also, it’s as if he hints toward the fact that to be the best or live one’s fullest life, they have to do so through physical activity. I don’t think it’s the best advice, mainly because there are more ways than yoga, swimming, and kayaking to enjoy life. Of course, you can replace any of the sports with other activities, but because this was all he focused on, it came off as one-sided.
Overall, it’s an easy read. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It wasn’t a horrible read, but the language did come across pretty unpolished at times, and simple. I think this would be a good book for fitness/health enthusiasts, runners in short- and long-distance running, and anyone who enjoys inspirational texts. It’s suitable for changing your perspective and can be applied to several other facets of life if you can overlook the elementary tone.
Dolphins Don’t Run Marathons
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