3 Comments

  1. Paul Klipp says:

    130 of 147 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    I’m really not enjoying this at all, May 27, 2013
    By 
    Paul Klipp
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I’ve read a lot of books by ultra runners since taking up the challenge to run an ultra myself in middle age. I enjoyed them and most interestingly, I identified with the authors. I’d love to run with Vanessa Runs or swap vegan recipes with Scott Jurek. But I can’t stand this book. It might be an awful thing to say about an autobiography, but I’m giving up halfway through because I hate the protagonist. First I’m supposed to feel sorry for a whiny rich kid who can’t find acceptance at a highly elite private school because his lacrosse game isn’t up to scratch. Then I’m supposed to feel sorry for a jock who had his choice of schools because he could swim and blew it by becoming that drunken frat brother we all hated. But when he really hits rock bottom with nothing to show for his life but an ivy league law degree and a job as a Hollywood lawyer I almost gave up. But I dragged myself through his marriage to a beautiful joga teacher, purchase of a multi-million dollar property on which to throw birthday parties with rock bands for hundreds of guests and finally to his epiphany that what he needed was a pantry full of imported rare health powders to put into his $1000 blender and a life of obsessive running. But when I put the book down for good is when he revealed that he’s a student of Timothy Ferris’s school of creating a “muse” which is a business built on automating revenues from marketing products that no one needs and then went on to start trying to sell me on “PlantPower” diets, books, and supplements all available from his online store that I realised that this whole thing is a gimmick. I’m not buying. I’m already a vegan and an ultrarunner and I did it without his magic diets and powders. From his childhood to his present, Rich Roll reveals himself to be a privileged, rich, obsessive, sanctimonious jerk and he may be the only ultra runner I really never want to meet.

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  2. Money says:

    146 of 171 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    The author makes good points, but the book is a bit disjointed, April 27, 2012
    By 
    Money (Georgia) –

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What’s this?)

    I’ve really come to enjoy books about healthier living, from fitness to improving one’s food intake (‘diet’ is a dirty word!). I’ve lost a lot of weight myself through improved eating habits and more exercise. Roll’s life story is similar to a lot of folks, who struggle with bad diet and addiction (in his case primarily alcohol, but food can obviously be an addiction too). He makes radical changes and voila, he’s one of the fittest guys on the planet, competing in ultras.

    I generally liked the book, particularly some of the information about becoming vegan, and the hidden dairy in products one wouldn’t expect to find in some everyday foods- the dairy thing really opened my eyes and has made me begin to look even more closely at what I eat. He reaches a point where he decides to make wholesale changes in his life, and that is a moment I reached as well. It was the point of the book that I most identified with the author; the single moment when we decide that we must make sacrifices to grow and become better people spiritually and physically.

    What I didn’t like was that early in the book, he details his struggles with alcohol, and subsequent stint at rehab for several chapters, but then suddenly there’s a chapter about his PlantPower diet, and how great it will make you feel. The enthusiasm for his diet did not match the preceeding chapters and felt really out of place- almost like a commercial break. The diet really had nothing to do with his recovery, since the fitness bug didn’t truly hit him until several years into his sobriety. Also, it struck me as somewhat bogus that after having been a college swimmer at Stanford before succumbing to alcoholism, he suddenly remembers that he’s this amazing athlete after going out for a casual run (that happens to be a near marathon in length). I think beginners will struggle mightily if they think they will try to exercise and get fantastic results immediately. There’s never any acknowlegement by the author that his previous athleticism might have played a factor in being able to pick it back up easily, and this omission to me seemed glaring.

    Overall, there’s a wealth of good information about healthy eating and lifestyle changes, and for that reason I give it 4 stars. Taken for what that’s worth, there are some good ideas that can be used to improve one’s diet, regardless of whether you want to go vegan or not. I admit I’ve been critical of some of the points in the book, but I want to clarify that these are small gripes. I don’t discount the author’s experience one bit, and applaud him for pushing his body to new heights.

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  3. Binko Barnes says:

    93 of 114 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Well Written But Too Ego Driven, June 21, 2012
    By 
    Binko Barnes (In The Aether) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What’s this?)

    Finding Ultra is like two books in one.

    There is the first half where the author’s life falls apart and and is then rebuilt. It’s the basic, and always fascinating, story of personal recovery from addiction. I wanted to hear more about this.

    But this story is abruptly dropped and the second half of the book is all about the author’s drive to excel at ultra ironman competitions. This part is far too ego driven for comfort. The hero is very heroic and his followers are faithfully supportive and that’s about it.

    Throughout his life, as chronicled in Finding Ultra, vast numbers of people help Rich. But it hard to find any examples of Rich helping anybody else. “Hey Dude,” I wanted to shout, “tons of people helped you straighten out. How about you give something back?” But it was not to be. This book is a pure paean to the glory of self.

    The sections on diet and health were interesting but lacked substance. The author more or less says, “I chose to eat this way and look how amazing it made me. Therefore it is THE BEST way to eat.”

    If you really enjoy reading about a guy running and biking insanely long distances and don’t mind an author with a massive ego you will probably enjoy this book. It’s well written and easy to read. But if you like to see a fair amount of depth, balance, introspection and a certain awareness of others in an autobiography then this book is likely not for you.

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