Natural Born Heroes

  • by Christopher McDougall
  • Narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith
  • 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of Born to Run now travels to the Mediterranean, where he discovers that the secrets of ancient Greek heroes are still alive and well on the island of Crete, and ready to be unleashed in the muscles and minds of casual athletes and aspiring heroes everywhere.
After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation. How did a penniless artist, a young shepherd, and a playboy poet believe they could carry out such a remarkable feat of strength and endurance, smuggling the general past thousands of Nazi pursuers, with little more than their own wits and courage to guide them?
McDougall makes his way to the island to find the answer and retrace their steps, experiencing firsthand the extreme physical challenges the Resistance fighters and their local allies faced. On Crete, the birthplace of the classical Greek heroism that spawned the likes of Herakles and Odysseus, McDougall discovers the tools of the hero - natural movement, extraordinary endurance, and efficient nutrition. All of these skills, McDougall learns, are still practiced in far-flung pockets throughout the world today.
More than a mystery of remarkable people and cunning schemes, Natural Born Heroes is a fascinating investigation into the lost art of the hero, taking us from the streets of London at midnight to the beaches of Brazil at dawn, from the mountains of Colorado to McDougall's own backyard in Pennsylvania, all places where modern-day athletes are honing ancient skills so they're ready for anything.
Just as Born to Run inspired readers to get off the treadmill, out of their shoes, and into the natural world, Natural Born Heroes will inspire them to leave the gym and take their fitness routine to nature - to climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump their way to their own heroic feats.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Another Great Read from McDougall

This book is a first rate thriller in the McDougall style, centering on a remarkable guerrilla campaign against the Nazis on Crete. As in Born to Run, there are fascinating digressions for biographical sketches and discussions of Greek history, parkour, the power of "fascial snapping," the anthropology of unarmed combat, sports nutrition, and hydration. His discussion of hydration will definitely amaze you, as it runs counter to everything you have heard.

McDougall is a master story teller, and his breadth of knowledge is stunning. Just like Born to Run, this one is very tough to put down.
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- R. Schechter

Missed in so many placed Born To Run was a hit

When I read Born To Run it was inspirational, educational, entertaining, and wove all those elements together beautifully. This isn't that. It's an attempt to re-create that formula verbatim and it fails pretty badly. It's to bad, too, because I agree with a lot of his arguments about changing our diets, the pushing of gatoraide and hydration to the detriment in performance (and even risk to health), and even some of the movement discussions. However, instead of focusing the book on science or finding a more relevant story to tie into, McDougall stretches to make the adventures of the British special forces and Greek resistance fit his research. The result is disjointed, sometimes makes bizarre leaps of logic, and made the book a struggle to read.

I really wanted the book to work and I think the information he presents on the failure of the USDA recommendations for the past 40 years is really important, but the British reader doesn't make sense for the story, the story line doesn't match the research and he's just trying too hard to re-create Born To Run. I can recommend a number of health tips that I pulled from the book, but I can't recommend the book. Go paleo, don't overhydrate and let thirst drive your drinking, and learn to move dynamically in the world and not in a gym. Take those three things away and you've got the gist of it without the hours of suffering through an meaningless story with a bad reader.
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- Mark "I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-14-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio