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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Nice Guy
A thoroughly enjoyable read. It does not concentrate solely on the Ed Viesturs attempt to climb all the world's 8,000 metre peaks, but also includes some insights into his personal life and feelings, and the drive which enabled him to achieve his dream. There is just enough technical information for the reader to understand how the climbs are achieved. What does show...
Published on 12 Dec 2006 by Colin Winship

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top plodder - that's his prose & his approach to climbing
Have to say I was very disappointed by this book and frankly astonished it had received so many five star reviews. I'm enough of a climbing literature fan to keep reading to the end. But I found his approach to writing and climbing rather dull despite the undoubted achievement of climbing all 14 8000 metre peaks without oxygen and returning to tell the tale. He honed his...
Published on 21 April 2010 by Mr. Ben Tisdall


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Nice Guy, 12 Dec 2006
By 
Colin Winship (Coventry, England) - See all my reviews
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A thoroughly enjoyable read. It does not concentrate solely on the Ed Viesturs attempt to climb all the world's 8,000 metre peaks, but also includes some insights into his personal life and feelings, and the drive which enabled him to achieve his dream. There is just enough technical information for the reader to understand how the climbs are achieved. What does show throughout the book is Ed Viesturs total respect for other climbers and his willingness to recognise their achievements. He appears not to like being called a "nice guy" which is a pity, because that is clearly what he is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top class - but not typical, 31 Mar 2009
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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In 2005 after 18 years of Himalayan expeditions Ed Viesturs became the first American to summit all 14 peaks higher than 8,000 metres, accomplishing what he termed `Endeavor 8000' (sic). As a boy he had been inspired to climb big mountains by Maurice Herzog's book on the first ascent of Annapurna - a mountain to become his `bogey' summit - his last to be climbed after two failures, yet after success on all others including 6 ascents of Everest. On its own the coverage of his Himalayan odyssey is worthy of a 5-star rating, but `No Shortcuts to the Top' has greater breadth and depth. It is Ed Viesturs' compelling autobiography, written with assistance from renowned author-mountaineer David Roberts - and it is the story of a remarkable man.

Ed Viesturs was determined to summit all 8,000ers without reliance on oxygen - and to do so safely! Observance of his own mantra "Getting to the top is optional ... Getting down is mandatory" is demonstrated by a willingness to retreat, and to the facts that he was never seriously injured, never needed to be rescued - and never lost a partner! In the mountains Ed Viesturs' approach to risk control is exemplary, and in his writing he avoids romanticising - so making him very special in terms of Himalayan climbing and mountaineering literature.

`No Shortcuts to the Top' embraces Ed Viesturs' childhood, education, vocation, guiding etc. and it describes his feelings and reactions with honest explanations of family relations, struggles, emotions etc. He does not openly compete with others but he is highly motivated and goal orientated - very competitive with himself. When writing about mountaineering Ed Viesturs avoids being judgemental but he refers to exploits by others (including persona of the 1996 Everest disasters) to support his own experiences, and he comments on a wide variety of issues and developments - rescues, satellite communications, publicity, filming etc. These matters are interesting and informative, and without doubt the `Endeavor 8000' achievements described are top-class and inspiring. In addition to readers recognizing his courage, composure and capabilities, for good measure Ed Viesturs comes across as a personable character, and he strikes a nice balance between understatement and embellishment - `No Shortcuts to the Top' is much more than a typical mountaineering book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to climb Safely!, 27 Nov 2007
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This book is really different from the usual climbing fare. Ed Viesturs is a climber who was able to turn back at critical points, an attribute that few share. I'd throughly recommend this as an alternative to the derring do of most climbing books. He seems to be a very determinded as well as displayhing a rare type of courage -- the courage to say no. A very refreshing read.

It is basically his biography starting with his early years and then on to the stories behind his ascents of the world's 14 8000m peaks. The first American to achieve this feat
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An acceptable risk, 22 Jun 2009
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Negative publicity created by the Everest disaster of 1996 and the controversial story of David Sharp, probably the two most infamous mountaineering misadventures has helped paint high altitude summit baggers as selfish and lacking morality, focussed on nothing but reaching the top to claim another victory over nature.
Ed Vistuers is the polar (no pun intended) opposite of that perception. One of the most successful high alititude climbers of all time, Ed has achieved his goals by sticking to hard and fast rules, the first and foremost being, getting home is far more important than getting to the top.
The result is a book that is a refreshing reminder that not all climbers suffer from tunnel vision and that nice guys can win.
Despite his humility and understated style of writing (He writes in such a way that makes the reader believe that may be they could also achieve what he has by dogged determination and sticking to the golden rules) what Vistuers has accomplished is quite remarkable. He has climbed the 14 highest mountains on earth, some more than once including Everest 7 times, and all without supplemental oxygen.
The book is fascinating and almost impossible to put down. You'll finish it wishing he was your mate and you could just give him a call and pop down the pub for a beer with him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Human Tale, 4 Jun 2009
By 
E. R. Spicer (High Wycombe, UK) - See all my reviews
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Excellent book! Anybody who has struggled on a mountain, been gripped by fear or lain in their tent worrying about the upcoming day will connect with this author. The little digressions into other mountaineers' experiences and his family and private life make this book of broad appeal.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far-out stuff indeed, 13 Jan 2007
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Anyone who needs some kind of inspiration for whatever in life ought to read this. Ed Viesturs is a hard charger, there's no two ways about it. His extreme motivation, which led him to summit the top 14 peaks in the world, is clearly visible in his writing. But it's not just his desire and drive that have an impact on the reader, it's also a downright good story.

It takes a certain kind of human to walk to the top of Everest, I believe, let alone all 14 highest peaks. It is an epic adventure story that must be told, and Ed tells it just fine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and inspiring, 21 Feb 2011
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If you ever want to know what it's like being a struggling mountaineer, worrying about lack of money, stressed about giving up a career you've worked so hard to achieve and just plain scared, exhausted, grief stricken AND elated by the high mountains, this book is for you.

Ed Viesturs, is a mountaineering legend. I'm not going to list his accomplishments as it would take too long but let's just say, the guy, has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt! He also comes across as a real nice guy, succeeding through sheer hard work and effort in a world and at a time when professional mountaineers were about as rare as astronauts. He also shows that in today's cynical and money driven world, it's possible for a 'nice guy' to reach the top of the tree and stay there!

The style of writing is excellent and gripping. Nothing is too long or gushing, just simply written with a genuine emotion to accompany the deed.

Ed, you will evermore be an inspiration to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Highly' recommended for the intelligent climber, 19 Jan 2011
By 
Andrew White (London) - See all my reviews
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No Shortcuts to the Top is Ed Viesturs' autobiography starting briefly in his early life, capturing the roots of his drive, focus and fitness, before going into more detail on the highs and lows involved in his mountaineering career path, the focus of which is mostly around the 16 years where he climbed the worlds 14 highest peaks without supplimental oxygen.

I don't like to disagree with other reviews - each to their own.. however, some of the low ratings are based on their expectations of the type of book they were buying, rather than the actual content of it. If you buy a book on gardening, you can't complain when it doesn't tell you which wild berries are edible in the Lake District. No Shortcuts to the Top is about Ed Viesturs' personal struggle to reach his goals, giving details of the events which transpired over the years, what he did right and wrong, and what he loved and regretted. Although the book goes into appropriate depth regarding some of the tragic events he was a part of (several of them quite famous events), it is not a book based on a singular tragedy.

Personally I found the book very informative and inspiring. In particular I would recommend it to any aspiring mountaineers who enjoy the traditional style of mountaineering, rather than the modern speed-run style. Ed Viesturs is exactly the kind of climber you would want with you in the mountains.. experienced, patient and above all, he knows when the risks outweigh the rewards. No mountain is worth dying for. Also, it was mentioned that his book was little more than a bragging session, but take it from someone who absolutely hates big egos and braggards; I found his writing to be very forthright and honest, which is exactly what you want in a book like this. Of all the mountaineering autobiographies and memoirs I've read, this is the one I would most read again.

Here are some recommendations of other classics in the genre you might be interested in looking at.

Classic Accounts:
-The White Spider (Heinrich Harrer)- A classic book with every historic detail on the climbing history of the North face of the Eiger. Some very sad and interesting events, though some parts of the book can be a little slow where it goes into heavy depth on historical accuracy. 4.5 stars.
-Nanda Devi: Exploration and Ascent (Eric Shipton & H.W.Tilman)- This book is in two part, as both authours orginally wrote their own books, and was compiled into this one. Quite different writing styles and perspectives, but it works very well. Traditional exploration and mountaineering from when there were still wonderful places to be discovered. As with all the classics, I find they're a little heavy on detail sometimes, but if you don't mind the slower pace, you'll love this. 4.5 stars.
-Annapurna (Maurice Herzog)- This one I haven't read, though it is considered the best classic of mountaineering by many.

Modern Autobiographies:
-No Shortcuts to the Top (Ed Viesturs)- As above. 5-stars.
-Learning to Breathe (Andy Cave)- Another excellent autobiography about a young Yorkshire lad whose start into Mining was cut short by the strikes and closures of the pits in the 80's, which spurred his career into mountaineering. Definately one of the best books of this type, and while it does take awhile for it to proceed past the pits part of the story, it is a rivetting must-read of the genre. 5-stars.

Singular Tragedies:
-Touching the Void (Joe Simpson)- I found this book to be a real page-turner, and a film was also made on this book, though I still have to watch it!. It puts you right there on the mountain with Joe Simpson and his companion, Simon Yates, as everything goes wrong high on the mountain and gets worse as they try to get back down. Very easy to read and very gripping.. highly recommended to the action-book enthusiast. 5 star.
-Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer)- This is another I haven't read, but is considered a must-read by most who have. It's based on the tragic events of 1996 on Everest, which is regarded as the worst year on the mountain (unless something worse happened when I wasn't looking!) :) From various accounts I've read, I have to say that Jon Krakauer's account seems to lack credulity and he appears to be bending the truth. It seems his actions on the mountain were morally sub-par, but without actually being there, I wouldn't want to be too critical. It's considered a very good read by many. I personally opted to read Left for Dead by Beck Weathers, who was directly involved in the event and was lucky to make it out alive with severe frostbite, however, Beck Weathers' version, while undoubtedly accurate by all accounts, is quite slow going for the most part and the actual event is a disappointingly small slice, so would get 3 stars from me. People generally recommend 'The Climb' if you don't fancy either of these two authours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 28 Sep 2009
By 
Simon Kendrew - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed this book! Not since reading Touching the Void has a book interested me so much. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good solid mantra, 20 Oct 2010
By 
A. S. Edwards (England) - See all my reviews
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I understand the perspectives of two of the reviewers on here that they found this book dull. That is not to say that I agree however, I found it informative and more academic as well as easily readable. It's always more exciting when it goes wrong is probably the reason that the odd person has found this book dull.

I however thought it a good informative and measured run-down of this successful and dare I say it sensible climber. If you were entertaining climbing high peaks and conducting a bit of summit bagging then you could do a lot worse than read this guys book and follow his example.

'Getting up is voluntary but getting down is mandatory' or words to that effect...
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