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3.7 out of 5 stars26
3.7 out of 5 stars
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2013
Having read Mark Rowlands' "The Philosopher and the Wolf", I was excited to find out that another book from this original and thoughtful author was on its way. Like The Philosopher and the Wolf, Mark offers insightful, creative and thought-provoking insights on our approach to running and how we could think differently about it and life in general. It's an uplifting book and offers much more than many other books on running that I've read. After reading this book, I have tried to think differently about the reasons why I run and appreciate much more than before the experience of running in the moment, rather than where it may get me in the future.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who runs, whether you like running or not. It might just change the way you think about running and life. That's certainly worth trying!

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
I devoured this book. Quite simply, it pins down what it means to run like no other book I've read - why we do it, why it is so special. But the author also goes on to use the key runs of his life as a launch pad for some page turning thinking on many aspects of life. If you liked Murakami's 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running' this is definitely a book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2014
I am not sure what I expected when I started to read from Mark Rowlands, but I bought the book with hope that it would provide me with a new, refreshing and thought provoking take on running. Mark is a professor of philosophy and so his analysis on why it is that we run and the intrinsic value that it is able to give us was good in a way that I could relate to it. I have been running for the best part of my life and in the past 35 years I have only missed a day, almost entirely either through injury or illness. The book does not consider running as being addictive and that endorphins as the bodies natural painkiller released when we run may be the 'fix' that some runners become addicted to. He does describe what he calls the 'heatbeat' of the run, and which I can sort of understand, although I may interpret it slightly differently, it does however go some way to explain the feeling we can have when we are unaware that we are running as we become absorbed with its rhythm.

Mark is very keen on dogs, his first 'wolf dog' called Brenin was the reason for him to start running. More dogs came along and so he was 'running with the pack' which he used for the title of the book. If you are both a runner and dog lover then this book should tick a few more boxes for you. It is partly autobiographical which is fine, as many running books are, and he takes you on some of his running in Wales, France and America.

I found the book to be at times thought provoking, alhough some parts heavy and difficult to read, I nevertheless enjoyed it, partly because running is one of the most important things I have in my life and we all have are reasons for doing it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2013
I was given this book, as a keen runner.... but this is not a running book it is a life book.

To some degree being a runner does help you to understand it, but you don't need to be a runner and you certainly don't need to be a good runner - the author himself admits he is no great runner.

Running with the Pack is about how to live our lives and be happy. The insights are based on the work of great philosophers and how their work is relevant to how we live our lives and how we can be happier in these lives. There are a lot of "self-help" books out there that offer "paths to happiness". That is not what this is, it is not a "self-help" book (as I understand them), it is not about following someone else's guide to life, it is about seeing life differently.

I think everyone in the world should at least read the last chapter of this book and preferably read the whole book.

Buy it. Enjoy it. Enjoy life. (And maybe run)!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2013
Thought-provoking throughout, well-written and cleverly constructed - just an excellent read. Rowlands explores some seriously deep stuff in here, but with a light and engaging style that will resonate with just about anyone who's ever put on a pair of running shoes. For long-distance runners in particular, there's a lot of wonderful insight and "a-ha!" moments, and for non-runners there's ample insight into why the runners do it, and keep on doing it... His remarkable relationship with his wolf/dog pack is at times integral to the narrative and at others a fascinating sub-plot. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2013
This book was far more philosophical and intellectual than I had foreseen. Nevertheless I am enjoying it. I have been a life long runner and am also interested in philosophy and alternative thinking but if you choose this book, be prepared for a lot of digression and tangential thought. It is less about running and more about reflecting on life and its passing. It uses the metaphor of running a marathon more as a cohesive device than as a biographical account of training and completing a run. I recently listened to the writer - Mark Rowlands speaking at the Hay Literary festival and found that his book is far more insightful and thought provoking than he is in person - nice guy though. Buy it and read it if you enjoyed 'Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance' but not as a gift for a running enthusiast - as i did!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2013
I have been a fan of Rowlands since I read His book 'The Philosopher and The Wolf' due to his tone, informal style of introducing philosophy, humour and clear passion for introspection and understanding.

'Running With The Pack' is perhaps not the running book for those looking for practical steps on how to run. But, that being said those looking for inspiration to run, or perhaps, why indeed to run, will be moved by this book.

The philosophy within the book is perhaps distracting to those not inclined for a less physical workout, but serves it's purpose to inspire thought and revaluation of an otherwise -perhaps understood as- gruelling task of long distance running.

All in all a wonderful read, strongly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
I think some people might find this heavy, but I loved much of it. As a non-runner (with a husband who runs), I was interested in the philosophy side and I found the discussion of what is valuable in life, the difference between intrinsic and instrumental value etc very useful, together with ideas as to what makes us happy. It was refreshing to find the suggestion that what we do as work is not perhaps what gives our lives highest value - so may people seem to believe that fulfilling work is the ultimate goal. It gave me a better understanding of why people run and why I do some of the things I do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 June 2013
An unusual combination of wisdom and wit. I learned a lot here about the psychology of running and why I'm not better at it. Definitely worth reading more than once, in fact whenever you've forgotten why you are running. Very highly recommended. The author may be streets ahead of me in terms of achievement but I came away from this with respect for him and satisfaction in my position some way behind him.
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on 3 January 2014
This is an excellent and thoughtful book - combining great learning (worn lightly) with a love of running and a interesting perspective on life. The explanations of the philosophical principles and arguments are clear (I tried to understand Satre at Uni and failed but the discussion here makes sense). The reminder that play is all important in life is a really useful one.

I find myself thinking about the difference between a 'cause' of my stopping running and a 'reason' to stop, when my legs get tired and it's cold (a 'cause' is something like a serious pulled muscle, a 'reason' is a poor mental attitude, a bit of a stitch etc).

Really enjoyed this - on my second reading.
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