Book review: “Running & Being: The Total Experience” by Dr. George Sheehan

Running & Being: The Total Experience

If you consider yourself a “real runner” you have probably heard of the 1978 classic “Running & Being” by George Sheehan.  For decades it has been considered the book that helped launch the popular running movement.  Unfortunately, I must admit I had never read it.  I’ve heard of it and meant to read it, but never did.  So when it was mentioned in a recent Runner’s World article I decided I had to visit my local library.  I found they had the updated 20th Anniversary version titled “Running & Being: The Total Experience” which includes an updated forward.  If by chance you have not read it, let me warn you.  It isn’t exactly a “How To” book.  Yes, there are tips and suggestions but it is mostly philosophical. Sheehan appears to be an expert on the great philosophers and ancient thinkers and he quotes them often.  If you enjoy the mental benefits of running (don’t we all?) then this book helps validate that feeling and tries to explain that connection.  If for some reason you are just running for the physical health benefits then, frankly, you may find this book a bit boring or too “deep”.  It can make you think if you want but it takes some work. I read it mostly at a surface level without taking lots of time to ponder or debate his point of view and I enjoyed it at that level.  It was interesting to thnk about the community of distance runners and how we are different (which we are). This book makes that point abundantly clear.  It did make me want to keep “Running & Being”.

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2 Responses to Book review: “Running & Being: The Total Experience” by Dr. George Sheehan

  1. ilikemargarine says:

    LONG RESPONSE: funny. i just pulled my copy off my shelf this morning. if you look at my blog entry for today (no, not shameless plug for my blog) i used a quote from the book on today’s entry and the sept. 16 entry. my very favorite most beloved book of all time. i got it autographed by Dr. Sheehan when he visited my hometown of San Angelo, Texas for an 8k. if apartment catches on fire i’m grabbing wife, cat, guitar and “running & being”. still working on the order of those four. a magical, magical, wonderful, spiritual book that still resonates after all these years.

    SHORT RESPONSE: oh, yeah. i love that book, too.

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