I can count on one hand the number of books that I've read which have fundamentally changed the way I think about the world. I'm excited that in Born to Run by Christoper McDougall, not only have I just read another, but that this one quite probably tops the list.
The book takes you through this amazing journey where in a quest to work out why he gets so many injuries (like most runners!), he discovers the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico and how they can run distances over 400 miles, in one go, in nothing more than leather sandals. Meets Caballo Blanco, a white man who has learnt their ways and runs with them. He discovers the ultra-running community (ultra-running is about distances longer than a 26.2 marathon) and the zen-like aura that surrounds them. He exposes how modern running shoes are quite probably the cause of most running injuries and how barefoot running could be the solution. And, most fascinating of all, he details the biological and evolutionary evidence which suggests that human beings actually evolved to run super long distances in the first place.
It really changed the way that I think about running and lots of other things. I've always believe that running is unlike any other "sport". It is more fundamental to who and what were are as human beings. I've always felt when I run that "this is what I am designed to do - this is what I am for". There is something so natural, fluid and meaningful about the movement. For the first time this book has given me some of the reasons why. The thought that we are alive today because our ancestors could run, further and better than anything else, that as a species we may be designed by evolution as the ultimate long distance running machine and pack hunting animal, is a fascinating, revolutionary idea.
Anyhow, I'd highly recommend it, he has a real talent for story telling, its a great read (whether you are a runner or not!). You can get it from Amazon here.