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Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul (And, of Course, Surfing) [Hardcover]

Laird Hamilton
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 28 2008
Laird Hamilton has been hailed as the world's greatest big-wave surfer. His first book, Force of Nature, allows readers a rare glimpse inside the unique philosophy that has created his circumstances, and not the other way around. After all, this is a man whose biological father abandoned him shortly after he was born; whose first job was working on a pig far; who dropped out of school in eleventh grade. And then the career decision: surfer. Though earning enough to pay the rent as any kind of surfer is next to impossible, Hamilton has ended up in the place we all desire to be: doing exactly what he loves, becoming the world's best in the process, making a great living, being surrounded by nature and family, radiating peak health and fitness, and succeeding by any definition of the word.
How did he get there? And more importantly, how can the rest of us join him?
Force of Nature is a detailed map to that destination, with Laird Hamilton as the reader's guide. It's not about chasing trophies or accolades or cash. It's about quality over quantitysoul and being true to your physical, mental, and spiritual roots. Not only is it possible to thrive in the modern world without adopting its harmful habits, it's essential. And not only has Hamilton mastered this balance, he makes a compelling and articulate case that anyone who wants to can do the same.
This book is a deeply authoritative and cutting-edge guide to peak fitness in mind, body, sould, and surfing. It comes directly from the source and his inner circle, which includes those at the vanguard of sports, training, nutrition, and more. Former pro volleyball player Gabrielle Reece; surf legend Dave Kalama; fitness gurus Paul Chek, T.R. Goodman, and Don Wildman; and Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis all contribute their knowledge. Readers will get an all-access pass into an elite world filled with definitive and provocative ideas.

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About the Author

     Laird Hamilton is known as the guiding genius of crossover board sports, and he is truly amazing in the water. His size--6'3", over 215 pounds--makes him seem indestructible. Laird is the elder son of sixties' surfing legend Bill Hamilton and is a throwback to that time when surfers prided themselves on being all-around watermen. His mother, JoAnn, gave birth to him in a "bathysphere" with reduced gravity as part of an experiment at the UC Medical Center in San Francisco. JoAnn was also a surfer and decided to move the family from California to Hawaii when Laird was just a few months old. They lived on Oahu's North Shore and later in a remote valley on Kauai, not far from one of the world's best surf breaks. He learned to surf between the ages of 2 and 3 on the front half of a surfboard; and at age 8, hi father took him to the 6-foot cliff at Waimea Falls, where Laird looked down, looked back at his dad, and jumped. "He's been bold since day one," says Bill, "and hell-bent on living life to the extreme." He lives in Hawaii and California with his wife and three daughters.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A little thin.... June 10 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sure there are some great pics of "guy we all aspire to be more like" and some very comprehensive workout regimes... Overall though the book lacks any real weight. Laird has some interesting insights on life, but it did seem like the book was clambering to "make pages" ... This is not a biography -- think of it more as a coffe table ode to a very fit guy with an exciting life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Book Aug. 31 2009
First of all, I'm no surfer. I have been a handful of times, and due to where I live I can't pursue it very often. I stumbled across this book because of my interest in living a healthy active lifestyle which is more focused on the outside world than spending endless hours in a gym.

To me it seemed Lairds' book was geared towards his fans to explain what he believes and what he does to stay in shape. There are Yoga routines and a weight workout he calls "The Circuit". (Which looks like a great approach to a gym workout) There are recipies for healthy meals and also tips for beginner surfers. The most valuable thing I found in this book was that tips from various experts on nutrition, recovery, and other topics.

Things I was not so fond of were the amount of filler photos of Laird working out, and the amount of Hawaiian specific information. (Things that are irrelevant to people who do not live in Hawaii...Foods for example)

Over all, it was a decent book. I did pick up quite a few things to help me with my training techniques, mental attitude towards training and especially recovery. If Laird was somebody I looked up to prior to reading this book I would have got more out of it
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book June 9 2010
I really enjoyed the book although it was not what I expected. I thought it would be a little more like an autobiography, but instead its more of a "coffee table" book. Interesting points, but very abreviated. There are interesting sections on nutrition and workouts, and as well just on life lessons/positive attitudes/philosophies that do make you reflect.

So all in all, a good book if you know ahead of time that its on the lighter side.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  84 reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Inspires You to Change Your Thinking! Dec 16 2008
By Jeffrey Spencer - Published on Amazon.com
This book opened my eyes and at the same time confirmed some of the philosophies I have regarding health. Laird leads an amazing life and has an amazing attitude towards living. His words are very inspirational and at the same time his philosophies towards life deserve attention. Since reading his book I've started doing power yoga (vinyasa sytle), changed my weight routine over to his circuit training, and have made a few diet changes. The book is very easy to read and I found I did not want to put it down.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Coach July 29 2009
By Stacy Scott - Published on Amazon.com
The first time I scanned through this book in the bookstore I saw a bunch of exercise routines and yoga poses and I passed on it because I'm not a gym guy.

However, I was at the bookstore again and had some time to kill so I took a second look. I read the first few pages and I was drawn in to his words. I recommend you read the Intro the next time you're in the bookstore to see if it's something you'd be remotely interested in.

I don't know, he just seemed to have a lot in common with the way I think and that's what piqued my curiosity. I really think to enjoy this book you need to have tried to learn something foreign in your life and really embraced it, not giving up no matter how hard it was. I think too many people take the "safe way" out in life and watch from the distance and comment on it. To those people, this book might be mildly interesting.

But Laird is no ordinary guy. He's done some insane things (if you don't believe it, just flip to the page that details all of his injuries). And although the book is an easy read, anyone who has faced similar (I use that term loosely) fears, challenges, or obstacles just gets it. You see how right on he is with his words.

When you get to step inside the mind of a man who has pushed the boundaries of what is humanly possible and in turn created new ways to look at it, you get a rare glimpse that few people have ever experienced.

What's funny is this book is mass published and can be purchased by anyone but I truly believe he poured his heart into this book and that's why I find this book so special.

My wife and I joke that he is a "life coach" just because he seems to cover so many topics and has something interesting to say about each.

I just think his book is fun. It makes me appreciate life and the environment I'm in. And by the way, his nutrition advice is really helpful. I feel much better throughout the day and I've slimmed down quite a bit too. I've even started doing yoga which I never thought I would do and am in such a better mood before I go to work now (which my co-workers appreciate).
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should be entitled, I am Laird Hamilton and I am the best March 28 2012
By recreateordie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read a lot of books that talk about leisure and recreation and how important it is to our lives, it is my field of study after all. I surf and of course know Laird Hamilton's work as a big wave surfer, he should stick to that. This is not some deep read about how big wave surfing can change ones life, or the thrill of it. This book is simply a day in the life of Laird Hamilton, what he eats, and how he works out. The book also has an alarming amount of photos of Laird, more of a Laird Hamilton picture book. It is like he wrote down every thought he had, realized it was about ten pages long, so he added every other page with a picture of him, then doubled spaced all the text and put it in large font. The book is organized as if one of my students would organize it, had a page limit to meet and did everything he could to make that page limit. If you want to be like Laird, read this book, but if you want something a little more thought provoking, try let my people surf by Yvon Chouinard
42 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laird Is the Force of Nature: Dude Get Stoked About Life and Eat Some Poi Nov. 3 2008
By G. Charles Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
The first thing you need to know is that this book is published by Rodale Press: glossy photos and generic glosses on what's personal, valuable and important in life, i.e., largely standard English, bromidic writing, with a strong commercial angle in mind.

Not that Laird Hamilton doesn't manage to put his own personal stamp on the final product; no, he actually does pull it off.

The book is tweaked to speak with Laird's own experience and voice. Laird Hamilton is sui generis after all, and because of this fact, the book is as much a testament to his being a force of nature as much as it is an inspirational how-to. The world is Laird's gymnasium.

To illustrate the commercial aspect of the book, however, Laird writes, "There's no such thing as not enough time.... So when I hear someone say they don't have time for fitness -- I'm not buying it.... That's messed up." That's fine. That is Laird himself speaking. But then, on the last page of the book, there's a list of Resources where you can buy all the stuff Laird references throughout his talk or writing, things like the Bosu ball he uses or the muscle milk he drinks.

The second thing you need to know is there are lots of photos of Laird in the book, colored ones as well as black-and-white. In some of these, he looks gorgeous; in others, he looks downright goofy. In still others, particularly while surfing, he looks like an indistinguishable, unrecognizeable and small figure or dot in the ocean. Interestingly, in the Forward to the book, Laird writes that it's a big world, but we humans are not so big. Maybe inserting photos that show the surfing celebrity as a human dot in the grand ocean was part of the author's plan.

Further inside the book, there's a section on circuit training (the standard stuff) and one on the power of Yoga (the standard poses). I admit I was surprised to learn that Laird advocates Yoga, but then, in reading the book, I learned Laird is a flexible athlete, both physically and mentally.

Laird's own personal twist on all these exercises is that he does not believe in routine or doing the same exercises or circuits over and over again. He advocates changing it up in order to challenge the body regularly, and he especially wants you to pay attention to the moment as well as to the body such that in doing the circuit, for example, he wants you to exercise more than just one muscle at a time but get lots of sleep afterward. Laird likes 8 to 10 hours a night himself.

There's a section on raw food eating ("Don't Eat Dead Food," i.e., raw milk), including a recipe chapter with lots of color photos of food, and there's a section on the supplements Laird recommends, including the use of the dubious colloidal silver, which Laird claims to take only topically, not internally (as the quacks recommend). While Laird does recommend eating raw butter and raw milk, the recipes for salmon, for example, do involve heat and baking. It's clear that there's nothing fixed or rigid about Laird's recommendations or plan. He's clearly a self-confessed meat-eater, not a vegetarian.

There's a small section on his wife and children (3 girls), too.

The very last few sections of the book contain surfing tips with not-so-special technical knowledge offered such as "To become an advanced surfer, it's critical to know ho to use your upper body in conjunction with your lower body."

Overall, Laird Hamilton ultimately wants the reader to understand that you need to have fun with your life and stay in tune with fun. Lastly, he wants the reader to know Pe'Ahi is his girl and will always be his girl, with all due apologies to wife and daughters.

The book reveals that Laird Hamilton is a total athlete. You can read about him; you can follow his recommendations; you can be inspired by him; but it's clear you can never match him. He's non-pareil.
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, lots of pictures. Laird is an interesting guy. Dec 6 2008
By Scott Sterkel - Published on Amazon.com
This book was not bad. There are a lot of pictures, but there is also some good info. Laird's nutrition and physical fitness routines are somewhat unrealistic for the average person that works at least 40 hours/week, but the principals are right on the money. His life experiences are from a man who has lived in Hawaii his entire life and has never had a real job. Although unrealist for most, it is interesting that a guy who was never a World Champion at his sport of choice(Surfing),has been able to create and live the life that he has. I don't even know if he ever was on the Pro Surfing tour. Laird is a fascinating character and if you know anthing about the guy, you will probably like this book. If you've never heard of the guy, you might not care for it.
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