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Gerry Lindgren's Book on Running [Paperback]

Gerry Lindgren


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Gerry Lindgren (October 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615127924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615127927
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 14.2 x 0.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,238,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Running Book! Dec 27 2006
By Jonathan Stiles - Published on Amazon.com
Gerry Lindgren is the greatest high school runner in history. In 1964, he was running within seconds of World Records and chasing the fastest runners in the world. He also won the Olympic Trials 10k. No high school runner before or since has come close to his accomplishments. He is also the closest any American has ever come to the World Record in the 3-mile/5000m, coming within 0.6 seconds of the world record in 1966. In 1965, he actually got the World Record in the 6-mile/10,000m. He logged 200 miles a week and inspired a generation of runners to excel. Selfless and tireless, Gerry broke barriers thought impossible and is a hero to thousands. He's finally written the first of two books on his life in running, and it is a treat for any fan of the golden era of American distance running, or for anyone wishing to be inspired to achieve personal excellence in running. A must-have.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only The Shadow Knows April 7 2007
By Michael DENNISUK - Published on Amazon.com
This is a wonderfully strange and inticing little book. I came to the running revolution in the mid 70's with all the other boomers. 30 years, 23 marathons, hundreds of road races and 20+ years of coaching and I'm still addicted. My heroes were Ryun, Liquori, Prefontaine, Shorter and Rodgers. There was always this myth of a man named Gerry Lindgren who may have been the greatest high school runner ever. Legend had it that he ran ungodly mileage 150, 175, 200 miles a week. 50 mile runs, 80 mile runs. Lindgren has given us a special little book that recounts his high school years and his emergence as a world class runner. It is a beautiful window into his world. Writing it as his shadow allows him to use the third person which, in this case, works very well. His replays of his races and his internal dialogue are worth the price of the book. This is a great little read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book on Running Well! Oct. 20 2010
By Russ Egeland - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I wish I had this book when I ran high school cross country in the 1960s. Gerry's vivid race descriptions, as narrated by his Shadow, validate the running tips, principles, and strategies he describes in his book. His shadow has seen Gerry run over 200 miles in practice during a week. It has also seen him struggle with himself during races and overcome adversity. Gerry's story is not just about his high school running career, but more about dreaming a big dream and then achieving it. It is about working hard to attain that dream. It is about running for just the sheer joy of running and by doing so, freeing yourself to achieve great dreams.

This book is for runners who want to be better. It gives hope for those beginning to run in high school who come in last on the team and struggle to make it around the track without tripping or being pushed. That is how Gerry Lindgren started as a High School freshman. As a 5 foot 5-1/2, 118 pound, self-proclaimed "wimp" in High School, Gerry became a World record holder and Olympic veteran at 18 years of age. Some of his amazing high school records stood for over 40 years. Gerry Lindgren along with Frank Shorter and Steve Prefontaine got the country running and started the running revolution.

Gerry offers his running wisdom and experience to those like him who want to achieve their dreams. Through running Gerry did just that and so, he gives hope to those who are like him.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Story on the Human Condition, Set Mostly in the World of Running, Through Age 18 Aug. 31 2014
By Brad Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
I recommend the book. It's compelling, gripping, more so than the movies of another runner. They should make a movie out of it. I'd like to see a second book on his college years. This book doesn't really go through his 11 NCAA championships, (except 1 or 2 in the race strategy appendix).

Ok, he's not a professional writer like we find in the top books. Perhaps you shouldn't expect that. On the other hand, it's very readable, not at all like serious academic books on the generically existential topics that I explore below. (It lacks the kind of jargon that I sometimes use.) In fact, the nonprofessional style of the book, including the narration by "Gerry Lindgren's shadow," helps express the (subordinary) everyman theme of the book, and adds to its value. In the end, a truly great story is told, one that continues to have the power to bring tears to my eyes, one that I have read over and over again.

For starters, I think the book should be recommended to school libraries, perhaps starting with guidance counselors. It would be a great book for youth shelters and detention centers, (where I once worked). The issue of kids getting picked on and looked down on is very contemporary. Put it in your "bullying" collection.

I find that the message resonates beyond the "youth book" genres, however, as the issue of huge stresses on people is found in many places (i.e. from alcoholism in Gerry's family to: Vietnam Veterans, "farm stress," poverty, etc.). For example, Gerry found a "survivor mission," such as we find in the books of Robert Jay Lifton (Home from the War: The Vietnam Veterans: Neither Victims Nor Executioners). Or consider Victor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning. Gerry found a unique personal meaning in a cause to serve, person(s) to love, but also in terms of attitudes toward his unalterable destiny. It led to his incredible story of running success, and of what I can only call his "killer strategies" in races (meaning killer to him!). It started on the simplest of levels, as the slowest kid on the team, running with a small purpose, one lap at a time. It leads eventually, to the book for us all, as I'm describing it in this short review. What Gerry's book is, then, is a personal example from the *familiar (*today, not in 1964) world of running, that illustrates what the other, (more academic) books that I cite, seek to explain, plus Gerry's "shadow" interpretation of it, from the inside. (Did I mention Carl Jung!)

On the question of love, I think we should take Gerry's word for it. It's not just a theme about Gerry. It's also a story about his coach and Guidance Counselor, Tracy Walters. Coach Walters made personal choices which then became givens (destiny) in Gerry's life.

Out of all of that, then, comes a story about the human potential. Here, Gerry's unique story is about talent that people don't have, about rising to levels thought impossible, and in that way, his way, changing one's ability level, one's talent, for the future.

Put another way, Gerry was an innovator. I find that a number of his principles parallel, for example Apple Computer, as seen in Carmine Gallo's book, "The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs." Gerry was certainly one to "think different," and he was "insanely great." As they put it in a famous ad series by Apple, he was one of "the crazy ones," but many of us "see genius in that craziness." For those who see Gerry in this way, his photo could have been used along side of the various other eccentrics that Apple featured.

What's amazing about Gerry is how he was so far ahead of his time. He moved the bar so far up, (and on cinder tracks,) that, 50 years later, he's still the oldest one on a number of youth and high school record lists. For example, his senior year he knocked 27 seconds off the high school indoor two mile record, then another 14 seconds, then another 6. That's 47 seconds total. Where else has someone done that? If you divide it in half, it's still more than 60% above than what Jim Ryun did outdoors.

I find, then, that Gerry's "shadow" rules of running parallel Gallos' take on Jobs. Gallo says: Jobs: "do what you love," "follow your heart." Gerry: "heart runs," "race with your heart," "run to be you," a love of running. Jobs: "Make a dent in the universe." Gerry: run to change the world. Jobs: "say no to 1,000 things," (he reduced Apple's product line). Gerry: "focus on one event." Also, quoting Guy Kawasaki, ("What I Learned from Steve Jobs," YouTube) Jobs: "the biggest challenges create the best work." Gerry: "dream an enormous dream." What makes Gerry's story stand out, however, is not really the ideas. Like Jobs own story, the ideas stand out because of what Gerry actually did. Gerry's accomplishments are what makes it a great book. It fits, therefore, into the genre of sports books with implications for business success.

There are also parallels with Daryll Mudra's (Dr. Victory) book, "Freedom in the Huddle." Mudra's speciality was to take college football losers and turn them into national champions. That's Gerry's (and Coach Walter's) story too.

Gerry describes himself as a typical child in an alcoholic family, which is a destiny that is very difficult for children (and then adults) to bear. It leads to coping patterns, and that's part of the setting in the book. Likewise, it was Gerry's destiny to be someone who could not succeed in athletics. With the human destiny, then, it's always a case of how we respond to our destiny. As Rollo May put the question in Freedom and Destiny: do we face it or not? Accept it? Fight it? The message of the book for the human condition, then, is the basic substance of the drama that emerges in the book.

I haven't yet fully decided how to answer those questions for the book (how it handles destiny). Certainly his training methods, (which, I've heard, awed multi-world record holder Ron Clark,) and his racing strategies, (mentioned above,) are part of the answer. Another part of the answer is in the spirituality of Gerry's personal philosophy, which emphasizes humility and service. That too is a key to the book's dramatic message about the human condition, about how to manage destiny.

And on this latter point, think of the "higher power" in the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, as part of how they address destiny through acceptance of their limits. On this latter point see Gregory Bateson's views of alcoholism and human destiny, as described by Charles Hampden-Turner in his book, Maps of the Mind (map 48). (See also Hampden-Turner's book Sane Asylum, which, like Lifton's book, addresses "the dilemma of individual responsibility versus social causation." Gerry's story starts (soon) in the "social causation" of an alcoholic family," which is combined with a non-athletic physical destiny. It influences a boy growing through junior high and on into high school. In the end, amazingly, Gerry tells a story of the blessings of his life. Love leads to gratitude.

I find that Gerry Lindgren's book on running has a powerful message about the human spirit in this era of the power complex, when we feel so small and insignificant. We bear a huge burden, which we are passing on to our children as an even bigger burden. How dare we do such a thing to our very own children and grandchildren!? And yet how can we not do so. That's our destiny, (the limits, the givens in which we live).

But then, . . . read Gerry's book . . . .

Freedom and Destiny (Norton Paperback) Home from the War: VIETNAM VETERANS Neither Victims nor Executioners Man's Search For Meaning Maps of the Mind: Charts and Concepts of the Mind and its Labyrinths Sane asylum The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success Freedom in the Huddle: The Creative Edge in Coaching Psychology The Macintosh Way The Pursuit of Wow! Every Person's Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow's Over the Top Nov. 1 2012
By WakeUpRunning - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Gerry's shadow knows how to write an honest autobiography about the early days of fitness running. His shadow must also know how much it stretched to keep up with such an "over the top" Type A gutsy driven young man. The bottom line...I've doubled my mileage since reading this book - and feel good about it!

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