As part of sharing my journey, I want to share some books with you. I love reading and I’ve read some incredible books about the human body and human exploits that have informed me and more importantly have inspired and moved me and have made me wish that my daily commute was two hours long. I have to read a lot for my work, so when I read for myself, I read to escape from the day. I read to escape to the places I want to be. For those days when I can’t get out and do, I can read about it instead. I hope I can encourage you to dip into some of these amazing books too…
This is my first book review and its the book that, without a doubt, would come to a desert island with me. I bought it in 2011 and I’ve read it so many times the glue has broken on the spine and pages have come loose. The first time I read it I didn’t eat butter for a month after!
Survival of the Fittest (Understanding Health and Peak Physical Performance) by Dr Mike Stroud
This book is a real treasure. Dr Mike Stroud is the Polar explorer who has accompanied Sir Ranulph Fiennes on many of his Polar adventures and most lately his incredible Seven Marathons on Seven Continents in Seven Days challenge just after undergoing open heart surgery.
Dr Mike Stroud is an adventurer in his own right. Upon qualifying as a doctor, he decided he wanted to understand how the body works and so, not only was he a practicing hospital physician specialising in nutrition and metabolism, he undertook research into human performance and survival for the Ministry of Defence. Throughout his life he has taken part in some of the most epic journeys and challenges of our time including the iconic Marathon des Sables.
The reason I think this book is a real treasure is because not only does Mike Stroud start from the cradle of life explaining how and why the body was designed the way it is, moving though thousands of years of evolution, but because he breaks up the How and Why with real life stories recounting incidents where the human body has gone past the limits of its engineering. Stories include a runner who is lost in the Sahara and another telling how he and Sir Ranulf Fiennes survived their epic polar journey losing more body fat and muscle than should be possible and still live.
This book gave me a new level of respect and awe for the ingenious design of the human body and a realisation that nature doesn’t listen to the negative ramblings in your head. It never gives up. Its beautifully written and despite the amount of scientific ‘stuff’ its very easy to read and understand and the stories are written with great humour and feeling. Not only is this incredibly enjoyable to read, it is extremely informative if you want to know what goes on under your skin.
My much loved copy of the book
Survival of the Fittest is available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions.