From as far back as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with books.  As a kid I’d stay up late at night reading and rereading all of my favorites.  When I inevitably grew bored with my personal stash, I’d then raid my parent’s collection.  Their bookshelves were stuffed with many of the bestsellers of the 1970’s:  Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Rich Man Poor Man, Your Erroneous Zones, The Thorn Birds, and Looking for Mr. Goodbar.  The one book, however, that is most deeply seared into my memory is The Complete Book of Running by Jim Fixx.  Its bright red iconic cover of a runner in mid-stride with calf muscles like twisted cables is an incredibly striking image.  The author himself actually posed as the cover model.  The book went on to sell millions and along with Frank Shorter’s Olympic gold medal in the marathon is generally regarded as the fuel that started the running boom of the 1970’s.

Jim Fixx wrote the book as a way to inspire others to take up a sport that had helped him to quit smoking and to lose 60 pounds.  He had no idea that his book would be responsible for starting a cultural phenomenon.  It’s been more than 30 years since the publication of The Complete Book of Running and now another best-selling running book has come along that’s inspiring a whole new generation.  The book is Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.  If you’re reading this blog, I’d be very surprised if you haven’t already read it.  I’ve probably recommended it to dozens of friends and family members in the last couple of years and was shocked by how many of the non-runners have taken up the sport after reading the book.  A few months ago I convinced my employer, Powell’s Books, to do an interview with Christopher McDougall for our website.  I also suggested someone who would be absolutely thrilled to conduct the interview…ME.  I must admit that I was a bit nervous beforehand, but Chris (he told me to call him Chris) couldn’t have been nicer.  So without further ado, here’s the interview.