Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Monday, August 31, 2009

Book: Beyond the Mountain

In Beyond the Mountain, Steve skillfully plots his career with a series of truly amazing stories. Mostly we are treated to gripping descriptions of climbing at the edge of human ability, in which his relentless drive risks his life for reasons he struggles to identify. But there are also understated love stories here -- not of romance, but of the partners and others who have meant the most to him personally in his vertical pursuits.

Steve seems to have put all of himself into this work, writing with a psychological honesty that is uncommon, reliving for us his victories and moments of clarity, but also his intense inner struggles with the desire to succeed and the fear of failure, the love of the sport and the crushing despair over fallen friends, the will to risk everything and the nagging question of why he does this given the intense personal costs. It is because of his brutal honesty, with others but mostly with himself, that what Steve gives us here is truly a gift, a glimpse into another man's soul, so that ironically this biography of the uber-athlete is the story of Everyman.

You will start to read it because it is the must-read of the year for everyone who has ever felt the thrill of going on belay, but you will blast through it and then dwell on it for days because Steve has not tried to oversimplify or falsely dramatize or glorify, but only to describe his lifelong quest to answer with his body the fundamental question of how one should find meaning and fulfillment.

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