Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Travis Macy's The Ultra Mindset: A Book Review

After hearing Travis Macy on the podcast Endurance Planet, I picked up his book The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion's 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life. While the narrative has the staples of the genre—the life story, the reveling in career accomplishments, and the sudden aphorisms learned through long, painful sport—Macy does an amazing job of setting himself apart. Perhaps his use John Hanc (a frequent contributor to Runner’s World) as a coauthor plays a part, but the text inspires, educates, and pushes the reader to explore not only their own singular life, but the life of those around them.

Macy gives us his life story in about ten parts, one part being an introduction and focusing more on his parents and the final part more of an afterword. The other eight sections are tied to the Ultra Mindset. He is not heavy handed with these ideas, instead he seeks to first offer an anecdote about his life. Each story provides insight to the psyche of an accomplished man, but also one who openly admits that he is just trying to figure things out as well. These accounts have Macy mountain biking up hills at age five, making the track and cross country teams at University of Colorado as a walk on, and then embarking on a career in both adventure racing and ultra marathoning. His life has taken him across the world, pushed him to the limits, and while he has sought to rise to the top in each and every instance, most of it while holding onto a career in education as an English teacher.

After his chapterly tales, Macy works to show how each of his chosen stories creates a pillar of his Ultra Mindset. He then provides a setup for each reader to engage with the text, to alter their point of view on life, and practice using the mindset. There are pages to detail your experiences but not before you read Macy’s own template, for he filled out and published the results of each exercise in a surprising candid manner. Afterwards, he brings in an outside perspective, showing a case study of another individual, some of them are athletes, some not, and in doing so he once again works to expand the mindsets of his readers, seeking to both push and inspire.

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