Customer Reviews


523 Reviews
5 star:
 (349)
4 star:
 (98)
3 star:
 (39)
2 star:
 (25)
1 star:
 (12)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


162 of 191 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The author makes good points, but the book is a bit disjointed
I've really come to enjoy books about healthier living, from fitness to improving one's food intake ('diet' is a dirty word!). I've lost a lot of weight myself through improved eating habits and more exercise. Roll's life story is similar to a lot of folks, who struggle with bad diet and addiction (in his case primarily alcohol, but food can obviously be an addiction...
Published on April 27, 2012 by Money

versus
119 of 145 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Written But Too Ego Driven
Finding Ultra is like two books in one.

There is the first half where the author's life falls apart and and is then rebuilt. It's the basic, and always fascinating, story of personal recovery from addiction. I wanted to hear more about this.

But this story is abruptly dropped and the second half of the book is all about the author's drive to excel at...
Published on June 21, 2012 by Binko Barnes


‹ Previous | 1 253 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

162 of 191 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The author makes good points, but the book is a bit disjointed, April 27, 2012
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've really come to enjoy books about healthier living, from fitness to improving one's food intake ('diet' is a dirty word!). I've lost a lot of weight myself through improved eating habits and more exercise. Roll's life story is similar to a lot of folks, who struggle with bad diet and addiction (in his case primarily alcohol, but food can obviously be an addiction too). He makes radical changes and voila, he's one of the fittest guys on the planet, competing in ultras.

I generally liked the book, particularly some of the information about becoming vegan, and the hidden dairy in products one wouldn't expect to find in some everyday foods- the dairy thing really opened my eyes and has made me begin to look even more closely at what I eat. He reaches a point where he decides to make wholesale changes in his life, and that is a moment I reached as well. It was the point of the book that I most identified with the author; the single moment when we decide that we must make sacrifices to grow and become better people spiritually and physically.

What I didn't like was that early in the book, he details his struggles with alcohol, and subsequent stint at rehab for several chapters, but then suddenly there's a chapter about his PlantPower diet, and how great it will make you feel. The enthusiasm for his diet did not match the preceeding chapters and felt really out of place- almost like a commercial break. The diet really had nothing to do with his recovery, since the fitness bug didn't truly hit him until several years into his sobriety. Also, it struck me as somewhat bogus that after having been a college swimmer at Stanford before succumbing to alcoholism, he suddenly remembers that he's this amazing athlete after going out for a casual run (that happens to be a near marathon in length). I think beginners will struggle mightily if they think they will try to exercise and get fantastic results immediately. There's never any acknowlegement by the author that his previous athleticism might have played a factor in being able to pick it back up easily, and this omission to me seemed glaring.

Overall, there's a wealth of good information about healthy eating and lifestyle changes, and for that reason I give it 4 stars. Taken for what that's worth, there are some good ideas that can be used to improve one's diet, regardless of whether you want to go vegan or not. I admit I've been critical of some of the points in the book, but I want to clarify that these are small gripes. I don't discount the author's experience one bit, and applaud him for pushing his body to new heights.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


119 of 145 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Written But Too Ego Driven, June 21, 2012
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Finding Ultra is like two books in one.

There is the first half where the author's life falls apart and and is then rebuilt. It's the basic, and always fascinating, story of personal recovery from addiction. I wanted to hear more about this.

But this story is abruptly dropped and the second half of the book is all about the author's drive to excel at ultra ironman competitions. This part is far too ego driven for comfort. The hero is very heroic and his followers are faithfully supportive and that's about it.

Throughout his life, as chronicled in Finding Ultra, vast numbers of people help Rich. But it hard to find any examples of Rich helping anybody else. "Hey Dude," I wanted to shout, "tons of people helped you straighten out. How about you give something back?" But it was not to be. This book is a pure paean to the glory of self.

The sections on diet and health were interesting but lacked substance. The author more or less says, "I chose to eat this way and look how amazing it made me. Therefore it is THE BEST way to eat."

If you really enjoy reading about a guy running and biking insanely long distances and don't mind an author with a massive ego you will probably enjoy this book. It's well written and easy to read. But if you like to see a fair amount of depth, balance, introspection and a certain awareness of others in an autobiography then this book is likely not for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


62 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mind-boggling tale of salvation through diet and exercise, May 9, 2012
By 
Scott Schiefelbein (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After reading Rich Roll's memoir/ode to veganism, "Finding Ultra," the reader is left with one undeniable conclusion.

Rich Roll is insane.

This is not a criticism of Mr. Roll, who may have saved himself through his insanity. But even though Roll writes as if anyone who converts to a healthy vegan diet can achieve the same endurance feats he has, the fact remains that he has transformed himself into one of the most unique athletes in the world.

Consider: in less than half a decade, Roll transforms himself from a cheeseburger-slurping couch potato (recovering from a decade of major-league alcohol abuse) into one of the first two guys to complete the EPIC5. What is the EPIC5, you ask? The EPIC5 is a flat-out nightmare - completing 5 Ironman Triathlons in 5 consecutive days, each one on a different Hawaiian island. To put this in perspective, an individual Ironman is the feat of a lifetime and includes - in one day - the following:

2.4 mile swim - in open water
112 mile bike race, followed by
a full 26.2 mile marathon.

Most fitness fanatics never even bother with an Ironman, while for others completing a single race is their life's defining moment. Roll slightly misses his goal by needing two rest days, but he still completes the EPIC5 in seven days.

This is insane, and something that only a truly unique personality would even consider, much less finish. Indeed, the most frustrating part of Roll's book is his unwillingness to accept how special he is, even as he's telling you this remarkable story. And it is remarkable. Ultimately Roll's repeated insistence that he's just a regular guy - Roll is invariably "amazed" when he does well or when he sees that someone is cheering on his athletic endeavors, so much so that I started blacking out the word each time he used it - smacks of false modesty. However, it may give some insight into his character, as Roll drops many hints that he likes drama and craves attention.

(Full disclosure - if Roll had stricken "amazed" from his narrative and used about half as many adjectives, I'd probably give this book 5 stars. Read "Finding Ultra" for the story, not the style.)

Roll gives the credit to his mid-life transformation to his PlantPower diet - a self-generated diet based solely on plants. Roll goes to great lengths to explain how you can be "vegan" and still eat incredibly unhealthy foods. "Finding Ultra" is replete with recommendations for a variety of foods and their benefits, both for general nutrition and for athletic training. Roll skewers notions that athletes must get their protein from animals, that eggs and cheese are good for you, and that much sports nutrition wisdom is actually misinformation.

But "Finding Ultra" is not a fascinating read because it's got dietary suggestions - it's because Roll makes such a tremendous shift to become an elite endurance athlete. True, he pays mere lip service to the impact Roll's fitness mania has on his family - he says how much he loves his kids, even as he more or less ignores them. But "Finding Ultra" is a rare glimpse inside the head of a world-class athlete who appreciates the second chance he gave himself to be the kind of man he always wanted to be. Highly recommended for anyone caught in a middle-age fitness struggle or who wants a little dietary inspiration.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


58 of 72 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not an interesting or well written book, January 22, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm going to be harsh, because frankly I just didn't like this book. I found it boring, albeit I did read the book in it's entirety, probably because it actually starts out well in the first page or two and so I guess I kept hoping it'd get better; however it actually just kept getting worse.

To begin with, (I could be wrong) but I believe that one main premise of this book is that the author starts out in "middle age" being fat and out of shape and then through a miraculous transformation becomes an elite endurance athlete. Or in other words, he was once just an average Joe down on his luck who found endurance sports and then "beat the odds" to become a racing pro.

I would argue that this just isn't true.

For one, the author tells you about how in college he was a world class swimmer, almost beating some of the best in the world, only to then "fall from grace" because of alcoholism. Now... > 90% of all triathletes will tell you that they suck at swimming, "it's my worst event", they'll tell you. So, anybody who can go out in the open water on any day and swim 2.4 miles in 50 minutes (which will get you out of the water in 1st to 3rd place in any Ironman in the world) just doesn't get credit in my book as someone who is an "average guy".

In addition to this, the author tells about how he went out on his first run and just kept going for 2 hours or something like that. So, he's lucky to have either good genetics or natural form to allow him to run long without injury unlike most people. Again, this isn't a story that an "average joe triathlete" will tell you. Some people are blessed with excellent recovery times, it's obvious that the author is one of those people; this makes a world of difference.

And then, on top of all of that, he's a lawyer. Albeit, he describes some financial difficulties, but one of the biggest obstacles in triathlon (or at least cycling) is cost; this guy is going to have some extra cash to spend for gear that other people wouldn't have access to. Oh, and he apparently is able to afford a WORLD CLASS coach... find me an 'average joe' with that. A few years ago and really nobody in triathlon even had coaches.

There are a few other bits that bug me, for instance I highly doubt he would have completed EPIC5 if it wasnt for his friend, Jason Lester, who in my opinion was the true star of this book and deserved much more attention than he got in the book. Something else is that the author is far from a pro or elite endurance athlete (in my book) and just doesn't deserve the ego driven credit that is the basis of this book. I'm not aware of him winning anything. Finishing first in the first stage of his second Ultraman is not surprising given his swimming background.

Lastly, two items:

1. This book is a long string of product placements. Think about those movies where every shot has the star holding a Coca Cola can in the middle of the screen and that's how I felt reading this book. I actually checked the website for his own line of products which he is obviously trying to sell in this book and find it very underwhelming.

2. A good chunk of the end of the book is the author's rant on nutrition. As someone who is a physician and with a degree in nutrition science and an endurance athlete, I found half of this to be plain bizarre and misleading. There was nothing 'scientific' about this section (despite the author's attempt), rather, I found this to be consistent with how I could imagine a lawyer approaching this topic with anecdotes and trying to make a case solely on testimony and a firm presentation rather than real clinical evidence, research, and data. To the author's credit, I do think he made a statement to the effect "try this yourself and see if it works for you" and also I don't necessarily disagree with some of his underlying claims (i.e., I, too, am a vegetarian), I just strongly disagree with the info-mercial style of presentation.

Anyway, if you're bored and have nothing else to read, then get the book, if for no other reason then skip to about halfway through and just read about EPIC5 and become a Jason Lester fan too. Otherwise, read something much, much better like Eat and Run or Born to Run.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth the read, September 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well worth the read. For those aspiring to do the distance like me and those looking to change their path.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes you on his journey., January 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like a lot of readers, I'll go to the reviews and notice that there are an overabundance of glowing reviews.
So, I start reading the worse reviews first.
Some state that he came from a life of privilege and for this reason, Rich's evolution should somehow be invalidated/dismissed.
If you believe this it would be unfortunate.

The book doesn't just catalog the events in his life, and it isn't just a step-by-step recounting of his EPIC 5.
He does cover both of these bases, however, but does it with a fresh injection of honesty and feeling.

The reader is left feeling like he knows Rich a bit better since his problems are not so different from our own. We are all fighting our own demons and Rich is good enough to share his experiences with us.

thank you, Rich !!

p.s.: I'm lovin' the PodCasts, btw. Thanks for sharing !!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, May 21, 2013
By 
james b wilks (LAGUNA HILLS, CA, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Paperback)
Rich shows how you can go from a 40 year old, out of shape guy to an elite Endurance athlete. If you want an inspirational story this is it. Reading this made me want to get out there and get in better shape. We won't all become endurance athletes but we can all become healthier and fitter. A great read. I highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Self-aggrandizement and poor research--No "Born to Run", May 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am a runner and vegan and I really enjoyed Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run," which is why I picked up the Kindle version of "Finding Ultra." Unfortunately, many of the qualities that I enjoyed in McDougall's book were absent here. Ample, quality research for one. Love and humility for another.

I completely respect Roll's athletic achievements. But it is difficult to get past the fact that he would not have had to "remake" himself if he hadn't become the type of person that makes us fear for our loved ones on the road. He admits to repeatedly driving drunk (for YEARS) and slacking off at work and offers very little by way of apologizing for his behavior. He had what so many people can scarcely dream of--amazing schools and opportunities clamoring for him--and he did not take full advantage of it. I think it's impossible to find someone like that "an inspiration" and am stunned by all the positive reviews.

I did enjoy the sneak peek into his diet and workout regime and will be trying chia seeds and coconut water. It is irritating that he makes himself out to be something of a nutrition authority, however, when his only qualifications are reading the same books that most vegans have. And yes, his continual promotion of the Jai supplements he helped develop is irritating. Like watching commercials in the middle of a TV show.

He offers completely erroneous information on soy. Soy's phytoestrogens are NOT estrogen nor do they mimic its behavior. The name itself is a misnomer; they are actually SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) and they act to block estrogen from binding to cancer cells that are stimulated to grow by estrogen. This is one reason researchers believe women raised on a traditional Japanese diet are less likely to develop certain cancers.

If you are hoping for the same diverse group of character sketches, fun stories and research found in "Born to Run," you will be disappointed. He talks very little about other people, even though I would have loved to hear more (Jason & Chris). I give it 3 stars instead of 2 because I enjoyed the look inside the EPIC5, the promotion of the vegan diet, and because what he has demonstrated the human body is capable of IS indisputably impressive.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love books like this! Read it. Read it now., October 6, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Paperback)
I love books like this. I'm already fit but needed that extra push to start my vegan journey. This was just what I needed. What is really great is that I now follow Rich Rolls podcast and I'm learning even more now - so start with the book- then listen to podcast and start your journey to becoming healthier. It's been just one month of vegan living for me and my cycling is already noticeably better. Awesome. Thanks Rich!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, motivating, informative!, September 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was recommended this book by a friend and actually ordered the audio CD, and then the book. It is a great motivating story of a man's quest to be healthy and live a life that is truly inspired and inspiring. The only thing I didn't like about the audio CD was that there was no additional list information of the foods he mentions in his book, so I bought the book to see the lists.

I would have liked a more comprehensive list of foods somewhere, instead of all of them broken up, but all in all, it was a good story, he is informed about nutrition and has learned what he knows both by trial and error and research.

If nothing else, if you don't change your diet or exercise, or anything else, it inspires you to look at your own life and see where changes might be in order.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 253 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.