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on November 26, 2017
Incredible story but I found it hard to get into until the second half. The author starts out explaining how he got trapped then spends chapters detailing his many climbing and rafting adventures in which he pushed himself and took great risks to himself (and others). This was almost half the book, told in great technical detail with little emotional content. I skimmed over most of this and almost stopped reading the book.
I have read other books in this genre- Into Thin Air, 6 Below, etc which include technical climbing detail but it was understandable and necessary to the larger narrative. Here it just seemed to be filler- as though he had to recount every adventure and close call he had up until the final one.
The story of his entrapment(second half) increasingly dire predicament, his thoughts and description of how he finally escaped WAS an amazing and compelling story.
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on October 28, 2017
The author goes off in tangents of his own philosophy and experience a lot but it is a good educational book.
The lessons are to never hike alone, don't take chances and be sure to have a communication device of some
sort other than a cell when hiking out in far out places. Let family or friends know that if you do not return at a
certain time then they need to come looking for you. Very unfortunate for this man although he is turning it
around to make the best of it.
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on December 7, 2010
I read the book cover to cover in 4 days (just finished a couple hours ago), not unheard of but there are only a handful of books that have engaged me as much. In the words of Mark Twain, "Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense." Indeed if you read a fiction book that was 1/2 as unlikely as Ralston's accounts of himself, you'd declare it ridiculously unlikely and throw it against a wall. However, you realize that Ralston isn't making this stuff up. I can't remember reading a book that impressed me more with its author. He has also taught me a lot about myself and inspired me to discover a lot more! What more could you want from a book? Well there's plenty, but this book does deliver.

I noticed 3 things he seems to have done wrong. One maybe my misunderstanding (what else could it be?). Another, a mistake he admits (and rues). Another that it seems to me he should have known. They are, in order:

1. He says it was 6 days. Well, he was pinned by the boulder at 2:45 PM on a Saturday and he freed himself at 11:32 AM on Thursday, was transported to a hospital around 3 PM, so that's 5 days. He says it was 6 days and I wonder why. Yes, he got up early on Saturday morning for his adventure, so maybe he's counting that extra time, basically chronicling how long he went without what ordinary people would consider sleep. Even so, it seems to me that calling the ordeal 6 days is a stretch.

2. It took him almost 5 days to hit on the idea that led to his freedom, i.e. intentionally breaking the bones in his forearm. He admits to feeling quite stupid later for not having thought of it earlier.

3. His knife blades were dull, in particular the longer blade. Well, he was surrounded by stone and you can sharpen any blade against stone. Indeed, sharpening stones are just abrasive stones, and I'm sure the stone all around him had some measure of abrasiveness. People generally use oil or water with sharpening stones, but it is certainly not necessary, it just makes the process easier and faster (I seldom bother to apply oil or water when I use my sharpening stones). He could have given his blades near razor sharpness with a small application of the patience he exhibited on various other projects while trapped. Even if the stone around him was slick as glass, he could have at least set the edge of his blades on them (making them far sharper), however, I'm sure that wasn't the case.
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on February 4, 2014
I don't ever want to be too hard on a book, because I enjoy the act of reading regardless (usually) of the content. I have always been enthralled by this story, and followed it pretty closely in the news. I expected the book to be an insider view of what Aron dealt with while trapped by the boulder. Well, that story is in there, but so is a lot of fluff. Aron tells story after story after story of his climbing prowess, usually about something death-defying. In fact, reading the book, it's amazing he lived long enough to get his arm trapped. The stories tend to come off in a braggadocios manner, like Aron is trying to prove how awesome he is as if people are out there saying he's not. Reading about his time trapped in the canyon was thrilling. It is a great story that involves facing death and the will to survive against all odds. The stories that take place outside of the canyon, even his recounting of his friends and family back home preparing to search for him, are painful at best. The book would have rated at 5 stars if all of the fluff had never been added.
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on November 29, 2011
This was a good book that I definately enjoyed reading. I thought it started off a little slow and got more interesting as the story progressed. I think a map of the area would have been a good addition to the book because it seemed to assume you are familiar with the layout of the area and routes.

I guess I expected a story about some random guy who had a rock fall on him, cut his arm, and survived. I didn't know he was such an experienced adventurer living an action packed lifestyle. It would definately be a great read if you have ever done any of the outdoor activities that he talks about in his flashbacks/memories because it will help you relate to how much Aron had accomplished prior to this incident.

It definately makes me double check my plans and gear when heading out on a trip because this proves that you never know what can happen. Glad I read the book before I watched the movie because the movie was terrible!
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on November 9, 2015
The book is well written. Ralston is an idiot. This guy risks his life regularly and stupidly. He doesn't appear to have any insight even after he self amputates. A good read for what not to do in the great outdoors. For someone who works in mountain rescue, he should have much more common sense. My biggest irritation about him is that shenanigans like his make rescuers risk life and limb, haha for these irresponsible actions.
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on May 29, 2017
A kaleidoscope of personal achievement, fear, pain, and survival, Aron Ralston's account of his escape from death in the box canyons of Utah captures the human spirit, stripped down to its essence as the writer faces death.
With a vivid hour-by-hour narrative, the book draws you into the experience, as tough as it was. Having climbed and hiked myself, the story made me remember again that putting yourself on the edge can quickly go wrong. But it also reminded me that there is much beauty in the experience and that being in the moment on the mountain is reward in itself. This is a great story about mental toughness, resilience, and the dilemma of personal achievement. A great read for people who spend time in the back country, this story is also a great read if you are facing a difficult challenge in your own journey.
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on July 11, 2012
While I understand the complaints other reviewers have made concerning Ralston's "alienating" writing style, I disagree that the book suffers from it. Part of what makes this book so engaging for me is precisely that it's describing a world/lifestyle I know nothing about. I actively researched climbing techniques and tools he mentions casually throughout the book in order to create a more vivid picture in my mind.

That being said, the story is very well written, and while I agree the continuous refrains to discuss another mountain hiking trip can be grating, I never skipped a chapter, chalking it up to a deliberate move on his part to control the pacing of the story.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that has even a passing interest in stories of survival or nature. Aron Ralston is a very likeable protagonist, even if you may not understand why he makes the choices he does at times. Getting inside the mind of someone very different from me was a worthy exercise, I felt, and at the very least I learned about Havasu Falls, which I can visit now that a friend of mine moved to Phoenix.
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on November 11, 2015
Everything Rolston does prior to self amputation prepares himself mentally and physically to be able to handle that incredibly stressful situation. The events prior to his accident are not included in the movie. Ralston does a fanominal job writing about his experiences that keeps you captivated throughout the book!
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on August 8, 2016
I give it five stars because it does deserve it. Aron is incredibly smart, likeable and loves living life on the edge. If this is your type of book, it will be well worth your read.
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