Today I received a wonderful book review from a renowned psychologist and thought-leader, Dr. Richard Farson. Coming from Farson – a father of the human potential movement and an eminent, life-long student of human behavior – his words mean a lot!

Here is what Farson had to say:

“Amy Snyder has given us not only an intimate and fascinating account of the most demanding endurance race ever conceived, but opens us to a world of experiences well beyond our imaginations, in which we discover ways of being that transcend anything most of us have ever  known. Indeed, in this book we are asked to set aside our normal, rational ways of viewing life.

The ultra cyclists, racing across the entire United States, both seek and endure a range of experiences unavailable to any but people like themselves. Snyder describes  those amazing feelings in a most believable and compelling way, giving us entry into a world of supreme effort, excruciating  agony and super obsessed mental states that simply go beyond our ordinary understanding. Reading their experiences, we are asked to embrace the paradoxical concepts that at these outer reaches of human ability, joy and suffering coexist simultaneously, that pain, rather than comfort or pleasure, is a motivator, that  bodily damage that would send any of us to the emergency room is to be endured, embraced and overcome as an impediment to finishing the race. Words we use often, such as exhausting, excruciating and extraordinary, cannot begin to describe the enormity of the ordeal these cyclists face and survive.

Over the past few decades, society has seen the growth of organized physical and emotional challenges that go well beyond  the previous  standard of  the Olympic marathon, a race that has stood as the imagined outside limit of human endurance for thousands of years. Now the Race Across America not only raises the bar much higher, it raises the possibility that there is no limit to human  endurance, or indeed  to other human potentialities. It certainly makes it very clear that most of us are only scratching the surface of what our capabilities may be.”

About Richard Farson

Psychologist and author, Richard Farson, is president of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute (WBSI), an independent, nonprofit organization he helped found in 1958, devoted to research, education and advanced study in human affairs. He heads the WBSI’s pioneering International Leadership Forum (ILF), a think tank composed of influential leaders from business, government, academia, science, journalism, literature and the arts, addressing the great policy issues of our time. He authored several critically-acclaimed books, including “Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership,” which is published in twelve languages. His book “Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation,” written with co-author Ralph Keyes, was excerpted in the Harvard Business Review, winning the McKinsey award for the best article published in 2002, the one “most likely to have a major influence on managers worldwide.” From 1973-1975 Farson was president of Esalen Institute, an innovative educational organization located in Big Sur and San Francisco, California. In 1975 he joined the faculty of the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Institute in San Francisco, formed by the Association for Humanistic Psychology, where he supervised the doctoral research of advanced graduate students.

Check out Farson’s think-tank at www.wbsi.org.