Natural Born Heroes - Christopher McDougall

Natural Born Heroes

By Christopher McDougall

  • Release Date: 2015-04-14
  • Genre: Health & Fitness
Score: 4.5
From 136 Ratings


NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Born to Run comes a book that inspires us to unleash the extraordinary potential of the human body and climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump our way to heroic feats.

"Redefines the heroic ideal, establishing heroism as a skill set rather than a virtue."—NPR Books

Christopher McDougall’s journey begins with a story of remarkable athletic prowess: On the treacherous mountains of Crete, a motley band of World War II Resistance fighters—an artist, a shepherd, and a poet—abducted a German commander from the heart of the Axis occupation.

To understand how, McDougall retraces their steps across the island that birthed Herakles and Odysseus, and discovers ancient techniques for endurance, sustenance, and natural movement that have been preserved in unique communities around the world.

His search takes us scrambling over rooftops with a Parkour crew in London, foraging for greens with a ballerina in Brooklyn, tossing heavy pieces of driftwood on a Brazilian beach with the creator of MovNat—and, finally, to our own backyards. 

“McDougall traveled to Crete to examine the physical and mental capacity of Greek war heroes [and] studied natural movement, endurance, and nutrition to understand how regular people are capable of extraordinary athletic feats.... We can all adapt the tools of the athletes featured.” —Real Simple

Look for Christopher McDougall's new book, Born to Run 2, coming in December!


  • Easily Going In My Top 5 Ever

    By Drey Day 83
    Wow. This is one of the most incredible books I’ve ever read. Part health, part fitness, part adventure, and part history all wrapped up in one book; I’ve never read anything like it! I just can’t get over at how this really happened! The epic story of these people and how they overcame the odds during the war is a true underdog story that should be turned into a movie. Highly recommend this one. I found out about it from Tim Ferris’ book Tools For Titans, when he was interviewing Laird Hamilton. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
  • Wow, just wow!

    By Faithh1
    I rushed into this book after reading three other ultra-athlete type books and I expected this to be much the same (which is what I love). I was initially a little disappointed with the drawn out discussion on the war since I am definitely not a war buff, but then I got it. In learning about the war, I was gaining an appreciation for the super-athletes who had to use mind & body to defeat the enemy. I love all the twists and turns in this book. I came away with so much knowledge of the German invasion of Greece, of the true heart of the Greek people, and also a true appreciation for the level of fitness and heroics involved for those living/fighting on the ground. Keep writing Chris!
  • Natural Born Heroes is just superb history

    By Pionski
    A fascinating story of World War II daring on the island of Crete. A little known story of how a rag tag group of British SOE operatives kidnap a German general and, after an extraordinary journey over the mountainous Cretan countryside, are able to extricate him off the island.
  • Amazing

    By thefredelement
    This book has everything, it's a guide for your health and a adventurous recounting that may leave you a bit teary eyed. I can't describe how eye opening yet fulfilling this book is, it moves between times so pleasantly that I had a real sense of nostalgia while reading and simultaneously a yearning to utilize my newly acquired knowledge learned through its pages. I can't recommend this book enough.
  • Natural Born Heroes

    By 2013 MC
    An outstanding book that is part WWII history and part a book about physicality. It kept me interested from beginning to end. If you liked "Born to Run" you'll like this book as well.
  • Right there with born to run if not better

    By Nerdymudder
    Natural Born Heroes is a must read. If Born to Run moved you to run, Natural Born Heroes will move you to be a better person (and maybe try some Parkour on the side). Even if you don't feel the urge to help a stranger, true to form this book motivates you to get active.