3 minute read

Title: What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir

  • By: Haruki Murakami

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  • Type of readers will enjoy the book:
    • called to creative work
    • interested in the author’s creative process
  • Key Takeaways
    • Keep going is essential for long-term progress / writes and runs everyday / always stops at the point where he could write more, at the point before his legs are exhausted.
    • To keep on going, have to keep up the rhythm / at a set speed takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage /
    • Have to do the work for creativity to arise/ The only path for the non-talented is to keep at it until you uncover something great.
    • Don’t try to Appeal to Everyone / Before writer, Murakami ran a jazz bar , aimed to attract the right customers; NOT matter if nine out of ten didn’t like my bar / Just had to make sure that the one person who did like the place really liked it / had to make my philosophy and stance clear-cut, and patiently maintain that stance no matter what / The same logic to his novels, targeting a specific type of reader.
    • Understanding yourself is difficult but fruitful / Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent. / I think I’ve been able to run for more than twenty years for a simple reason: It suits me. / “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself.”, / “Just focus on moving my feet forward, one after the other. That’s the only thing that matters.””
    • “you really need to prioritize in life, figuring out in what order you should divide up your time and energy. If you don’t get that sort of system set by a certain age, you’ll lack focus and your life will be out of balance.””
    • “whenever I run a marathon my mind goes through the same exact process. Up to nineteen miles I’m sure I can run a good time, but past twenty-two miles I run out of fuel and start to get upset at everything. And at the end I feel like a car that’s run out of gas. But after I finish and some time has passed, I forget all the pain and misery and am already planning how I can run an even better time in the next race. The funny thing is, no matter how much experience I have under my belt, no matter how old I get, it’s all just a repeat of what came before. I think certain types of processes don’t allow for any variation. If you have to be part of that process, all you can do is transform—or perhaps distort—yourself through that persistent repetition, and make that process a part of your own.”
    • “If I used being busy as an excuse not to run, I’d never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.”
    • “If I’m asked what the next most important quality is for a novelist, ..: focus—the ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. …. After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. ….Fortunately, these two disciplines—focus and endurance—are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training…. Writing itself is mental labor, but finishing an entire book is closer to manual labor. …. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts.””