The Runner And The Path by Dean Ottati, hardcover, 269 pages, Breakaway Books (2002), ISBN: 1891369288
A young, talented corporate executive seeks meaning in life, beyond the regrets and excuses for the valuable things we all leave undone. Through running, he examines love, family, and the very fabric of life. This is "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" meets George Sheehan's "Running and Being". It is a book for anyone who feels the famine of meaning in everyday life, for anyone attempting to successfully balance work and family and a vibrant inner life. And it is a wonderful new look at the physical and emotional benefits of running. Dean Ottati feels that capitalism and competition have made us all poorer: slaves of the clock, pursuing the illusory and the empty. To find the substance of life, he runs. He runs on trails and roads and beaches, every day, alone or with friends, constantly challenging himself physically and intellectually. During these runs he re-evaluates his relationship to work, his use of time, his marriage, his bond with his young son. He peels back layers of hardness from his heart. He finds a new balance in the forces of family, work, love, solitude, money, happiness, and time. His conversation with running "mystic, sages, and philosophers" each become a chapter. The run along the beach with the friend who cousels him on marriage: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?". The glorious muddy run in the rain with Marc, who declares: "Each wet sock is a stinking foot soldier in the war against postmodernism!". The run with Big Jack, a senior executive of his company, who teaches him "Before you speak, examine your intentions. If you can do that you will come to meet yourself, and it will transform you". And his runs lead him to the philosopher who says that merely by pondering the question of meaning in our lives, we begin to find meaning. Dean Ottati's quest takes him on a fascinating path toward a common-sense, workable enlightenment. His life becomes imbued with awareness, richness, and love that most of only dream about. And he teaches us, runners or non-runners, to find our own path. This is his first book, a book that can change your life.