October 23, 2009
Book Review: Die Trying:One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits
by Bo Parfet with Richard Buskin
Very few people are able to make it to one of the great summits in a lifetime, let alone the Seven Summits (the tallest point on each continent). So I was very intrigued when presented with a copy of Die Trying: One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits by Bo Parfet with Richard Buskin. The book documents Bo's journey to climb Kilimanjaro, Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, Vinson and Everest. Now I am fortunate to know quite a few elite athletes and for them many of these summits would certainly prove treacherous. However Bo Parfet wasn't what you would consider an elite athlete when he began his journey.
While Bo comes from what would be considered a prominent or well-to-do family he struggled with dyslexia since childhood. Learning to adapt and not only get by but succeed in the competitive world of Wall Street was a huge achievement alone. Bo didn't settle for success in his career but continued to push himself by setting a goal to climb the Seven Summits and setting up scholarship programs to benefit the local communities along the way. He seems to be an amazing man with a lot of drive and a big heart.
The reason I really love this book is because Bo is brutally honest when he addresses his experience. From talking about his first summit when he was overweight and under trained, to talking about temper issues on the side of the mountain, and experiences where he was faced with injury and the potential for fatal injuries you sense a very human quality about him and what he's gone through. You see both the strengths and flaws in character and his evolution. For me this means so much because I am always encouraging my readers to not let age or lack of experience keep them back. I think this book is a good guide for the way some things go right, the way many things go wrong, and how even when you think you've prepped enough problems will arise.
In addition to the human experience I loved learning about the difference in the Seven Summits. Just because someone completes Kilimanjaro that doesn't automatically mean they're ready for the next summit. There is a lot of diversity in terrain, acclimatizing, gear needed and the type of training to be done ahead of time.
Whether you're a climber, an outdoor enthusiast, or just want to be inspired you should check out "Die Trying". It's a fairly quick read and will get you ready for your next adventure.