Nerd Corner #55

Born to run, Macintosh 8, and more!

Hi All!


What I am reading 📚

Running is my latest obsession. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks digging more and more into this new world so much so that I bought a couple of books on running. The first one, which I just finished reading is “Born to Run”

The book is Christopher McDougall’s research into the history and physiology of running. He goes all the way to Mexico to find and run with the Tarahumara tribe, “The running people” and transforms himself from an injury-ridden amateur into an ultra-runner. Core to McDougall's thesis is the “endurance running hypothesis” which states that humans evolved certain traits like the nuchal ligament, sweating, vestibule-ocular reflexes, and the semicircular canal to adapt to long runs that early hominids had to endure to get food. 

One of the best things in the book is that most of the story is relatable and the characters are all real and still running around. People like Scott Jurek and Eric Orton still inspire and teach many of us to run properly and happily.

Perhaps I’m biased because of how much I’m enjoying my daily runs, but this book is awesome. If you’re already a runner it will make you run more, farther, and you will question the need for fancy running shoes (more on this below). If you’re not a runner it will open up your eyes to a new wonderful world!


Nerd Corner 🤓

I’ve disliked shoes for most of my life and have been wearing shoes with very little cushioning like Xero Hana for a long while. So when I read that most runners in “Born to Run” use minimalist shoes—or even go barefoot—I decided to learn more and started experimenting a little bit. 

It turns out that our feet are the perfect shock-absorbing structure. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci even called them “a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”. For almost all of our history, we ran with little or no protection beneath them.

Roger Bannister, for example, ran the first sub-four-minute mile wearing minimal shoes with spikes made of kangaroo skin. It was only after the 70s that cushioned shoes with bigger soles entered the scene and with them, a lot of our running-related injuries started to appear. 

The hypothesis is that by wearing super-cushioned shoes we can run with bad form without noticing it. Rather than hitting the ground with our fore or mid-foot, we strike it with our heels, generating a large force that our body needs to absorb. And, by constraining the shape of our feet, most of these shoes prevent our feet to spread naturally causing us to overpronate.

While I’m no expert (I’m no doctor so don’t take my word too seriously), I’ve been doing foot exercises daily (10-15 minute every morning), walking barefoot most of the day (thankfully I’m still working from home 😅) and running with my Altra Escalante shoes that have a very wide toe box, and have been feeling great. Some knee and foot pain that I had on some of my runs is completely gone 💪. 


Cool Finds 🤯

  • In case some of you Apple freaks are reminiscing of the past (hey Nel, I’m looking at you!), you can now install Macintosh 8 as an app on your computer. 

  • Jeff Bezos recently gave a statement in Congress where we had to answer questions about Amazon’s allegedly anti-competitive practices. The whole statement is a masterpiece. Regardless of what comes out of the probe, the world is better with Amazon than without Amazon. These excerpts are my favorite:

    Unlike many other countries around the world, this great nation we live in supports and does not stigmatize entrepreneurial risk-taking. I walked away from a steady job into a Seattle garage to found my startup, fully understanding that it might not work. It feels like just yesterday I was driving the packages to the post office myself, dreaming that one day we might be able to afford a forklift.

    Amazon has made billions of dollars of failures. Failure inevitably comes along with invention and risk-taking, which is why we try to make Amazon the best place in the world to fail.

  • Matt Ridley is one person I’m ashamed I didn’t know of until recently. I discovered him on the Naval podcast, and have since added two of his books (Genome and The Rational Optimist) to my reading list. I really enjoyed his recent piece "5 REASONS WHY THE CORONAVIRUS NIGHTMARE MAY SOON BE OVER".


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Until next week, 

Alberto