Cover Image: The 12-Hour Walk

The 12-Hour Walk

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Member Reviews

This is a magical little book that combines adventure stories with self help. The thesis is that we lose sight of our big picture goals as we all slog through our daily grinds -- and that we begin to believe that we can't achieve them (assuming we can remember what they are). By setting a single challenge, to walk for 12 hours, and succeeding at it --not far, not fast-- we will begin to see that we can do things we had thought were out of reach. It's a book about unplugging from outside stimuli to hear ourselves, and moving beyond limiting beliefs to achieve our own, individual goals.
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I enjoyed reading this book. The title is the simple premise. Taking a 12-hour walk while ruminating on your life and what you really want from it is interesting. The author threads the many incredible physical feats he has accomplished throughout the book for motivation and QR codes at the end of each chapter linking to video stories at the book's website is a brilliant and unique move. I haven't decided whether to take my 12-hour walk yet but now I have the confidence to know I can.
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I kind of assumed the 12 hour walk in the title was a metaphor but it's not. O'Brady spends his life doing things like climbing Mt. Everest and crossing the ocean in a rowboat with a handful of other guys, so he went a bit nuts during lockdown and decided to walk for 12 hours straight just to challenge himself. The book is largely memoir about all of his (impressive) adventures, with some self help and pep talk thrown in. The goal is apparently really to walk for 12 hours just to do something really hard and challenging.

I had a hard time connecting to this author since he is so different from me and comes from a place of privilege that he really never acknowledges as a young, healthy, white man with lots of money and connections. It's an interesting read but I didn't come away personally motivated to walk for 12 hours or make my own extreme challenges.

I read a digital ARC of this book for review.
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You might (reasonably) think that a book with this title would spend a fair portion of the text going into the concept of the 12-hour walk, the purpose and benefits of it, the execution of it, and exactly how to apply the benefits gained from doing it. This book doesn't actually do that - it touches on each of those topics, but with just one or two sentences, with the result being that all the information about the actual "12-hour walk" proposal can be (and is) recapped in a list at the end of the book. This list is the length of a short blog post. So ultimately, "the 12-hour walk" is just a marketing hook, and that's really all it is.

The misfire here is that there's actually a fair amount of good guidance in this book, including encouragement on caring less about what others think about our passions & goals, and some good tough talk on pushing through discomfort to reach success. Unfortunately, because you probably came to this book expecting a manual on this "12-hour walk" concept, the book may ultimately disappoint. Look, I know exactly why they titled the book like this - because an catchy hook will sell books. "The 12-Hour Walk" is a great hook - it was great enough for me to pick it up and read it! But that's why I was so let down that there was so little meat in here about the actual concept - because the title really hooked me, and the book didn't deliver on that promise.

If you're looking for some pep-talk-style encouragement delivered in an easy-to-read manner (and you're not already an avid reader of self-help books), this may be a good choice. If you read self-help books with any regularity, you won't find much here that's new...but that doesn't mean that it's not still well-presented...and it's a quick read. I recommend for people who are new to self-help books, and those with short attention spans. (Also recommended for people who get inspired by anecdotes of extreme physical pursuits.)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a digital review copy.
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When I read the title, I had an interest in the book. Reading the description I started to think that maybe this wasnt something I could get into. 
After reading the first few pages, I was drawn into the drama and suspense that the author writes about his adventures. While the inspiration and the points of the book are scattered throughout, the adventures are what kept me more captivated. 
I'm not the type to enjoy books that recount the stories of adventures and mountain climbing and things in general I would never do, I enjoyed the way the author told the story of his experiences and what each one of those moments meant to him and what the experience can bring into my life. 
I wont be doing the 12 hour walk, not only because I'm currently 36 weeks pregnant, but also because that isnt something I feel will benefit me, I have been thinking about what my Everest is... 
I set goals every year for myself and this book has instilled some motivation back into my goals. 
First goal is to have a safe and healthy labor, then after that- the next camp of my Everest will unfold.
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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Scribner for an advanced copy of this inspirational self improvement and biography book.

Humans can climb mountains, cross seemingly endless oceans,  persevere in harsh climates and deadly landscapes. Yet the largest obstacle that humans seem to get trapped on, and blocked in by is the walls the mind sets in front of them, trapping them in a life of always wanting and dreaming, rather than just going for it. The biggest fear, and biggest enemy again is growing and changing in ourselves, life, and the world around us it, that seems hard, it won't work, best not to try. The worlds I'd really like, I'd love to once, and I think I'd be happier if, should appear on more tombstones for that is what people regret most. Not doing whatever. Colin O'Brady best- selling author, adventures, athlete and motivator writes about these mind boundaries and how to find a new mindset in the book The 12- Hour Walk. 

This slim book begins with a little about the author, how he does what he does, and the numerous questions and thoughts that people share causally, most of them ending with I wish I could do that, or try that, or feel the way you feel while doing what you love. COVID to a man like O'Brady was a shock sitting at home, not able to explore, watching the same shows and doing nothing until he came up with a new idea to motivate himself and focus his attention on things that he really wanted to do. Along with this are inspirational stories of adventure and the author facing adversity from sea travels, to leg injuries, and how he dealt with them. 

The plan focusing on disconnecting from the outside world, which follows us everywhere and with everything we do. Social media and interconnectedness is problem one of the worst things for humans as our ability to focus has been eroded by having what we think is the world at out fingertips, but that world is a series of algorithms to sell us products and help social media companies make money. O'Brady's plan is a way to try and get around that, to listen to the inner voice we have ignored for so long, not the Twitterverse which is just a series of likes and retweets. The writing is good, especially when detailing his adventures and when discussing his life and past. The opening chapter I thought was very awkward and made me nervous about the rest of the book. However the writing and ideas saved it, and I realize it was a way of showing readers who the author was, and even titans of industry feel just as lost. Just wish it was better presented. 

Reading this along with Johann Hari's Stolen Focus about humans declining ability to focus on tasks will open a few eyes, and maybe push a person who is reluctant to take that long walk and try to find what really would make a person happy. An interesting book with good ideas, and some really great stories of both adventure and inspiration.
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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to like this book, but it missed the mark for me and comes in around 2.5 stars.

I wasn't familiar with Colin O'Brady when I picked up this book but was interested in the concept of the 12-hour walk. There's good advice in this book - O'Brady talks about the growth mindset and other ways to help reframe how we look at life. However, coming from O'Brady a lot of this advice feels silly. Each chapter has an anecdote or two and then an explanation of how to apply the story to your own life. Unfortunately, most of us are not Olympic-level athletes or have the resources that O'Brady has, which he basically fails to acknowledge at any point in the book. 

The book talks about being brave, changing how you think, and surrounding yourself with people who help you grow, but these things are tied to stories like have the guts to leave a high-paying job that a family member pulled strings to help you get, travel the world with your friends who can change flights for you on a whim and make sure you have money to continue to travel, just call up your buddy who is a personal coach, or connect with people who casually climb mountains and have connections for international travel at the drop of a hat, or your parents who can definitely up and travel to your hospital bed if needed....oh you don't have any of those things? Well you can go on a walk and think about how you get those kinds of connections and resources. While O'Brady's suggestions around the 12-hour walk sound interesting, they feel less relevant after coming from a story that is so extreme and far removed from the lives that most of us live. 

I was expecting something more in depth. Probably the most difficult struggle that O'Brady talks about is his leg injury following a fire and while he talks about what his life was like near the end of his recovery, we don't get any insight into those early days or the actual time, money, etc. it took for him to get to that point. That's the piece that would have been interesting to hear about and potentially replicate, compared to his other stories.

Personally I think the book would have been more effective if it was more about addressing the struggles in a more day-to-day way that the 12-hour walk seems made for, and not a bunch of stories about all the things O'Brady has done and what he personally struggled with during them.
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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation—so said Henry David Thoreau. In The 12-Hour Walk Colin O’Brady is determined to show you that you don’t need to. Informative and inspiring, Mr. O’Brady uses examples from his own life to show you how you can change your own by examining what he calls our limiting beliefs and how to overcome them. In each chapter he examines one of these beliefs and talks about his own experiences around that belief. At the end of each chapter he also highlights the Key Takeaways from the chapter and how you can apply them to your own ’12-hour walk’. There are even links to short related videos. This is definitely a book I am going to need to go through again. I loved O’Brady’s writing style, very easy going, almost conversational which is likely why I read through the book so fast, and as such I feel the need to re-read the book, go through it again, slower this time so I can get the most out of it. Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for the chance to read an eARC of The 12-Hour Walk.
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Ready to shake out those mental cobwebs that have been robbing your life of all the passion you think you deserve? This book will do it.
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I was not entirely sure what to expect. But O’Brady had me from the start. I find his writing style easy to access and his challenge and insights inspiring. I think there is a pretty good chance he will inspire me to take my 12-hour walk. A great set of ideas and a worthy challenge.
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