Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” as Want to Read:
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  47,601 Ratings  ·  4,804 Reviews
In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and even more importantly, on his writing.

Hardcover, 180 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Knopf (first published October 15th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Saurabh Sharma It is an inspirational book. It encourages you to challenge yourself, to overcome pain and fear and yet also underlines the importance of facing and…moreIt is an inspirational book. It encourages you to challenge yourself, to overcome pain and fear and yet also underlines the importance of facing and accepting reality. The reality that nothing shall ever remain the same and pain is a certainity of life, however suffering is a choice that one makes.(less)
Born to Run by Christopher McDougallWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki MurakamiOnce a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.Eat and Run by Scott JurekNight Running by Emily Mitchell
Best Running (non-instructional) Books
2nd out of 141 books — 417 voters
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Haruki Murakami Books
13th out of 20 books — 623 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 11, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: writing runners; running writers; probably no one else, really
Shelves: phys-ed
I'm a bit baffled by how anyone who's not a distance runner could possibly be interested in this book, but I personally got a lot out of it. This is in spite of the fact that I'm not a Murakami girl, and honestly didn't enjoy the style of this book at all. I always feel when I'm reading him that I've somehow wound up with a crappy translation, but then I realize that I'm reading the same version as all the English-only Murakami lovers out there, so apparently I just don't like the way he writes. ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 10, 2016 J.L. Sutton rated it really liked it
Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running pairs running and the art of writing (and its demands on focus and endurance). After reading Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage a few weeks ago, I had wanted to read more from this author. Admittedly, What I Talk About has a very different (one might say non-literary) quality which differentiates it from his novel. Still, it was an interesting account in which Murakami describes a nearly lifelong connectio ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010

"Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness."

Murakami's mind has always fascinated me; that he transcends the normal and dull, spreading them into a realistic, dreamlike, colorful, soulful reality, amazes me. And I think when most of us read someone that fascinates and/or amazes us, we want to know what that person is like -- what makes him or her tick. And obviously we're almost always disappointed: an amazing mind doesn't equal an amazing
Hannah  Messler
Dec 04, 2013 Hannah Messler rated it it was amazing
This was great! But I was kind of hoping it would make me want to quit smoking and start being a runner. It did not. If anything, it solidified my already-pretty-solid hatred of the idea of running. God damn stupid healthy Haruki.
Aug 13, 2008 Lee rated it really liked it
An ideal book for writer runners (or running writers), but also probably worth it for non-running/non-writing readers as there's enough straight talk and suggestion about serious themes: enduring pain, aging, the importance of routine, self-awareness/alertness. Quick, lean, honest, at times amazing, occasionally mundane, definitely worthwhile. BUT WAIT! The really cool thing about this book is that it's also about authority. Murukami has run +25 marathons (including a +62-mile supermarathon) and ...more
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Murakami è riuscito a farmi andare a correre la mattina. (EDIT 13/3/2016: Ho partecipato alla Euroma2run, 5 km! Sì,ok, la non competitiva di 5 km.. Ma grande traguardo! EDIT 10/1/2016: é più di un mese che alle sei vado a correre, pioggia, Natale e capodanno compresi :3) (Comunque c'è gente più sciroccata di me che domenica alle sei va a lavare la macchina, parliamone!)
Affinché sia chiara la profondità di questa cosa, io sono di quelle persone che in inverno andrebbe in letargo, che alla frase
Riku Sayuj
Oct 02, 2011 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I must say that I am very thankful to this book for getting me back into the habit of running and giving me a ready made excuse to spend 45 minutes of my time thus.
Aug 09, 2008 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: murakami
Spare and meditative. I'm not a runner (more of an elliptical guy) but this book is as much about aging, creativity, acceptance, and finding your own peace with who you are (ok, that sounds way more new agey than I mean) as marathons. Murakami fans will recognize the author's lean, simple prose and new readers may find an easy introduction to Murakami's work. Don't be fooled by the slim nature of this volume; you can tell Murakami put a lot of soul into What I Talk About When I Talk About Runnin ...more
Apr 29, 2013 Zenmoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Murakami, or sports fans
Shelves: memoir, murakami

As a non-runner, this is likely to be the one and only book I’ll ever read about running so it’s just as well it’s written by Murakami. This is my second read of it (yes really … non-runner) and it’s a lot less about writing than I remember it. Until he writes a memoir dedicated to an analysis of his life and his work though (if ever), barring discussing it in articles, this is probably the closest I’ll get. Reading this is proof positive that I’ll read anything written by this man, though I’d h
Glenn Sumi
Apr 20, 2015 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Writer

In this slim but not slight memoir, the best-selling and prolific Japanese novelist chronicles why and how he took up long-distance running, which coincided with selling his jazz bar in the early 80s to write full time.

In clear, deceptively simple prose (occasionally hampered by cliché), Murakami touches on intriguing themes like aging and perseverence, making a solid case comparing running to novel-writing. The book, of course, takes its title from Raym
Omid Majidy Pour
Oct 27, 2015 Omid Majidy Pour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
پاییز باشه، هوا سرد باشه، اتاق گرم و شومینه روشن باشه، فنجانی چایی باشه و صدای نم نم بارون پاییزی باشه، در کنار همه اینها کتابی از موراکامی باشه، اونم کتابی که بیشتر از هر نوشته ی دیگه ی این نویسنده احساس صمیمیت و همصحبتی رو به خواننده انتقال بده... تموم اینا، دست به دست هم دادن و شب زیبایی برام ساختن.

کتاب یجور صحبت صمیمی بین نویسنده و خواننده اس که توش نویسنده داره از تاثیرات رشته ورزشی خودش (دو) در نویسندگی و زندگی شخصیش میگه ولی نمی دونم چرا احساس صمیمی بودن نوشته ها رو بهم داد کتاب، انگار ی
K.D. Absolutely
I bought this book almost two years ago after reading Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore (4 stars) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (4 stars). I liked those novels a lot so I purchased and read most of his other books right away like Sputnik Sweetheart (3 stars), After Dark (4 stars), Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (3 stars), After the Quake (1 star - this used to be 3 stars until I saw my brother's review) and even his biography, Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words (3 stars). A couple of month ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Helle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
(3.5 stars) My timing is about as wrong as it can be when it comes to reading a motivational book about running in the month of November. After all, I live in Scandinavia – not in the darkest corners of it perhaps, but still. As a Danish poet once said, there are 15 months to a year, 3 of which are November, November, November. Trying to sustain a modicum of motivation is thus an effort worthy of Sisyphus and other masochists. When, at regular intervals during the book, Murakami would complain a ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Anh rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Đây không phải là một bài review, chỉ là mình viết lảm nhảm về những suy nghĩ của mình sau khi đọc hơn một nửa cuốn sách này. Mình thấy thật là hay vì mình đọc cuốn này ngay sau khi đọc lại lần thứ 2 cuốn" Tuổi trẻ, Tình yêu, Lý tưởng" của Thích Nhất Hạnh. Đọc 2,3 cuốn sách của Thích Nhất Hạnh có thể thấy ông là một người cổ súy cho lối sống chậm rãi, ung dung, nhàn nhã : "Giấc mơ Việt Nam là dân tộc Việt Nam biết để thì giờ ra để đi chơi, ngồi chơi, leo núi, đi biển, sống với cảnh đẹp thiên nhi ...more
Nov 29, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As close to a Murakami memoir as we're likely to receive for quite some time.

I'm not making any secret of it, I am two weeks shy of my 30th birthday (original text written previously, obviously because I just wrote my brithday blogpost) and my health and fitness levels have been at all time lows in the past twelve months. I think back to when I was a younger man and wonder about the transition from athletic
May 27, 2015 Ümit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Koşmak istiyorum ben de. Vallahi yahu, bunu okudum diye değil, dipnot olsun diye belirtiyorum. Bu ise okuduğum ilk Murakami oldu, güzelmiş. Ayrıca kendisi sanki Japon Paul Auster'mış. Üslup aynı üslup. Bak bir de ne demiş koşmak üzerine:

Birilerinin nedensiz (en azından ben bazen öyle düşünüyorum) eleştirilerine maruz kaldığımda ya da beni doğallıkla kabul edeceğini düşündüğüm biri tarafından kabul edilmediğimde, her zamankinden biraz daha uzun mesafe koşarım. Her zamankinden daha uzun mesafe koş
May 26, 2009 Bonnie rated it liked it
3 stars

Haruki Murakami is new to me, but evidently not to many: he has quite a number of fans on Goodreads. I decided that by way of introduction, I would begin with reading his Memoir because the title suggests it’s about running, and I like to think of myself as a runner. The book jacket goes further, telling us that Murakami reflects upon the influence running has had on, not only his life, but, more importantly, on his writing. He runs; I run. He writes novels; I’m writing a novel. Why would
I selected this book from the library simply because it was one of the few books that were readily available. Being a Murakami book, I thought that it would definitely be a nice read and so I borrowed it. Little did I know that this small book packed a punch within its covers, whose pages were bursting with some wonderful philosophies and some really interesting insights into Murakami’s mind and thought process.

What I talk about when I talk about running – The title itself is interesting and ple
Mar 05, 2014 Caris rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Running in downtown Phoenix is typically a mundane and rather warm experience. There's a lot of traffic and stoplights.

Sometimes it's a little bit interesting, though. One guy recently tried desperately to show me his junk as I ran by. Another dude I was stuck at a stoplight with licked his lips suggestively at me and murmured sweet nothings while gazing intently into my eyes. Another time, a homeless man wearing a dress chased me for a block. And a stripper just ending her shift yelled that I
Dec 12, 2015 Batul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
خواستم اول پنج ستاره بدم ولی خب خودمو کنترل کردم، اون قدرا هم شاهکار نبود که!! ولی خب دوسش داشتم. یه جایی هاروکی میگه هیچ کس نمیتونه شخصیتی مثل من رو دوست داشته باشه. ولی من سریع گفتم چرا! من دارم:-) میدونید از سختکوشی و هدف داشتنش خوشم اومد و اینکه چقدر خوب برای اعمالش و رفتارهاش و لحظه لحظه ش دلیل داره، حتی اگه مسخره باشن و حتی اگه مجبور باشه برای خودش یه هدفی بتراشه تا فقط انگیزه و امیدش رو از دست نده و این یه درس خیلی مهم بود برای من. و دومین نکته مهم برام صداقتش بود.
نثرش رو هم دوست داشتم.
Maryam Hosseini
Jan 11, 2015 Maryam Hosseini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مـهـم ترین نـکـته ای کـه در مـدرسـه یاد مـی گـیریـم آن اسـت که مـهـم تـرین نـکـته ها را در مدرسـه نمـی تـوان یاد گـرفـت
هاروکی موراکامی
( نویسـنده و ( دونده
...کـسـی که تا توانـسـت راه نرفـت
Jul 06, 2014 Jareed rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Long Distance Runners, those Looking for a good playlist while running
Reading this was like buying a new pair running shoes, not only did it got me really giddy and excited to run, it actually helped me to go on a run!
Kali Srikanth
May 02, 2015 Kali Srikanth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all Men, all woman running-writers/writing-runners & Murakami fans.
This world doesn't belong to those who can run faster, but to those who can run longer, an Extra Mile

There was this time, on these wintry mornings, I used to get up early which is kind of bad-idea to a Night-hawk like me. I run for 40 minutes or so starting from my home into these awe-inspiring landscapes which would run into subsequent villages, and then I would walk all the way back home. I abdicated whole of this idea of running once summer’s scorching temperatures arrived.

Eighteen months la
Naeem Nedaee
مهمترین نکتهای که در مدرسه یاد میگیریم آن است که مهمترین نکتهها را نمیتوان در مدرسه یاد گرفت.

ص. 56

من چنینم و کاری از دست کسی برنمیآید؛ مانند عقربی که کارش نیش زدن است، زنجرهای که وابسته به درخت است، قزلآلا که مخالف جریان آب شنا میکند تا به محل تولدش برسد و اردکهای وحشی که در سرتاسر عمر فقط یک جفت برای خود اختیار میکنند.

ص. 149.
Luís Blue Yorkie
A book that awakens the urge to run - and that of also write

I do not know what made me choose this book, given my inability to any sport. However, as I was entering the reading, the author was able to awaken in me a certain curiosity about race - a willingness to test to see what is giving. However, make no mistake: in no time Murakami indicates the race to his readers. What it does is just to report how this practice changed his life and made him the writer that he is.

By linking the activity of
Oct 02, 2014 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eu corredora assumida (apesar de estar de castigo por tempo indeterminado) … fez-me tão bem ler este livro.
Nenhum escritor que não fosse simultaneamente corredor, seria capaz de escrever assim.
Sou duplamente fã de Haruki Murakami: corre tão bem e escreve melhor ainda!

"Enquanto corro, vou dizendo a mim mesmo para pensar num rio. Pensa nas nuvens, digo. Mas no fundo não estou a pensar em nada de concreto. Continuo, pura e simplesmente, a correr nesse confortável vazio que me é tão familiar, no int
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a memoir by Haruki Murakami where he talks about his interest in running. From running for pleasure to competing in over twenty marathons and an ultramarathon. Part training log, travelogue and reminiscence, this is a memoir of Murakami’s passion for running.

Now I’m not a runner and I don’t think I ever will be but I like to read about people being passionate about a topic and although this was brief, the passion was not in short supply. Most people
Nov 01, 2012 Greg rated it liked it
I think I'm hitting my GoodReads "reviewing" wall because I can't seem to come up with anything interesting to say about books these days. It's all, "I loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but did you watch Homeland last night?" Or, "what did you think of Heat? Shut up, I'm listening to Babel." Or the worst one of all, "What did I think about the Murakami memoir? I'll just ignore you because I'm going to watch Cloud Atlas", which as a book I've started and stopped about 20 million times alrea ...more
Jan 11, 2010 Dini rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Murakami fans
Recommended to Dini by: Cici
Haruki Murakami can be daunting at times. I've only read a few of his works; some I don't understand (e.g. The Elephant Vanishes, an anthology which I didn't finish) while some I don't really like (Norwegian Wood). But this book I love, because it's understandable (unlike most of his novels, that deal with the surreal) and likeable. In this memoir Murakami does not only discuss his lifelong passion for distance running, but also its relationship with his vocation as a writer and his life as a wh ...more
Actually I'm updating my star rating to 4 because bits of this keep coming into my mind, haunting me.
.3 and a half stars. Haruki Murakami's memoirs about running and writing. While I said it's motivational, it doesn't read like a how to run or how to write book, it more puts you in a certain mindscape - Murakami's that is....and if you can take something from it and it enlarges your life he would be happy. It made me "feel good" about myself, and changed the way I view "failure" in sport/exercis
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words
  • Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures
  • To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)
  • Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports
  • The Courage To Start: A Guide To Running for Your Life
  • My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon
  • Brain Training For Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results
  • Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach
  • The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
  • Running & Being: The Total Experience
  • Daniels' Running Formula
  • Lore of Running
  • A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York
  • Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
  • Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running: The Best Advice to Get Started, Stay Motivated, Lose Weight, Run Injury-Free, Be Safe, and Train for Any Distance
  • Once a Runner
  • The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
More about Haruki Murakami...

Share This Book

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” 6155 likes
“The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school.” 784 likes
More quotes…