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The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  4,795 ratings  ·  419 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

A dramatic, inspiring memoir by legendary rock climber Tommy Caldwell, the first person to free climb the Dawn Wall of Yosemite's El Capitan

"The rarest of adventure reads: it thrills with colorful details of courage and perseverance but it enriches readers with an absolutely captivating glimpse into how a simple yet unwavering resolve can turn a
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Viking
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  4,795 ratings  ·  419 reviews

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Kori Morris
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've never climbed before, save for the rock wall at my school's gym. I might be interested in climbing. What I was not particularly interested in was the title of this book...motivational titles ("going beyond limits") do not motivate me. They turn me off, because I expect pandering, either to the author or to their audience.

But I flipped a couple pages through this book and I decided this was worth a read. So I took this to my local coffee shop and read through it in one go, despite the title
Lee Klein
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Pitch" perfect memoir about persistence/perseverance and overcoming adversity in the form of things you cannot control (premature birth, developmental delays, special ed, big ears etc, being taken hostage in a war-torn country, spouse's infidelity, cut-off finger, assorted random injuries), and goals that must be overcome to fulfill one's dream. Flowing anonymous American prose, insightful, vivid, inspiring, but also defined so many terms and explained so many things that Alone on the Wall just ...more
Amar Pai
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is no toss off... respect. Caldwell is open about having ghost writers / ghost editors helping him-- Kelly Cordes, some other guy who "brought out the emotional core we [Cordes and Caldwell] couldn't find"-- but clearly he put time and effort into this and it shows.

I like that he talks shit and is pretty frank about his feelings-- towards his dad, his climbing partner Kevin (aka MR CEO Joe Business), his first wife who cheats on him. I've read too many breezy celeb autobios where they skip
This is nonfiction and it was as gripping as a fictional thriller. I really enjoyed this one. I enjoy the genre of autobiographies and biographies. This has to be one of the most gripping ones I've read. I thought the author did a great job of describing family, friends, neediness, dreams, and perfection. He managed to pull it all together and it was well presented. So 5 stars.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I have spent the largest part of my adult life being a climber, I usually find climbing literature rather boring. So, “the Push” pleasantly surprised me. More so since the author had no previous writing credentials.
“The Push” is full of interesting accounts of historic ascents which are both relevant and exciting to read as a climber. But where the book surpassed itself from being a report worthy only of a climbing journal, is when the author turns his attention on the deeper psyche of
Laurie Allin
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
The story of Tommy Caldwell's life is so much bigger and interesting than I even imagined. As a recreational climber, off and on for 20-some years, I've know about Caldwell seemingly forever. Hell, I even was a judge at a climbing comp he, and his later wife (now ex) Beth Rodden, were at back in the 90's. I knew a few of the highlights of his life, especially kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan from the years I read Outside, Rock & Ice, and Climbing magazines. And, of course, it was impossible not to hear ...more
Payel Kundu
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think my low review for this book is just a matter of personal taste. It’s a fine book, but for me personally, the tone was unbearable. One of the things I like best about rock climbing culture is the irreverent, outrageous, big characters. The risky grand adventure of a life spent climbing is so well balanced by absurd, almost flippant situations like what Alex Honnold said when he finished free soloing El Cap. When asked what was next for him, he responded that he’d probably hang board, and ...more
Anindita Jati
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not one to read memoirs (Actually one of those people who barely read any fiction or biography, more of a Richard Dawkins reader, so this book really is something) but I decided to read this as i have been struggling with my climbing the past couple of weeks and a friend recommended this to me (as well as Tommy Caldwell's instagram account) I first expected this book to be just about Caldwell as this super talented climber yada yada yada, but this turned out to be one of the most emotionally ...more
Jessica Anne
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm one of those creepy people who stalk Beth and Tommy on Instagram and wonder what their lives are like. So thanks, Tommy, for giving me a 200 page rundown. A really well-written work, with tons of gritty climbing bits, inspiring philosophical bits, and a really beautiful family dynamic between father and son. Tommy seems like a genuinely good guy who has done a lot of inspiring of those being writing this solid piece of work.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational, funny, and thought-provoking. Makes me want to go out and climb.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I followed Tommy and Kevin as they pursued the Dawn Wall Project. I got to hear Tommy read at one of the early author stopovers (#copperfieldsevents) for this book. That reading set me up well for what to expect, and maybe what not to expect. And let me say, too, right up front, that I'm glad he wrote the book and that I don't have to wait for the movie (I was among those who threw a question up the wall at Kevin on Twitter and mine was to the effect of when could I expect the book).
Now, this is
Time to sign myself up for the climbing gym!

I'm not always sold on the idea that somebody under 40 can write a memoir that is important, well-written, enthralling and wise. This one is definitely all of that.

Thanks to my brother Nick for getting me this book for Christmas. All of us wish to be able to make perfect choices when picking books as gifts for others and he has it down!
Rob Neyer
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: climbing
Beautifully written. So beautifully written, in fact, that when I read passages like this - "I lift my shirt and let the little body rest on my bare stomach. As his heart beats next to mine, my own doubles in size." - I can't help thinking I'm hearing, inside my head, the voice of Caldwell's co-author (Kelly Cordes) instead of his own. But that's a minor quibble. As is this: the book's probably a few dozen pages longer than it needs to be.

But I admire Caldwell's willingness to open up about his
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even since I saw the movie Free Solo and they had a short interview of Tommy Caldwell in the movie I figured this would be a fun book to read. Really I wanted to read what goes on in the psyche of these rock climbers who seemingly risk their lives in pursuit of their sport. And what makes them different from others in that they seem to have no fear factor in terms of being thousands of feet up in the air just dangling from a rope. This book, like most I’ve read of Alpine climbers is a journey fr ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have experimented with climbing in the past and it's a sport, if not an activity for me, that I really enjoyed. I like the puzzle aspect to it, and the endurance and strength of mind one must have throughout an ascent, even if just in bouldering. At the time I tried it out, in 2016, I was introduced to the 'character' of Alex Honnold and I really enjoyed seeing not just videos of him climbing, but eventually I read about his perspective on his free climbing endeavours, Alone on the Wall. I rea ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing guy with amazing perseverance
Excellent book though I wish that I had first familiar myself with the sport of rock climbing. It would have helped me to visualize the events and experiences of the author. He did an excellent job of writing, it is on my part that I failed at times to fully appreciate the book. There are several documentaries that feature the author, I plan on watching them.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. Yes it is a climbing book, but also follows Caldwell’s life through all his up and downs. Pure dedication on his part. If it not a climber, I would recommend this book.
Angela L
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy from a Goodreads giveaway and wasn't sure what I'd make of it. Climbing isn't especially my thing but one peek at the photos in the middle were enough to show me that we're not just talking about "ordinary" climbing in this book. Tommy is akin to a mountain goat and can climb mountains that mere mortals get exhausted just looking at! As the son of a father who didn't know the meaning of quitting, he decides to attempt the impossible and climb the Dawn Wall (which pretty much l ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A truly entertaining and inspiring story of Tommy Caldwell's aspirations as a professional climber and the immense challenges he has overcome. A testament to hard work, perseverance, and pursuing dreams. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed reading this to each other during long car drives and on camping and climbing trips.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy moly. I know nothing about rock climbing (except what I learned in this book), but I didn’t need to in order to appreciate this guy’s perseverance and dedication to his craft. An honest self-appraisal, and humble enough to feel genuine—for a guy who is clearly at the apex of his profession. Bravo!
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a late to life climber who will never experience the "big" climbs, so this book took me to many of them. It inspires me to push hard for my own goals. It is a good read for climbers and non - climbers alike. I recommend it and look forward to the movie, which I have put off watching until the book was done!
Sandy Begley
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting memoir. Worth a read. It's not a story about a climb but a story about what it's taken Tommy to be a professional climber--commitment, isolation, heartache, adventure, family, friends...
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I am not a climber so i guess if i was i’d have missed a little more about the sport and a little less about his life/relationships. But i read it quickly and enjoyed every chapter.
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very inspirational story, goes to my super happy sport-climber friend now.
Emily McKinney
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really thoughtful and insightful. A deep look into the psyche of one of the worlds best all time climbers.
Wendy Gilbert
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know anything about the world of rock climbing, no I want to climb a rock (at one of those rock climbing facilities). Tommy is an interesting guy and I enjoyed his honesty.
Matt Nicholls
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My longing for a good read over these last few months has finally been fulfilled
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Epic Book, life!!!! Best Rock Climbing Book ever!!!!
Kacie Rognlie
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the better books I’ve read in a year and more inspiring than any of the self help ones you can grab
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions 2 192 Oct 23, 2017 04:04AM  

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