Friday, January 10, 2014

What Makes a Hero?

Normally, I talk about posting book reviews on my blog, but I never get around to doing it (except for Tackling Life being the exception). I guess there's just too much activity going on with me (when I'm not injured) that I forget. Well, not this time. Mainly because this book applies to my recent turn at organizing my first fundraiser fun run (read more here).

A friend of mine posted on Facebook about this article written in Discover magazine by Elizabeth Svoboda. I was immediately intrigued, because it was about David Hartsock. 

Of course, I went to the store to pick up my copy immediately. I then found out there was a book and this article was just the summarized version of the book. Yes, I bought it and here is my review. 

Overall, I enjoyed the read. I'm not going to lie, it is not my typical book. It's alot of science and reminded me of books I read during college. However, those books were stuffy. What Makes a Hero? had the author's own input and stories in each chapter whether she was talking about what she was seeing or something she did.

At first, I was bogged down with the information and was ready to give up. I couldn't really wrap my head around the concept of altruistic behavior. But then, the author applied her theory to real life events and I started to get it. The book caught me like a fish on a hook. I was in to it and wanted to know more. I liked reading about the different programs going on throughout the country that I never even knew existed. I especially liked the ones that involved training kids to be more compassionate and/or heroes in that sense.

And it wasn't just stories about David, but other people, too. People I never heard of before. Some I actually saw on the news, but most I didn't. I will admit that some of the programs seemed out there, but I guess what works for them. It wouldn't work for me.

I really loved the Real Life Superheroes group in New York and made me think about what I can do on a smaller scale then beating up bad people in the middle of the night. I loved that the author took that experience and delivered care packages to homeless people. You immediately see why it can be a questionable act, because some people truly don't deserve that niceness. However, she preserved when she doubted her idea and was yelled out horribly by a man. And it turned out pretty great and rewarding in the end. I'm a skydiver, but I wouldn't have the balls to go to a very bad area of San Francisco during my pregnancy to deliver care packages to homeless people. So, I commend the author for having that type of strength and it does make a hero.

I also loved the concept that we as humans CAN train ourselves to be heroic; we don't have to wait until someone falls on the train tracks to test whether or not we have it in us to save that person. The author shows activities and programs that can help you change your mind so to speak.

But in all actuality, I won't know how I'm going to react until it happens. I think that is the only thing that I as a reader can't take away from the book. I don't know how scared or hurt or freaked out I'm going to be unless I'm there. So, I leave you with this quote from the book, which was from a popular movie about non-conforming in today's society (Dead Poet's Society), "If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it?- Carpe -hear it? - Carpe, carpe diem." So, no matter what I do in any situation, I can listen to the heroic people in this book.

Because this book talks about my friend, we are giving out a signed copy of the book (by Elizabeth herself) to the highest fundraiser and the winner of the Quadraman Fun Run. And if you haven't registered or donated, click on the links below. We do have a virtual run and a Quad Trot for the kiddoes.

Register for this easy and inexpensive run at Everyone is encouraged to raise funds for their run. Donate at If you are donating to help a registered runner raise funds, then place their name in the Ticket Holder Name field.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read. I really struggled with reading non-fiction but maybe I should give it a go..

    1. Like I said, it's alot of science in the book. The upfront portion of the book is heavy science and then it flows in to the application or what others are doing. But I think it's worth it to read about what you can do as a person to make you more of a hero during any situation.


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