Montag, 18. November 2013

[English] Book Review: Touch The Top Of The World (Erik Weihenmayer)


From the snowcapped summit of McKinley to the ultimate challenge of Everest, this is a story about daring to dream in the face of a seemingly insurmountable limitation. It is about finding the courage to reach for that ultimate summit and transforming your life into something truly miraculous.In this inspiring memoir, Erik Weihenmayer shares his struggle to push past the limits imposed on him by his visual impairment - and by the assumptions of a seeing world. He speaks movingly of the role his family played in his battle to break through the barriers of blindness. And he tells the story of his dream to climb the world's highest peaks. Only 100 mountaineers have climbed all Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the continents, and Erik is joining that elite club.

"Touch the top of the world" is one of the most inspirational books I've ever read. I'm not saying this lightly, but this book has changed my life, and it has changed my outlook on what it means to be blind. I haven't been one for believing in limitations before, but Eric's story has pushed my mind to a new level of faith.

From humble beginnings, faced with an education system not quite prepared for handling blind students, but also with some extraordinary people around him, Erik sets out on his journey. He goes through school, becomes a teacher, builds a life, and all the while he follows his greatest passion: mountains. With the tenacity of a pitbull, but with a lot more charme, he makes his way, one step after the other, breaking through wall after wall, until he achieves what no blind person has ever done before, or to the best of my knowledge has done since: he climbed to the top of Mount Everest.

Did he do it alone? No he didn't. Very few people ever do. Did he do it himself? Yes he did. And anyone imagining a blind guy being hauled up the mountain by sympathetic mountaineering-buddies, I can only say: read it! I have a real head for heights, but this book made me dizzy just reading it. Eric did not just push the limit on what blind people can hope to achieve, he broke through it with sheer force, leaving open sky for the rest of us.

Let me close this post with something I took with me from Eric's story: today, whenever I'm hitting yet another wall, and when that nagging little voice inside tries to tell me it's not possible, or it's simply not worth it, I tell it to shut up:

"If a blind man can climb Mount Everest, then I can certainly do this!"

And you know what? It works every time.

Thank you, Erik!

"Touch The Top Of The World" (abridged) in the Audible Webshop

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