Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Warwick's Questionnaire: Christopher McDougall

The so-called Proust Questionnaire was originally a 19th-century parlor game designed to reveal bits of the soul, personality, & deep secrets of the participants through a series of pointed questions.  Versions of the quiz were re-popularized in the 20th-century by Vanity Fair and Inside the Actors Studio.  Our version - The Warwick's Questionnaire - is a series of ten questions designed to plumb the depths of the souls of visiting authors.

Christopher McDougall is a journalist and the author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen about the barefoot-running, super-healthy Tarahumara Indians in Mexico.  In between working on his next book, he runs "in bare feet among the Amish farms in rural Pennsylvania," where he lives with his family.

1. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    You can't run from the Warwick's Questionnaire.
  • Luck isn't really an achievement, but I'll claim it on a technicality. I have a knee-jerk instinct to say "Sure!" any time I'm offered work, only realizing later that maybe there are smarter ways to earn a buck than mucking blindly about in canyons or the Congo.
2. What is your greatest fear?
  • That I could be wrong about Answer #3.
3. If you were a superhero, what would your power be?
  • "If"?
4. If you could bring one writer (or runner? Your choice!) back from the dead, who would it be?
  • Give me just enough of Nelson Algren to splice with Emil Zatopek to create the coolest, toughest, cleverest bad-ass to ever walk the planet. Unless Johnny Cash makes it back first.
5. What is your most treasured possession?
  • I've got to steal this one from Geronimo: "I only trust my legs. They're my only friends." Everything good that has happened in my life has come from strolling, skulking or flat-out running into places I had no right being.
6. What living person do you most admire?
  • C'mon, what answer is there besides the Prez?
7. If you were not able to be a journalist, what would your preferred occupation be?
  • Have you ever heard of Statement Analysis? I came across a blog recently of a guy whose job is to analyze transcripts of criminal suspects. Super fascinating. Kept me up till 4am reading about odd little tells in the Amanda Knox and Madeleine McCann cases. "Guilty people have a difficult time saying four words," was one of the insights." And here they are: 'I didn't do it.' They'll embellish it, avoid it, try to persuade you that they're 'not the kind of person who could ever do something like that.' But 75% percent or more of guilty people will never say those simple words in their testimony." So yeah, sign me up for Statement Analysis 101 if this gig bottoms out.
8. How far can you run without shoes on?
  • TBD. Ever since I got rid of those Burmese Tiger Traps known as cushioned running shoes, I've stopped getting injured. I'm running farther, better and more consistently than I ever dreamed possible, so really, the only limits on distance are time and desire.
9. What are you most looking forward to seeing on your tour stop in San Diego?
  • An old friend from Philly, Jennifer Silverman.
10. What is your motto?
  • Once you BS your way into the job, you'll figure out how to do it.
Chris McDougall will be at Warwick's on Monday, September 13th at 7:30pm to discuss and sign his book, Born to Run.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding Statement Analysis: yes, we would like to hear the words "I didn't do it", instead of "I would never do that", or the equivalent. But did you really stay up that long reading that site? I was about to gag by the infantile comments and analysis. So if I say "water" it has something to do with sexual abuse? Oh my! We are in dangerous spin territory here. I would rather be judged by a ouija board...