Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Book Review: Running with Purpose

Disclaimer: As a Brooks Run Happy Team member, I received a free copy of Running with Purpose in exchange for my review and social sharing. All opinions are mine. This post contains an affiliate link.


I have been running in Brooks shoes for about 5 years. A long-time fan of ASICS Gel Nimbus, I was frustrated with a design change that wasn’t comfortable on the run. At the urging of a friend, I started running in Mizunos, trying several different models. They were ok, but I didn’t love the ride. Impulsively, I bought a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS and on my first run in them had that WOW! moment. The Adrenalines gave me the comfy ride I was looking for. My feet were happy. And if my feet are happy, then I'm running happy. I continue to favor the Adrenalines to this day.


Earlier this year, I was selected to join the Brooks Run Happy team. I’m thrilled to represent a brand that is runner-focused and philosophically aligned with my worldview. After reading CEO Jim Weber's new release, Running with Purpose, I feel even better about my commitment to Brooks shoes.



Weber shares his rise to his position as CEO of Brooks. He grew up in Minnesota, one of 5 kids. His dad was an alcoholic with a bitter, negative attitude about life. Jim was determined to overcome that. He loved to play hockey and worked as hard as he could to be the best player on his team. He set a goal for himself in 7th grade to someday run a company. While he didn’t make it as a hockey player, he continued to chase his dream of running a company, graduating from the University of Minnesota and Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. He married his college sweetheart and embarked on his pursuit of success. He also became a runner, channeling those endorphins he used to get while skating. Weber shares that he loves running to music (who doesn't?!) and offers a playlist that you can listen to while reading the book--or running! Interestingly, he and I share a love for the music of the 1970s. 


Along the way, he worked for a variety of companies, including Pillsbury. He took notes of everything he learned along the way while making a name for himself with his creative vision and focus. He eventually landed at the helm of Brooks running and began to grow the brand. He looked at his competitors, who were spread thin across the shoewear spectrum, and decided that he wanted to keep Brooks as a running-focused brand. Thank goodness he did! 


In Running with PurposeWeber not only shares a lot of his personal journey but also the journey of Brooks Running. He kept the motto “Run Happy”, using it as a call to action for runners, much like Nike's "Just Do it".  He defines Run Happy as “the emotional core of the running experience “. He was determined to have Brooks be taken seriously by runners and defined the company's singular purpose: to inspire everyone to run and be active" by creating the best running gear, tools, and experiences to move runners. The company continues to grow and is now the number 2 shoe for runners. Brooks even posted record sales during the pandemic, betting on more people wanting to run and get outside during the lockdown. 


Socially and environmentally conscious, Brooks has developed a shoe, the Ghost, that is carbon neutral and has signed a climate pledge to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2040. They are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace as well as partnerships that support underserved communities. The Brooks Booster Club is a need-based grant program that invests cash and gear in underserved high school running programs.


Running with Purpose was such an interesting read. In a world of conglomerates and big businesses, it’s really heartening to read about a company that cares about its demographic, as well as the world around us. Weber set out to be an authentic leader and was rewarded with a loyal, committed team of employees. Four years ago, Weber was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  Throughout his cancer treatment, Weber continued to lead his company and still does to this day. While he can no longer run, he walks and his focus on his mission for Brooks hasn't changed. Clearly, Brooks is the company it is because of his vision and leadership. He would tell you that it is due to his team. 


I hope that this focus on runners prevails as Brooks continues to grow. I really enjoyed this peek into the mind of such a great leader. He offers so much wisdom and insight! While some runners might be put off by Weber's worldview, I personally love that Brooks is philosophically aligned with my personal views. Some of the passages on business were a little dry for this non-business thinking runner. But it helped me to understand the journey both Weber and Brooks have been on. Weber is clearly proud of Brooks and what he’s accomplished while sticking to his principles. Because as he says: 

"The secret to success success is constancy of purpose."

Whether you are a runner or a CEO, that is advice we can all follow. 


Does a company's philosophy or purpose influence your purchasing decision? What other factors besides fit make you choose a shoe?


I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics, with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJen, and Lisa.

  

32 comments :

  1. Wow- this book sounds great. I want to love Brooks so much- I love their philosophy and I mean... "Run Happy" is the most awesome slogan ever! Like you with the Mizunos, I just couldn't get comfortable in Brooks. I tried the Ghost and a couple other models. I'm sure at some point I'll try again- you never know.
    To answer your question, I don't buy Nike products but other than that I just go with whatever feels good on my feet (currently Hoka, apparently the favored shoe amongst the Plantar Fasciitis faction!). Thanks for this review.

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    1. If Brooks didn't work for me, I'd definitely try Hokas. I need cushion!

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  2. Sure Is Interesting About We Take Our Feet For Granted Until They Become Uncomfortable - Pleased You Found A Pair That Treats You Right While Allowing Yourself To Step Into The Future - Stay Strong And Hand Out Extra Dog Biscuits - Big Hugs

    Cheers

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  3. Oh Wendy!!! Thank you for sharing this! I fell in love with Adrenaline immediately and the motto Run Happy has always touched me emotionally - now to hear Weber's story - wow, just wow, it makes me love Brooks even more and just from what you have shared I feel even more committed to stick with Brooks.

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    1. I had the exact same feelings when I read this book! i hope he stays CEO forever, lol

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  4. I agree with Jenny and Shathiso - the slogan "Run Happy" really appeals to me.
    I had no idea about the story of the Brooks CEO - quite impressive. I also didn't know that Brooks was so environmentally and socially conscious.
    I'm not an ambassador of anything, but if I was, it would be VERY important to me that they are compatible with my world views. I think you are representing a great brand, Wendy!

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    1. Thanks Catrina! I'm very selective about who I hitch my wagon to...

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  5. I am definitely drawn to companies whose values align with mine, but at the same time, when it comes to running shoes, the shoe itself is very important. I have run in Brooks for many years, but not recently. I didn't know much about Weber so thanks for sharing!

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    1. I didn't know much about him either, but what I learned just added to the respect I have for Brooks as a company.

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  6. This is a great review! I am only a few chapters in and am really enjoying it so far. Even though Im not a business person I do find the marketing side of things interesting, so learning more about his journey was intriguing. I have learned so much about Brooks since joining the team a few years ago!

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    1. It's really great to get behind a company that you believe in!

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  7. I've been "running happy" for almost seven years, also in the Adrenalines (and sometimes the Ravennas). While some of the tweaks and updates, each season, have been noticeable (seriously, my feet can detect the slightest change), the Adrenalines still are my favorite go-to. Like you, they felt perfect from the first run!

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    1. Interesting--I haven't felt that any of the changes are noticeable!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this! I also love Brooks shoes and am happy running in them as well. It is definitely a great company and if I weren't a teacher, I'd probably work for them. :-)

    Thank you for linking up with us!

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  9. Interesting - I love a business book and will get hold of a copy of this. I do like Brooks GTS, however years ago they changed too much and I went off them and over to Saucony. Tried a recent pair and liked them. I also like how they choose ambassadors across a wide spectrum of runners, I have a running club colleague who is not the fastest and is one.

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    1. As an aging runner who often feels marginalized, I am grateful to be part of the Run Happy Team!

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  10. Well as you know I am all in on Brooks and running happy. I have been so impressed with the values of the company and how they treat their employees and strive to do better. I just started the book but I am excited to read more about Jim.thanks for the great review

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  11. How interesting. I knew nothing about him. I do think Brooks make the prettiest shoes.

    However, their toe box is not wide enough and I need a lower drop... sigh!

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  12. Sounds like an interesting book! (sadly, not available as an audio book from my library!) As a Brooks product tester I find the whole design process so interesting! I love to see how the shoes get revised before they make it to market. Hoping another pair comes to me soon!

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    1. What a great gig for you! I hope you can get your hands on a copy, because it would give you such good background!

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  13. I just started wearing Brooks Glycerin last year as part of a campaign and I love them! It's so good to hear about the focus on running (and runners) that Brooks offers. And I love the motto Run Happy, which I have been known to use even when I'm not wearing my Brooks because running does make me happy.

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    1. After reading the book, I feel so proud to be a Brooks runner. Other companies are not at all invested in their customers like this.

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  14. So great! I'm an Adrenaline lover - Brooks have gone from being one of several brands I could wear to THE brand I wear. I would be interested to dive deeper into the company and the culture!

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    1. Same! I absolutely love my Adrenalines. They just sent me a pair of Launches and I will share my thoughts once I get some miles in them.

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  15. I saw a few posts on IG about this book and it looks interesting, but your review makes me want to purchase it now to read. I have exclusively run in their sneakers for years and have loved learning more about the brand during that time as well.

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    1. I never cared much about the people behind the brand until I learned more about a certain competitor and how they treated their runners. Now I am definitely more of a conscious consumer. Brooks is a good company!

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  16. MOstly commenting so this is in my inbox when I finish the book. But like you Ihad a wow moment when I first ran, although mine were ghosties. My feet feel loved!

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    1. I just received a new pair of Launch GTS, so I will let you know how i like those! This company makes me feel loved.

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