One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits
A book about a lost young man who finds himself through the extreme sport of free diving. A tale of ambition, physical brilliance, and ultimately death. A book about how far you can really push the human body, and a book about what it means to try to find a life of meaning. A book pretty much custom made for me.
This is the story of Nick Mevoli, a kid of came up through punk rock and radical politics* and who eventually found a place for himself in the world of competitive free diving.
This is also the story of free diving, a sport where athletes compete against each other to see either how long they can hold their breath or how deep they can dive on a single breath. Still very much in its infancy, we’re only now beginning to understand the physical risks associated with the sport. Unfortunately, our understanding came too late to save Nick, who died during a competition at the young age of 32.
I was deeply moved by this book, in part because Mevoli’s biography is in many ways eerily similar to my own. Some different twists and turns and I could be the guy at Dean’s Blue Hole going for a record. But also, because Skolnick is an excellent writer who tells the story of Mevoli’s life, and of the free diving world with clarity and compassion. If you’re interested in feats of human performance, or lessons from a life lived to its fullest, this is worth your time.
Recommended for the enthusiast.
*much like I did. I did not know Nick, but I know people who did, all of whom speak of him as a wonderful kind man.
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