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Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Jul 11, 2012
It’s that time in the IMTS cycle when exhibitors are racing to the finish to be ready for the show. Visitors’ attention is turning to the preparation for their race at the show. While this book review deviates a bit from the business and marketing content we typically focus on, it contains some good advice and it’s ideal entertainment for the IMTS community as we enter the final lap.
The story mixes a philosophical dog with a dying wife and mother, a bitter custody battle and race car driving. Told from the perspective of Enzo the dog, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a funny, sad and ultimately uplifting look at the wonders and absurdities of human life. He has educated himself by watching television extensively (The Weather Channel - it's "not about weather, it is about the world"), and by listening very closely to the words of his master, an up-and-coming race car driver. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, he believes that when a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man. But not all dogs — only those who are ready, and he is ready.
Through his master, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. Bad things happen to good people in this novel, and then worse things. You will get angry, be hurt, and get so concerned that you might forget it’s just a story. But the payoff is a story that commands you to keep going with ideas that are smart.
Enzo can give us new perspective on those things we know intuitively, but sometimes get so busy racing that we forget. "Racing is about discipline and intelligence, not about who has the heavier foot. The one who drives smart will always win in the end." As Enzo says, we are all extensions of everything. Where you focus your energy is what happens in your life. What happens in the end is what has to happen. “Manifest that which is before you.”