Summary of The Push

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The Push book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


If you rock climb, you’ve probably heard of champion Tommy Caldwell, but you don’t have to be a climber to appreciate his thoughtful memoir. Though the sport is central to his narrative, he uses rock climbing as a vehicle to explore perseverance, passion, physical challenges and, in his case, perhaps the slight madness that excellence demands. He touches on love; belonging; family; romance; the media fallout after militants in Kyrgyzstan held him hostage; technology’s influence on fame and sports; what it meant to his climbing to lose one of his fingers in an accident; and how he finally attained a daunting life goal: free climbing the Dawn Wall of Yosemite’s El Capitan mountain. getAbstract recommends his saga to readers who take pleasure in accounts of skill and dedication and who appreciate an example of how to become a champion through practice, hard work and perseverance.  

About the Author

A professional rock climber who continues to break climbing records, Tommy Caldwell lives in Estes Park, Colorado, with his wife Becca and their two children.


Physical Endurance

Tommy Caldwell was born seven weeks early on August 11, 1978, the product of a complicated pregnancy. He weighed in at 4.5 pounds. Doctors feared he wouldn’t survive, but he thrived under his mother’s loving support and his father’s encouragement.

Tommy’s dad, a teacher and successful bodybuilder, instituted an exercise training system with rewards for Tommy when he was only four. He could earn a credit for running around the block or doing 30 push-ups or other physical activities. Each credit was worth 10 cents, which the boy accumulated to buy items like a BMX bike and climbing shoes. The system’s true reward was bonding with and impressing his dad. While Tommy didn’t excel at team sports, he attributes his unique capacity for endurance and pain tolerance to his difficult birth, his father’s training and the suffering he later experienced as a hostage in Kyrgyzstan.

Caldwell embraced outdoor adventure – camping alone next to climbing routes other kids couldn’t dream of completing and conquering them. Legendary climber Warren Harding gave a talk in the Caldwells’ living room in 1983, leaving a lasting impression on Tommy. ...

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