Make It - 50 Myths and Truths About Creating book by Brendan Leonard

Make It: 50 Myths and Truths About Creating

Nobody gets tapped with a magic wand and suddenly has the ability to make great music, photos, films, writing, or any other kind of creative expression—they just try. And you probably should too.

“OK,” you say. “But what about ________ ?”

That’s exactly what’s in Make It: answers to all the reasons we give ourselves to not sit down and start working on our Real Art Thing. If you could use a polite but firm kick in the ass to get going, or just some reassurance that you’re not the only would-be creative with a slight to moderate crisis of confidence, this book is for you: 50 illustrated micro-essays to get you through roadblocks at the beginning, middle, or end of your project, and onto the next one.


The 25 essays, race reports, illustrated stories, and goofy lists in Have Fun Out There or Not: The Semi-Rad Running Essays pull from a wide range of experiences: The high-decibel chaos of running the New York City Marathon with 53,000 other people, shuffling through the night on lonely trails in the mountains of Colorado and North Carolina, digging for the mental fortitude to finish a 100-mile race, and the admission that we all have procrastinated a 5-mile easy run on a weekday for longer than it takes to do the actual running-often while wearing our running clothes. Have Fun Out There Or Not will, according to a good friend who’s probably biased to say nice things about Brendan’s work anyway, leave you laughing and shaking your head saying, “Me too,” or “Been there, done that,” or “OK, that’s kind of gross.” Also, possibly, “Why would you think that was a good idea?” or “What did you expect, after you ate all that pizza?” or “The person who wrote this should really find another hobby, like, I don’t know, golf or something.”

There are no real training tips in this book, except maybe the one on page 69 about how to go No. 2 in the woods and keep your hands 100 percent clean while doing it.

I Hate Running book by Brendan Leonard


I Hate Running and You Can Too: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Make Sense of an Irrational Passion is a look at the funny relationship we have with running. It’s a quick read, including 85+ charts and illustrations, and is written for you whether you’re a longtime runner or just curious about the idea of running “long distances.” Because let’s face it: At this point in human history, running anything more that a few hundred feet to catch a bus or a plane is unnecessary, so why do it at all? One of the sentences or drawings in this book will make it click for you, whether you’re trying to talk yourself into training for your first 5K or you’re the person who has never quite been able to explain why they love marathons or ultramarathons so much.


the camping life book by brendan leonard and forest woodward


The Camping Life, published March 2, 2021, is a love letter to camping in all its forms, with words by me, and photos by my friend Forest Woodward. We cover backpacking, bikepacking, whitewater rafting, snow camping, kayak touring, big wall climbing, and just about every other way you can sleep under the stars, and we hope it inspires you (or someone you gift the book to) to get out there for a few weekends this year. It’s available in hardcover from:


Hike The Parks: Rocky Mountain National Park: Best Day Hikes, Walks, and Sights is a brand-new (published May 1, 2021) pocket-sized guidebook to Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my favorite places in the world. The hikes we covered focus on packing a lot of scenery into a half-day or a day, and include a lot of family-friendly terrain, as well as scenic drives and mellow sightseeing around the park, as well as information on where and how to camp, and how to utilize the park’s shuttle system. It’s available at gift shops in and around Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as the following retailers:


chart imitates life by brendan leonard, signed book

Chart Imitates Life compiles 104 of the best charts and illustrations I’ve drawn since 2016, in full color. It’s a 5-inch by 5-inch hardcover gift book that was funded in the first 24 hours of its Kickstarter campaign in spring 2019. It covers the funny and strange things we do as humans: how we can confidently navigate in the wilderness but get lost in suburban parking lots, how long-term romantic relationships are a few months of trying to act cool and then slowly revealing how uncool we actually are, and how every day is the best day of our dog’s life. One or more pages will remind you of a friend, spouse, relative, or your dog, and most will remind you of how ridiculous we all are. You can order signed copies here, or unsigned copies here:


bears don't care about your problems book cover

Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems: More Funny Shit in the Woods From, published August 1, 2019, by Mountaineers Books, is a collection of 80 of the best stories from from 2011 to 2018, with brand-new, full-color, hand-drawn illustrations. If you know someone who might appreciate some levity about things like pooping in a bag on a glacier or sleeping on the ground where bears live, or would appreciate said levity yourself (or just some jokes about it), you will probably like this book. You can order signed copies here, or unsigned paperbacks and ebook editions at bookstores everywhere and at the following online retailers:



Surviving the Great Outdoors, now in its second edition (formerly The Great Outdoors: A User’s Guide), is published by Artisan Books. It’s a useful (but also humorous) how-to on everything in the outdoors, from the basics of putting a canoe on top of your car to how to climb ice. And also, whether or not it’s a good idea to drink your own urine in a survival situation. It’s available in ebook and hardcover editions at bookstores everywhere and at the following online retailers:

sixty meters to anywhere book

Published in 2016, Sixty Meters to Anywhere is my story of addiction and recovery through climbing and adventure. It was named one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in 2016, and was a finalist in the Mountain & Wilderness Literature category in the 2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition. You can order signed copies here, and unsigned paperback and ebook editions at bookstores everywhere and at the following online retailers:



the art of getting lost by brendan leonard book coverThe Art of Getting Lost is a collection of adventures, ranging from ones that take a half day (climbing a via ferrata in Italy) to ones long enough to quit your job (thru-hiking the PCT), as well as ideas of how to get more adventure in your life. Also makes a great gift to subtly suggest to someone that they might need more adventure in their life. You can order paperback and ebook editions at bookstores everywhere and at the following online retailers:


Best Served Wild: Real Food for Real Adventures signed by co-author Brendan Leonard

In Best Served Wild, published in 2017, my friend Anna Brones and I teamed up to create a cookbook full of vegetarian recipes for taking your backcountry food game beyond freeze-dried backpacking meals and the same old energy bars. Best Served Wild includes recipes for single-day hikes, overnight trips, and multi-day outings. Order paperback and ebook editions at bookstores everywhere and at the following online retailers:


Other books:

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