The Underdog: How I Survived the World’s Most Outlandish Competitions

Joshua Davis

San Francisco native Joshua Davis wants to be the best at something. Anything. After quitting his data-entry job to write full time, Davis experienced the usual writer’s dilemma: He couldn’t live without some serious economizing that his wife was unwilling to share. From this classic setup, Davis created a wonderfully weird story involving arm wrestling, bullfighting and extreme sauna-ing, among other things. Each money-making scheme follows a logic that makes a sort of sense, at least to him. For example, backward running would teach him not to fear what’s ahead on the road or in his life. Davis is a fearless storyteller, and his book is hilarious, thought-provoking and oddly sweet. After reading it, I have no desire to be married to him, but I’m looking forward to his next book.