In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” — Mortimer J. Adler
As many know, I am an unredeemable bookworm. In my family, we do not separate people into ‘geeks’ and ‘jocks’, because a truly Rennaissance Person must be both well-read and well-maintained.
In fact, kettlebell training is the best way to make fitness as efficient as possible so that one can have more time to read books, or engage in other meaningful pursuits.
Here are just a few of the best books that I recommend reading for a more skillful approcah to fitness and living. I separate all the books into three very broad categories here: ‘Fitness and Training’, ‘Nutrition’ and ‘Life’.
The books in each category are not in any particular order, though I do put my favourites closer to the top.
Fitness and Training
‘Enter the Kettlebell’ by Pavel – kettlebell history and basics
‘Simple and Sinister’ by Pavel – programme minimum for kettlebell training
Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook – a mist read for all coaches, this is the basis for the Functional Movement screen
Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel – when you know the principles, you are no longer a slave to the rules. A must-read classic, two great coaches discussing the findamental principles of strength training for all, from children to athletes to everyday humans of all ages.
Overcoming Gravity by Steven Low – my favourite book on gymnastics of all time
Master the Kettlebell by Max Shank – a good book of basic kettlebell techniques and workouts with nice photos and explanations.
Books on Kettlebell Training by Taco Fleur – Great Girevoy style kettlebell technique books,. Taco likes taking his kettlebells around the world and has a very informative and fun YouTube channel as well.
Kettlebell Conditioning System by Steve Maxwell – a book of a great variety of kettlebell techniques and workouts. Not for beginners however and must be used with a coach’s supervision.
‘The Naked Warrior’ by Pavel – bodyweight training basics
‘Stretching your Boundaries’ by Al Kavadlo – great book on functional flexibility
‘The Edge of Strength’ by Scott Iardella – great book that outlines strength training principles and provides a very useful framework of progression.
‘Can You Go?’ by Dan John – great book on basic fitness assessments, plus it’s Dan John, he cuts through bullshit like hot knife through butter. All his books are good for clarifying your thinking and curing the gimmick fever.
‘The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge’ by Dan John – a book on the three basic kettlebell exercises, how to teach them, how to do them well.
‘The New Rules of Lifting’ by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove – a great non-technical book for everyday exercise enthusiast who wants to train in the gym but wants to do it better. The women’s version, the 40+ and other sequels are very nice too.
Your Body is your Barbell by BJGaddour – A book on bodyweight training that offers interesting progressions
Elastic Habits by Stephen Guise – the books for anybody who wants to make fitness a permanent habit in their live. The principles outlined in this book really work.
The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet – an excellent scientific study in the best way to make the human animal thrive.
The P:E Diet: Leverage Your Biology to Achieve Optimal Health by Ted Naiman and William Shewfelt
An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan – the book that combats nutritional dogma and one-size-fits-all thinking. It describes the sheer variety of successful nutritional practices around the world. Coincidentally, this book got me off the vegetarian bandwagon and onto supporting free-range, holistic and other better anumal husbandry practices.
“Fat Loss Happens on Monday” – by Josh Hillis and Dan John. A book for trainers who want to help their clients lose weight. The main takeaway: having a food log is 95% of your nutritional success.
The Carnivore Diet by Dr Shawn Baker – contrary to what you might think, this is not a book about a diet. It is a book about optimal human nutrition and why the only food in the world nobody has ever had an allergy to is meat. This book was counter to so many things that I learned in nutrtion courses, that it blew my mind. It got me off the ‘plant based’ bandwagon. I experimented on myself for months before recommending a couple of clients to try this out. Both have experienced amazing results.
Carnivore Code by Dr Paul Saladino – a more in-depth version of the above, this book leaves no stone unturned.
The 8 Colours of Fitness by Suzanne Brue – how to create a fitness programme that you’ll never quit. This book and the principles outlined in it, have been instrumental in helping my clients create a permanent fitness habit for life.
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta – an essential book for living a more meaningful and less scattered life.
Deep Work by Cal Newport – how to achieve better focus, produce quality work and live more meanindfully in our distracted world.
The Craving Mind by Dr Judson Brewer
Beautiful Practice by Frank Forencich
Harden Up by Felix Economakis
Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Herrari
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – a must-read classic that put everything in perspective and helps recognise the vital value of meaning in human wellbeing.
12 Rules for Life: an antidote to Chaos by Dr Jordan B. Peterson – a book on how to build an unshakable character, become emotionally mature, improve resilisnce and create a life of value.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion – by Jonathan Heidt – a must-read for anybody wanting an understanding of human nature and how harnessing it can create a more united and peaceful society.
The Coddling of American Mind by Jonathan Heidt and Greg Lukianoff – a book about mental resilience and lack of it perpetuated by the modern institutions.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell – another book for those who want to understand the origins, drives, temptations and results of the Social Justice movement.