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
I am what is considered a ‘bookworm’ in the West, however I don’t think so. In our family, we did not separate people into ‘bookworms’ and ‘jocks’, because a truly wise person is both well-read and well-maintained.
In fact, I think kettlebell training is the best way to make fitness as time-efficient as possible, so that one has more time to read books or engage in other meaningful pursuits.
Here are just a few of the books that I recommend reading for a more skillful approach to fitness and living. I separate all the books into three very broad categories here: ‘Fitness and Training’, ‘Nutrition’ and ‘Life’, the latter is divided into ‘Life Skills’, ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Economics’ which is my hobby.
The books in each category are not in any particular order, as I add them sometimes from the bottom, sometimes from the top, and sometimes from the middle.
Fitness and Training
‘Kettlebell RX’ by Jeff Martone – is hilarious, easy to read, and full of great information. Jeff is a superb writer and coach.
Kettlebell Training by Steve Cotter – an exhaustive guide to Girevoy style kettlebell lifting by the master who walks his talk.
Kettlebell Express I and II, and More Kettlebell Muscle by Geoff Neupert – my favorite books on minimalist and no-nonsense programming for general fitness with kettlebells.
‘Enter the Kettlebell’ by Pavel Tsatsouline
‘Kettlebell Simple and Sinister: Revised and Updated Edition– by Pavel Tsatsouline.
The Quick and the Dead: Total Training for the Advanced Minimalist by Pavel Tsatsouline – a book on the principles of strength aerobics
Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook – a must-read for all coaches, a foundational book for Functional Movement Screen and progressions
Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel – when you know the principles, you are no longer a slave to the rules.
Overcoming Gravity by Steven Low – is my favorite book on gymnastics.
Master the Kettlebell by Max Shank – is a good book of basic kettlebell techniques and workouts with nice photos and explanations.
Books on Kettlebell Training by Taco Fleur Girevoy style kettlebell technique books. Taco likes taking his kettlebells around the world and has a very informative YouTube channel as well.
‘The Naked Warrior’ by Pavel – bodyweight training basics
‘Stretching your Boundaries’ by Al Kavadlo – a great book on functional flexibility
Flexible Steel by John Engum – a superb book on flexibility for tight people, written by a great coach who walks his talk.
‘The Edge of Strength’ by Scott Iardella – a great book that outlines strength training principles and provides a very useful framework of progression.
The 8 Colours of Fitness by Suzanne Brue – how to create a fitness habit suited to your personality.
Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman – will open your eyes to what functional fitness actually is.
‘The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge’ by Dan John – a book on the three basic kettlebell exercises, how to teach them, and how to do them well.
‘The New Rules of Lifting’ by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove – is 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 life. The principles outlined in this book really work.
And many many more…
The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet – is an excellent scientific study on 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 animal 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 – is an interesting thesis about optimal (and optimally ethical) human nutrition.
Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saladino – a more in-depth version of the above.
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson – basic healthy eating and movement starter guide.
The Rules of Normal Eating and The Food and Feelings Workbook by Karen R. Koenig et. al. – are great books for overcoming emotional, compulsive, and mindless eating habits.
The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters – is an extremely useful and easy-to-understand mind-management concept, with step-by-step implementation.
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 resilience and create a life of value.
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta – an essential book for living a more meaningful and less scattered life.
Deep Work and Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport – how to achieve better focus, produce quality work and live more meanindfully in our distracted world.
How to Be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise
The Craving Mind by Dr Judson Brewer
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – is a book about how to care for the things that matter.
Beautiful Practice by Frank Forencich – a book on how to honor your life
Harden Up by Felix Economakis – a book on resilience
How I Found Freedom in a Non-Free World by Harry Browne – a book on how to take control of things that are controllable and stop blaming the world.
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – is a book on how small everyday choices build up to huge outcomes.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – is a book everyone must read, period.
How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay – is a book the value of which is hard to overstate in our modern times. A book on how to talk with people you disagree with, and still be both friendly and civil. In order words, a book that will probably help save human civilization.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – is an interesting thesis about the nature of human beings
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 – is a book about mental resilience and the lack of it perpetuated by modern institutions.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell – a book about the origins, drives, temptations and outcomes of the Social Justice movement.
Democracy: the God that Failed by Hans Herman Hoppe. A book that will blow your mind.
Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell – perfect for beginners.
Knowledge and Decisions by Thomas Sowell – my favorite book by Dr Sowell.
Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell – a useful book for modern times.
(in fact, it’s very difficult to narrow down the recommended readings by Thomas Sowell. All of his books are of amazing value, but these three above relate directly to economics)
A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism: Economics, Politics, and Ethics by Hans Herman Hoppe
Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises – is a huge magnum opus, it isn’t for everyone, this book is the economics bible for those interested in the subject. It is LONG and very involved, but very worth a read if you want to understand the underlying principles of human action and economics. Beginners are better off starting with Thomas Sowell.
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality by Ludwig Von Mises – Mises was a giant in understanding human behavior and motivation. This is a fascinating read.
Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete for You by Titus Gebel – is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read in my life. Educational to boot, but a total pleasure to read as well.
Universal Basic Income: For and Against by Anthony Sammeroff – a very short but essential book that offers a mini-lesson in economics alongside outlining the main pro- and against arguments.
Anatomy of the State by Murray N Rothbard – the difference between economics and politics. A somber book, but in my opinion, essential to read.