Summer Reading: 10 Books That Will Change Your Life

Palisades Run1If you seriously want to improve yourself for the better, you need to read more. So what do you read and how much? A good rule of thumb for reading should be one book per week. This can seem like a lot but it isn’t if you cut out other less important things such as TV or consuming news in general. TV doesn’t really have much worth watching (you can DVR the occasional show or movie) and consuming news in any form can be very depressing as all that is ever covered is celebrities and crime. Subscribe to a daily news feed that is focused on important news like politics and finance that can impact your life and skips the gossip, death and destruction. I read Morning Money by Politico.com but there are many others out there.

As we go into the 4th of July weekend, there are approximately 10 weeks left in the summer of 2015. Aside from having fun, if you want to improve yourself and change your life for the better, read these 10 books or just pick one and see how it goes. Enjoy the reading and come back to this post to tell us your thoughts on any of the books that you read.

1) Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich Roll, a long distance triathlete, blogger and podcaster. Rich is now a very successful blogger, podcaster and long distance athlete but he had had a very difficult road. This was the book that got me started on my path to getting back my former health and fitness. While I don’t agree with all of the conclusions he has reached, the book is very inspirational and worth the read.

2) Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich, a personal trainer and podcaster. I was first introduced to Vinnie on Rich Roll’s podcast. Vinnie and Rich Roll are friends and sometimes train together. While both into long distance cycling and extreme fitness, Vinnie has a much different view on nutrition. Vinnie can be a bit raw and profane but the book is very inspiring and again worth the read.

3) Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes, a science journalist. From a nutrition standpoint, Vinnie Tortorich is very focused on reducing sugar, bad carbohydrates, grain and processed foods in general or as he says No Sugar, No Grain or NSNG. This is a very compelling argument and mostly how I eat these days. If you want more of the science behind why this is such a smart way to eat, read this book.

4) Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level (Third Edition) by Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL Commander. Again, through Vinnie Tortorich’s podcast, I was introduce to Commander Mark Divine. As a former Navy SEAL, Divine has some very interesting ideas about mental toughness, success, physical fitness. I have found this book and his other books to be very helpful.

5) 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris, the weekend morning anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America. One of the first things, Mark Divine’s books led me to was meditation and here is an easy read to give you taste of what mediation is and how it can help you. Dan Harris struggled with stress and anxiety and eventually this created a big problem for his job and his life. He sought to remedy this through meditation and this book chronicles that journey. There is increasing evidence that meditation can help improve our lives in many ways and it is worth trying.

6) Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, a psychiatrist who survived time in a Nazi concentration camp. What Victor Frankl, saw and survived and how he explains it in this book should be a major inspiration to anyone. When you struggle with getting up early or whatever your daily struggles may be, you will be humbled by what this man endured.

7) The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin, a former chess prodigy who was the subject of the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. In this book Waitzkin talks about how to learn anything from chess to the martial arts and how to apply these principles in improving your life. Waitzkin is now a performance coach for top Wall Street and Corporate executives.

8) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. This book looks at the difference in having a fixed mindset, i.e. we are born with what we have and that is it, versus more of a growth mindset, i.e. we can improve on our lot in life with hard work. This book will cause you to look at life and learning in a much different way.

9) Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens another former Navy SEAL. In this book, Greitens has published a series of letters that he wrote to a friend who as down and out and in need of advice and motivation to repair his life. There are many great lessons in here to help you change your life and stay strong as well.

10) The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod. Like Eric Greitens friend, Elrod was also down on his luck and has turned things using a morning ritual that sets him up for success.

What books have changed your life?

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