Influential Books

natewhite39

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
Learning from another's perspective is an invaluable experience. Here are 10 books in no particular order that have influenced my life personally and professionally. Please share yours, thanks!

Note: Thread inspired by @Strong Rick @patterner discussion of "Mediations" by Marcus Aurelius.

1) The Compassionate Samurai - Brian Klemmer
2) Poor Richard's Almanac - Benjamin Franklin
3) Unbeatable Mind - Mark Divine
4) Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
5) Meditations - Marcus Aurelius
6) Think Like A Freak - Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt
7) Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu
8) The Science of Hitting - Ted Williams
9) Improvising Jazz - Jerry Coker
10) Oh, The Places You'll Go - Dr. Seuss
 

Shahaf Levin

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
For me, until I started reading strength/movement/training books I read only fine literature (and some professional engineering stuff) so at the moment my list is Psych which I'm reading at the moment (and since it's sport oriented it might be an empty list).

The reason I'm replying is not to present my ignorance, but to mention the opposite, while staying within "Learning from another's perspective is an invaluable experience".

All the good books I read regarding strength/movement/training present allot of philosophy (allot of Pavel's writing, all of Dan John's work for eg.) which I took to other aspects of life (including, and not limited to my work as engineer). OS pressing reset, Intervention, Easy Strength and Movement (and many others) are all life approaches I'm taking with me to everything I do.

I'll add these books to my to-read list.

EDIT: just purchased Mediations for kindle. Time to spiral out :)
 
Last edited:

berny

Double-Digit Post Count
The Hobbit, Dune, Count of Monte Cristo, 1984 and All Quiet on the Western Front had a big impact on me when I was a teenager and are books I like the re-read every once in a while. Guns, Germs and Steel is a book I only read once but it influenced me in many ways and got me interested in engineering and reading non-fiction books. Although I have a good formal education thanks to that book I read a ton of non-fiction books over the last 10 years and most of my knowledge comes from that :D
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
Book of Five Rings - Miyamoto Musashi
Tales of Power - Carlos Castenada
The Seventh Grade - Reinhold Messner
Kiss or Kill - Mark Twight
Magister Ludi - Herman Hesse
Psycho Vertical - Andy Kirkpatrick
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

@berny
As a French, I fully approve Count of Monte Cristo ah ah ;). Otherwise, I see we have more or less the same references ! :)

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Of particular interest to me, "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sachs. Anything by Oliver Sachs, really. A most interesting fellow who passed away within the last year, I believe. Among many other things, he was a powerlifter, but he's best known as a neuropsychologist who taught at Columbia University in NYC.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Of particular interest to me, "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sachs. Anything by Oliver Sachs, really. A most interesting fellow who passed away within the last year, I believe. Among many other things, he was a powerlifter, but he's best known as a neuropsychologist who taught at Columbia University in NYC.
Always loved "The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by Oliver Sacks. Definitely influenced my thoughts about perception being our reality. Hadn't heard of "Musicohpilia", will have to check that out.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Sachs was a neurologist, a psychologist, an avid, amateur powerlifter, and an avid, amateur musician. Quite the Renaissance man, and I have always enjoyed everything of his I read.

-S-
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
@natewhite39 never did I expect to see Ted Williams on a list of influential books on this forum!!! as a ball player and fanatic I applaud your choice haha. I love Extreme Ownership as well.

Antifragile was a fantastic read, as was Taleb's other work entitled the Black Swan.

My short list
Movement - Gray Cook
Intervention - Dan John
Antifragile - Nassim Taleb
Mindset - Carol Dweck
Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
The Art of Learning - Josh Waitzkin
collection of Stoic Works - Marcus, Epictetus, Seneca. I'm currently digging deeper into this work
Mastery - Robert Greene
and even though I have yet to read it, but after listening to all his podcasts I can safely assume it will go here - Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
As for influential books, I'll add:

"Man's Search For Meaning" - Victor Frankel, liberating and powerful

"That's Not What I Meant - How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships" and "You Just Don't Understand - Women and Men in Conversation" by Dr. Deborah Tannen -- Probably the reason I survived in the military and other male-dominated career fields most of my life

"Thinking in Pictures" by Temple Grandin - made me understand a lot about perceptions and how our brains process the world around us

Yes, thanks @wespom9 ! "The Art of Learning" - Josh Waitzkin, recently read/listened on Audible, loved that one.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
And I also need to add, Al Ciampa's PT Manual ("Physical Training Culture") -- that has probably influenced my life more than any of the others, and is the reason I'm here (StrongFirst forum, and kettlebells as a major part of my life) today.
 

Pavel Macek

More than 2500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
Apart from training books, lot of the books mentioned above, plus lot of others... Thus Spoke Zarathustra and many other Nietzsche's works, Hesse's Siddharta... Fight Club, Empty Mirror... recently Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck (don't
let the title and abundance of F-bombs misguide you, it is actually a Zen book). I read a lot, usually couple of books same time, half a dozen of books every week. And very often the same books again and again.
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
@Anna C it's a book that I rarely see mentioned or discussed, and truthfully only know if it/Josh himself because of Tim Ferriss. But the lessons to be learned from it are so vast and influential for me I'd be remiss to not mention it. Glad you enjoyed it!

As for autobiographies - I think the best I've read is of Jim Morrison (of the Doors fame). I wish I could remember the author. Even if you don't like/appreciate it the era or music its an amazing read of a fascinating man who really helped define the musical landscape of the late 60's
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I've read and enjoyed most (not all of course!) of the above mentioned books and they've all influenced me.

Some others you guys might consider are these and why -

Confucius' Analects - this is the REAL DEAL Oriental Wisdom book; much more important than Tao Teh Ching, Chuang Tzu, or even Buddhism, in East Asia. It's pithy, but deep and wonderful if you give it some time and a chance.

The Tale of Sigurd the Volsung by William Morris - again, this is pretty much the "real deal" grand epic of the Norse civilization, which England (Morris' Homeland) is and was part of. I'd say Anglophone North America is part of this culture by right of language and migration history, so I think it's a pretty important "identity piece" for us; but again, often overlooked except by connoisseurs.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - probably the "best" (if there is such a thing) piece of writing to come out of Canada, which has its own quirky culture curiously different from the mainstream anglophone one. It's kind of like an Anne of Green Gables gone wrong! Pretty interesting!

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman - this taught me what it means to be an American. A brilliant piece of work about metaphysics, spirituality, philosophy, and identity for North Americans. I just love it!

The Golden a#@ by Apuleius - absolutely hilarious, written by a guy considered to be a god by the Romans and Greeks. Ribald, picaresque adventure tale telling at its very very best!
 
Last edited:

Geoff Chafe

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I read a lot of war stories, and history.

With the Old Breed-Eugene Sledge
Helmet for My Pillow-Robert Leckie

I read them long before HBO made them a mini-series. The book is always better.

They are memoirs from the soldiers perspective in the Pacific during WWII. They taught me a lot about the resilience of body and spirit, and the level of human suffering we can survive, and impart on each other when forced to adapt.

It really puts our privileged lives in perspective
 
Top Bottom