The book is an ancient technology whose importance has only increased in modern times. With a book, you gain access to another person’s mind or life experiences. That’s hard to beat. People who aren’t reading are really selling themselves short and missing out on an enjoyable pastime as well as a leg up on the competition.
Here are some fantastic books to dig into this coming year. Most of them are new and deal with health, fitness, and nutrition. Others are about history, productivity, or self-improvement. Some are just fun reads. They’re some of my recent (or long-time) favorites and all great options for people looking to read more this coming year.
Health and Nutrition
Keto Reset by yours truly and Brad Kearns
What can I say? I’m shamelessly sticking this at the top because giving people the tools to unlock their inherent fat-burning abilities is extremely important. And not just for the way we look in a mirror and fit our clothes, but also for how our brain functions, how we age, and how we burn fuel during physical activity. Not everyone has to (or even should) go keto forever, but everyone should spend some time in a ketogenic state. This book reveals the best way to do so safely and sustainably.
For: Anyone who wants to burn fat more effectively.
Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf
Robb is one of the greatest at breaking down complex scientific topics into easily-digestible nuggets of actionable information that anyone can absorb and utilize. This latest book is a few hundreds pages of exactly that. If you want to understand why eating and moving right is so hard for so many on a biochemical and behavioral level—and then learn how to overcome it to achieve optimal health and wellness—read this book.
For: Anyone struggling with eating or exercising the way they know they should.
Genius Foods by Max Lugavere
More than how much we can lift, how fast we can run, or even how good we look naked, our primary concern—above all else—is making our brains work well into old age. Nobody wants to lose control of their mental faculties, because once that goes, everything else follows and nothing else matters. Lugavere’s upcoming book (due March 2018) explains how to prevent dementia, improve cognitive function, and preserve psychological health using nutritional and lifestyle interventions. Very important topic.
For: Big-brained hominids.
Unconventional Medicine by Chris Kresser
I always like to hear and read what Chris has to say on health and nutrition. He’s very careful with his recommendations and rarely makes mistakes. With that in mind, his latest book is a powerful and convincing plea for medical practitioners to help him fix a broken medical system that applies ineffective bandaids to complex chronic health issues rather than try to solve them. If you think we need to redesign healthcare (we do) and aren’t impressed with any of the current offerings on the table (me neither), this book will show us a way forward.
For: Fed-up, burned-out doctors.
Body Love by Kelly LeVeque
Do you love your body? Few do. Kelly LeVeque shows you how to stop the food obsession and start loving your body, but not because you’re deluded about your own health and fitness. You’ll learn to love it because you’ve made it fit and healthy.
For: People looking for a different perspective.
Paleo Principles by Sarah Ballantyne
A one-stop shop for going paleo that includes everything you’ll need, including the science behind the diet, step-by-step guides for incorporating the new way of eating and living, meal plans, recipes, and well, what else could you ever need?
For: Beginners or old-timers who need a refresher.
The Salt Fix by James NiColantonio
For decades the experts have inundated us with recommendations to reduce salt in our diets. They said it was responsible for hypertension and heart disease, bloating and kidney disease. The Salt Fix destroys these myths, explaining not only why salt isn’t the villain it’s made out to be but also why salt is an essential part of the human diet. A great read.
For: Anyone still a little nervous about sodium.
Fitness and Movement
The Brave Athlete by Simon Marshall and Paterson Lesley
Between cutting edge nutrition and training techniques, gadgets that track recovery, mobility programs designed to minimize injuries and advanced surgical techniques designed to fix them, modern athletes have the physical side of competition pretty well taken care of. Unfortunately, those can’t really help the mental side of it all. In The Brave Athlete, sport psychologist Marshall and elite triathlete Lesley provide the tools for getting to and defeating the root cause of the mental dilemmas modern athletes face.
Deskbound by Kelly Starrett
We all know how excessive sitting is destroying our bodies and setting us up for shorter, worse lives. In this book, Kelly Starrett doesn’t just diagnose the problem. He gives you specific movements, skills, and other solutions to not only sit less, but make the sitting you do less damaging.
For: Desk jockeys.
Kitchen Intuition by Devyn Sisson
I may be biased. This is my daughter’s book, and I’m the publisher. I don’t care—I was there during the hundreds of hours of recipe trials. I tasted it all. I smelled it all. The food is good. Best of all, Devyn’s book fills a void for many of her generation who don’t know their way around the kitchen. cooking is an important skill that too many people are letting drift into obscurity; buy this book and fight back!
For: Anyone who wants to discover (or rekindle) a love for cooking.
The Primal Kitchen Cookbook by yours truly
I got together with some of the top names in paleo and Primal to cook some awesome food then tell you guys how to cook it, too. Many of the recipes use Primal Kitchen products, so be warned (thoughh you can always make substitutions; they just might not taste the same!).
For: Anyone who likes MDA.
Ready or Not! by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
NomNomPaleo continues to be the best paleo recipe blog around, and now they’re out with a brand new book. It’s got their signature aesthetic style that everyone knows and loves. It’s got the requisite beautiful photography. But most important, the food is really, really good. Buy this one.
For: Fans of umami.
Healing Mushrooms by Tero Isokauppila
Mushrooms are a mystery. They’re often relegated to the vegetable category, but they’re much more than that. There are hundreds of edible mushrooms available, and they’re all different from each other. What’s coolest is that mushrooms don’t just taste great. They’re usually downright medicinal. If you’re curious about eating these incredibly healthy life forms but don’t know where to start, this book is just the ticket.
For: People who listened to Paul Stamets on Joe Rogan the other day.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
More than just write a recipe book, Nosrat lays out the basic blueprint for creating food that tastes good to the largest audience. Recipes are great and all, but by reading this book you’ll learn how to use basic elements of good cooking—salt, for enhancing flavor; fat, for delivering flavor and providing textural richness; acid, for balancing flavors; and heat, for controlling the texture of the food. Everything after that is just window dressing.
For: Beginners and advanced cooks.
Against All Grain Celebrations by Danielle Walker
Despite (or perhaps because of) having an autoimmune disease, Danielle Walker cooks incredible food. She can’t eat grains or dairy, which many foodies consider a death knell for any real chef. Not so: Against All Grain Celebrations shows how cooking with only ancestral, paleo ingredients is more than you need to make food that outshines everything else at the party.
For: People food food intolerances, autoimmune diseases, or a desire to eat delicious food.
Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s the story of a brilliant but unrecognized inventor who uproots his family to move to the Honduran jungle, where he tries to start a small slice of civilization free of rampant consumerism and crushing materialism. I use his descent into madness as a barometer for my outrage at society.
The movie’s pretty good, too, with the late and great River Phoenix along with one of Harrison Ford’s best and most under-appreciated performances.
Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
This is just a well-done thriller about a former secret agent who left the fold after doing one too many unsavory jobs and now works pro-bono for good causes. Great for a rainy weekend or day at the beach (weather depending).
For: Fans of the Jason Bourne books/movies.
Philip K. Dick short story collection by Philip K. Dick
I’ve read a lot of Dick short stories, and I can never keep track of which collections are which. All I know is that he’s a master at building horrifying yet believable worlds in the span of a few pages. He’s got some great novels, like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and The Man in the High Castle, but some of them run a bit long and sprawl a bit too much. His short stories are more focused, easy to digest, and sit with you a long time. This particular collection includes Minority Report (inspired the movie) and We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (inspired Total Recall).
For: People wondering about what the future holds, fans of Black Mirror.
The Force by Don Winslow
The best novel I’ve read in many years. This is cop fiction at its very best, but it’s also not a book to be pigeonholed. Complex in its portrait of a city and a central character, there’s real meat to be appreciated here. Be warned, though: it’s dark, gritty, and unrelenting.
For: Anyone into crime novels.
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is the king of productivity, and in this latest book, he draws on his considerable well of mentors for their advice about how to live and work well. He sent 11 questions (read them here) to all the experts, iconoclasts, and top performers he knows, then compiled their answers in this new book. It’s a great one to thumb through and digest in bits and bites.
For: Anyone who wants to know how the greats think.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
We have more productivity tools than ever before. We can access millions of books, articles, studies, and lectures in seconds, much of it free. This ease of access to information is a blessing and a curse, because there are distracting forces vying for our attention. It’s far easier to get sucked into your email, social media spat, or a clickbait article than it is to stay focused for hours at a time on a task or learning something that will further your goals. But those who can stay focused and do what Cal Newport calls “deep work” will have a huge advantage in the coming years.
For: Anyone interested in overcoming distraction and increasing focus.
History and Culture
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens follows humans from our early proto-hominid days up through the present day. From encounters to Neanderthals to the cognitive revolution to the advent of agriculture to the creation of money as a concept to the establishment of the major religions to the scientific revoltuion to the industrial revolution to the information age to what Harari suspects will be the end of Homo sapiens as we know them (us), the book is an entertaining overview of human history and a clever guess at what may lie in store.
For: Anyone interested in grand narratives.
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
By no means a recent release, this is C.S. Lewis’ argument against moral relativity and for the existence of an objective, foundational moral code, which he calls the Tao. I’m not sure where I come down on the question, but it’s certainly something I’ve been thinking about harder than ever. It’s a quick but heavy read.
For: Anyone looking to get their bearings.
That’s it for me, folks. What about you? What are you reading? What are you planning to read? (I’m always on the lookout for new favorites.) Thanks for stopping by today. Take care, everybody.