My five favorite books of 2021 and a strength-building workout

Hey there,

I’ve read dozens of books this year. I typically have at least two or three non-fiction books going at one time, as well as at least one fiction book (I switch between physical books, Kindle books, and audiobooks).

I also recently got a library card after dragging my feet for way too long, and it’s awesome. No idea what took me so long.

Here are my top five books I’ve read this year (in no particular order). It was hard to choose — so many good ones!

4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Despite its title, it’s really the opposite of a time management book. It’s a book that presents an alternative path to the obsessive, endless quest of checklist completion and schedule optimization; a path that’s much more meaningful in the end. I loved this book so much, I’ve now read it twice and recommend it to everyone I know.

The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness by Emily Esfahani Smith

Want to feel like your life is more meaningful? Don’t we all? Smith, a journalist, dismisses the search for happiness and shows how adding meaning to our lives by cultivating relationships, working toward a purpose, and seeking out mystery can lead to greater long-term fulfillment.

The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning by Paul Bloom

We all want to have happy, meaningful lives. But Bloom explains in The Sweet Spot why suffering is a necessary part of a happy life. Whether it’s struggle we seek out or not, effort and struggle lead to more joyful and satisfying pursuits, relationships, and lives.

Late Bloomers: The Hidden Strengths of Learning and Succeeding at Your Own Pace by Rich Karlgaard

I feel like this book was written specifically for me. I identify as a late bloomer in nearly every area of my life — including fitness, relationships, finding my purpose… the list goes on. Karlgaard goes into depth on why not peaking in high school can have significant benefits and why being a late bloomer may be more of a benefit than a hindrance.

Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Dr. Anna Lembke

In this fascinating book, psychiatrist Anna Lembke explores the interconnection between pleasure and pain in the brain that helps explain addictive behaviors — everything from drugs and alcohol, but food, sex, and social media.

A quote that inspires me —

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” — Stephen King

What I’m training —

Here’s a fun strength-building kettlebell + pull-up bar workout I posted on Instagram. Remember that modifying is always OK. Don’t be intimidated when you see an exercise you can’t do — just do a modification and build up strength!

Three new workouts —

Shadow Box Burner HIIT Workout (12 minute, equipment-free or heavy bag)

Stronger Sandbag HIIT Workout (12 minute, sandbag, dumbbells, or a backpack filled with heavy stuff)

12-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout (AMRAP, equipment-free)

You can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete.

Questions? Feedback? Content requests?

Please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Happy holidays,

– Krista

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