In case you haven’t noticed, I read a lot.
I typically read anywhere from three to five books at once, bouncing back and forth between audiobooks, ebooks, and physical books. Sometimes, I’ll get both the audiobook and the ebook version just so I can easily take notes.
I didn’t always read this much. After high school, I stopped reading for fun and didn’t pick up the habit again until well after college. But now, reading (and learning) is one of my favorite activities.
As writer Steven Kotler often writes in his books, “books are where the secrets are.”
I’ve managed to read over a dozen books so far this year. Here are five of my favorites in no particular order. Some are recent, some are old, but all were new to me.
The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness by Emily Esfahani Smith —
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Do you 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.
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 — 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.
William James was an American philosopher and psychologist from the late nineteenth century. Kaag eloquently breaks down the lessons of James, showing us all how to create meaning in our lives and become who we really want to be.
The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer by Steven Kotler —
What does it take to accomplish the impossible? This is the main question Kotler’s newest book seeks to answer. Based on the latest scientific research, this book is full of inspiration and practical tips to help anyone reach for high performance and excellence in all areas of their lives.
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt —
How can we live meaningful lives? This is the main question Haidt seeks to answer in this book, and he does it by looking at wisdom both from ancient philosophers and recent scientific research. Haidt concludes that we have to create our own meaning and can do so through a combination of love, work, and a connection to something larger than ourselves.
What I’m reading —
Warrior of the Light: A Manual by Paulo Coelho
I’ve read Coelho’s international bestseller The Alchemist several times but was unaware of this follow up until recently (if you’ve never read The Alchemist, go read it!). I certainly was not disappointed — Warrior of the Light is a beautiful tale about embracing the uncertainty of life and following your own personal destiny, which he calls your personal legend.
There are many wonderful, memorable lines in the book, but here’s one I loved:
“To travel is the experience of ceasing to be the person you are trying to be, and becoming the person you really are.”
What I’m listening to —
Every time I listen to the Rich Roll podcast I’m blown away at the authenticity of his guests. Jedidiah Jenkins is a NYT best-selling author of To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret. His newest book, released this month, is called Like Streams to the Ocean: Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are.
I’d admittedly never heard of Jenkins before listening to this podcast, but I’ve now added both of his books to my to-read list. This was such an honest and thoughtful conversation about being your true self, following your passion, and finding meaning in life.
This line really struck home for me: “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”
A quote that inspires me —
“It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us, but rather our mindset about our physical limits.” — Ellen Langer
What I’m training this week —
It’s always important to work the basics. I’ve been focusing on shadow boxing over the last few weeks and trying to dial in my jab, right cross, and left hook. No matter how advanced you get in any sport, there’s always room for improvement.
Three new workouts from last week —
Equipment-Free Outdoor Sprint Workout (12 minute, bodyweight-only)
Extreme Athlete HIIT Workout (12 minute, plyo box, pull
258 Rep Full Body Bar + Bag Workout (Time challenge, sandbag/dumbbells, pull-up bar)
And here’s an equipment-free strength workout I posted on Instagram.
Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).
As always, I value your feedback, so 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!
Here’s to lifelong learning,
PS. Question for you — what are you curious to learn more about? Reply to this email or find me on social media @12minuteathlete with your response.