Five books that altered my world view, re-learning to think like a kid, and band assisted pull-ups

Happy Monday,

Books have been some of my biggest teachers in life.

I’ve always loved to read and usually have anywhere from three to six books ranging from non-fiction science-based books to autobiographies to science fiction or literary fiction all going at once.

I like to have a mix of audiobooks, Kindle books, and “real” books — I feel like I get something different out of each type.

These five books have changed my worldview in recent years and are some of my favorites:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

This is the book that started it all for me. Dweck’s differentiation between a growth mindset (the belief that your efforts make a difference and that inborn talent isn’t everything) and a fixed mindset (the belief that inborn talent is all that matters) opened my eyes to the possibility that hard work and effort is more important in the long run than talent. This change in mindset may seem simple, but it’s had a profound impact on my life (and by showing the book’s success, the lives of many others).

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard

George Leonard was a writer who wrote extensively about human potential, an aikido practitioner, and one of my favorite authors. Mastery is my favorite book of his. It’s full of inspirational and actionable advice on how anyone can attain a higher level of excellence and follow the path to mastery.

Way of the Champion:  Lessons from Sun Tzu’s the Art of War and Other Tao Wisdom for Sports & Life by Jerry Lynch and Chungliang Huang

The lessons of martial artists and warriors can be applied successfully to everyone. The authors show us how we can learn courage, confidence, leadership skills, and more through the lessons of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey

Most people understand how important exercise is for the body and overall health. In this fascinating book, Ratey shows us just how important exercise is for the brain as well. From stress prevention to addressing depression to anxiety to preventing Alzheimer’s, exercise is our best defense.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Most of us are told that we should pick a specialty and start early and that specialists triumph over  generalists. Epstein argues the opposite, suggesting that people who find their path late and juggle many interests are often more creative, more agile, and end up making a bigger impact on their field. As someone who has bounced around in my career (and life) quite a bit, I really loved this book.

[[What books should I add to this list? If you have any good ones, please feel free to reply to this email and let me know!]] 

What I’m reading —

The Genius of Athletes: What World Class Competitors Know That Can Change Your Life by Noel Brick and Scott Douglas.

What can we learn from athletes about how to perform better in life? That’s the question this book poses, and it seeks to answer it by laying out a path for reaching any goal by incorporating tools used by great athletes. There are lots of actionable tips in this one, including how athletes break down the goal setting process, how to use if – then planning to prepare for unpredictability, and how to feel in the zone more often.

What I’m listening to —

Why Adults Lose the “Beginners Mind” / The Ezra Klein Show

Why is it harder to learn and try new things as a beginner? In this interview with NYT columnist Ezra Klein and the University of California, Berkeley, psychologist Alison Gopnik suggests that one of the main reasons is that this is actually encoded into our brains as we age. This has many evolutionary advantages, including the ability to focus and work toward long-term goals.

The downside is that as we age, our sense of play an adventure reduces, as well. We learn so much that sometimes we lose the ability to question things correctly. One solution:

“We need to spend more time and effort as adults trying to think more like kids.”

What I’m training this week —

Band assisted pull-ups.

Pull-ups are one of those exercises that have never come easy to me. On top of that, I injured my elbow a few years back and my pull up training hasn’t been the same since. In addition to doing slow negatives, I like to add in band assisted training once or twice a week. When I do this regularly, the combination of the two really helps increase my strength and number of reps I can do.

My favorite bands are by my buddies at Rubberbanditz.

Three new workouts from last week —

Full Body Blaster HIIT Workout (12 minute, plyo box)

236 Rep Full Body Dip Bar Workout (Time challenge, dip bar)

Plyo Power 12-Minute AMRAP Workout (AMRAP, jump rope)

And here’s a bar 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 great books,

– Krista Stryker


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