2012 Educational Adventures

One of our most important values at MFF is getting better.  Continuing education is a big part of how we live this value, and 2012 was a year full of learning for all of us.

This post is a bit unusual in that it’s mostly list form.  I wanted to share a bit of my foundation for where I’ve formulated my perspective for how I approach health and hotness and life in general.  I’m always curious where folks get their information from, so I figured I would shed some light on what books and resources have shaped my line of thought.

As you can see, I’m a pretty voracious reader.  You’ll also notice my reading is split pretty evenly into thirds; one third general business, one third psychology and personal development, and one third training and nutrition.  I didn’t really plan this, but upon looking at this list I’m kind of happy it worked out that way.

I think it’s also important to note I don’t buy into everything read.  Many of these books represent theories and concepts I strongly disagree with, but I always like to try to understand opposing points of view give other perspectives an honest shot.  As a student of cognitive psychology, I’m painfully aware that we all have biases, so I do my best to read things that will challenge my current perspective.

I’ve also included other meaningful educational resources in 2012, as well as my planned reading list for the first quarter of 2013.  I imagine some of these books will get put off and other books will get added.  Life is a dance between deliberate and emergent goals, am I right motha fuckas?

My Top 5 Books of 2012:

  • A Whole New Mind – Daniel Pink.  This book has been HUGELY influential to me, though to be honest it mainly deconstructed a lot of what we’ve done right at MFF.  The new economy is a playground for those who can have right brain AND left brain fun.  Left brain tasks are outsource-able and automate-able.  Right brain tasks and the work of the artist is NOT.  By understanding design, empathy, narrative, relationships and other right brain qualities, today’s progressive businesses have an opportunity for infinite creative fulfillment.  (A very Seth Godin concept.)  My perspective has always been that if you don’t find business to be deeply artistically satisfying, you’re not doing it right.
  • Mindset – Carol Dweck.  A watershed book, Dweck’s work has delineated the difference between “fixed” mindset and “growth” mindset.  Although I’ve been familiar with the premise for a long time, I enjoyed finally reading the source material.  People with a “fixed mindset” believe they have fixed and unimprovable character traits.  People with a “growth mindset” believe that they get better at that which they apply themselves.  Needless to say, since MFF’s culture is built around deciding who you are and working for incremental, consistent improvement, we try to hard to align with the “growth mindset.”
  • Daring Greatly – Brune Brown. AWESOME book.  Your vulnerability is the measure of your courage.  Show me a “cool person” and I’ll show you a coward.  I’d rather get my ass kicked by life and lose big than sit in the bleachers and not even fucking try.  The book explores social concepts of shame and why the ability to be vulnerable is both horrifying and absolutely mandatory to living a full life.
  • Imagine – Jonah Lehrer. Although this book was pulled from the shelf due to Lehrer making up some Bob Dylan quotes (FAIL!), the book remains a worthwhile and important read for all artists.  (And you are ALL artists.)  Exploring different types of creativity stemming from the free associative right brain and the logical, worker bee left brain, this book helped me articulate things I had sensed about my own artistic process.  Other interesting topics include a look into why cities are hotbeds of creativity and how to define which type of creativity is best suited to a given task.
  • Corrective Exercise Solutions for Common Dysfunctions of the Hip and Knee – Evan Osar. This book really helped take my understanding of functional anatomy to another level.  Ultimately, my perspective is that Osar is understandably influenced by being a clinician and working with a particular population, but the dude knows his shit.  This book also opened my eyes to a few subtle variations of movement dysfunction I previously couldn’t get my head around, and offered a few contrarian points of view about glute activation and the best cues for the upper back musculature.  I HIGHLY recommend this book to any fitness professional.

Business (28)

  • Let My People Go Surfing
  • The Irresistable Offer
  • Tribal Leadership
  • Who Moved My Cheese?
  • Purple Cow
  • Poke the Box
  • 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
  • Lovemarks
  • Enchantment – Guy Kawasaki
  • The Dip – Godin
  • We Are All Weird- Godin
  • Leading From the Front
  • Selling the Invisible
  • Total Health Club Management
  • Onward
  • Influence
  • The Buying Brain
  • The Business of Fitness
  • The Big Red Fez
  • All Marketers are Liars
  • Linchpin
  • Making Money in the Fitness Business
  • You, Inc.
  • Blue Ocean Strategy
  • The Long Tail
  • Adapt
  • What Matters Now
  • Great By Choice

Personal Development/ Psychology (37)

  • Why We Make Mistakes
  • Eat That Frog! – Tracy
  • The Power of Less
  • Maximum Achievement  -Tracy
  • Blunder
  • Getting Things Done – David Allen
  • Flight Plan – Brian Tracey
  • Awaken the Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
  • The Psychology of Winning – Dennis Waitley
  • No Excuses- Brian Tracey
  • Learned Optimism
  • Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
  • The Power of Full Engagement- Tony Schwartz
  • 9 Things Successful People Do Differently
  • Kiss That Frog
  • A Whole New Mind
  • The Genius in All of Us
  • The Power of Habit
  • The Power
  • Imagine
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Feeling Good
  • Energy Leadership
  • Mindset
  • Mastery Of Love
  • The Happiness Advantage
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty
  • Charge
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  • Take the Stairs
  • Daring Greatly
  • Free Will
  • Fire Starter Sessions
  • The Willpower Instinct
  • How Will You Measure Your Life
  • On Becoming a Leader
  • The Art of Loving


Finance (8)

  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • Millionaire Next Door
  • The Wealthy Barber
  • The Money Class
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • A Short History of Financial Euphoria
  • How Come That Idiot’s Rich and I’m Not?
  • The Big Short

Nutrition (11)

  • The End of Overeating
  • Eat Stop Eat- Brad Pilon
  • Mindless Eating
  • Should I Eat the Yolk- Jamie Hale
  • Carb BackLoading
  • Fat Loss Forever
  • Calories Count
  • The Ominvore’s Dilemma
  • Renegade Diet
  • 6 Weeks to OMG
  • The Dark Side of Fat Loss

Training (17)

  • MMA Conditioning
  • Return of the Kettlebell
  • Look Great Naked 365
  • Musclegaining Secrets 2.0
  • Corrective Exercise Solutions… Hip and Knee- Osar
  • Healing Back Pain
  • Intervention – Dan John
  • Power to The People- Pavel
  • Super Joints- Pavel
  • Keys to Progess- John McCallum
  • The (FIT) Formula
  • The Education of a Bodybuilder- Arnold
  • Mass Made Simple – Dan John
  • Foundation
  • Easy Strength – Dan John/ Pavel
  • Science and Practice of Strength Training- Zatsiorsky and Kraemer
  • Deadlift Dynamite

DVDs (14)

  • Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training (2nd time watching)
  • Functional Strength Coach 4.0
  • Secrets of Series (all 4; 2nd time watching)
  • Strength in Motion
  • Dynami
  • Kalos Sthenos
  • Kalos Sthenos 2
  • Core Performance Webinar (Robertson)
  • Optimal Shoulder Performance
  • Strength In Motion
  • Post Rehabiliation Essentials Webinar

Other (4)

  • Game of Thrones, books 2, 3, and 4
  • Art in Other Places


  • Perform Better Chicago 3 Day Summit
  • FMS Level 2 (2nd Time)
  • MovNAT 1 Day

Other Favorite Resources

  • Strength Coach Podacst
  • Gray Cook Radio
  • Alan Aragon Research Review
  • Inc Magazine
  • Fast Company Magazine
  • 30 plus fitness, personal development, business, and arts blogs
  • TED Talks
  • Helping Ninjas work on their fitness goals
  • Helping Ninjas cope with the anxieties of modernity
  • Life

Reading List for 2013 First Quarter

  • Paleo Solution
  • Nudge
  • The Metabolic Typing Diet
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma
  • Lights Out
  • The Little Book of Talent
  • Perfect Practice
  • Max Muscle- Schoenfeld
  • Anatomy Trains
  • Quiet
  • The new Seth Godin books
  • Working the Pond
  • The Holy Grail –Venuto
  • Fast and Loose DVD- Pavel
  • How Much Protein – Pilon
  • Movement – Cook (3rd time)
  • Joy: The Happiness That Comes From Within
  • New Rules of Lifting Supercharged
  • Power to the People Professional


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