Articles for Employers, Articles for Professionals

10 Great (Non Fitness) Books for Fitness Professionals


While this post was from a newsletter we sent out in April 2013, the content is still good. I’ve also added a few new titles to the end for those looking for more.

I’ve had some of my greatest epiphanies while immersed in the pages of a book. Today I’m going to share with you 10 books that have influenced me, some new, some old. I wouldn’t expect anyone to be as pumped as I was about all of them, but it’s worth making it a goal to read at least six of them (if you haven’t already). In no specific order….

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
A brilliant insight into habit, it’s causes, it’s value and how we can change it. Some really amazing anecdotes and a few startling insights. It fits in very well with the notion that we do not have to be a slave to our actions.

The Start-Up Of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
After seeing a number of people in a variety of industries – all great workers, dedicated to their respective businesses – lose their jobs, I began to realise that ‘job security’ was rapidly becoming a relic of the past. In this book the authors drive home this truth, detailing how everybody needs to view themselves as an entrepreneur. The rise to the top is no longer the clear path it used to be.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Wow! Some things fall in your lap right when you need them. This book was fantastic for reminding me why I started HealthyPeople, and right when I needed it. Especially if you’re a sole trader, this is a great one to have on the bookshelf – or your Kindle.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This classic is part of the ‘Self Help 101’ range. It’s been a long time since I read this book, but I still recall the effect it had on helping me put things in perspective. The Kindle version will set you back about the cost of a coffee from your favourite cafe.

Awaken the Giant Within & Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins
(I’m counting this as one, but it’s really two books) Among the first self help books I read. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I think a great one to flick through. There’s a reason this guy is bigger than Texas. Very much NLP based, which is at the heart of many books in the self help genre.

The Four Hour Work Week / Body / Chef by Tim Ferris
(I’m counting this as one but it’s really three) My wife accuses me of being in a bromance with Tim Ferris. I’m a huge fan. As a friend of mine said “it’s great that this guy has been able to channel his ADD into something constructive.” I’m a big fan of challenging widely held beliefs and there are heaps of examples in these three books. Tim tests everything on himself and his books read like you’re having a chat with your mate. I’m also a massive fan of his podcasts – the premise is de-constructing greatness.

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Who knew we were all so predictable! There are so many things that we take for granted. We all like to think that we are autonomous, self directed and level headed. The truth, it seems, suggests the opposite. A great read. Guaranteed to give you a new perspective on things.

To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
Everybody is in sales, as in, we are all trying to move people – be it at work or in our personal lives. Furthermore, the nature of sales has changed. Sales is no longer about problem solving; it’s problem finding. Clients know as much if not more than the sales people, so it’s no longer Caveat Emptor (buyer beware), but Caveat Venditor (seller beware). If you’re in the fitness industry and still trying to convince yourself that you’re not in sales, then this one’s for you.

What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro
In an industry that relies very heavily on interaction with others, the best professionals are those that are able to read and respond to body language from clients. Are you able to read some of the less obvious non verbal queues? Maybe some time with this ex-FBI agent is what you need.

Priceless by William Poundstone
Amazon describes it well, “Prada stores carry a few obscenely expensive items in order to boost sales for everything else (which look like bargains in comparison). People used to download music for free, then Steve Jobs convinced them to pay. How? By charging 99 cents. Why do jars of peanut butter keep getting smaller in order to keep the price the “same”? The answer is simple: prices are a collective hallucination.” If you run a business, this is a ‘must read’.

Since writing this a couple of years ago, there has a been a heap more gems. Following are some of the more memorable ones…

Exponential Organisations by Salim Ismail – WOW! This blew my mind. Distilling the essential requirements for exponential success. If I can just make it work…

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday – Nothing will phase you. Ever.

Hooked by Nir Eyal – How to build habit forming products. A great read.

Give and Take by Adam Grant – The power of adopting a giving mentality. This book had a significant impact on the way I run HealthyPeople.

Lean Startup by Eric Reis – The Minimum Viable Product. Genius. I wish I’d read this $100,000 ago.

Do you have some titles you’d recommend? What about fitness related books – I’m a huge fan of Pavel Tsatsouline. Add your recommendations to the comments.


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