Screen Shot 2016-12-26 at 3.28.09 PM

Years ago, I remember opening a fortune cookie with a little piece of paper that read: leaders are readers.  This was before AMP Fitness and way before I ever thought of myself as a leader.  At the time, it didn’t make sense.

It actually wasn’t until years after college that I began reading for my own personal growth and knowledge.  To be honest, the only time I picked up a book was when it was part of an assignment and even then I mostly skimmed the material.

Once I began my journey as a strength coach in early in 2008 that I realized I knew nothing.  It terrified me.  And that very real fear sparked an addiction to know ALL the things.  About myself, about about others, about fitness and human performance and later about business and leadership.

I wasn’t born a leader.  That’s something I’ve had to work on day in and day out.  It’s a skill and something anyone can work on.  Reading is just the start but it’s something you have complete control over.  Whether you lead, coach, influence others in your organization, or just want to live your best life I truly believe that personal growth is and should be the highest priority.

If I had to guess, I probably began in 2009 with about a book a month (maybe less).  Last year I believe I topped out at about 30 or 31.  This year I consumed 36 books.  My goal is 52.  With a firm understanding that memento mori and the belief human potential is nearly limitless I don’t believe this is enough, but it’s a good start and non-negotiable if you want to lead and change the world.

And if you feel that reading close to a book a week might seem like a daunting task just think about how many hours of Netflix and Social Media you consume daily.  You can do it.

This is my 7th year ‘in the industry’ and 2nd year owning a business.  I’m busier than I’ve ever been before (FYI you will ALWAYS be too busy, get over it) and I still feel like I can do better.

Reading list from 2016:

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Back Mechanic by Dr. Stuart McGill

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson

Difficult Conversations by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone

Leadership & Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Viralnomics by Jonathan Goodman

The Fat Loss Prescription by Dr. Spencer Nadolsky

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Sheryl Sandberg

Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo

10% Happier by Dan Harris

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Olympic Weightlifting by Greg Everett

The Advertising Effect by Adam Ferrier

Thanks for the Feedback By Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

The Upside of Your Dark Side by Robert Biswas-Diener

Abundance by Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis

The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

The 360-Degree Leader by John Maxwell

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams


Inside Quest – (all episodes)

The Fitcast – (all episodes in 2016)

The Strength Coach Podcast (all episodes in 2016)

Final Note

“It’s not enough to just know  you must take action.” – Tony Robins

Written by Steve