DIARY: René’s reading list

After a bookwormish childhood, I discovered drink in earnest at the age of 15 and barely read a book for 10 years after that. I only fully snapped out of this bad habit when travelling to Ireland and needing some way to pass the time on buses and LUAS in the early days not to mention my strange wanderings around Dublin town as I was trying to understand my new country – usually I’d go see some historical place before sitting down with a book in a cafe to relax.

Since then, I have read a library full of books (all on my shelf) but never at any stage have I had as many books “on the go” as this present moment. So since readers of the blog may wonder where a lot of these writing come from I thought it could be funny to share everything I am reading. I have barely put down Rupert Sheldrake’s “Science set free” (published with the misleading title “The Science Delusion” in Britain and Ireland) which raised interesting questions on some of the basic assumptions of modern science before I moved on to others, so here is the list:

My reading list (currently!)

  • 50th Law by Robert Green and 50 Cent: I read everything Robert Green (the “modern day Machiavelli” as he is dubbed) and when you practice the sport and the profession I do, why would I not want to know how to master the art of fearlessness?
  • 7 habits of highly effective people by Simon Covey: Upon noticing that my stress levels had reached unhealthy levels and that perhaps my effectiveness could improve, a well-meaning friend gave me this and while I am still only half-way through and still need to implement much, I like how this book forces you to change your principles and act in accordance with them and not merely polish the surface and pretend to be more than you are as many modern self-help books prescribe.
  • A universe from nothing by Lawrence Krauss: I’ve followed Lawrence Krauss in podcasts for a long time and am looking forward to seeing his full explanation on why we can say, with reasonable confidence, that the universe indeed arose from “nothing” but that “nothing” may not mean what we think…
  • Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Where do I start? This book is simply the work of a brilliant genius who has inspired people wide and far – even movement experts like Ido Portal quote this guy and borrow some of his pugnacious prose. The concept of anti-fragile is at the heart of the coaching philosophy we work with – something I’ll need to write much more about
  • Functional movement systems by Gray Cook: A brilliant text book explaining why the current reductionist and muscle specific paradigm of injury rehabilitation is so deeply flawed. I have my doubts about the Functional Movement Screen test itself but the theory presented here and the clarity of Cook’s vision makes the book a must-read for anyone working in the field of movement rehabilitation.
  • Mastery by Robert Greene: Find a vocation and learn to tread the path of Mastery – this book is essentially Robert Green’s guide-book on how to do exactly that and since I could never contemplate aspiring for anything less than total mastery, I have to read it too!
  • Mind gym by Gary Mack and David Casstevens: Lots of interesting quotes and ideas on how to cultivate a strong mindset here. Still a bit shallow in the early chapters but hoping to mine a few gold-nuggets that will be useful for my athletes and teaching them the mental side of the skill of running.
  • Return to life with Contrology by Joseph Pilates: The original book explaining the great master coaches’ approach. Since this is one of the foundational elements of the “Run injury free” technique devised by Tony Riddle I felt I wanted to understand the source material
  • Start with why by Simon Sinek: Communicating a message, even a true one, can be difficult and in this book Simon Sinek shows how we resonate to emotional messages (why something is done) rather than “how” or “what” and takes the reader through how to learn to write and talk this way.
  • The art and science of low carbohydrate performance: A very thorough overview of why low carb diets can work for performance and how. As an old school coach, I need a full understanding of all aspects of training, so wanted to explore this frontier as well.
  • The Pose Method of Running by Dr Nicolas Romanov: Dr Romanov’s original text-book summarising his 25 years of research and practice in teaching running technique. Tony Riddle learned many interesting concepts directly from Dr Romanov, including the concept of the “running pose” and what it means for our understanding of proper technique. So it was a must for me to read the original text here.
  • Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahnemann: A fascinating book which explains much about why the human mind works the way it does and how we are easily tricked to see patterns where there are none
  • Thinking in systems – a primer by Donella Meadows: The hardest book to finish for me so far – systems theory is a key area to understand when you are trying to analyse complex systems (including humans) but this book has proved a real slow starter! 

Finishing this article I cannot believe that I have actually put myself in the situation to read 14 books sequentially. Clearly something needs to be done. At the moment I have chosen one travel book (to read in breaks, over lunch and while travelling) – currently the Pose Method of Running – and one “house book” (to read before bed-time or during down-time in the house) – currently Antifragile.

So with that, time to go to bed and get some reading done!