12 Books that inspired me in 2020
I started the year with this book. And it is not a long read. It may just be the most practical and useful book I have ever read. When you understand how habits are the daily patterns that we run and that they are triggered mostly unconsciously, you start to see how your life many be being guided without your conscious awareness. Habits are the votes we cast today for the person we will become 5-10 years down the line. This book gives you pretty much everything you need to create better habits and to break habits that don't serve you. If you haven't managed to get your hands on it yet, I implore you to do so in 2021. It will definitely be worth it! And while you are at it, if you subscribe to James Clears newsletter you will get a weekly email of insightful and inspiring content. Do it!
The Body Electric - Dr. Robert O. Becker
Another phenomenal read. This book details the effects that electro-magnetism has on human biology. Dr. Becker lays out the case that magnetism has a central role to play in evolution and that it will continue to play a role in our evolution and health via the effects that 4G, 5G, bluetooth etc have on our biology. For anyone who wants to learn more about all of this, I definitely recommend this as some high quality background reading about health and wellness. "My research began with experiments on regeneration, the ability of some animals, notably the salamander, to grow perfect replacements for parts of the body that have been destroyed. These studies, described in Part 1, led to the discovery of a hitherto unknown aspect of animal life - the existence of electrical currents in parts of the nervous system. This breakthrough in turn led to a better understanding of bone fracture healing, new possibilities for cancer research, and the hope of human regeneration - even of the heart and spinal cord - in the not too distant future, advances that are discussed in Parts 2 and 3. Finally, a knowledge of life's electrical dimension has yielded fundamental insights (considered in Part 4) into pain, healing, growth, consciousness, the nature of life itself, and the dangers of our electromagnetic technology. I believe these discoveries presage a revolution in biology and medicine. One day they may enable the physician to control and stimulate healing at will. I believe this new knowledge will also turn medicine in the direction of greater humility, for we should see that whatever we achieve pales before the self-healing power latent in all organisms. The results set forth in the following pages have convinced me that our understanding of life will always be imperfect. I hope this realisation will make medicine no less a science, yet more of an art again. Only then can it deliver its promised freedom from disease." - Robert Becker.
What The Foot? - Gary Ward
I re-read What The Foot by Gary Ward in the middle of 2020. Little known fact - I have one of the very first copies of this book. I was sitting on an Anatomy in Motion course in Bishops Stortford outside London, UK when Gary had taken his first delivery of books. There were 8 of us on a High Performance Programme and we each received a copy. I love this book. Gary lays out his movement philosophy in all of its simplicity and sophistication. For anyone who is looking to deepen their appreciation of movement, this is a fantastic book to read. Gary will help you to understand how and why the traditional approaches used in most modern therapies are missing so much important information about you - how you move! Its one thing to be assessed on a treatment couch, but it is another thing to have full 3D biomechanics assessment to call upon. Garys teachings have informed my clinical practice since I studied with him and helped deliver his courses in the US from 2013. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding more about their body or deepening their understanding from a clinical perspective.
Gesundheit - Patch Adams
If you haven't watched the amazing Robin Williams movie "Patch Adams" before, I highly recommend that you do. Watching it inspired me to read the book that the actual Patch Adams had written. This is a lovely read about how human connection, laughter and empathy can help us to heal, to endure and to create meaning. In this book Patch Adams writes beautifully about how humour and laughter have left medicine and how they should be central to helping our clients. He writes about greed, loneliness and how death might be approached in a way that is very different to the norm. Worth the read for sure!
Epi-Paleo Rx - Dr. Jack Kruse
I think everyone should read this book. It may be a little heavy in terms of scientific content for some, but it is one of the best books I have read on human health. I really do think that Jack Kruse is onto something very important in how light water and magnetism shape our lives and this book pieces together a lot of what he speaks about. If you are currently experiencing health issues and not really getting the help that you would like, this book may help you to link together some of the big influences on human biology and give you simple practical advice to help you improve your life. Highly Highly Recommended by me and definitely a book that I will be reading again later this year! While you are at it, follow Dr. Kruse on socials, he is a harbinger of knowledge for human health.
Loving What Is - Byron Katie
This is a mindset book. And what simple and super powerful book this is. Byron Katie is the creator of "The Work" which is a simple set of questions that enable you to change your perception of a situation by exploring how your thinking about something is actually the problem, not the something itself. This is ineffectively a CBT type approach to problems that are heavily influenced by how we think about them and for anyone experiencing pain - this book may rock your world. Pain is very complex at the best of times and anything that helps us to identify and work on the things that influence our symptoms is very useful. I have recommended this book to many clients and they have all found it beneficial in helping them to challenge the stories and beliefs they hold about their bodies. Go get it!
High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard
Another great book. This book helped me to see the importance of strategy in how I approach everything I do. It has changed how I approach rehabilitation plans, how I approach running my business and how I approach hobbies and learning. HPH is about the meta-habits that really make things happen. These are the habits that make all of our other habits work for us. Leveraging and focusing on these habits ensured that I ended 2020 in a much better place than I started it, despite the pandemic and all the disruptions that it brought.
Aches and Pains - Louis Gifford
This book is perhaps the most important book I have read in years. Atomic Habits as mentioned earlier in this list is an excellent book but it pales in comparison to Aches and Pains for me. Louis Gifford was a physiotherapist who was YEARS ahead of his time in the understanding of pain, the biopsychosocial nature of pain and health. It was so nice to read this book because it thankfully aligned so closely to almost all of my values as a practitioner and helper of those in pain. It challenged me too and forced me to look at some of the biases that I held as a practitioner which is uncomfortable at the time but worth it in the long run. This book is a MUST READ for any clinicians, therapists or coaches who want to understand pain in a well thought out and coherent way. It could also be read by non clinicians, although there are many sections of this book that are very scientifically detailed and might be harder to digest. Cant recommend this book enough and anyone who wishes to get their hands on it must order from the link below asI don't think it is available anywhere else.
Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker
This is a monster of a book in terms of its importance. We all know that sleep in important. But do you know why? Do you know what sleep enables our brains and bodies to do? Do you know what a lack of sleep causes for us? Matthew Walker lays it all out beautifully in this book. If you have been saying for a while now that you want to improve your sleep, but you just can't find the motivation to really make change, this book will give you the kick in the cakside that you need. I made sleep a priority years back and even more of a priority after reading this book. My energy levels, my daily focus and my mood are all so much better than they used to be. Gone are the little colds and flus that I used to pick up regularly and the difference in the psychological side of my life has been massive. I literally slept my way towards a more positive, realistic and happy mindset. Sleep is that important! So get your hands on this one when you can and let it rock your world.
Breaking the habit of being yourself - Dr. Joe Dispenza
Meditation - we have all heard that it is supposed to be great for us. Let Dr, Joe Dispenza bring you through the science behind meditation and how you can use it to upgrade every area of your life. I have struggled with meditation for a long time and I have now found a way that works for me. I use a combination of movement meditation and traditional types of meditation. I love the headspace that meditation brings and I always feel restored after a short meditation. Highly recommend this book and I have already bought his follow up books to get stuck into later this year!
Think Like A Monk - Jay Shetty
Another mindset book. Jay Shetty has an incredible story of giving up a big corporate career in central London to become a monk. He takes you through identity, attachment and relationship and really gives a fresh perspective on how to approach all of these things. Again a really nice read and one that might be the right book for you right now. I particularly loved this quote: "I am not who I think I am, I am not who you think I am, I am who I think, you think, I am". Let that one blow your mind for a bit!
Mans Search for Meaning - Viktor E. Frankl
I finished this one on New Years Eve so it made it in by the skin of its teeth! Viktor Frankl is a physiatrist and neurologist who was unfortunate enough to find himself a prisoner in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. He writes about how everything from his life was stripped from him, about how he and others dealt with this and health with the harsh hatred and treatment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps. As a psychiatrist, he is well placed to describe how everything being taken away fro you leaves you looking for meaning to sustain yourself. And then how he rebuilt himself after life in the concentration camps. Harrowing and incredibly thought provoking. Highly recommended!