Book Review: All the books from 2018 (part 1)

I’m an avid reader, err, audiobook listener.  I listen to audiobooks on flights, my commute to work, and sometimes even on runs.  The lonely hours of work travel provide much opportunity to plow through my reading list.

Note: I also really like reading actual books.  

Kimberly, Karen, and I recently discussed books we’ve read and as I looked back through my list from 2018, I though I’d share a quick review here on the blog.  Most are non-fiction, some are about running, others about business, and many are about a plethora of other things.  I’ll make it a goal in 2019 to share my reading adventures on the blog quarterly.  In the meantime, here’s my quick rundown from 2018, in the order read:   

Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow
This is an easy read and a great story about how author, Susan Lacke, became friends with a colleague who was a triathlete. She gets pulled into triathlons and is surprised at what she is capable of.  It’s a perfect example of how the company you keep can really shape your life.  Lacke’s friend is diagnosed with terminal illness, and so the story of friendship, life and sport goes.  My 10-year-old daughter read the book, enjoyed it, and thought she was cool because of the title.  I own a copy of this book and would be happy to share with local friends.

The Automatic Customer
Most of my running friends probably wouldn’t enjoy this book by John Warrillow.  I read it to help me at work by better understanding how to create a successful subscription business. 

Fire and Fury
A tell-all book about the Trump administration by Michael Wolff.  It’s interesting, but I’m so tired of hearing and reading about Trump.  Perhaps ignorance is bliss – parsing through all the noise to determine fact from fiction is exhausting.  This is the first and last book about Trump I will read. 

The Nightingale
I don’t read much fiction, but this book by Kristin Hannah was a good one.  I am fascinated by WWII stories.  This is one about a woman who must host a German soldier during the war while her husband is deployed.  Her sister joins the French Resistance, jeopardizing their safety.  I enjoyed this book.   

Brave Athlete Calm the F*ck Down
Apparently, 2018 was my year to read books with f*ck in the title.  This book by Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson is a great book about the mental aspect of running!  The book will help you understand how to master your 3 brains (chimp brain keeps you alive, modern professor brain navigates the civilized world, and your computer brain that checks your memories and runs your habits). The book is filled with tips to help you pull it together to race and live confidently!

Meb For Mortals
Who doesn’t love Meb?  After slapping Meb high five during the Gasparilla race last year, I purchased a used copy of this book.  Meb explains his disciplined approach with training, nutrition, and the mental aspect of running that propelled him to compete among the most elite marathoners. 

Boston Bound
I read this book last year for the second time and highlighted even more of it.  It may become an annual read for me. It’s a quick read about how Elizabeth Clor overcame mental hurdles and achieved her marathon goals.  I love this because the Clor is so relatable and the steps she took to conquer her mental game and race happy seem like something I *could* do. 

Chief Customer Officer
This is another book I read to help me at work.  Author Jeannie Bliss takes readers through a framework for advancing customer experience initiatives within their companies. 

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works
This book by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole completely reshaped my view of nutrition and healthy eating.  It’s the anti-diet movement and I wrote a complete blog post about the concept and spent weeks in the podcast and blog rabbit hole on this topic. 

ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life
If you are a female endurance athlete, read this book by Stacy Simms.  The premise is “women are not just smaller men” and talks about the specifics about a women’s body, right down to what to feed it and how your cycle impacts performance – and how to work with it.  I own a copy of this book.

Call Me By Your Name
This was my least favorite book of 2018, chosen by my book club.  Andre Acimen is the author and it has been made into a movie.  A reviewer on Amazon calls it “hot…a love letter, an invocation, and something of an epitaph”, which really isn’t my style.  I almost quit reading it after nearly every chapter, but I believe in finishing what I start.

Braving the Wilderness
Brene Brown, need I say more??  I highly recommend all her books – they’re about being courageous, showing vulnerability, love, and empathy, as well as how to deal with shame and feel like you belong. This book talks about how to belong in a world where we’re more connected than ever (electronically) but experiencing a crisis of disconnection. 

Let Your Mind Run
Deena Kastor’s beautifully written memoir about her journey in running.  She discusses how she became a student of the sport and pulled in best practices from other disciplines to fine tune the mental aspects of the sport.  If you are a runner, chances are you’ve already read this book as it was one of the most highly touted books last year.  I own a copy of this book.

Alex Hutchinson also wrote one of 2018’s top running books, Endure.  This is a sports science book backed by tons of research that explores whether our human limits are caused by our body’s abilities or our brain’s threshold.  It’s a fascinating read about the mind-body connection, with a ton of great stories so that the book is not overly science-y for non-scientists like me. 

Building a Storybrand
Here’s another work-related book, this time by Donald Miller, that helps businesswomen (or people) with a framework to talk about their business in a simple, easy to understand way.   

The Four Tendencies
So good!  I heard about this personality profile book on a podcast.  The podcast dove into 4 types, Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels, and how each dealt with the mental aspects of running.  After reading the book, I have a framework to better understand how I and the people around me deal with our outer and inner expectations.This book had Kimberly and I categorizing our friends and family for a good 2 weeks or so.  

The Great Alone
Fiction alert!  This was long but great.  I enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale so much, I decided to pick up another one of her works.  I got kind of mad at a few of the characters but overall a great read about a family who picks up and moves to Alaska.  It’s a story about love, abuse, co-dependence, and an escape. 

You Are A Badass at Making Money
I love Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass series. Her books are all about getting yourself on the right trajectory and manifesting good things in your life.  In this case, the book teaches that you should expect to make good money an envision how good your life will be once you have it.  Manifest it and it will happen.  This approach might be a bit extreme, but I do like that these books encourage setting a vision and finding a way to make that vision come true.    

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
This book, by Dr. Joe Dispenza, is one of my favorites of 2018 because it challenged my way of thinking more than anything else I read.  The premise is simple, our beliefs or thoughts lead to our feelings which lead to our actions which ultimately leads to our results.  Many books explain this, but this book is different because it backs everything up with quantum physics.  Basically, there are particles of potential floating around, waiting to be realized. I often wonder if it’s coincidence that I picked up this book right after Jen Sincero’s book. It really gave me a more scientific understanding of the whole concept of manifesting good things. 

Wow, oh wow, there is so much I did not know about the heroin and opioid epidemic sweeping our country.  I had read a bit about this last year in the book, Hillbilly Elegy, but this book by Sam Quinones weaves together tales of pharmaceutical marketing and black tar heroin from Mexico into an fascinating book. 

Scott Jurek is a fascinating guy.  I loved his book “Eat and Run”, so I was eager to get my hands on this book where he and his wife tell us all about his record breaking the FKT (fastest known time) on the Appalachian Trail.  She supported him, occasionally running with him, but mostly driving a van in sometimes creepy, rural parts of our country while he ran basically 2 marathons a day for 46 days.  Insane!

4 Hour Work Week
Goals.  This book by Tim Ferris is all about finding a way to fund your goals and get out of the corporate slog and travel the world.  I wish I had the courage to do this – maybe one day!  

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too
In this book, Gary Vaynerchuk explains everything all about maximizing your social media influence and strategy to achieve maximum results.  Maybe one day, we’ll have the courage to put that book to work and make Peak of Good Running a big hit!

I picked this book up because it seemed similar to “The Great Alone”, although this one was a memoir.  Author Tara Westover was raised in a conservative Mormon family she perceived as crazy.  Her family didn’t believe in public education, traditional healthcare, or car insurance.  Her dad ran a scrap metal yard and the kids all helped out. There were stories of serious accidents where her immediate family escaped death. That she escaped this world, went to college, and ended up very well-educated but lost relationships with her family members along the way.

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark
Another 2018 favorite.  Patton Oswald’s late wife, Michelle McNamara, wrote a book about her (mostly online) search for the Golden State Killer.  He was located after her death.  A true, suspenseful story.  Yes, please! 

I’m a big fan of Kara Goucher, so I bought her journal to help boost my confidence and become the best version of me.

The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business
Another work-related book here.  This one, by Richard R. Shapiro, teaches how to create customer loyalty with a people first approach. 

Stay tuned for part 2!


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