By Erwan Le Corre, Founder of the Movnat method to learn Natural Movement. I’ll get straight to the point: this is an incredibly inspiring book which I’d recommend to anyone. You can see my review on Amazon here for more details. Erwan builds the case for a Natural Movement practice flawlessly in a first “Manifesto” part, then proceeds to detail exactly how to approach training in tow more parts, followed by a last part going in detail over numerous techniques.
I’d recommend attending a Movnat workshop or certification to anyone as well, but it does cost a lot for a few days and there aren’t events in every location (yet) so you also have to take the time off, travel, etc. In the meanwhile, get this book and you’ll be surprised how far you can go on your own.
By Daniel Lieberman. This is a long but very well written book retracing the history of the human body throughout its evolution. Aside from being an excellent book, one of its merits is that Daniel Lieberman is not a fringe preaching advocate pushing a specific agenda. He’s the Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and his work is widely accepted.
I always recommend this book if you aren’t still convinced that the standard modern lifestyle in our societies is responsible for many health issues that could otherwise be greatly reduced with just a little bit more physical activity and a few dietary adjustments. The author explains extremely well how our bodies are the results of numerous little adaptations piled on through millions of years of evolution. We simultaneously apply new constraints to our bodies that they didn’t evolve to cope with and we deprive them of stimulation they did evolve to cope with and actually need to stay healthy.
By Katy Bowman. Great and short book that demonstrate clearly the biological need for our bodies to move as much as possible and with as much variety on a daily basis. Every book by Katy is highly recommended but this is her most generic one so an excellent intro to her wider works. Follow Katy on Instagram and her website.
By Ryan Ford and Ben Musholt. A truly excellent book with lots of ideas for exercises that can be done anywhere. Buy this book and you’ll get countless exercises and progressions, based on Parkour, that you can do anywhere with no equipment. Kind of a bible 🙂
Both authors are extremely knowledgeable and have great reputations, and they must have poured a lot of time and effort in this book as it’s really excellent. A must have.
Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
By Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza. This book will guide you in quite simple ways towards remobilizing your body. It covers a lot of the basics, as well as more advanced concepts. The language may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you improve only the basics covered in this book, you will have come a long way already.
Injury Prevention & Treatment
By Clair Davies and Amber Davies. This is my second must-have book. It will guide you to resolve almost any type of pain that comes from your muscles. It covers maybe 99% of your everyday pain points and even debilitating pain.
It goes in-depth into the massage techniques to use and the treatment plans to follows. It’s also very easy to use as it includes pain guides that make it simple to accurately pinpoint the trigger points that may be active and lead to the pain you’re experiencing.
I have used this book to treat almost any pain I experienced for the past few years and it delivers every single time.
Another key book by Katy Bowman.
This one focuses on guiding people through the transition from their current footwear to minimalist shoes and then eventually increased time spent barefoot every day.
As always with Katy, the book is both accessible, fun but very precise. If you’re considering transitioning to more minimalist footwear, this is a fantastic source of knowledge.
The best Mental Toughness books are all coming from the same place: US Navy Seals training and memoirs, written by actual Seals, who are far from the brute force guys you may be taking them for. If you want to explore that domain, the books below are a fantastic intro.
By DH Xavier (pseudonym). The single most useful book from this list. Why? Because it literally is a manual to go through BUD/S, the renowned 6-months initial training and selection course. What makes this book powerful is that there is isn’t any sugar-coating or political correctness. Yes, there is a lot of foul language. If you’re easily offended, this isn’t the book for you. The flipside is that you get to learn exactly what is going on at BUD/S, which is exceptionally difficult. You can’t help but be in awe of the persistence of the guys who make it and see your own life and struggles in a different way. Highly recommended.
By Robert Adams. What makes this book precious is that it’s zooming in on arguably the most difficult evolution of BUD/S and that it was written by a Seal who later went on to complete medical school and is looking back at Hell Week with this new knowledge. Hell Week is where most candidates drop from the selection and it comes after several weeks of training. Five and a half days of constant physical exercise, mental harassment, cold exposure, with only 3-4 hours of sleep at most. The knowledge that men go through this gruelling trial and the insights added to the commentary are enough to make you forget about the difficulties you’re having while training or through your day.
By Dick Couch. Couch is both a very gifted writer and a former Seal himself. He’s been allowed to follow Class 228 through BUD/S. His rendition of the training, along with all his detailed observations is precise and invaluable. He’s observing from the outside but adding insights from his own BUD/S experience. The fact it’s not a pure first-person account makes it a bit less powerful in terms of using empathy to grow your own mental toughness. But the description of the obstacles and trials faced are the best and is invaluable if you want to dig deeper.
By Dick Couch. This book is the follow-up work by the same author following another class of Seal Candidates for their next and final Qualification course, which they accede to after graduating from BUD/S. I would only recommend this book if you’re really interested in getting the most out of studying Seal training as this focuses on the mental rigours, how they plan operations, etc. Still very interesting and with lots of lessons, but definitely more intricate and less easily transposable to real life.
By Stephen Templin. The author isn’t a Seal but went through almost the entirety of BUD/S with exceptional performance before quitting with a stellar track-record in the last few days of the training to become a missionary. With such an author, you can probably guess this is a very entertaining first-person account of BUD/S. Still lots of insights, but the entertainment is definitely there. It also shows you the sort of character who eventually become seals and how you can try to emulate them a bit. I actually can’t resist to quote a passage from the book, where the Devils is an instructor at BUD/S:
I stole a glance over at the Devil, and he was placing a spider—a big daddy longlegs—on a student, who showed a little nervousness but not enough of a reaction to satisfy the Devil. He took it back and put it on someone else, who started squirming and shaking.
“I hate spiders,” I muttered. Lieutenant Devil’s ears perked up. Here he comes. Lieutenant Devil put the spider on my forehead.
I kept as still as I could, waiting for the insect’s next move. In military march, we step off with our left foot, but the spider stepped off with its first right leg. Then its second left leg. All eight of its legs were so long and thin that they seemed to tremble as the spider moved down my face, tickling my eyebrows. It stopped, and its peanut-shaped body hovered above the bridge of my nose. Devil’s eager eyes opened wide. I watched the spider anxiously as it stepped on my lips.
Keep moving, keep moving.
When its abdomen was over my mouth, I steeled myself, opened wide, and inhaled, sucking in the daddy longlegs. Then I closed my mouth and took a couple of bites before swallowing. The bitter taste was worth the price of helping the Devil’s next victim. And well worth the look on Lieutenant Devil’s face.
By Chuck Pfarrer, a former Seal officer, member of the famed Seal Team Six and who turned to a writing career after retiring from the Teams. A lot to take from this book and it reads like a novel. Many lessons including not sweating the small hardships in life and just getting things done without pausing even faced with incredible contexts. My favorite part is the description of their landing in Lebanon amongst the fighting and not finding a suitable place to establish camp with the other allied forces present. They just dug their shelter in the sand of the beach and covered it with the sand-filled bags. Problem solved, easy…
By Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin. Another fantastic memoir covering in detail some real-world operations. Again, the entertainment is definitely present. But the real value is in transposing the hardships they are facing, and how they face and surmount them in our everyday life.