12 Books of Christmas

One of the business core values at Gage Strength Training is being “Committed to Excellence.” What this means for us is being committed to growth and improvement, both personally and professionally. 

One of the ways we coaches do that is by reading. Personally, I try to read (or listen to) at least one book a month, but Devin can easily read 3+ books in a month. 

Below is a list of 12 books to check out in 2020. If you need some last minute Christmas ideas or you receive gift cards and don’t know where to use them, check some of these out. 

If there is an “all-in-one” nutrition book that breaks things down simply, this is the book. Catherine Shanahan follows many of the Western A. Price diet principles in the book. If you don’t have time to read all of the info in the book, you can skip ahead to the Q&A section, meal plans, and recipes. 

This is my number one pick for everyone to read in 2020. 

 Sally Fallon is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The first half of this book is information on why incorporating traditional foods are good for your health and wellbeing, the last half contains recipes.

This book is very similar to Deep Nutrition; the differences are that Nourishing Traditions has less information and more recipes over Deep Nutrition. 

This book opens up with a quote from a fourth grader who says,, “I like to play indoors because that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”

Last Child in the Woods is marketed to parents, but anyone can take a lot out of this book. To sum it up, being out in nature can help children (and adults) with anxiety, depression, ADD, and some other mental health conditions. Being in nature and having unorganized play also helps kids do better in school. Pretty much everything a parent wants for their child. 

A controversial book to say the least. Christopher Ryan is the co-author of Sex at Dawn, and he’s just as contoversial in this book.wn. The author lifts the veil that everything is “better now” in modern society than it was before civilization. 

While we can’t go back to our hunter-gatherer communities, he goes over how our constantly plugged-in, sleep-deficient, overly-stressed lives are slowly killing us and causing both ourselves and future generations mental health issues. He then stresses the importance of community for our health and wellbeing. 

I’m not sure how many times I’ve reread and listened to this book. If you have some unexplained health issues or you have a family history of chronic disease, this book might help explain some of that. Lynch explains a handful of genes and symptoms related to them, plus he gives you ways to “clean” them by changing habits, nutrition (with recipes), and supplements. 

He also created StrateGene so you know exactly what SNPs you have and what they mean (you’ll learn what a SNP is in the book). You just need to submit your AcenstryDNA or 23andMe information to StrateGene. 

One reason people fail at diets is that “diet food” tastes like a cardboard box. Learning to cook is a skill, but most cookbooks don’t actually teach you how to cook and those that do are usually too advanced or time consuming for the average person. 

Samin Nosrat simplifies gourmet cooking with the four topics in the title: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Basically, the best chefs in the world follow those four concepts when making their dishes and this book breaks down how you can include them in your everyday cooking. 

Also, there is a Netflix documentary on the book that you can watch. 

Before the American Revolution, why did English settlers flee to Native American tribes? When Englishman where prisoners of war with the Native Americans, why did many of them never return to “civilization” and instead lived with the tribe?

Sebastian Junger shows us what we can learn from tribal societies such as loyalty, belonging, and finding meaning in life. Many of his modern examples come from veterans and civilians dealing with PTSD, so if you’re sensitive to that subject, you might want to pass on this book. 

Coach Recommendations

While I could list out a bunch of other books, every single coach would have a slightly different list so I think it’s important to get their input for you, the reader. 

Brene Brown’s book is about vulnerability and how it is a measure of courage, not weakness. I personally haven’t read Daring Greatly yet (it’s in my Wish List) but I have read her book Dare to Lead which goes over many of the same topics as Daring Greatly, just a little bit more focused on leadership and management. 

Atomic Habits is about forming habits, breaking bad ones, and taking small action steps to get you to where you want to be. The author has a background in fitness so the examples in the book are usually related to fitness or nutrition. 

(FYI, Jeff’s first recommendation was Atomic Habits, but I asked Devin first) 

The Four Agreements is about revealing our self-limiting beliefs that rob you of joy and create suffering. This book gives you a code of conduct to experience freedom, happiness, and love. 

Like many of these books, this one is hard to sum up in a paragraph. This book is about creating what you want out of life. This is a guide to get quality over quantity, and being true to your physical, mental, and spiritual roots. This is not a guide for chasing trophies or money. It’s about thriving in the modern world and creating balance in your life. 

Nick was torn picking The Four Agreements or Own the Day, and this book is in my wishlist for 2020 as well, so I’m glad Calvin picked it. Marcus is the founder and CEO of Onnit, and for those of you unfamiliar with Onnit, that’s where Nick learned steel mace and both Nick and Calvin have certifications.


This book is about getting the most out of your mind and body every single day. It draws on both modern science and traditional practices from around the world to create life-hacks, nutrition tips, fitness regimens, and brain upgrades. 

The title says it all, this book is about leaving the pressure to be perfect behind you and focus on the now. Instead of always focusing on being faster, better, and producing more, this book pulls you away from that to focus on what really matters to you. 

There you have it, 13 books to read in 2020. Many of these books have overlapping themes, like habit formation, so pick the one that stands out to you the most to start with. If you aren’t one to pick up a book and read, start with Audible (that’s what I like to do) or pick a shorter book. Also, feel free to ask a coach for more details about a book if you’re torn between two of them. 

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