List of books

Apparently books are something people are interested in and usually when you go online and search for recommendations, you always get the same shit. So here is a list of books remarkable enough for me to make a recommendation against them, for them or how to use them.

I will keep this page updated from time to time and try to keep some modicum of organization, as it also serves for myself as a reminder to know which books to read again and which ones to avoid. Also I can use it to save myself from writing the same one-line excerpt whenever I actually do recommend a book.

Sport, diet and health

In this section I add a refinement-indicator going from low to high, indicating how high your general level of understanding of sports performance has to be, so you can appreciate the book fully. This is not a difficulty rating, but should be more seen as a re-reading recommendation. While re-reads are always useful, the higher the refinement, the more I recommend re-reading a book just for the sake of picking up finer points you have missed a few years ago.

Boris Sheiko: Powerlifting - Foundations and methods

recommendation:
yes
type:
reference, but practical
refinement:
low to high

This was the first book I wanted to recommend but it took me a while until I could figure out what exactly I like about this book. It definitely does not tickle my abstract curiosity. However, it is a very applicable book and goes in a very straight line from theoretical backgrounds to its implementation in the gym or at the dinner table.

It is also the only English or German book I've read that discusses the importance of load variability and the ability to extrapolate, so for this fact alone it is a gem.

What I initially didn't like is that about 100 pages are just training program spreadsheets, but I came to like it as a historical relict from a pre-internet era.

Lyle McDonald: The Women's book Vol 1

recommendation:
yes
type:
reference/textbook
refinement:
low to high

THE book on women and their hormones. There is nothing comparable on the market, it is a first. At the end of 2020, it is the only one. It is good. It is detailed. It is even being copied, as some of those German "evidence based" fucknuts made a bad rewrite of this book and were being heralded as the great feminists, all while being complete asshats and copycats. But well. This is only to underline how unique this book is. A sad testimony to the fact that medical science didn't discover women before the 2010s.

Lyle McDonald: A guide to flexible dieting

recommendation:
yes
type:
guide
refinement:
low

This is THE book on dieting, staying on a diet and building the skill of controlling one's own bodyweight through modification of food intake, i.e. dieting. It is a good book. I would not know any other book written on the topic that I could recommend nearly as much as this book.

Lyle McDonald: The Protein book

recommendation:
yes
type:
textbook
refinement:
medium

Again a Lyle book, again a THE book. This is THE introductory textbook on protein metabolism with respect to health and sports performance. It is not required as a beginner, but certainly a must read for anyone who has anything to do with health, sports and performance.

Lyle McDonald: Every other book

recommendation:
yes
refinement:
low to high

The Bromocriptine is what Lyle himself calls a "weird little book". It's good, but very ... well, weird.

I have not read all of his other books, as some I just have discovered when I looked up how this Bromothing was written, but I am certain they are good. He has some special diets, like the ultimate diet for already lean individuals and his rapid fatloss handbook, and well, it is good stuff. I do not know of other sources about the ultimate diet and the rapid fat loss diet (or PSMF as it is called in medicine), so maybe these are again THE books on the topics, but those are more niche than the aforementioned ones.

Also I can recommend Lyle's blog with one caveat: His training programs are not really targeted at strength athletes and aspiring champions, but more at genpop trying to stay healthy and lose fat.

Mark Rippetoe: Starting strength

recommendation:
yes
type:
guide and textbook
refinement:
low to high

This is classic text is aimed at beginners in the strength sports. It is fairly long, part for the procurement of buy-in, part for the very detailed description of the lifts. To this day (end of 2020) the description of the deadlift is unrivaled in its quality across the literature. The squat section is still good, but it's overly focused on the posterior chain, which might be influenced from a different era of strength sports. For this see also Chad Wesley Smith's book "Juggernaut training", which is presented below.

Chad Wesley Smith: Juggernaut training - A thoughtful pursuit of strength

recommendation:
yes
type:
guide
refinement:
low

This is a very good book on strength training and has a bit better programming advise then Rippetoe's Starting strength. The technical cues given are helpful even for more intermediate athletes and the programming principles apply universally.

Marisa Inda: Fuerza

recommendation:
maybe
type:
guide
refinement:
low

This was a fun read. From a training theory standpoint this book is very basic and clearly aimed at beginners. What makes it unique is that it is - targeted at females - written by a female - good - not poisoned by this embarassing male ahooh-ahooh-alpha-demeanour

Also the programs are kinda fun, with a good deal of leg work and tons of upper body fun.

Mike Israetel, James Hoffmann, Chad Wesley Smith: The scientific principles of strength training

recommendation:
yes
type:
textbook
refinement:
low

Easy to digest fundamentals of strength training. It is a good book, though on the low density site of things. While the principles - specificity, overload, fatigue management, stimulus recovery adaption, variation, phase potentiation and individual difference - seem rather obvious, the prioritization presented is certainly unique to authors. Furthermore they give detailed hints on how to make sure to not over- or under-apply these principles. Which makes the book rather long and easy to read, but these details are also part of its value.

Justin Lascek: The Texas Method (and successor books)

recommendation:
maybe
type:
program
refinement:
medium

If you decided to give the Texas Method a try, these books certainly help you to enhance the experience and really milk it out. The programming conecpts are sound and also stand for themselves outside the context of the TM and the exercise selection is sound as well. It is a really nice book historically in that it is an embodiment and snapshopt of the rise in popularity of barbell sports in 2010-2015.

Jim Wendler: 5/3/1 (and all of its variants)

recommendation:
no
type:
program
refinement:
medium

Now 5/3/1 was a very popular program at its time and its ingrained minimality makes it as a good drop-in for slots, where you want somewhat heavy, low volume work. However, that is pretty much everything there is to it. The programs are embedded in a lot of semicringe buy-in, building much on the headsmashing hardcore mentality of the last multiply days. Ironically, the thing why I refer to these books personally most often, is the assistance template called "Dave Tate's periodization bible".

Later versions of the book (beyond, advanced, for powerlifting, whatever they are called) embrace that the program itself is too minimal to yield progress on its own and offer a plethora of addons one could add to the program. This is a fun scroll through, but nothing more.

Pavel Tsatsouline: Power to the people

recommendation:
yes
type:
program, guide, textbook
refinement:
low to high

This is the first lifting book I remember reading and it was probably one of the early breadcrumbs I followed before I actually hit the iron. However, it is written with this weird soviet branding of Pavel, which you probably either like or do not like, and part of the reason why I did not re-read it for many years - a grave mistake!

This book is both interesting to the aspiring trainee, as well as to the advanced athlete. For the former it takes away much of the complexity of starting lifting: just deadlift and press, with some simple concepts for safety and good forme, and some conjurement of buy-in (given that the general vibe does not repel you). For the latter it contains many nuggets and insight into soviet training research, focussing on training with many reps in reserve, to build the skill of strength.

Unsorted stuff

Nick Lane: Power, Sex and Suicide

recommendation:
yes

This is a very interesting book about the history of both the science of mitochondria, as well as mitochondria themselves. It elucidates their function and probably how they relate to longevity and other concepts, as those alluded in the title.

I read it because Greg Nuckols recommended it highly, so this makes it a double recommendation.

Allostasis, Homeostasis, and the costs of Physiological adaption

recommendation:
yes
authors:
Peter Sterling, Bruce S. McEwen, David S. Goldstein, Burton Singer, Carol D. Ryff, Teresa Seeman, George F. Koob, Michel Le Moal, Jeffrey B. Rosen, Jay Schulkin, Ziad Boulos, Alan M. Rosenwasser, John C. Wingfield, Michael L. Power

This is an introductory collection of essays on the topic of allostasis. It gives an insight in the concept of allostasis and how the regulation of processes in the body works. I am not aware of a better introduction to the topic yet, as the research still seems to be a bit too fresh to be found in a textbook, so this book helps to bridge the gap between the existing body of knowledge and the average reader.

Daniel C. Dennett: Conciousness explained

recommendation:
until there is something better

Let me just quote some of the backcover snippets: "heady stuff, written with tremendous verve and panache" and "a masterful tapestry of deep insights". As flowery these quotes might seem, it is no comparison to the word soup the author produces. I suspect half of the book is just "nice writing". There are many interesting experiments and thoughts going on, but it is just all embedded in far too many words, written by someone who enjoys language far too much. Maybe I despise it so much because when I was younger I tended to write like that as well.

Writing style aside, I suspect to this point this is a very unique book, giving a (still) concise account of the developments in the fields associated with consciousness.

It is quite old though and given the advances in AI, especially with deep learning, it comes to no surprise that some passages did not age well or are now "well, duh".

Kahnemann, Daniel - Thinking, fast and slow

recommendation:
yes

This classic is a strong recommendation, despite me not really liking the writing style, as it is written to comprehended not only by genpop, but the population most resilient to education, economists.

In countless examples and mini-exercises it demonstrates how our fast-response thinking is prone to many, very general statistical errors, biases and misconceptions.

I suspect it is one of the must reads most people will never read, making them gullible and susceptible to all kinds of manipulation. Especially in a time where we are seeing a lot of resistance by uneducated people in the fight against discrimination, education on the biases and weaknesses we are being shipped with seems all the more important - and lacking.

Finance, productivity, shit like that

Peter Putz - Strategisch Investieren mit Aktienoptionen (German)

recommendation:
yes
type:
basics of option trading

This is a really great book and so far the only German book worth reading on the subject I have encountered. Opening it you quickly note that it's made with LaTeX, so this raises hopes that the contents might go a little bit deeper than some other books on this topic. And I was not disappointed. The strategies discussed are elementary such as short puts, covered calls and strangles, however, the value of this book is less about the things you can know from just reading the wikipedia page of the greeks (which the author also recommends and cites), but more about the insight in how the author thinks about the strategies with some hands on calculations of risk and reward.

This is less about what options are, but more about how to use them to express your ideas.

Most references have useful comments, guiding further reading.

Max Ansbacher - The new options market

recommendation:
probably not
type:
basic trading stuff

The book in itself is not bad, though some things are just outdated (broker comissions) and some things are overly specific to time and place (taxation). However, it discusses basic option strategies and I suspect nowadays by the time you find this book, you've already watched enough youtube tutorials to figure this stuff out on your own.

Cordier, Gross - The Complete Guide to Option Selling

recommendation:
probably not
type:
basic trading stuff

I do not think this book tells you a lot about options what you did not know before, when you start reading books on the topic. What I like is that it does not try to do too much technical things. But I suspect this is more a relict from the pre-internet era.

Daniel Pinker: Drive

recommendation:
probably not
type:
standard american productivty fluff, should have been a blogpost

Key message: extrinsic motivation kills intrinsic motivation. Fluffed up to far too many pages. If that idea is somewhat foreign to you, it might be worth starting to read, but feel free to throw it away shortly after.

To be fair this book is why I started this list, as I had reread it accidentally and only noticed at some random remark halfway in, where it dawned on me and given the remarkable lack of remarkable parts, I decided to protect against such accidents in the future.

Tim Limoncelli: Time management for system administrators

recommendation:
yes
type:
productivity

A nice book on time management principles for system administrators. As admins are apparently kind of a weird breed, they need their own way to manage with the daily stresses and annoyances. Of course I think everyone can gain from this book, as most people just lack routine and clear concepts for the things they do. Some things are a bit outdated (driving a car, some software, well it is over 10 years old), but many things and concepts are here to stay (issue trackers, version control, documentation, DNS issues), and the practical routines can still be inspiring or easily adapted.

McChesney, Covey, Huling: The 4 disciplines of execution

recommendation:
first and second chapter
type:
standard american productivty fluff, should have been a blogpost

Key message: try to work on lead metrics and not lagging metrics and make it compelling to do so. Fluffed up to too many pages. Better look at pictures of different "4dx dashboards" than to read past the first two chapters (I guess, thankfully I got the same recommendation)

The refinement of the book is very low, as you would from any book which does not even write out the "four" in its title.

Just another book that should have been a blog post.

Sinek: Start with why

recommendation:
no
type:
standard american productivty fluff, is just a long TED talk

The book does not really go beyond the author's TED talk and since this is still one of the TED talks from the old days, it might be worth watching. The main idea is that first you need to find the why, then you find out how to do it and only then on top you can define the what. A large body of the work is revolving around the three examples, with the Wright brother's flight, some airline and of course apple. At least it is consistent that a book which emphasizes the importance of your why and true inspiration over actual implementation does not give you any practical applications.

social