by tom MCADAM
Below you'll find the 5 books that had the most significant impact on me in 2021. Hope you enjoy!
One of the best books available in the behaviour change space. Shahroo outlines a uniquely powerful way to approach creating habits using the foundation of kindness and self-compassion. The book is full of practical tools that you can put to immediate use while also explaining the underlying principles with clarity. As a coach I found this book to be invaluable. For more check out the podcast I did with Shahroo: The Human Potential Project episode #17.
The Breathing Cure is an encyclopedia on functional breathing and breathwork. The book covers the fundamental physiology, biochemistry and biomechanics of breathing so that you understand the first principles to apply to any breathing practice. There is also a huge collection of specific breathing exercises along with step-by-step guides. Check out the podcast I did with Patrick: The Human Potential Project episode #18 as well as the Oxygen Advantage method which Patrick created.
This was our recommendation in the inaugural Basis newsletter. At over 1,000 pages long there isn’t much about running that Noakes doesn’t cover here. I’ve used this as a reference book, dipping into the relevant sections when they felt relevant and slowly working through the book over time. Noakes presents all the relevant exercise science as well as challenging the dominant dogma on endurance and its limits. There are also loads of running programmes. For a shorter look at the interesting question of the limits of endurance, you could try Endure by Alex Hutchinson.
This is the first book I have ever read twice back-to-back! It had a huge impact on me and was the major driving force behind seeking out a Zen group and teacher to practice meditation with (if you're interested the group I practice with is the London Jizo Zen Centre, part of the Sanbo Zen lineage, with teacher Sandy Chubb. Highly recommended). Watts was one of the pioneers of exporting Eastern philosophies to the west. The Way of Zen charts the fascinating history of Zen from Indian Buddhism through Chinese Taoism and finally into Japan. Watts provides about as clear an account of Zen theory and practice as I think you’re likely to find.
Another book about meditation that had a significant impact on me this year. The Mind Illuminated is a handbook for anyone wanting to take their meditation practice to the deepest levels. From your very first practice to the most highly refined meditative states on offer, Yates provides a thorough, practical and step-by-step account of how to meditate. He covers the fascinating theory of meditative attainment taken from a range of contemplative traditions. This one I think is for those of you who are ready to go further.
What books are you reading in 2022?
By tom MCADAM