Alright ambitious and avid readers, I know you probably have a long list of resolutions for the New Year, but if you don’t get around to losing that 20 lbs or learning that new language, here are the 3 books that will help in health, learning, and communication that you must read by the end of 2019.

Mindset, The psychology of Success Book by Carol Dweck, Ph. D.1. Mindest by Carol Dweck, Ph.D

Literally this is my number one favorite book and will recommend and gift it to anybody! This book changed my life when I was 16. Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychologist, summarizes her research on motivation. It is literally the science of success and potential and she conveys the mindset of the highest achievers. Backed by numerous research studies, shes states there are two mindsets; a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A person with a fixed mindset believes their skills are innate. Some people are just born artists, and some people are gifted athletes. Someone with a growth mindset believes that skills and knowledge can be fostered through hard work and practice. They may not initially be a gifted artist, but believe they have the ability to learn new skills and improve upon practice. Comparing those with fixed and growth mindsets, Carol Dwecks research supports the idea the people with growth mindsets are higher success track records and overall reach a greater potential.


Please read this book to help you realize your potential in your ability to learn!


Spark Exercise Science Book by John J. Ratey, MD2. Spark by John J. Ratey, MD

This is my number two quakebook (books that shake you…). I found this book this past year and was my “spark” for starting mental olympian. Here, John Ratey covers the neuroscience of exercise. Essentially, exercise is more than a  work out for physique and heart health, it helps rewire your brain. He is a Psychiatrist who has been focusing on treating ADHD. Amoung helping with mental health issues like ADHD, anxiety, depression, and stress, he teaches you how the brain reacts to exercise in everyday life. Essentially when we exercise (research mainly on cardiovascular exercise. There is limited research on stregth training on the brain) our brain produces a protien called BDNF; Brain derived-neurotropic factor. This protien is what he calls “mircale grow for the brain”. BDNF helps support existing neurons and growth of new neurons and synapses. Long story short, it’s important for long term memory and learning.

So when you go to the gym this year, know that you’re getting bonus points! Not only are you getting sexier, you’re working out your brain and greater cognition is sexy too!


Don't Shoot The Dog! Book by Karen Pryor3. Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor

Tim Ferris recommended this book and I absolutely love it. You may have heard of Karen Pryor, the pioneer for clicker-training used to train animals. In her book, Don’t Shoot the Dog, she is not only teaching you how to train dogs, but people as well. As for most intelligent animals, you can train them using operant conditioning. This type of training is strengthens behaviors based on behavior consequences. For instance, you may give a dog a treat for sitting (positive reinforcement) or you could yell at your dog for peeing on the rug (negative reinforcement). Her book focuses on using positive reinforcement to mold and shape desired behaviors.

Interestingly enough the same conditioning applies to humans, but can take longer than training a dog, of course. Considering what motivates people, (money, praise, gifts, food) you can shape behavior by rewarding the desired behavior as it naturally occurs. I did read this funny article about this women who “trained” her husband like a dog. Getting him to be more tidy about putting dirty laundry in the hamper opposed to the floor, she would only praise him when he put the laundry in the hamper. She would also ignore and not react to any “bad” behavior. Over months of praise, she shaped her husband, without nagging, to be a cleaner person. Of course I would not recommend to use this conditioning in a deviant manner, but it is at the basis of how we let people treat us. How we react/don’t react to people shows them how they should treat you. For instance, if you want someone to respect your time, but they are always late and you continue with plans anyway, this person person learns they can get away with being late because you continue to accept the behavior. Food for thought…


So please, if you buy any books, read this to help improve your life!


What are your top reads this year?

Mental Olympian Newsletter

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