Coach Tony's Top 10 Books of 2019

Here is my list of Top 10 Books of 2019!

This is the third year I’ve created a Top Books list. Each year I’ve listed all the books I’ve read and in the past 3 years alone that total is on the verge of passing 100 books! I read 35 in 2017, 29 in 2018, and 28 in 2019.

Link to: Top Books of 2017. Top Books of 2018. (I still highly recommend the books that top these lists!)

This was also the first year in a while that I read a physical textbook, as I earned my Precision Nutrition Level 1. I’ve also never reread a full book before and I did this year as I reread one of my favorite books of all-time, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” By Dale Carnegie. It doesn’t make the this year’s list because it’s a repeat in my library, but it remains one of my FAVORITES OF ALL TIME!

Now if you told me 3 years ago to read 100 books, I’d say that would take at least a decade. It’s amazing how many books you can read when you create small habits around reading.

Every night I read for 10-20 minutes to fall asleep. Every day in the car a podcast or audiobook automatically comes on over the bluetooth speaker system as soon as the car starts. There’s probably a book on how that magic technology takes place but I’ll gladly skip it and just be grateful it happens.

This year I read 14 books on my Amazon Kindle, listened to 8 audiobooks on Audible, and read 6 hardcover books. I like to get this list out in time for holiday shopping so you can gift them to loved ones. An Amazon Kindle or Audible subscription is also a great gift idea.

Scroll down beyond the list to see why I liked each book and my favorite quote from the book.

Honorable Mentions:
These are shorter reads and even though they don’t make the Top Ten, they would make perfect gifts for someone who isn’t a big reader.
“Chop Wood, Carry Water” by Joshua Medcalf.
“Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work” by Steven Pressfield

10. “Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney” by Lee Cockerell (Audiobook)
9. “The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to Be a Great Teammate” by Jon Gordon (Audiobook)
8. “This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See” by Seth Godin (Audiobook)
7. “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday
6. “Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” By David Goggins
5. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief: The Four Phases of the Entrepreneur’s Journey” by Chris Cooper
4. “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy
3. “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Joe Dispenza
2. “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It” by Chris Voss (Audiobook)
1. “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek (Audiobook)

Other Books I Read This Year:

“The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting The Instincts That Make Us Overeat” by Stephan J. Guyenet

“Good Sugar Bad Sugar: Eat Yourself Free From Sugar and Carb Addiction” By Allen Carr

“The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It.” by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.

“Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (Revised and Updated)” by Liz Wiseman

“Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” By Brene Brown

“Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” By Danny Meyer

“Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success” By John Wooden, Jay Carty, and David Robinson

“The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone” By Frederik Eklund, Bruce Littlefield, and Barbara Corcoran

“As Many Reps As Possible” by Jason Khalipa

“Motivational Interviewing in Health Care: Helping Patients Change Behavior” by
Stephen Rollnick, William R. Miller, Christopher C. Butler

“Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker Ph.D.


“You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero

“Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook” by Tony Robbins

“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping” by Robert M. Sapolsky

The Top Ten

10. “Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney” by Lee Cockerell (Audiobook)
Why I liked it: My family and I love Disney. We are weekday passholders so we make 3-4 trips per year to visit the parks. I love seeing the joy on the kids faces as we do our Disney trips. I also love picking up business ideas from Disney and how they operate. I love how transparent this book is into Lee’s world at Disney and how many stories he tells about his experiences. I’m really in awe by how much he remembers about his time at Disney, when I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday. There were a lot of lessons in this book I will remember. Audiobook sidenote: Lee reads this himself and has a slower, southern accent, which I don’t mind at all. With so many life stories, it’s cool to hear them out of the author’s mouth.
Favorite Quote: “Your organization’s culture is the product of the people in it, and every addition and subtraction will alter the chemistry. Do everything you can to keep it harmonious.”

9. “The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to Be a Great Teammate” by Jon Gordon (Audiobook)
Why I liked it: For Christmas last year, one of my coaches wrote a very sweet card and said she was surprised I never read this book because I reminded her so much of a “George”. George Boiardi is the real-life person this book was written about. George embodied everything you’d want in a team player, self-less, hard working, supportive, respectful, humble, and more. Tragically, George died while playing lacrosse at Cornell University when a ball struck him right in the chest. This book was an amazing tribute to George’s legacy and it continues to inspire more people every day. I hope I can further his legacy and help create more team players by recommending this book. Thank you Coach Katy for the recommendation!
Favorite Quote: “Great teammates don’t just impact you today; they impact you for the rest of your life.”

8. “This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See” by Seth Godin (Audiobook)
Why I liked it: Incredibly enough, this is THE FIRST Seth Godin book I’ve ever read/listened to. I’ve listened to almost every single podcast he’s ever been on and know the basis behind all his other very successful books but never actually dove into one. I love the way he speaks, his cadence and storytelling are always on point. He always sounds like the most interesting man in the world. Seth always gives advice that LASTS. In a world of short term thinking and finite games, Seth gives business advice that spans all fields and lasts lifetimes. I will definitely be listening to more audiobooks of his.
Favorite Quote: “Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread. Marketers offer solutions, opportunities for humans to solve their problems and move forward.”

7. “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday
Why I liked it: I’ve written before about how much I enjoyed “Obstacle is the Way” and “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. This is his third book in his stoic teachings and it does not disappoint. I highly recommend all three as a gift to someone! I thoroughly enjoy how Ryan pairs old teachings from stoicisim with new examples from today, using stories from people like Mr. Rogers, and retired baseball players Shawn Green and Rick Ankiel (a fellow Jupiter resident).
Favorite Quote: “Most students, whether it’s in archery or yoga or chemistry, go into a subject with a strong intention. They are outcome-focused. They want to get the best grade or the highest score. They bring their previous “expertise” with them. They want to skip the unnecessary steps and get right to the sexy stuff. As a result, they are difficult to teach and easily discouraged when the journey proves harder than expected. They are not present. They are not open to experience and cannot learn.”

6. “Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” By David Goggins
Why I liked it: David Goggins is the SEAL in “Living With a SEAL: 31 Days Training with The Toughest Man on the Planet” by Jesse Itzler. A book that was #7 on my top list of 2017. From not wanting any media coverage or his picture shown in that book, David Goggins has embraced the spotlight and told his life story in this book. I highly recommend reading Jesse’s book first because you get a perspective of Goggins from Jesse’s eyes first, and without that, this book would not have made my Top 10. Goggins isn’t for everyone and doesn’t use the kindest of words. If you’re looking for a swift motivation kick in the a**, you’ve come to the right place. I read this book on Kindle but have heard great things about the audiobook version. Again, don’t listen with the kids in the car though.
Favorite Quote: “From then on, I brainwashed myself into craving discomfort. If it was raining, I would go run. Whenever it started snowing, my mind would say, Get your f**king running shoes on. Sometimes I wussed out and had to deal with it at the Accountability Mirror. But facing that mirror, facing myself, motivated me to fight through uncomfortable experiences, and, as a result, I became tougher. And being tough and resilient helped me meet my goals.”

5. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief: The Four Phases of the Entrepreneur’s Journey” by Chris Cooper
Why I liked it: Chris is from the micro-gym industry and helps grow gyms, but this book applies to so many different business owners. When I first heard the title, I had zero interest to read this book. I had to listen to a few podcasts and receive a few emails from Chris to jump into this one. I’m glad I did. He helps business owners identify which stage their in and how they can graduate to working more ON their business than IN it. The questions at the end of each phase are incredibly helpful. If you are a business owner, you will thank me for this recommendation, boring title aside. You can take the test to see which phase you’re in at
Favorite Quote: “A path exists from a passionate business founder to a farmer who grows a profitable business that provides opportunities for others and better service to clients. A good farmer becomes a tinker whose success has freed him or her to take assertive steps that move an enterprise from small to medium. Beyond those roles is that of the thief: a successful, visionary owner who essentially retires to focus on leveraging connections to reach other industries and build a legacy—something that improves the world and lives on beyond the owner.”

4. “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy
Why I liked it: If you liked “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (2018’s #1 book), then I highly recommend this book that beats the same drum. Small things done well over time add up to massive changes. Focus on the fundamentals. Put this one into the “growth mindset” library. These books sound so simple, but are so worth the read!
Favorite Quote: “The space shuttle uses more fuel during the first few minutes of its flight than it does the rest of the entire trip. Why? Because it has to break free from the pull of gravity. Once it does, it can glide in orbit. The hard part? Getting off the ground. Your old ways and your old conditioning are just like the inertia of the merry-go-round or the pull of gravity. Everything just wants to stay at rest. You’ll need a lot of energy to break your inertia and get your new enterprise under way. But once you get momentum, you will be hard to stop—virtually unbeatable—even though you’re now putting out considerably less effort while receiving greater results.”

3. “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Joe Dispenza
Why I liked it: I found Joe after listening to Ed Mylett’s podcast with him and he totally blew my mind. He’s also on Impact Theory and School of Greatness podcasts which I highly recommend seeking out. His teachings about the mind-body connection changed the way I was thinking about certain things, and changed the way I think in general. I love the way he explains our predictable futures by only thinking about past experiences, and how we can recreate our future by bringing in new thoughts, perceptions, and visualizations.
Favorite Quote: “Because how we think, feel, and behave is, in essence, our personality, it is our personality that creates our personal reality. So to create a new personal reality, a new life, we must create a new personality; we must become someone else. To change, then, is to think and act greater than our present circumstances, greater than our environment.”

2. “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It” by Chris Voss (Audiobook)
Why I liked it: I’ve never been so excited to turn a book back on than this one. Listening to this on audible was how I imagined my grandparents listening to a compelling news report over the radio in the 1950s. I was surprised to learn the author Voss does not read this book because the narrator is the best voice ever chosen for any audiobook ever, there I said it. This book isn’t #1 for the simple fact I had more takeaways to apply to my life from the #1 book, but it was extremely entertaining and really informative. So what is it about...It’s about a retired FBI negotiator who tells about his most heart-pounding pickles he’s been in and the lessons he’s learned from them. You don’t need to be some kind of big business negotiator or work for the FBI to appreciate this book. If you HAVE KIDS, you are a PRO NEGOTIATOR and need this book to tip the scales in your favor ;) You’re welcome.
Favorite Quote: “Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”
I also loved this advice I paraphrased from the book and made my own: The person you’re negotiating with, working with, or coaching has to believe “that’s right” and not just “you’re right”. A coach that is always right isn’t always helpful, it’s the coach that helps the client discover what is “right” for them.

1. “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek (Audiobook)
Why I liked it: “The Infinite Game” is definitely a business book, but the lessons learned I’m applying to my health and finances too. My most recent posts on CFPB’s social media about the downfalls of comparison have been inspired by reading this book. Sinek advises us not to compare to the person next to us, or try to beat the business down the street, rather we should play an infinite game of self-improvement. This is a message I want to strongly relay to our nutrition clients at our gym. We often think of foods as good or bad, think of days as healthy or cheat, think of weeks as on a diet or not on a diet. This is the thinking that keeps us in a vicious cycle of up and downs, of toxes and detoxes. We also use comparison to others to see how we’re doing. We often compare to Instagram highlight reels, leaving us to feel even more defeated. Rather, we should be playing an infinite game. Our bodies should be simply trying to achieve “better” every single day. Our businesses should be looking to serve generations, not just investors looking at quarterly numbers. Sinek’s use of storytelling between rival businesses like Microsoft and Apple, showed a very clear picture of the two mindsets at work and how it shaped their trajectory. I think you’ll only rate this #1 like I did if you own your own business in some way. Otherwise it has great principles to impact your whole life and is worth the read.
Favorite Quote: “Infinite-minded leaders understand that “best” is not a permanent state. Instead, they strive to be “better.” “Better” suggests a journey of constant improvement and makes us feel like we are being invited to contribute our talents and energies to make progress in that journey.”
I always love posting this top books list, because it helps me reflect on all the knowledge I’ve accumulated this year. I enjoy spending time reviewing my Kindle Highlights and reinforcing the things I’ve learned. If you like highlighting and taking notes for later use, a Kindle is A MUST HAVE.
I love receiving suggestions from my readers on new books to read. It’s like a having a human “if you like this, then you’ll probably like…” So thank you for sending those in.

This December doesn’t just end the year. It closes out an entire decade. How many of you have said…”I wish I knew what I know now, ten years ago!”
If you don’t say that, you probably haven’t learned much in the last decade.
If you do say that, don’t go another ten years not knowing what you want to. It’s all out there waiting for you to read it!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2020!
-Coach Tony