Reading Roundup 2016: Nonfiction


The 2016 reading roundup continues. (Catch memoirs here.)  Up next:  nonfiction.

This year I geeked out HARD on nutrition stuff.  Generally all on the paleo/primal/low carb side.  I’ve found that these books generally fall somewhere on a spectrum.  On the one end, you have authors that take the “we don’t care about the origins, just the science” approach.  These folks don’t care what paleolithic man ate or did.  They generally focus on how food affects the human body, the end.  On the other end, you have people that think that our bodies respond they way they do because that is what they evolved to do, and we should follow the diet and exercise of paleolithic man as closely as possible.

I would put It Starts with Food on the science side.  They don’t care what a caveman ate; they just want you to be the healthiest you.  I think It Starts with Food is one of the best in the genre on explaining the science.  This is a book I reread at least once every year.

For 2016, I got to read Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever.  This covers what happens after your whole30, and how you can approach a lifetime of healthy eating.  More thoughts on that one here.

I also read Gary Taubes’s Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat.  Both are very good, but I particularly enjoyed the historical discussion in Good Calories on how our approach to nutrition got so off track.  If you are interested in the science and the public policy of nutrition, check these out.


Moving down the primal spectrum is Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution.  He hits the middle of suggesting that this approach is backed up by science AND that this is because it is the way we evolved.  His discussion of the nutrition science is not as clear as It Starts With Food.  He does include additional lifestyle chapters though.  His chapter on sleep is excellent.  He also includes workout suggestions that could get anyone started.  After reading, I’ve also become a fan of Wolf’s podcast.

Even farther on the primal side, is Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint.  Sisson’s background is of a competitive athlete, not as a scientist.  He suggests that for optimal health, we should mimic paleolithic man as much as possible.  His book covers a holistic approach with everything from food to exercise to sleep to stress.  I found his exercise suggestions to be particularly interesting.  He suggests that many people are overexercising these days, and that you can achieve superior results with less effort.  Sounds good to me.

I also read The 21-Day Sugar Detox, but I don’t think it adds much.  You have to understand that I’m Team Whole30 though.  I do think you can get a better understanding of the science stuff from It Starts with Food.  This book does have a ton of recipes though if you are looking for that.

On the health and wellness side, I also read Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning.  I think it has good ideas, but I’m not sure it adds much to the website.  It reminds me that I do need to get back to a good morning routine though . . .

Similarly, The One Thing has good ideas, but feels repetitive.  More on that one here.

I also geeked out a little bit on habits this year.  I LOVED Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before.  This is another book that will be on my once a year reading list.  (More on that one here.)

Rubin’s other books were on sale during the year so I picked those up as well.


I definitely recommend Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit.  If you like Gladwell, I think you’ll enjoy this one.  He really breaks down habits, in an interesting way(!), and gives you the tools to change if you want to.

And speaking of Gladwell, I also read David and Goliath.  Really well written.  Really interesting.

Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance made me glad I’m already married.  I don’t think I could handle dating in a texting world.  Lot of interesting info with typical Aziz humor.  Fast read.

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4 thoughts on “Reading Roundup 2016: Nonfiction

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