What am I reading?

Updated 5/27/15

Currently Reading

Conquistadors of the Useless: From the Alps to Annapurna by Lionel Terray

Recently Finished

The Tower by Kelly Cordes

This book covers much of the climbing history and controversy of Cerro Torre, an amazing mountain in Argentine Patagonia. I have always loved this peak and I was long overdue to learn about it. Now to climb it….

The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard

An awesome book focused mostly on climbing in the Canadian Rockies in the 80’s.

Mountaineering/Climbing Books

Rock Warriors Way: Mental Training for Climbing by Arno Ilgner

Amazing book!  A must read for any rock climber. I was able to apply these concepts throughout an intensive Rock Climbing Program and felt a huge improvement in my mental game.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Renowned as an amazing survival story. I also enjoyed Simpson’s writing on the climbing in general, he does a great job describing the situation and environment as if you were there yourself.

Kiss or Kill:Confessions of a Serial Climber by Mark Twight

Most people who have heard of Mark Twight or read about him find that he’s an egotistical bastard. While I cant deny that (neither would he) I find his character intriguing and learned a bit about ego and what it takes (emotionally, mostly) to be a top climber.

Postcards from the Ledge by Greg Child

Greg Child is an awesome writer with plenty of great stories to tell. I’ll have to give this another read because I read it at the same time as Kiss or Kill and I think Twight’s style and attitude out-shined Child’s.

Annapurna by Maurice Herzog

The story of the first successful summit of an 8,000 meter peak written by Maurice Herzog, leader of the French Himalayan Expedition 1951.

High Adventure by Sir Edmund Hillary

The story of the first ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953 as told by first ascensionist Edmund Hillary

Beyond the Mountain by Steve House

An autobiography of sorts, Steve House recounts some of his major ascents in life. Steve House is one of the worlds greatest alpinists.

Fail Falling by Royal Robbins

Volume 2 of Royal Robbins’ autobiography. Covering 1950-1957 this book includes Robbins’ ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome in Yosemite. It is truly inspiring to hear what climbing was like back then.

Climbing Free by Lynn Hill (for my summary Click Here)

This is Lynn’s autobiography and tells of her amazing life story as one of the best climbers that ever lived. She was able to shatter gender barriers while pursuing what she loved. This is a very inspiring read.

Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide by Craig Luebben

The name really says it all. A great book filled with tons of helpful pictures. A surprisingly quick read considering all the knowledge within. Natural, fixed, and traditional anchors are all covered, practice exercises are also included.

The Self Coached Climber by Dan Hague and Douglas Hunter

My first introduction to training for climbing. A great book for beginners and pros alike. From technique exercises to anaerobic conditioning to the kinesiology of climbing. I will continue to reference this book as I get more focused in my climbing.

Adventure Books

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

I really enjoyed this book. An awesome adventure story with plenty of inspiration packed in. It got me running!!

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

An absolutely amazing story of surviving both mental and physical atrocities. I highly recommend this to anyone.

Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose

The story of the Lewis and Clark expedition as told by historian Stephen Ambrose.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

Mark Adams follows the path of Hiram Bingham III as he is the first white man to discover Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.

The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons by John Wesley Powell

A day by day account of the first descent of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in 1869. Powell captures this amazing landscape and experience.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer tells the story of Christopher McCandless who left his “polished” suburban life to seek adventure in Alaska. Krakauer includes anecdotes and stories from his life and the life of other fringe adventurers.

Ordeal by Hunger by George R. Stewart

Stewart relays the tale of the Donner Party a group of emigrants to California who got caught in the Sierras in the winter of 1846. They resorted to cannibalism to survive.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A fiction story of a shepherd boy  from Andalusia who heads to Egypt in hopes of finding treasure.


Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

A great read, laying out how some of the mavericks of our time got to their position on the top through opportunity and luck.

David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell

Another good one from Gladwell. This book discusses how perceived disadvantages can actually be quite advantageous.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

A practical and somewhat philosophical guide to traveling on a shoestring budget.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

A big book. I didn’t read all of it but the studies that Kahneman discusses really give you a look into your secret mind.

Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

An amazingly informative book discussing the origins of man and the important factors relating to how humans have developed differently in various regions.

Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe

A book, originally written for children, that gained interest from adults and business professionals. It’s a simple format to solve complex problems of all types. It will make you search for problems to solve!

Blink by Malcom Gladwell

Gladwell discusses multiple experiments that represent our brains ability to do things in a blink of an eye often without our conscious knowledge. After reading this I moved on to the more in-depth Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.


Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

There’s not much that hasn’t been said about Catch-22. You would never know it was 50 years old by reading it. Heller confuses you just the right amount by playing with time and contradiction. A favorite.

Carrie by Stephen King

My first book by King. Did not like it.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I really enjoyed this read. To me it was a story about the beauty of friendship.

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

My favorite by Vonnegut, I really enjoyed his commentary on love.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

A confusing read with commentary on free will and war among tales of time travel.

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

Another swing and a miss for Vonnegut from my perspective. More commentary on war. Didn’t quite catch my interest.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Amazing, in depth fantasy. Its very engaging and you feel strongly connected to many human (fallible) characters. Its hard to stop reading and although I usually read multiple books at a time GofT takes my full attention.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm condenses generations of political manipulation into a story about farm animals. A fun read and a good book to ponder about.

Personal Development Books

Learn to Earn by Peter Lynch

Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

Wyner’s strategy relies heavily on Spaced Repetition Systems for flashcards. Basically, as soon as you start to forget a program will ask you again. I’m using this method to help me solidify the 2000 top frequency Spanish words and there uses. I’m not sure how well it would work for grammatical concepts.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I really enjoyed this book. Duhigg breaks down the components of habit and explains how you can rewire your brain to do your bidding. I’m going to try to build some knew habits in my life.

Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis

Mostly skimmed this. Lewis ensures that his audience understands the amount of hard work required to learn a language and that flimsy motivations won’t cut it.

4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferris

I more skimmed this book then read it but will no doubt refer to it in the future. I’m a big fan of “life hacking” stuff.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

My introduction to business thinking. A great book that challenges people to take a risk in doing what the love.

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

Dr. Jay speaks to twenty-somethings directly and helps them with their struggle of  young adulthood. Jay makes the argument that your twenties DO matter and its time to make the most of them.

The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg (for my review Click Here)

This book dispels the myth that a college education is a requirement to success. Thorough analysis of success skills (and how to teach them to yourself) as well as life stories from many wealthy dropouts make this book a must read for the self educator.

Hacking Your Education by Dale J. Stephens

This book discusses self directed education and gives readers tips on how to learn without spending thousands on a college education.

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