Top 10 Books of 2017 | #1 — #3

The generous and important works of  L'Amour, Cerutty, & Gallwey constitute The Podium of books read by  Jonathan Marcus  in 2017. 

The generous and important works of  L'Amour, Cerutty, & Gallwey constitute The Podium of books read by Jonathan Marcus in 2017. 

If you know me, then you know I read, a lot. Yet, like many, I don't have much free time to read. Since it is important to me I make time.

My secret is I have a discipline. Every day I wake up at 5:00am and I read until 7:00am. Everyday. Rain or shine. Early bedtime or late night. That gives me 14 hours a week of reading — at least. Sticking to this behavior has rapidly accelerated my intellectual growth and has made me a better coach, person, friend, citizen, son, and husband. 

Of the 60+ books I've read in 2017 I will highlight 10 that stood out to me, all for different reasons, over these next 3 days. They each have something important to say and are worth your time. I have rank ordered the books by the depth of impact they had on me this year, but be sure they are all slam dunks. Each is a classic in its own right. 

The Podium 

1. Education of a Wandering Man — Louis L'Amour

This book changed my life. It is in my top-10 books of all time (I've finished 1,678 books to date, my goal is 5,000 by my death). L'Amour was a brilliant writer. He died in 1988 at age 80 and had published 105 books and over 250 short stories in his lifetime. He held a Ph.D. in Life and this memoir is his magnum opus. Deep wisdom and stark truth reside on every page. 

He encourages humility on page 105, "Actors, politicians, and writers— all of us are but creatures of the hours. Long-lasting fame comes to but a few. Touring the pages of my notebook, I see so many names, once well known, now all but forgotten." 

And reminds us to share richly on page 191, " Knowledge is like money. To be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value."

If I had not read this book, the New High Performance West would not be happening. Thank you Mr. L'Amour.

2. Athletics: How to become a Champion — Percy Wells Cerutty

Cerutty was a liberal arts polymath who used coaching as a vehicle to teach. He is my idol. An independent and innovative thinker, he is the first athletics coach I know of to champion a holistic approach to preparing an athlete for high-level competition and leading a world-class life. If I could be one person in history, it would be him. 

I think I underlined at least half of the book. HPW Deputy Director Steve Magness and I read it at the same time and we both geeked out so much over it we dedicated an entire podcast to it.

The book was out of print for 50 years until Peter Masters undertook the project to republish it. I am glad he did. The modern distance running and athletics world is richer for it.

3. The Inner Game of Tennis — W. Timothy Gallwey

This is a re-read for me. I first read it at age 16 and I didn't fully grasp the profound wisdom offered. Like the Taoist classic the Tao Te Ching, it is a fundamental text for anyone, athlete or otherwise, who seeks peak performance in their craft. It is only 134 pages and appears unassuming yet is a timeless masterpiece. Reading it will make you better. I promise.

To quote page 122, "It's simple and it's good." 


Tomorrow I'll discuss books #4 - #7 on my Top 10 of 2017. 

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm



Jonathan Marcus