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The Power of Yoga: How Diamond Dallas Page Keeps Fighting

The Power of Yoga: How Diamond Dallas Page Keeps Fighting

WWE Hall Of Famer Diamond Dallas Page is known to millions around the world as a legendary professional wrestler. But rather than spending the rest of his life coasting on his successful wrestling or acting careers, he decided to take a professional path that practically no one could have seen coming: yoga.

When it came to getting his body to heal so he could get back into the ring in the late 1990s, Dallas turned to yoga and defied all odds with a full-on comeback. However, what separates DDP YOGA from all other kinds of yoga is not just that it is fronted by a celebrity, or that the program combines yoga poses and calisthenics with physical therapy principles, or even that it has an interactive app that lets its users do the workouts from anywhere, but that DDPY is something that anybody at any age or skill level can do.

DDP YOGA may have a strong celebrity following (e.g. Darius Rucker, Chris Jericho, A.J. Styles, Gabriel Iglesias), but the program is rooted in adaptability and “making it your own.” Finding the motivation to start doing DDPY is often the major hurdle for people, as it may entail trying things that were not originally part of their lifestyle. In addition to steadily completing the workouts, followers of DDPY are encouraged to reconsider their diets and overall attitude. When following all of these concepts, results are guaranteed. Just ask military veteran Arthur Boorman , who previously walked with crutches and leg braces, or Jared Mollenkopf, who lost around 300 pounds in a little over a year.

To learn more about how and why Diamond Dallas Page keeps fighting, I spoke to the man himself by phone. Dallas also helped me connect to some of his long-time followers, who taught me more about the power of DDPY:

More on Dallas and DDP YOGA — including its annual retreat, live workshops, and success stories can be found at www.ddpyoganow.com.

When you started doing DDP YOGA, were you also wrestling? Also acting?

Diamond Dallas Page: I was already on top of the world as a wrestler. In 1999 I blew my back out and they said my career was over. So I’m gonna do anything, but I wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga, and yoga became the thing along with the rehab. The rehab wasn’t going to do it by itself. I just mixed all that, the old-school calisthenics and the dynamic resistance and I’m back in the ring. So now, I’m doing it every day. It’s literally part of my lifestyle. Even when I got back in the ring, I knew I had to stay ahead of the curve.

While I was doing it myself, I was sharing it with others and that’s how it started. I found out all these regular guys that would do my version of what today is called DDPY, normally the yoga studios were full of chicks. I’m getting all these guys to do it, so I thought, “I’m gonna write a book called Yoga For Regular Guys.'” I got a publisher, we wrote the book and that’s kind of how we got started. Then people started buying the book and then saying, “Do you have a DVD?” I wouldn’t take anybody else’s money. I literally invested all my own money in the production, editing, marketing, everything, and I had never done it before.

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My workouts are something anyone at any level can do. I created something for everybody, from the people who are overweight, beat up, run down, to the people who are super-athletes who want to stay ahead of the game, offering preventative maintenance. Again, for anyone, from the little kid at school to senior citizens.

So was there a period when you were doing all three at the same time: DDP YOGA, wrestling and acting?

Diamond Dallas Page: Oh yeah. I do all three at the same time when I’m doing a workout teaching somebody!

When I’m doing a workshop, there will usually be three to five people who are over 300 pounds, maybe a few that are over 400 pounds. There will be people on crutches. There will be people who are coming in ridiculous shape, like instructors. Little kids will come. People in their 60s, 70s, in fact a main guy who works out with me, Ted Evans, he’s 83. I’m doing the same workout for everyone. Now this is a beginner level that I can make intermediate and even throw some advanced things in there. “Here’s how you start this, just get your right foot off the ground a couple of inches.You want to take it a little farther, take your knee up to your chest. If you’ve got that, take your leg and try to straighten it out in front of you. If you’ve got that, let go of your leg completely and bring your biceps to your ears.” MAKE IT YOUR OWN! That’s what whole my whole philosophy is.

Does the “make it your own” philosophy apply to other aspects of your life?

Diamond Dallas Page: Oh, absolutely. Eating, a lot of people want to know the secret of how fit I am. It’s the food I eat. The people who are overweight and ask me, I don’t tell them what they can’t eat. I tell them to eliminate a little stuff at a time. But if they’re over 100 pounds overweight, older and beat up, I’m going to say, “Watch these movies and they’re going to explain what was done to food.” Now make it your own. Hopefully they’ll at least cut out McDonald’s and KFC and start eating real food. Again, food is completely about making it your own. Your diet, what you take in, if you’re going to “cheat,” why not “cheat” with gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookies? If you’re going to cheat, don’t eat the Chips Ahoy!

Another way would be with my personal life. When it comes to spending time with your significant other, when I get into that mode, I’m “work-work-work-work-work.” I’m lucky that my wife works with me. But there are times that we have to take “our time” so that we can continue having a really great personal relationship. It’s all about making it your own.

How did you first learn about Dallas and DDPY? Did you know of him through wrestling?

Ted Evans: One day I was over at the gym and I had been introduced to him but didn’t really know him. I said, “What the heck are you doing?” (laughs) He said, “Man, I’ve got to turn back the hands of time.” I said, “I kind of thought this was girlish stuff,” and he laughed. We got to be associates. I kind of gravitated into yoga with Craig Aaron for a while. Dallas was doing a book and asked if I would consider being part of it. Eventually I went out and did the book, Yoga For Regular Guys. From time to time he’d call me and say, “Hey, how you doing? Time to get off your butt and do something.” (laughs)

Christina Russell: I first learned about DDPY through a video my husband Aaron found on YouTube. He is a huge wrestling fan and was watching wrestling promos from the 90s when he came across the Arthur Boorman transformation video. He called me over to watch it and I really connected to it. We had just lost a baby five months earlier and Arthur’s video was just the inspiration I needed to see. If Arthur could do it, I knew that I could too!

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I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, so I didn’t know many wrestlers at all, but while I waited for the DVDs to arrive I watched a bunch of his wrestling matches. That’s pretty much all I knew until I started working for him! (laughs)

Drew Gower: I watched DDP growing up and was a huge fan through his WCW days. I learned of DDP YOGA through a friend of mine who had lost about a hundred pounds in a year.

Brady Jarabeck: I learned about Dallas from watching WWE. And while watching, I was looking up info on some of my favorite wrestlers. When I searched DDP, I saw the link to DDPY and clicked the link.

Dave Rutsky: I first learned about Diamond Dallas Page by watching WCW in the mid to late 1990s. I was a fan of the finishing move the “Diamond Cutter” and enjoyed his promo style/mic skills. In regards to the DDP YOGA program, I listen to various genres of podcasts and I kept hearing the ads for DDP YOGA on the Talk Is Jericho podcast. I was impressed hearing the success stories of DDPY users. During the summer of 2015, I tweaked my back doing a hack slide squat at the gym. While I recovered within a week, the lower back injury I sustained was a nagging one that disrupted my comfort on a daily basis. While stretching helped a little bit, I finally decided to try DDP YOGA in an effort to treat the discomfort on a consistent basis and it was my best exercise related decision to date.

For you what was the most challenging part of getting on-board with DDPY?

Ted Evans: When I was 22, I was in a car wreck. I broke my back in three places, almost destroyed one vertebra. I have three vertebrae that are naturally fused together. I have documented arthritis in my knees, my hips, my hands and my shoulders. I’ve had two operations on each knee and a knee replacement on my right knee. I have torn both rotators in my shoulders and I have a complete tear of the supraspinatus tendon in my right shoulder. I have two pinched nerves documented in my neck. God knows what else, but I can keep up with most 40-year olds.

Dallas reached out and said, “You better get your ass in shape because I’m coming back [to Atlanta]”. I went over to his house and we worked out for a while. This is one of the things I think put us kind of close together. He said, “You know when I go around and we’re doing this, people go and do 10-second push-ups. Very few people can do ten 10-second push-ups.” I said, “What do you mean 10-second push-ups?” He said, “10 seconds up, 10 seconds down.” I go back to my room at the hotel and I said, “I can do 100 push-ups, 10 shouldn’t be that difficult.” I did 11 and I said, “Something’s wrong, people can’t do 10 and I just did 11.”

I go back and challenge Dallas, he tells me to go home and practice for six months and then he’ll consider it. We finish doing all the shooting, he says, “Enjoy your food, have another dessert. Ted, we’ve got the cameras, we’ve got the crew here, let’s do those 10-second push-ups.” I said okay and go out and we start. He’s filming it, about five seconds I start shaking and he starts laughing like hell. (laughs) I think that probably put us closer together.

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    Christina Russell: I found the program easy to follow and with the help of the Team DDPY community. In fact, this is the first workout program that I actually DIDN’T struggle with! I had so much support through the community and my family which helped make DDPY a staple of my day-to-day activities.

    Drew Gower: The most challenging part of getting into DDP YOGA was just doing it. I was almost 400 pounds when I started, that was 16 months ago. Today I weigh 208. DDP YOGA and hard work definitely pay off .

    Brady Jarabeck: There really wasn’t much of a challenge getting on-board. I tried multiple diets and they failed. The most challenging part was making sure I made time to do it each day and breaking the normal routine of my daily activities.

    Dave Rutsky: The most challenging part of getting on-board with DDPY was forcing myself to start the program as a beginner. Not that I had prior yoga experience, but I’ve been a lifter and runner my entire life and figured I’d pick up the yoga quicker than other beginners.

    After doing the Diamond Dozen and Energy workouts, I was quickly humbled and had to learn that the program was no joke and I needed to learn the basic building blocks of DDP YOGA. I had to remind myself not to get angry when struggling with a position or falling on my backside, which occurred often in the first few weeks of the program. In the end, the attitude adjustment I made was the toughest part of my initial dealings with DDP YOGA.

    How do you manage to stay motivated when it comes to doing DDPY and maintaining a good diet?

    Ted Evans: Ego, friends.It’s hard to do things by yourself. But when you’re with a group, and the group expects you to be able to come through on stuff. The expectations of others are a heck of a motivator for me.

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    Christina Russell: When I first started DDPY in 2013, the weight loss, improved mood and flexibility was enough to keep me motivated to keep it up. Once I reached my goal, I started helping others, which turned into getting certified to teach DDPY, which led me to working for Dallas and changing lives on a whole new level! When you feel good about something you’re doing, especially fitness and the way it makes you look and feel, the diet falls in line too. If I ate bad, I felt bad and it wasn’t worth it, so for me, it was easy to maintain a healthy eating habit.

    Drew Gower: I wouldn’t really call it motivation, it’s more of an obsession at this point. Motivation comes and goes. Passion, commitment, determination, those will sustain you long after motivation.

    Brady Jarabeck: My main motivation was girls. Let’s face it, I’m 16 and a junior in high school. I wanted girls to like me, and being an overweight kid, I wasn’t exactly filled with confidence. After losing weight and getting compliments, I knew DDPY was working, and I knew I had to stick with it.

    Dave Rutsky: A huge motivator I’ve noticed has been the aches and pains I get when I take a week off from DDP YOGA. I know if I get into a lazy mode and forgo the yoga for too many days, I will feel the tightness and that’s a punishing motivator for me. Outside of the pain maintenance aspect, I stay motivated by mixing up my yoga workouts which enables me to have a lot of fun. Outside of the traditional workouts such as Fat Burner or Below The Belt. I try to do some of the DDP YOGA Live workouts on the app as I find that the different workouts keeps my interest level high.

    What is your favorite part of DDPY?

    Ted Evans: As one gets older, they lose their strength, their flexibility, their balance and this impacts your confidence, the way you live and the quality of your life. Working with Diamond Dallas Page has enabled me to retain most of these characteristics.He’s always been very giving to me. He’s always been very supportive. He keeps me going. Basically, I’m 22 or 23 years older than him, and he kind of chides me that he’s going to be in better shape when he’s my age than I am. (laughs)

    Christina Russell: My favorite part about DDPY is that ANYONE can do it. I love showing up to teach a class and being able to have students that range from injured to obese to young to super-fit and all can enjoy the class together. There are modifications to make each move easier or more challenging and that’s why I love this program and know that it will be a sustainable workout for anyone at any age.

    Drew Gower: My favorite part of DDP YOGA is that anyone can do it. Also, Dallas is wholeheartedly invested in his program and in people. He wants the best for you. I’m beyond thankful for DDP YOGA and the change I have made in my life by using it.

    Brady Jarabeck: DDP. And the fact that it actually works!

    Dave Rutsky: My favorite part of DDP YOGA has been how great I feel after I finish the workouts. I have increased flexibility and I feel that I have better posture from doing DDPY. I also love that there are so many moves/positions in the program so you always are learning something new. Often with lifting and running, the monotony can sap the fun out of exercising but I don’t have that problem with DDP YOGA. It’s one of the reasons why I have recommended the program to many people since I started doing it a couple of years ago. Oh, and I can’t forget screaming “BANG” at the end of each workout — and making it my own!

    More by this author

    Darren Paltrowitz

    Writer, Editor & Researcher

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    Last Updated on July 17, 2019

    25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

    25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

    I remember the first time I got my hands on a self-improvement book. I was baffled. At that moment, I realized my fate was not set in stone. I could become my own drill master and coach. The books I read would set out the training course for me to overcome. All I had to do was listen to that voice that aspired to climb higher and higher.

    Every time I committed to a new challenge, I knew it was going to be outside of my comfort zone. But after enough iterations, I also knew it will not just be part of my repertoire, it will be part of me.

    Not all self-improvement books are made equal. Some help start you out on your journey, others give you a boost when you’ve achieved experience in certain areas.

    Here are the best ones that I recommend to read no matter how old you are:

    1. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? And Other Provocations

    by Seth Godin

      This book is a masterpiece, and unlike most self-improvement books, this one targets an infinite array of areas in which you can, and ultimately must, improve.

      With its ruthless honesty and genuine inspiration, Godin makes you ponder the difficult questions you wouldn’t ever dare to ask yourself. The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.

      If you need a friend who understands you, a boss that forces you to venture deep in your non-comfort zone, a wise guru that tells you what needs to be left behind and a sage that proclaims the coming of a new age, then look no further; you will find these shrewd voices all tied together in this magnificent book. Make sure to get this one.

      Print | eBook

      2. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

      by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

        Perhaps it is the fact that randomness played such a significant role in my years as a poker player that I find this book utterly important.

        We often attribute skill where there is only luck; we confuse correlation with causation and we underestimate the incredible effect small changes can have.

        This book gave me a perspective that I unfortunately rarely encounter in others: you can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong and still win. It is thus not about the outcome; it is about your actions that have lead you there.

        This important message is central to many of my decisions I make in my life. This book by Taleb helps you develop such a perspective so you will be able to live in a world one cannot fully understand, where the results are not always clear markers of performance and where chance seems to play games with our fates. Stop being fooled by randomness!

        Print | eBook | Audiobook

        3. The 48 Laws of Power

        by Robert Greene

          I read this book in a time where I thought power was something I should attain. Power for power’s sake. And while I disagree with my former self on this point, the fact remains that power is very real, it forms the invisible scepter of all hierarchical relations around us.

          I still recommend this book. I believe it is important to know how people use power for their own benefit and what to do to protect yourself from certain abuses of power.

          Besides the fact that all stories in this book gravitate around power. It contains many life lessons, amazing historical anecdotes. If read in a certain light, the ability to use power for good.

          From Caesar to Goethe, Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, this eye opening book spans a wide range of human development. If you, like me, would rather be interested in something less egotistical, perhaps Greene’s latest book Mastery will suffice (I haven’t read that one myself).

          Another great book in the same style, but this time around; covering a wider scope, and perhaps, something that will make the world make a better place.

          Print | eBook | Audiobook

          4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

          by Stephen. R. Covey

            The title of this book doesn’t capture it all. Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve.

            Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. He stresses the fact that we need to go through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves.

            This book can be read as a guide, with practices and everything, to go through the stages in order to make such a shift happen. Part shock-therapy, part ageless spiritual wisdom, Covey’s book is packed with wisdom that actually makes a difference.

            And as I mentioned, don’t let the title of the book fool you; it is about much more than just becoming more effective. It is about becoming a whole integer person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in the people around her.

            A must read for anyone who feels there is always something left to learn.

            Print | eBook | Audiobook

            5. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

            by James Fadiman

              While finding a book on psychedelics in this list of books on self-improvement might come as a surprise, I believe any metaphysical distinction between tools such as books, meditation or molecules hold no ground. They should all be solely judged on their merits. And the merits of certain chemical keys, used in a constructive way, are perhaps bigger than any book in this list.

              The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide will teach you how to prepare yourself and your surroundings, what and how much to take, and what do do when something goes wrong. So you can safely enhance your thinking, creativity, introspection and emotional balance.

              This book contains everything you need to know about using psychedelics as a tool for self-improvement while drawing on extensive scientific literature and personal wisdom. A must have for the beginning and experienced psychonaut alike.

              Print | eBook

              6.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

              by Brian Tracy

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                We all know how that destructive downward spiral feels.

                We have to do some big tasks of which the thought alone triggers resistance. We aren’t sure how and where to begin and feeling overwhelmed before we even start. We get easily distracted to get rid of that feeling, only to suddenly realize that hours went by- precious hours- and then find ourselves in the same position as before, still not knowing where and how to begin, but now, feeling guilty on top of it which expresses itself in more craving for distraction.

                Ad infinitum

                To break this spell of procrastination before it paralyzes us, Tracy advises us to Eat That Frog: to set our priorities straight, deconstruct larger tasks into smaller ones, learn when to tackle the big frog first or to start out with something else.

                Tracy is truly a motivational writer. While I wished he had gone a bit deeper into the psychological reasons why people procrastinate, it is still a must have for anyone who wants to break the spell and get shit done.

                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                7. Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition

                by Napoleon Hill

                  A from 1937, this book by Hill is a masterpiece. Don’t bother with the edited versions since they all omit important and controversial information: some historical, and some pertaining to the goal of the book, which is to think and grow rich.

                  The word rich might imply that this book is all about material gain, and while it certainly covers that area, it is about much more than that.

                  This is perhaps the first explicit mention of positive thinking on how to care not just about the cash in your pocket, but also the thoughts in your head.

                  This book has been able to withstand the destruction of time. It covers all the basics from planning, decision making and persistence, to the more advanced techniques as auto-suggestion, transmutation and what we can learn from fear.

                  This is not a grow rich book, but a timeless guide to find out what actually matters. As it says clearly in the beginning ‘Riches can’t always be measured in money!’

                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                  8. The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind

                  by Alan Wallace

                    In a world that is dominated by ever stronger technologies designed to grab your attention, a way to empower yourself is to bring that attention back to where you want it to shine. This book offers just that.

                    In The Attention Revolution, Wallace describes the path to attaining Shamatha, a buddhist meditation state of mind that is free from any flickering of distraction. It is a hard and long path, probably not possible for us to reach in this lifetime. However, even getting to stage two or three will make everything in life easier.

                    A wonderful introduction to meditation, The Attention Revolution will inspire you to take on the challenge and see what training your mind can actually achieve.

                    Once you have achieved such level of focus, you can put it to use to open your heart with the practice of The Four Immeasurables or deepen the practice with this wonderful commentary by Dudjom Lingpa, both by Alan B. Wallace.

                    Before you read this book, you may want to take a look at this guide so you get a better idea on how to prioritize your life:

                    The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                    9. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

                    by John Durant

                      In the last 10,000 years or so, it seems we have been propelled into an ever faster paced world forged by our own hands and minds. Only recently have we been able to reconstruct our journey and reflect back upon our humble origins.

                      This amazing book is such a reflection. It goes back to the paleolithic searching for answers to health and longevity.

                      Between science and his personal experiments, Durant weaves a mind blowing story that will convey the importance of an evolutionary perspective on how to live well.

                      It covers everything from nutrition to exercise, from sleep to fasting, from ancient practices to modern biohacking and even has an outline for a vision of the future where depression and obesity have become obsolete.

                      If you only have room for a couple of books on this list, make sure this one is included.

                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                      10. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

                      by Daniel J. Siegel

                        As my Burmese meditation teacher often proclaimed, ‘Mindfulness alone is not enough!’ Siegel seems to have taken this to heart and made an unique synthesis between meditation, psychoanalysis and neuroscience which he calls ‘Mindsight‘. As he says himself, a potent combination between emotional and social intelligence.

                        All of us deal with one disorder or another, something that seems to disturb the very core of our being at ease; and while it might not always be the best strategy to want to get rid of it, it certainly helps to understand and have compassion for that little aspect that upsets that perfect image of ourselves.

                        Brimming with techniques, insights and epiphanies, this book contains everything you need to know to reprogram your brain and to optimally use its capacity of neuroplasticity. A great book for spiritual seekers and scientists alike.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                        11. How to Win Friends & Influence People

                        by Dale Carnegie

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                          This is the first self-improvement book I have ever read and it is also probably one of the oldest in this category.

                          Written in 1937, mainly for the door to door salesman of that era, this book by Carnegie can truly be called a classic. It shows what we all intuitively know:

                          It doesn’t matter what your line of work is or what you want to achieve. If you are doing business of any kind, you need to make it about the other person.

                          Being nice helps, a lot. And while I might not fully defend the premise of this book because it doesn’t distinguish between genuine interest and faking it to get what you want; it still contains a treasure chest full of timeless wisdom.

                          Everybody wants to feel appreciated, and rightfully so. Learning to take a small effort to make someone’s day will make the world better no matter what your goal is.

                          I still spontaneously remember some of his guidance, and perhaps this quality is the reason why this book still draws millions of readers to this day.

                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                          12. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

                          by David D. Burns

                            Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective therapy used by psychologists today. It consists of identifying thought patterns that have a detrimental effect on your self-image and mood; and deconstructing these in order to break out of these destructive cycles.

                            If you want to know how this works, which moods are central in your life, what thought patterns are causing your depression, how to overcome self-judgment and guilt, how to defeat approval and love addiction and how your self-perfectionism is hindering you, then don’t look further.

                            Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people and it can help you, and this is the best book for the job. Packed with scientific research, exercises and examples, this is the best improvement your self is going to get.

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            13. Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

                            by Maxwell Maltz

                              What can a plastic surgeon tell us about happiness?

                              By dealing with his patients, Dr. Maxwell Maltz experienced firsthand that having your expectations come true doesn’t automatically result into a more positive life experience. Their outward appearances did indeed change but their inner insecurity remained.

                              This caused him to find other means to help his patients, resulting in visualization techniques. He found a person’s outer success can never rise above the one visualized internally.

                              This book carries a very honest and humbling story, loaded with fundamental truths about our psychology and how our own philosophy affects us. This is all told by a very compassionate writer.

                              Of some books it can be said that it will be valuable for years to come, and I am absolutely positive that this is one of them.

                              Print | Audiobook

                              14. Thinking, Fast and Slow

                              by Daniel Kahneman

                                This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a lucid account of all the amazing research he has done over the years. He is the founder of behavioral economics – the way our psychology affects our decisions – and explains in simple prose how our thinking is divided in two systems: one fast and one slow. (Here’s an explanation on how these two systems work.)

                                The fast one is almost instant; it consists of the hardwired instincts that govern emotions, a remnant of an evolutionary past, an unconscious irrational machine.

                                The slow one is deliberate, self-reflexive and logical, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort.

                                Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores when the fast system fails and why the slow system is often not utilized.

                                Packed with mind blowing examples and sharp analyses, this book teaches you how to learn to make sound judgments, and use the best of both systems.

                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                15. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

                                by Chris Hadfield

                                  A few extraordinary people journey to the edge of our world and come back with a unique story to tell. Colonel Hadfield is such a person, and his story is perhaps the most important one in this list.

                                  While the other books in this list teach you to be independent, visualize your future and dream big, this astronaut’s guide turns these all upside down.

                                  A truly remarkable book, overflowing with mind-blowing stories that illustrate the life lessons he learned as one of the most accomplished astronauts that ever lived.

                                  Full of compassion, warmth and genuine self-reflexive humor, he conveys to us to be prepared for the worst and never let yourself be swayed from enjoying every moment.

                                  Part action story, part no-nonsense hard truth and part timeless spiritual wisdom, this book makes you feel like you stepped onto a rocket ship and experienced what he did while learning these most valuable lessons on the way.

                                  eBook

                                  16. Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat

                                  by Paul Jaminet & Shou-Ching Jaminet

                                    No self-improvement list is complete without a nutrition book and the Perfect Health Diet is arguably the best diet book on the market now.

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                                    If you are overweight or not, feel sick, or just looking for an extra boost in health (and keep it this way), then look no further.

                                    From reading decades of studies the authors construct the optimal way to eat, destroying popular food fads in the process. They explain in sufficient details the optimal macro-ratios of which starches are safe, which vitamins and supplements to take and what foods, or what they call toxins, to avoid.

                                    This book is a great supplement to the Paleo Manifesto as it shares its basic evolutionary perspective; we were evolved to eat non-toxic, high fat, moderate protein and carbohydrates.

                                    And sometimes, going around with no food at all, can be a very healthy thing. If your body is not in optimal health, then it is almost no use to read the other books. Make this your priority number one.

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                                    17. Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

                                    by John C. Maxwell

                                      At one time or another, we will all fail. What matters most is how you deal with it once you do.

                                      Will you give up? Or will you use it as a stepping stone for success?

                                      I recently read an article about new start-ups in silicon valley. Its hypothesis was the more you had failed in the past, the more likely you were going to get funding.

                                      Why?

                                      Because failing teaches you invaluable lessons, and if you decide to continue after you hit the pavement, the more you have it in you to deliver.

                                      Now, this is not in anyway our instinctual reaction to failing. Most of us dread it, avoid it or refuse to fail at all costs. All three are by far sub-optimal. It is far better to accept failure where it arises, to accept responsibility and use it as a way to learn about yourself and your weaknesses.

                                      Only when you are absolute honest with yourself with respect to failure can you hope to grow. This wonderful book will teach you how to do exactly this. A honest book for everyone searching for a clean mirror.

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                                      18. The Power of Now

                                      by Eckhart Tolle

                                        The Power of Now hardly needs any introduction. It is perhaps the book that has had the most impact on our collective consciousness in recent years.

                                        It inspired millions of people all over the world to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life, all through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness consists of moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. 

                                        It is a technique that alleviates depression, increases emotional intelligence and develops compassion. And only recently has come to the west, which remained weary and skeptical until science had validated a wide array of its claims.

                                        The brain can be trained. The Power of Now teaches you how to release your attachment to certain thoughts and states of mind, thereby clearing the mind to fully embrace the present moment.

                                        If you already have read this book and are looking for deeper understanding, readWherever You Go, There You Are.

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                                        19. The Last Lecture

                                        by Randy Pausch

                                          At some point or another, almost all of us has come across The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. (If you haven’t, watch this powerful message here.)

                                          What would you say when you only have a few months left to live? This was probably Pausch’s question he posed to himself when he had to deliver his lecture a week later.

                                          But being confined to an academic setting and short time frame, he felt he had more to share, thus marking the birth of this book.

                                          Filled with stories about his childhood, it is a very down to earth exploration of what it means to chase your dreams, to be a good person and live a life that gives value to others.

                                          A beautiful mixture of humor and optimism, his tender voice will be a source of inspiration for everyone who will take the time to listen, something he tried to impart on his readers.

                                          A very lovely read. And don’t forget, ‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’
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                                          20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

                                          by Brené Brown

                                            I love Brené Brown’s books. She writes about an insight that I have found to be scary but true at the same time.

                                            Vulnerability, unlike we have been taught, is not a weakness, but a power to be tapped. Growing up with the idea that we have to hide certain parts of ourselves, to look strong and persevere at all costs always seemed a facade to me. And now she has the research to back that up.

                                            From that place of vulnerability comes a sense of worthiness, which for most of us, needs to be cultivated every day. Only if we get in touch with that tender spot of our hearts can we connect with others and develop genuine compassion, which are prerequisites, Brown tells us, for living a ‘wholehearted life.’

                                            The reality, however, is that we often close down, feel neglected and misunderstood, and rather want the vulnerability and perhaps even ourselves to disappear.

                                            This book is an amazing antidote for that common instinct. Want to be truly convinced? Check out her amazing ted talk here.

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                            21. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

                                            by Carl Sagan

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                                              We all find UFO’s fascinating. We all really want to believe in magic or visiting aliens. (Surely the crop circles are conclusive proof!) And some of us believe the government is poisoning us with chemtrails.

                                              At the same time we are fascinated by the progress made by science, by all the new technology and medicines and the fascinating discoveries being

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                                              22. Philosophy for Life

                                              by Jules Evans

                                                As philosopher Sloterdijk puts it; ‘philosophy is a beautiful child of an ugly mother.’

                                                Philosophy first arose when the old Greek polis states were at the brink of destruction. Philosophy, according to Sloterdijk, was not just a way to make sense of the world, to come to knowledge or truth, but to serve as a psychological immune system.

                                                This book is an amazing expression of this perspective. From the stoics to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Jules Evans writes about some of the amazing philosophical techniques we can use to train and improve our cognitive immune systems.

                                                He weaves ancient stories with modern applications, from heroism to cosmic contemplation. Philosophy for Life is a beautifully written book that makes it easy to understand the practical nature of philosophy.

                                                Perhaps the book would have been better if he would have gone deeper into the subject matter, but nonetheless he captures the essence of what philosophy can mean for the modern person. A must read.

                                                Print | eBook

                                                23. Man’s Search For Meaning

                                                by Victor. E. Frankl

                                                  If I had to pick one book from this list for mandatory reading, I would choose this one.

                                                  For three years, Viktor Frankl labored in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He tells us about his experience and that of his fellow prisoners.

                                                  Both chilling and uplifting, confronted with the idea that they would be trapped there for the rest of their lives; he gives us an account of those who found meaning and those who succumbed to nihilism.

                                                  A blend between a memoir, a psychological investigation and a self-help book, Frankl delivers a powerful message:

                                                  Finding meaning lies at the core of being human.

                                                  From his own experience as a psychiatrist, combined with anecdotes from his time in the concentration camps, he tells us how important it is to find meaning in our own lives and what we can become if we don’t.

                                                  Suffering, he conveys to us, is inevitable. But as to how we cope with it is dependent on ourselves. If we can find meaning, even in the worst acts our species have ever inflicted upon their fellow men, we will be able to move forward with renewed purpose.

                                                  I also recommend you to check out this article to help you find out your purpose and passion that will motivate you to live in a meaningful way: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

                                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                  24. Simplify

                                                  by Joshua Becker

                                                    This is a fun little book written by Joshua Becker, a big proponent of minimalist living. We all know that quote from Fightclub: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 

                                                    Well, this is ending.

                                                    Slowly we are outgrowing an era where the unquestioned mantra ‘more is always better’ dictates our behavior. Rather, we now find ourselves, our lives and our homes cluttered with too much information, too much stuff and just too much shit we don’t need.

                                                    This simple book helps you become aware of the freedom gained from living with less. It is a small book, easily read under an hour, but it carries a persuasive punch to start living live in a very different way.

                                                    eBook

                                                    25. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

                                                    by Kamal Ravikant

                                                      The fundamental ground upon which all true self improvement is build is called self-love. Because in the end, no matter which way you turn, if you don’t love yourself, you will sabotage yourself at one point. You will think that, for some reason or another, you are not worthy. And if you think that, why would you truly want to achieve anything?

                                                      And this is not just about achievement. This is about how you approach yourself every day; this is what you see when you look in the mirror.

                                                      We make so many snap-judgments about ourselves- often without being conscious of them- that are filled with negativity, haltering us before we can even begin to heal. This powerful book shows you the antidote.

                                                      Self love. Not to be confused with creating some narcissistic image of ourselves that some previous books in this list implicitly endorse, but self love, that inner gratefulness that no external condition can take away.

                                                      Self love, that infinite source you can share with others.

                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                      Final Thoughts

                                                      Now that you’ve got a list of the most inspirational books to improve your life, what should you do next? Read them all?

                                                      It’s of course best to read them all, but we only have so much brain energy to take all this knowledge. What if I tell you there’s a way to boost your brain power? Here it is:

                                                      How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

                                                      More Books for Your Inspiration

                                                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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