Book Round Up – Part 5

”Bodybuilding: Tracing the Evolution of the Ultimate Physique – Gordon Lavelle – Charts the evolutionary trajectory of bodybuilding and physique development from its first stirrings in Ancient Greece to the freakshow spectacle it is today. Lavelle focusses mainly on the development of IFFBB run bodybuilding with a few forays into subjects like the WBF debacle and the various controversies involving some big name bodybuilders over the years. Interesting and objective work, but could have been twice as good if the author was more diverse and thorough in his coverage of the often steamy underbelly of the sport. 3.5/5


Atomic Dog – The Testosterone Principles – T.C. Luoma – Compiled from a collection of his weekly editorials, Luoma laments the decline of the modern day male while at the same time celebrating the infinte potential afforded by testosterone driven masculinity. Browbeaten by a toxic environment, maligned and castigated by modern society, it is no surprise that men are experiencing major drops in the hormone that Luoma aptly describes as the ”straw that stirs the drink of life.” Boys account for 3/4 of kids in special needs programs, 5 times more likely to commit suicide, and 9 times more likely to end up on ADD drugs. Is it any wonder when we are a nation of men raised by women, bereft of any compass that once defined manhood. 4/5


Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller – Ron Chernow – Epic in its scope and treatment, Chernow presents a balanced biography of history’s richest man and greatest philanthropists. Villified by many for his rapacious business practices and massive wealth, Rockefeller’s enigmatic life makes a fascinating study of duality and contrasts. His strategic acumen, fanatical self discipline, religious and familial devotion, his enormous generosity and interest in advancing unpopular social causes for the era is amazingly inspiring. This is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. Along with a driving narrative that’s never dull, if you are interested in success/leadership/business themes, there are so many take-away lessons contained within this book. 5/5 


Boys Adrift – Leonard Sax – Sax attributes the growing epidemic of boys delaying or deferring the transition to adult hood, or (worse) shirking their responsibilities as a man to 5 factors – 1) Current education models/paradigms 2) Video games 3) Misdiagnosis and over prescription of ADD and prescription meds 4) Endocrine disruptors found in environmental toxins 5) Lack of good male role models and devaluation of masculinity. These factors might sound generalistic or simplified, but Sax uses a lot of research and anecdotal evidence to support his detailed examination of each. Boys don’t become men biologically. Masculinity and manhood is a construct that is achieved mimetically and requires the help of older adults (preferably men) to model it. Sax includes a comprehensive action plan for those wishing to help their sons/students/boys in their endeavour to become responsible and productive men. It take a village to raise a child, so vital reading for everyone in my opinion 4.5/5


”Why I Fight” – BJ Penn – One of the most talented and gifted fighters today, nicknamed The Prodigy for his seemingly natural affinity for mixed martial arts, Penn recounts the hard road and countless hours of practice dedicated to become the best. Simple and easy to read run of the mill MMA biography. Nothing amazing, but some interesting behind the scenes tidbits as he dishes the dirt on people like Dana White, St Pierre, Ken Florian and others. 3/5




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