Recommended Reading

In addition to training physically, there are things you can do to strengthen your mind. This page is full of recommendations from AKMF Black Belts, Instructors and School Owners on books that have influenced their training and lives, both on and off the mat.

The Gift of Fear

Gavin de Becker

The Gift of Fear: Gavin de Becker

Recommended by: Chris Crouch

True fear is a gift. Unwarranted fear is a curse. Learn how to tell the difference.

A date won't take "no" for an answer. The new nanny gives a mother an uneasy feeling. A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers unsolicited help. The threat of violence surrounds us every day. But we can protect ourselves, by learning to trust-and act on-our gut instincts.

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Meditations on Violence

Rory Miller

Meditations on Violence: Rory Miller

Recommended by: EVERYBODY!

A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real-World Violence.

Experienced martial artist and veteran correction officer Sgt. Rory Miller distills what he has learned from jailhouse brawls, tactical operations and ambushes to explore the differences between martial arts and the subject martial arts were designed to deal with: Violence.

Sgt. Miller introduces the myths, metaphors and expectations that most martial artists have about what they will ultimately learn in their dojo. This is then compared with the complexity of the reality of violence. Complexity is one of the recurring themes throughout this work.

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On Killing

Dave Grossman

On Killing: Dave Grossman

Recommended by: Chris Crouch

The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill. But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young.

Upon its initial publication, ON KILLING was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence. Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on 21st-century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and more. The result is a work certain to be relevant and important for decades to come.

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Extreme Ownership

Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Extreme Ownership: Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Recommended by: Chris Crouch

Extreme Ownership is written by two former Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, who now head a leadership training company. Both men are pretty hardcore, I must admit. The experiences they share in this book are intense and eye-opening--not to mention unique. There aren't many books out there that give such detailed glimpses into the lives of SEALs in action.

The book is structured in a very basic and clear way. The authors convey one main point per chapter by sharing a story from their battlefield experiences, then highlighting the main principle of that story, and finally giving a concrete example of how this principle applies in business settings.

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Left of Bang

Patrick Van Horne & Jason A. Riley

Left of Bang: Patrick Van Horne & Jason A. Riley

Recommended by: Chris Crouch

• You walk into a restaurant and get an immediate sense that you should leave.
• You are about to step onto an elevator with a stranger and something stops you.
• You interview a potential new employee who has the resume to do the job, but something tells you not to offer a position.

These scenarios all represent LEFT OF BANG, the moments before something bad happens. But how many times have you talked yourself out of leaving the restaurant, getting off the elevator, or getting over your silly "gut" feeling about someone? Is there a way to not just listen to your inner protector more, but to actually increase your sensitivity to threats before they happen?

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How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Dale Carnegie

Recommended by: Nathan Carlen (ABKM)

This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was when it was first published, because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated. Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to "the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people." He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated.

Carnegie says you can make someone want to do what you want them to by seeing the situation from the other person's point of view and "arousing in the other person an eager want." You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offense or arousing resentment. For instance, "let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers," and "talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person." Carnegie illustrates his points with anecdotes of historical figures, leaders of the business world, and everyday folks.

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Gates of Fire

Steven Pressfield

Gates of Fire: Steven Pressfield

Recommended by: John Veverka

At Thermopylae, a rocky mountain pass in northern Greece, the feared and admired Spartan soldiers stood three hundred strong. Theirs was a suicide mission, to hold the pass against the invading millions of the mighty Persian army.

Day after bloody day they withstood the terrible onslaught, buying time for the Greeks to rally their forces. Born into a cult of spiritual courage, physical endurance, and unmatched battle skill, the Spartans would be remembered for the greatest military stand in history--one that would not end until the rocks were awash with blood, leaving only one gravely injured Spartan squire to tell the tale...

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The Art of Learning

Josh Waitzkin

The Art of Learning: Josh Waitzkin

Recommended by: Marc Schmidt

In his riveting new book, The Art of Learning, Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top-twice.

Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father's book Searching for Bobby Fischer was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? "I've come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess," he says. "What I am best at is the art of learning."

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EntreLeadership

Dave Ramsey

EntreLeadership: Dave Ramsey

Recommended by: Mark Cox (ABKM)

Your company is only as strong as your leaders. These are the men and women doing battle daily beneath the banner that is your brand. Are they courageous or indecisive? Are they serving a motivated team or managing employees? Are they valued?

Your team will never grow beyond you, so here's another question to consider. Are you growing? Whether you're sitting at the CEO's desk, the middle manager's cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go.

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As a Man Thinketh

James Allen

As a Man Thinketh: James Allen

Recommended by: Tony Hardy

Eminently quotable and full of practical advice for individuals who want to better themselves, As a Man Thinketh is an essential little volume published in 1902 which explains and promotes the direct connection between our thoughts and our happiness. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking - yet remain unclear as to how that power can be harnessed in your life? James Allen's As a Man Thinketh explains and promotes the direct connection between what we think and the direction our lives take. Part of the New Thought Movement, Allen reveals the secrets to having the most fulfilling existence possible, and it's easier than any of us could have imagined. You, too, can learn how to master the output of your brain in order to obtain the personal success of which you have always - until now - merely dreamed.

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25 Ways to Win with People

John Maxwell

25 Ways to Win with People: John Maxwell

Recommended by: Chris Crouch

In this follow up to John Maxwell's best-selling "Winning with People", Dr. Maxwell and Dr. Les Parrott give specific action steps to build on the knowledge you gained. 25 Ways to Win With People has just what you need! This complementary companion to the full-sized book is ideal for a quick refresher course on interpersonal relationships.

A small sampling of the twenty-five specific actions readers can take to build positive, healthy relationships includes: Complimenting People in Front of Others; Creating a Memory and Visiting It Often; Encouraging the Dreams of Others

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