T Nation

The PWI Required Reading List


I don’t think that’s the case. I think they made a list and it inevitably had the usual suspects and they felt the need to take some off so they could have more women and minorities represented as well as look edgy by including books like Twilight.


It was a survey, apparently.



I was going to edit my post because I just read that. It still seems a little funny. I can see the newer popular books being there but Pilgrim’s Progress?


Lol, ya, the list has some oddballs no doubt.


I think you can see which books were chosen by the advisors.


n/m … just read what USMC posted … carry on


I used to read a lot, graduate school cured me of that affliction. I used to read strictly fiction, but now it’s mostly self help shit.

This is akin to some Buddhist ideas, emptying the mind and getting some peace from our delusions. I wonder what @T3hPwnisher thinks about this.

Pretty profound.

I find I prefer to write now, rather than to read. As intimated, it feels more active and less passive, and that tends to ameliorate my feelings of mortality.

I’m currently reading about five books, but that’s not normal. I’m reading two for a class I am taking on breathwork, and a few others on meditation and shit. I find this approach to be highly unsatisfactory. In the past, when reading fiction, I would read a book a week, typically a three to four hundred page novel.

When I got my MA in English, we read a novel a week for four weeks, plus about a hundred pages of criticism each week, wrote a 750 word response each week, two responses to classmates of 500 words each week, and then a fifteen page research paper to finish the class (one class every four weeks). I would typically start the research paper on a Friday and submit it on Sunday. At the time, I had a three year old, a six year old, was teaching seventh grade English in the inner city, and doing my grad work at night. shifting gears between the levels was challenging. Not to mention selfish AF.

It kind of took the fun out of it.

It’s funny because before I became a golf pro I was worried about all of that golf killing the joy of it for me. But it just heightened my appreciation of the game.

Grad school was the complete opposite. After my MFA in Creative Writing, I took several years off of writing of any kind and the pleasure of writing is just now beginning to return, five years later.

I’m really not as cynical as I sound.


I was just proud of myself because I only read the part of the quote you selected and thought to myself “Hey, that sounds a lot like Schopenhauer”

I’m a big fan of what I’ve read from him, and it seems to resonate well, and be a lot easier to parse out compared to Nietzsche.

I also share your joy for writing along with reading. They’re different. Writing is me thinking, reading is me trying to figure out how others are thinking.


Writing helps me to figure out how I’m thinking. Reading is passive. I would disagree, however, that…

Certainly it’s true when reading light novels (my drug of choice when stressed enough) but I have many times had to lower a good book to take time to think. I ponder the books as I’m going to sleep or driving to work if they’re compelling enough. I also have a bad habit of doing “listen to this” to the people unlucky enough to be near when I’m reading something that excites me. When I do that, I’m thinking. Because let’s face it, “listen to this” is going to be followed by my take on it and any connections I might be making to life or politics or my work or whatever. If I disagree the poor chump sitting next to me on the couch is going to have to listen to my argument against.

I definitely am not one to ask how I read so much, however. Graduate school did a number on me as well. When my kids were little and I was home with them I read 2-4 books a week along with magazines, internet, and…just anything I could get my hands on. Now I’m lucky to read a book a month, with occasional bursts of greater activity. I’m much more focused on professional reading and lately, political stuff.

I think a difference for me, in both reading and writing fiction, is that my work (I’m a therapist at a busy primary care medical center) increasingly fills my need for experience outside my own. I work with an incredible variety of people: people coming out of jail, college professors, young parents, people navigating late career questions, slaughterhouse workers, and am not only immersed in their stories, but helping them to write alternative endings or, depending on the capacity of the client, writing the story for them to see what they think, e.g. “what do you think it would it be like if you…” or “what if you tried…” and then I paint it for them with words so they can see what I see. What I see is always sunny, or has the potential over time to be - when I was writing seriously it was comedic romance.


I try to average a book a month. Failing miserably at the moment…


What type of therapist? Talk, CBT, very curious.

Yeah, this fascinates me. I’m more of a fan of revisionist history, changing the story in the now rather than the alternative ending. I get what you are going for, but so many of us are “in story,” our story, a story that can be much different than reality.

You are probably familiar with Gabor Mate’, an addiction specialist, and his take on story, but I’ll share my interpretation. We always jump to conclusions about the motives of others in terms of our interactions with them. We assume the worst when there are most likely many other reasons why we have been treated the way we were. When we assume we have been disrespected, it’s a conclusion we have come to based on a distorted impression of the other’s motives. When we jump to that conclusion, of being disrespected, it’s because we are disrespecting ourselves, we assume the worst. The other person may have just been reacting based on their story and their actions had nothing to do with us.

Very simplified, and poorly explained, my apologies. Ultimately, if we come to the conclusion that if we control our mind, we control how we respond to the world.


I used to keep a list of personal books (both read and books I want to read). It hasn’t been updated in a while…


Nice, I see some T-Nation greatest hits there.
The red spellcheck would drive me wild though haha.


CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which now has numerous off-shoots, is the gold standard currently and accords well with my nature, but I really don’t do any one thing. CBT is changing the way we react or reframing the way we perceive things - cognitions and their impact on emotion and function. I do a great deal of that, sort of the Monday morning review of Sunday’s big game. We rewind the tape and where we find something that didn’t go well, slow it down and really look at it, maybe rewind it a couple of times and look at it again so both of us are clear about what happened. Then we draw circles and arrows, things like “Could you have asked for time to think about what she was saying rather than withdraw?” or “Is it possible your boss was stressed also? Sounds like there’s a lot of pressure on everyone right now.” Ways to alter thinking and behavior slightly for a better outcome.

People dealing with trauma, whether current or past, need something different. Several somethings, if we’re dealing with an abusive childhood in an adult. So self-esteem work, CBT for maladaptive relationship dynamics, and old-school talk therapy to process the feelings (betrayal and shame, for instance), though again all of it mixes together depending on where the person is at any given moment - at least as I practice it. Other therapists are more rigid or disciplined in their approach. We’re like different kinds of music - no one therapist or approach will be good for everyone.

You’ve lost me a bit on “stories,” and I think we’re using different language to possibly mean the same thing. By “alternate endings” I absolutely mean changing the here-and-now, which changes everything going forward (the ending). By “stories” I only mean what they tell me of themselves and their histories, and what emerges over time.

I am not familiar with Gabor Mate, but I am aware that we attribute qualities or motives to ourselves and others that may be distorted or entirely unfair. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy questions these attributions or cognitive distortions.

I’m a cockroach. I use whatever catches my attention for therapy. Was it you, @manuelp2, who posted the “Autobiography in Five Chapters"? I’ve already shared it with two of my clients. One was yesterday, and it allowed me to say “You’re on chapter III,” to which she responded something like “I totally am.” Progress was made.


No, he’s right. Sometimes insecurity and defensiveness inform people’s assumptions about others’ behaviors. They feel challenged or insulted when the other person may not even be thinking about them. So “disrespecting” oneself may more clearly be stated as “insecure and reactive,” which can lead to combativeness. Bullies are a good example of weak, insecure people who don’t tolerate perceived insult.


Life is trying to figure out what other people are thinking.


I started a list last year but gave up in October. Here’s what I got through in that time. I usually listen to a book a week and read 1-2 a month.

Fred Factor
Art of Learning
The Swoly Bible: The Bro Science Way of Life
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck
Algorithms to Live By
Chaos Monkeys
Team of Teams
Greatest Trade Ever Made
Extreme Ownership
People Over Profit
The 4-Hour Workweek
Tipping Point
The Originals
Ego is the Way
Liar’s Poker
The Obstacle is the Way
A Man for All Markets
The Art of the Deal
The Wright Brothers
King Icahn
Never Split the Difference
The Richest Man Who Ever Lived
Never Split the Difference
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F
The Black Swan
The Everything Store
Flash Boys
Dark Pools
Who Gets What
Undoing Project


Yeah, I’m not so good with the words and stuff. If I explained it properly, you would probably agree, so let me take another stab at it.

Your sister gets mad at you for showing up late to a party and calls you a loser. You feel like she is disrespecting you.

In reality, she is angry at her husband for not helping and she is stressed out about cooking and cleaning and decorating.

You take the insult personally rather than recognizing she has other shit on her plate. You assume she is disrespecting you because your default is disrespect. If you respected yourself, you would recognize she is angry about other things, but because you don’t respect yourself, you assume it is about you.

Really a shitty example, but the best I can do.

I certainly wouldn’t let another man steer my family or my life. I really respect Wendler, but frankly, I wouldn’t let him steer my life so I disregard this statement.

There’s a collection of knowledge based on consciousness that spans millennia - Socrates, Plato, Shakespeare, etcetera. That knowledge is often accumulated in brilliant people - including Wendler. Learning from them is just smart. It doesn’t mean you swallow the dogma whole, but considering their knowledge and advice is just good sense.

A wise woman once said, “Old age and treachery will win out over youthful enthusiasm.”

That was my mom by the way, BA in Philosophy.

This is what Mate’ does as well. So while you may not be familiar with him, you’re kindred therapists.

I would strongly encourage you to watch some of his videos. He’s a brilliant man, in his eighties I believe, an MD working inner city Vancouver, BC, with hard core addicts.

This is money! The childhood patterns end up running the show. I don’t think talk therapy works for this. Richard Schwartz has Inner Family Systems, and I think it’s similar to Gestalt stuff, and it’s really good stuff.

Bruce Lipton also speaks to this in many of his books and videos, he’s an MD and a Stanford professor.

Yes, we are talking about the same thing for sure. My story is my story, it’s not reality, it’s colored by my perceptions.

The Buddhists call them delusions, but it’s the same thing as story, the same thing you are doing, and I believe, very effective.

Personal share - I know it’s not the Flame Free Confession thread, but I have found meditation and breathwork to be tremendously effective. Dan Brule’ wrote Just Breathe_emphasized text and claims that rebirthing breathing is a shortcut to healing from addiction. Not to be credential queer, but Tony Robbins wrote the intro to the book.

Don’t be put off by the label rebirthing, or holotropic, or transformational - they’re really all just about different ways to release emotions and deal with suppressed trauma, and they can be life changing.

Sorry to go so off topic, but clearly this is close to me. I did a breathwork session a year ago last week and it changed my life. I ended an abusive marriage, moved out, quit drinking and quit smoking pretty much based on my breathwork experience. It’s been a rough road, and I have gone through hell, but it was all shit that I had suppressed. Now that I am dealing with it, my life is much better.

I’ve done several trainings, empath, Reiki, Movement, blah blah blah, since then, but it was the breath, and it is the breath, that made and makes the difference. Which is why I am currently training to become a facilitator of breathwork.

Man, just puked on the page. Sorry.


Family Systems, CBT, Trauma Informed Therapy, psychoanalytic work - these all fall under the umbrella of “talk therapy.” It only describes psychotherapy as opposed to medication therapy or occupational therapy.

Schwartz shows up regularly at my favorite training place, but it hasn’t yet worked out timing-wise for me to do his seminar. I am familiar, though.

I’ve also had some exposure to a student of Stanislav Grof’s and it’s very interesting, though not my cup of tea in terms of whether I would have interest in moving in that direction. There are a lot of mind/body oriented therapies showing good success, but I go back to therapists and healers being like different kinds of music, and we all have to find the style and tempo that works for us both as a consumer and as a practitioner.

I’m thrilled that it worked for you, and I wouldn’t think your post about it as puking on the page at all. It’s certainly interesting!


Yes, he’s the progenitor of breathwork, but there is also Wim Hof and a bunch of other people that practice some form of it. The training I am doing is Alchemy of Breath, but many of them are very similar.

Obviously, you are way more versed in this than I am, but I respectfully disagree with your categorization of Inner Family Systems as talk therapy. I think the inner child work is different, at least it is for me. I know it’s talking, but it feels more like guided meditation than talk therapy.

I do appreciate your distinction of talk therapy being different than medication or occupational therapy, but I think there may be room for further subdivisions of talk therapy.

I greatly appreciate your contribution to this discussion @EmilyQ