Have you ever heard the Aristotle quote that starts with the phrase, “We are what we repeatedly do”?

Well, boy, do I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but Aristotle never said those words. Ever. Those words were written by Will Durant, and I only know this thanks to an article written by Caelan Huntress.

Then again, it doesn’t really matter who said this or not because it’s true. Your actions define who you are. And as another year comes to a close, I can now say that I am something that I once never thought I would be: a reader.

It was only two years ago in 2016 that I started to seriously read. In one year I read more books that I had probably (well, maybe) read my entire life. And I set a goal in 2017 to blow that number out of the water as well; I succeeded by reading 37 books in 2017, a ~43% increase.

So here we are at the end of 2018 and I read 37.5 books this year. Yes, I read half a book and I’m counting it because I can. Here’s a rundown of what I’ve read over the last year accompanied by a brief sentence or two of what I learned from each book.

*Note: some of what I learned are sentences directly taken from said books because the author said it better than I could summarize.*

37.5 Books Levar Burton Would Love Too

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”


“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”


“If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.” 


“The achievement of psychological maturity is an individual task-and so is increasingly difficult today when man’s individuality is threatened by widespread conformity.”


“Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations…” 



“What is expedient works only for the moment. It’s immediate, impulsive, and limited….Meaning is the Way of life, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guiding by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that.

Do what is meaningful, not what is expedient.”

I needed one section of this book for an article I wrote and my friend made me buy it instead of telling me what I wanted to know.


There are so many more emotions attached to food than you know.

*Note on this book: I do think intuitive eating is possible. But it can only come after you track what you eat and become aware of how much you’re eating. This should never be the first step.*



“The reason to stand up for punctuation is that without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning.” 


Your brain isn’t wired to handle the food environment that we live in today.


What you do daily determines who you are and how successful you are in life.


Not all scientific studies are unbiased.


Texas loves high school football because in the middle of nowhere Texas it’s pretty much all you have to live for.



“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”


“You cannot be a powerful and life-changing presence to some people without being a joke or an embarrassment to others.” 


Automate more shit so you can save more time and actually use the money you make for what you want.



English is a language where you can take the idea of “what if I couldn’t use the letter ‘B’ or ’E’ in anything I wrote? Could I still write coherently and get my points across?” Yes. Yes, you can.



The wildness of man is tested in the wilds of The West.




Words sale. And well-written sale powerfully.

“You want to make it to the top? There is no top. However high you climb, there is always somebody above you. Mailer wanted to be Hemingway, Hemingway wanted to be Joyce, and Joyce was painfully aware he’d never be another Shakespeare.”

Men: get your Testosterone checked starting at around 30 and have it checked every year, and keep up with the levels as you age. Low-T is not something you want to deal with. Get it checked, live a healthy lifestyle, and if necessary consider speaking to a qualified professional about optimizing your T-levels.

“The strength of your memory dictates the size of your reality” 


Bodybuilding rules.

Nintendo and Sega went head-to-head and the rest of the world benefited from their slugfest.


“Biology enables, Culture forbids.”


“The problems we face as a society and as individuals are rarely due to lack of empathy. Actually, they are often due to too much of it.”


Before you ever even think about using testosterone replacement therapy, read this book. It’s the best resource, period.

“Goals give life substance. – To strive actively to achieve some goal gives your life meaning and substance.” 

Archetypes matter; men need to understand that these run deep in our masculine nature. Know the archetypes and how to avoid the boyish (unmatured) side of them and you can live a life as an honorable, wise, confident, and supremely giving man.

Suffering is universal. But what you do despite that suffering is what matters most.

“Self-respect, courage, and integrity look good on a man.” 

The philosophical undertones of Star Wars cut across cultural boundaries and ask the largest questions humanity has wrestled with for millennia.

We rarely look downstream when we make decisions; this is why we often wind up causing more problems than we initially had.

“Both lyrically and sonically, glam metal is the sensible accompaniment for removing one’s pants for money.”

Asking the right question is the difference between a client succeeding or failing.

Old school bodybuilders hold the keys to gains.

Meh. I hated this book. Couldn’t get into it.


*Side Quest Fitness, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.*

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