Today’s question comes from Amber in New Orleans. She asks: 

“What are some of you favorite books to read that were influential to you? I’m starting to read a lot more and can’t wait for your book to come out! What are some other good reads you would recommend?!”



First, I’m glad you are excited about my book! It will be available for sale in April.

I'll admit, I’m not much of a reader. A book has to REALLY interest me to get me to finish the book before the next millennium!

I like to read a variety of books from health and wellness to athletics and mountaineering to business, entrepreneurship and leadership. And I’ve recently started a new habit of reading at night before bed (instead of wasting time on Facebook!)  so I’ve ignited my reading flame :)

Here are a few of my favorite books and why!

Delivering Happiness. This is a great book for learning how to build a creative and happy culture in your company. I recommend this book to anyone who is starting a business or wants to learn how to make their company better. Written by Tony Hsieh- Founder of Zappos, this is great read. Full of stories that will make you laugh and if you’ve ever started a business, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement too.

No Shortcuts To The top and The Will To Climb by Ed Viesturs. When I first heard the term “14ers” in Colorado I had no idea what it meant. I soon found out: 14,000 feet elevation/altitude. Think Everest (29,029 feet) or Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet), or K2 (28,251 feet). After I did my first 14er, I was hooked. There is something surreal at standing on top of a 14 thousand foot peak. The clouds in the sky are incredibly close to you. All you can see for miles and miles are other magnificent mountain peaks, fast-moving clouds (and scanning the sky for lightning and storms), and jets whizzing past your head. There is nothing more liberating than scaling a very tall mountain and standing on the highest point!

I quickly found out that Colorado had 54 of these 14ers. Mountaineering became a new passion and pursuit. I picked up No Shortcuts To The Top soon after my first summit and I stayed up late reading the book. Ed Viesturs also paralleled the aspects between life and climbing very, very tall mountains. (I often equated running and life.) At the time of reading this book I was going through a really dark time in my life. Reading this book gave me hope that if he could make it, I could too. I could not put this book down! By the end of it, you might want to scale tall mountains too :) His second book, The Will To Climb is another fantastic read. You’ll be hard pressed to put it down too. Ed is great writer, athlete and person. He is on my list of people to meet!

Gifted Hands. I first read this book when I was in grade school and it gave me encouragement and hope even at that tender, young age. Ben Carson has always been a huge source of inspiration to me (more about this in my book) and it is through this book that I survived a very difficult childhood. I knew if Ben could make it, I could too. He performed surgery on conjoined twins in 1987 and both of them lived. Usually one always passed away.

Your Inner Pharmacy by Dr. Robert Blaich is a fantastic read on how your body has everything it needs to heal itself- and figuring out what mineral or nutrient you might be lacking in to help you live in optimal health. Dr. Blaich approach to health, pain and wellness is holistic and thought-provoking. I highly recommend picking up a copy!

My last pick is Joy of Cooking. I first “read” this when I was about 6 years old. I absolutely loved cooking and baking at a very young age and as soon as I could read, I began to read this cookbook. And then adapted the recipes to suit our family’s needs. I used the recipes as inspiration and then created my own. Experimenting was my first ingredient to any recipe! Joy of Cooking is a staple in many households and I love referring to it from time to time. The is joy in cooking!

Honorable mentions

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer

The Witness Wore Red, Rebecca Musser

No Meat Athlete, Matt Frazier

The China Study, T. Colin Campbell

Disease-Proof Your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman