MF’s Favorite Books for Training Gym Owners

A few thoughts on this list:

  • Want to learn more about how I get through so many books? Lucky you! Since writing the original version of this post, I’ve outlined my entire system in this post HERE (NOTE: This too needs an update, but it’s a solid overview).
  • This list is focused exclusively on traditional business books, broken down by topic. That said, I did include a small personal development section. This is always a rate limiting factor on professional development. 
  • I don’t actually read too many new business books these days. Overall, about half the books I read are re-reads. 
  • Most of the new books I read tend to come from other fields: philosophy, history, biographies, religion, etc. Maybe one day I’ll do a list of these too. But that day is not today.
  • My speed and volume of consumption isn’t something that will make sense for most people. My suggestion is to focus on the topic you think would have the biggest impact on your professional effectiveness. 
  • Books are awesome, but they’re really just one piece of the puzzle. Most adults don’t truly learn without putting their knowledge into action. This usually requires some kind of “learn-by-doing-with-feedback” component.  

Would love for you to leave a comment and let me know if there are other must-reads you’d add.


Personal Development 

Poor Charlie’s Almanack – Peter Kaufman

“All I Want To Know Is Where I’m Going to Die So I’ll Never Go There”Peter Bevelin

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant Erik Jorgensen

The Compound EffectDarren Hardy

Business Strategy & Operations

Good to Great – Jim Collins

Cadence – Pete Williams

Traction – Gino Wickman

The E-Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber

12 Week Year – Brian Moran


Thanks For the Feedback – Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen

Crucial Conversations – Kerry Patterson 

Radical Candor – Kim Scott 

The Elements of F*cking Style – Baker and Hansen

Bird By Bird – Anne Lamott


Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

The Lapsed Anarchist’s Guide to Being A Better Leader – Ari Weinzweig

Extreme Ownership – Willink and Babin

Leadership and Self Deception – The Arbinger Institute 

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell


First Break All the Rules – Gallup Press

Growing Great Employees – Erika Andersen

The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz

Principles – Ray Dalio

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith


Tribal Leadership – Dave Logan & John King

Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh

The Advantage – Patrick M. Lencioni 

Legacy – James Kerr

The Speed of Trust – Stephen R. Covey


Influence – Robert B. Cialdini

Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got – Jay Abraham

Building A StoryBrand – Donald Miller

Priceless – William Poundstone

Alchemy – Rory Sutherland


To Sell Is Human – Daniel H. Pink

Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes

SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham

You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a SeminarDavid Sandler

Ultimate Sales Letter – Dan S. Kennedy

Customer Service

Secret Service – John DiJulius 

Peak – Chip Conley

Setting the Table – Danny Meyer

Never Lose a Customer Again – Joey Coleman

Business Finance

Simple Numbers – Greg Crabtree

Profit First – Mike Michalowicz

Profit First for Microgyms – John Briggs

The Ultimate Blueprint for an Insanely Successful Business – Keith Cunningham

Financial Intelligence – Bergman, Knight, Case


Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

The Go Giver – Bob Berg

Time Management

Getting Things Done – David Allen

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Deep Work – Cal Newport

The One Thing – Gary Keller

Goals! – Brian Tracy