The books below have had a great influence on my approach and my own personal beliefs regarding fitness and lifestyle. Use what you can, discard that which does not serve you. Also, I'm a firm believer of re-reading. It is not a waste of time; you are a different person each time you read the same book.
Mark Sisson: The Primal Blueprint
The "paleo" or "primal" lifestyle has caused much debate in the areas of nutrition and physical fitness. Despite all the uproar, there is a resonating truth in the simplicity of the movement. Although the depiction of Grok, the paleolithic caveman may have inconsistencies, the takeaway lessons are backed by strong results. Keeping your insulin response low, lifting heavy objects, while constantly engaging in low level activity is a general way to get healthy.
John L. Parker: Once a Runner
The struggles of the runner are captured beautifully in this book. I turn to it at least once a year to help remind myself why I run. The story of the hopeful miler is one that we can relate to for many other pursuits. The test is in the grind, where it's the "Trial of Miles" or "Miles of Trials" which will ulitmately produce the result.
Brad Hudson: Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon
Brad Hudson is an elite level running coach who shows what it means to be a good coach. He has learned from the collective experience and knowledge of all of his athletes. His training programs are rooted in basic principles but his adaptive, written in pencil approach gives his runners the flexibility to meet the body's needs.
Ann and Christopher Frederick: Stretch to Win
The Frederick's shed a completely different light on stretching in this book. Working with all sorts of burly NFL players, they have learned a lot about immobility and body types. The book gives rejuvenative stretching routines and provides a different perspective on stretching, with a focus on fascial structures, which connect muscle systems together.
Kelly Starrett: How to Become a Supple Leopard
A seminal work by CrossFit's resident mobility guru, this textbook is the foundation to maintaining the body's basic functionality. This Doctor of Physical Therapy has developed a new language and subsequently framework for treatment and maintenance of soft tissue and joint structures. His passion comes through in his work, which also included a full-year project where he posted a mobility video every day on youtube.
Mark Rippetoe: Starting Strength
Mark is a forerunner on strength and is a disciple of the barbell. The deadlift, squat and benchpress are broken down very thoroughly. The author believes that a foundation in strength is required for any physical activity and this has proven an effective measure for injury prevention.
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching
I included this old text, as its teaching must truly be understood to succeed in health and fitness. Tuning into the energy of the universe and being non-resistant to its flow is such an abstract and whimsical idea, but when you finally understand it, there can be magic.
Stephen Covey: The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People
In this book, Covey shows that a person who has created their own mission statement and has spent time understanding what principles they would like to build their life on can make decisions and take action. The ideas of “win-win” or “beginning with the end in mind” have become so ingrained in personal development circles that many forget where these ideas were made popular.