Approved Reading List - Everything You Need To Know

UPDATED WITH *NEW BOOKS* FOR CLASS 034 // NOVEMBER 2022

Often imitated, never duplicated! The PATHFINDER Approved Reading List is available to all rosters in all programming. We encourage our rosters to incorporate these books into their training to get their minds right for training and Event preparation, as well as leadership skills and furthering their knowledge of historical world events.

This list has grown by leaps and bounds since it was introduced by PATHFINDER in 2017. You'll find some old standards are still here... while some have moved on to the library in the sky to make way for more intriguing books that may not have been on your radar before. There is something in here for everyone, intentionally. If you find something that doesn't fit your needs, shelve it and find something else. All books, however, fit the PATHFINDER ethos and the original concept of the Challenge -- to grow your mind. Read on, rosters!

GORUCK TRIBE books are also on our Approved Reading List!

Challenge Purpose

  • The PATHFINDER Approved Reading List was created to encourage all rosters to develop mental conditioning, continue internal motivation and to strengthen mental resilience along with physical endurance.

Challenge Parameters

Life: Rosters read 3 books. They may read any type or variety of book, regardless of topic, including, but not limited to: fiction, nonfiction, educational coursebooks or religious material. There is no need for Course Advisor approval, and the roster will log and keep track of their books in the logging system. This is an optional Challenge. Audiobooks are allowed.

Forward: Rosters read 1 book of choice AND 1 book from our Recommended Reading List. For book of choice, roster may select any book of their choosing, without need for Course Advisor approval. The roster will log their books in the PATHFINDER logging system as they would with any physical Challenge. This is an optional Challenge. Audiobooks are allowed.

Endure: Rosters read 2 books from our Recommended Reading List. The roster will log their books in the PATHFINDER logging system as they would with any physical Challenge. This is an optional Challenge. Audiobooks are allowed.

Advanced: Rosters will read 1 book from our Recommended Reading List. The roster will log their books in the PATHFINDER logging system as they would with any physical Challenge. For Advanced, reading is a requirement to complete the program and is not an optional Challenge. Audiobooks are allowed. The only books allowed in PATHFINDER Advanced are the books listed below.

Horizon, Stirling & Compete: The reading list is not currently an approved Challenge for these programs, but we still encourage reading from this list!

Just so you know: PATHFINDER is an authorized affiliate of Amazon. If you make a purchase through this list, we receive a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you.

Endure Smarter Not Harder: Team SPEARHEAD: PATHFINDER Special Edition (Motivation For Current And Aspiring Endurance Challenge Athletes) (Volume 1)
by Grant Alexander Shymske (Author), James Vreeland (Foreword)

Everyone is different, and everyone trains differently – that’s how it works – but one answer to this question is PATHFINDER. We believe that PATHFINDER offers a solid foundation that will prepare most people to crush their event, Team SPEARHEAD-style. If you like to have a specific road map to follow, and if setting and meeting goals motivates you, then PATHFINDER may be right for you.

The Endurance Challenge Life: Team SPEARHEAD Special Edition (Volume 2) by Grant Alexander Shymske (Author), Mark Webb (Foreword), Matt Francev (Foreword)

The Endurance Challenge community is small, tight knit, and protective of its own. In an effort to share great experiences with veterans of this small tribe and to help prepare newcomers for the crucible of their initiation I have laid down some valuable 'lessons learned' here.

 

WORLD WAR I & II

WW1

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world.

WW1

A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914-1918 by G.J. Meyer

NYT BESTSELLER • Drawing on exhaustive research, this intimate account details how World War I reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed twenty million people, and cracked the foundations of our modern world

 

WW2

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen E. Ambrose’s classic New York Times bestseller and inspiration for the acclaimed HBO series about Easy Company, the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers at the frontlines of the war's most critical moments.

WW2
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii....When the U.S. Army Air Forces put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,100 women from across the nation to make it through the Army’s rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings.

WW2

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history.

WW2

Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach and a World at War by Ray Lambert

Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day.

WW2

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez

During World War II, the Japanese had managed to crack every code the United States used. But when the Marines turned to its Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, they created the only unbroken code in modern warfare—and helped assure victory for the United States over Japan in the South Pacific.

WW2

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

When World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft.

 

KOREAN WAR

On Desperate Ground: The Epic Story of Chosin Reservoir -- the Greatest Battle of the Korean War by Hampton Sides

From the New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice, a chronicle of the extraordinary feats of heroism by Marines called on to do the impossible during the greatest battle of the Korean War.

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam

Halberstam used his unrivaled research and formidable journalistic skills to shed light on another pivotal moment in our history: the Korean War. A masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides, he charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu River and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise.

The US Army's First, Last, and Only All-Black Rangers: The 2d Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) in the Korean War, 1950-1951 by Master Sergeant (Ret.) Edward L. Posey

Edward Posey’s The US Army’s First, Last, and Only All-Black Rangers is the first complete history of this elite all-volunteer unit whose members were drawn from the 3rd Battalion of the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion. As a member of the unit, Posey bases his account on firsthand experience, official records, interviews with survivors, and other material to produce a rich and worthy addition to the growing literature on the Korean War. Posey’s study explains the obstacles these patriotic men faced, their sacrifices, and their courageous actions on the far side of the world.

 

VIETNAM ERA

We Were Soliders Once...And Young by Lt. Gen. Harold G Moore and Joseph Galloway

Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.

"The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War" by John "Chick" Donohue

Soon to be a major motion picture written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book—a wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American New Yorker and former U.S. marine who embarked on a courageous, hare-brained scheme to deliver beer to his pals serving Vietnam in the late 1960s.

"When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir" by Glyn Haynie

"It’s the year 1969. I was serving in the U.S. Army with my brothers of First Platoon Company A 3/1 11th Bde Americal (23rd Infantry) Division. ... We came together and formed a brotherhood that will last through time. I share my experiences about weeks of boredom and minutes to hours of terror and surviving the heat, carrying a 60-pound rucksack, monsoons, a forest fire, a typhoon, building a firebase, fear, death and fighting the enemy while mentally, physically, and morally exhausted."

 

SOMALIA

 

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden

On October 3, 1993, about a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take an hour.

 

GULF WAR

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford

When the U.S. Marines -- or "jarheads" -- were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the first Gulf War, Anthony Swofford was there. He lived in sand for six months; he was punished by boredom and fear; he considered suicide, pulled a gun on a fellow marine, and was forced to consider what it means to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man.

Hogs in the Sand: A Gulf War A-10 Pilot's Combat Journal by Buck Wyndham

Hogs in the Sand is the epic and deeply-personal year-long journey of one of those pilots as he fights an increasingly terrifying war, all the while attempting to win over a woman and keep control of his internal demons. For anyone who has admired the Warthog, seen it in action, or called upon it to be their salvation, this story will fulfill a desire to virtually strap into the cockpit, while gaining unprecedented understanding of the mind of a modern combat pilot.

9/11 & INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN

Shoot Like A Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and On the Homefront by Mary Jennings Hegar

On July 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar was shot down while on a Medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve.

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff

Years in the making, this spellbinding, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting narrative is an unforgettable portrait of 9/11.

This is a 9/11 book like no other. Masterfully weaving together multiple strands of the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Fall and Rise is a mesmerizing, minute-by-minute account of that terrible day.

Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban by Ronald Fry

Two years before the action in Lone Survivor, a team of Green Berets conducted a very different successful mission in Afghanistan's notorious Pech Valley. Led by Captain Ronald Fry, Hammerhead Six applied the principles of unconventional warfare to "win hearts and minds" and fight against the terrorist insurgency.

Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soliders on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

In Ashley's War, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon uses on-the-ground reporting and a finely tuned understanding of the complexities of war to tell the story of CST-2, a unit of women hand-picked from the Army to serve in this highly specialized and challenging role.

Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War by Dakota Meyer

Into the Fire tells the full story of the chaotic battle of Ganjigal for the first time,  in a compelling, human way that reveals it as a microcosm of our recent wars. Meyer takes us from his upbringing on a farm in Kentucky, through his Marine and sniper training, onto the battlefield, and into the vexed aftermath of his harrowing exploits in a battle that has become the stuff of legend. 

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell

On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive. In this rich, moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare -- and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

MILITARY FICTION

 

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Termopylae by Steven Pressfield

FICTON A timeless epic of war. At Thermopylae, a rocky mountain pass in northern Greece, the feared and admired Spartan soldiers stood three hundred strong. Theirs was a suicide mission, to hold the pass against the invading millions of the mighty Persian army.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

FICTION A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling. 

WOMEN AND/IN THE MILITARY

 

You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War by Elizabeth Becker

The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.

The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POW's by Robert J. Mrazek

With a wealth of original sources including taped interviews, personal journals, and unpublished memoirs, The Indomitable Florence Finch unfolds against the Bataan Death March, the fall of Corregidor, and the daily struggle to survive a brutal occupying force. Award-winning military historian and former Congressman Robert J. Mrazek brings to light this long-hidden American patriot. The Indomitable Florence Finch is the story of the transcendent bravery of a woman who belongs in America's pantheon of war heroes.

 

MILITARY LEADERSHIP

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story.

 The Armed Forces Officer Edition of 1950

"The Armed Forces Officer" is much more than a how-to guide for military officers. It is a series of candid, timeless essays on the nature of the people who occupy the ranks of the military services.

Ranger Handbook: Not For The Weak or Fainthearted by US Army (April 2017 Ed)

The US Army Rangers are the world's premier light infantry fighting force. This book contains all of the materials of the official Ranger handbook carried by all Ranger school students.

Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by Admiral William H. McRaven

Following the success of his #1 New York Times bestseller Make Your Bed, which has sold over one million copies, Admiral William H. McRaven is back with amazing stories of bravery and heroism during his career as a Navy SEAL and commander of America's Special Operations Forces.

Choosing Courage: Inspiring True Stories of What It Means to Be a Hero by Peter Collier

How does an ordinary person become a hero? It happens in a split second, a moment of focus and clarity, when a choice is made. Here are the gripping accounts of Medal of Honor recipients who demonstrated guts and selflessness on the battlefield and confronted life-threatening danger to make a difference.

 

The Brave Athlete: Calm the F--k Down and Rise to the Occasion by Simon Marshall PhD and more

The Brave Athlete solves the 13 most common mental conundrums athletes face in their everyday training and in races.

You don’t have one brain—you have three; your ancient Chimp brain that keeps you alive, your modern Professor brain that navigates the civilized world, and your Computer brain that accesses your...

The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer by Steven Kotler

Bestselling author and peak performance expert Steven Kotler decodes the secrets of those elite performers—athletes, artists, scientists, CEOs and more—who have changed our definition of the possible, teaching us how we too can stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable for all of us.

The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self by Michael Easter

Discover the evolutionary mind and body benefits of living at the edges of your comfort zone and reconnecting with the wild.

Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level, Volume 3 by Mark Divine

Strengthen your thinking, mental-state, and self-development with tools and techniques not easily found anywhere else. Achieve your maximum potential in any career, business or just in life through Mark’s integrated plan of warrior development.

The Way of the Seal: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine

Mark Divine has distilled the fundamentals of success into eight powerful principles that will transform you into the leader you always knew you could be. Learn to think like a SEAL and take charge of your destiny at work, at home, and at life.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

In this instant New York Times bestseller, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Spartan Up! : 

A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

 by Joe De Sena

Filled with unforgettable stories of Spartan racers as well as hard-won truths learned along the course, Spartan Up! will help you reach your full potential in whatever you set out to do.

Old School Grit: Times May Change, But the Rules for Success Never Do (Sports for the Soul) by Darrin Donnelly

Psychologists tell us that the secret to a successful and happy life, more than anything else, is something called GRIT. Defined as the willpower to persevere with passion and a sense of purpose, research shows that grit is what matters most in whether a person succeeds or fails.

Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness by Steve Magness

Toughness has long been held as the key to overcoming a challenge and achieving greatness, whether it is on the sports field, at a boardroom, or at the dining room table. Yet, the prevailing model has promoted a mentality based on fear, false bravado, and hiding any sign of weakness. In other words, the old model of toughness has failed us.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

In life there are finite and infinite games. Finite games have set rules, players and a start and finish line. Infinite games are games in which the rules and parameters can change every minute, with no finish line in sight. As Simon explains, business, and so many other areas of life, are infinite games. When players look only for wins in the short term - be it to exit strategies, austere spending targets or arbitrary performance metrics, the player inevitably loses.

The Art of Resilience: Strategies for an Unbreakable Mind and Body by Ross Edgley

Bestselling author and award-winning adventurer Ross Edgley has been studying the art of resilience for years, applying all he has learned to become the first person in history to swim around Great Britain, breaking multiple world records. Now Ross focuses on mental strength, stoicism and the training needed to create an unbreakable body.

 

2022 Book List

JANUARY

The Mission, The Men, and Me by Pete Blaber

In this book, you will learn the same lessons he learned, while experiencing what the life of a Delta Force Operator is like—from the extreme physical and psychological training to the darkest of shadow ops all around the world. From each mission, Pete Blaber has taken a life lesson back with him.

FEBRUARY

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

If you didn't read it in 11th grade, here's your chance! 

FICTION Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. 

MARCH

Generation Kill by Evan Wright

Within hours of 9/11, America’s war on terrorism fell to those like the twenty-three Marines of the First Recon Battalion, the first generation dispatched into open-ended combat since Vietnam. They were a new pop-culture breed of American warrior unrecognizable to their forebears...

APRIL

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: Take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.

MAY

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynne

A stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.

JUNE

 The Best Years of Our Lives (1945)

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

JULY

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable.

AUGUST

How to Think Like A Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophies of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian―taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day―through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. 

SEPTEMBER

First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 by Toby Harnden

An award-winning journalist reveals the dramatic true story of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

OCTOBER

All Secure: A Special Operations Soldier's Fight to Survive on the Battlefield and the Homefront

One of the most highly regarded special operations soldiers in American military history shares his war stories and personal battle with PTSD.

N/A

NOVEMBER

N/A

DECEMEBER

 

REFERENCE GUIDES

Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza

Improve your athletic performance, extend your athletic career, treat stiffness and achy joints, and prevent and rehabilitate injuries—all without having to seek out a coach, doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or masseur.

Deskbound (Standing Up to a Sitting World) by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza

Deskbound provides creative solutions for reducing the amount of time you spend perched on your backside, as well as strategies for transforming your desk into a dynamic, active workstation that can improve your life. 

The Anatomy of Stretching, Second Edition: Your Illustrated Guide to Flexibility and Injury Rehabilitation by Brad Walker

Organized by body part, The Anatomy of Stretching presents stretching exercises in a uniform style accompanied by full-color anatomical illustrations. Equally useful for fitness fans, pro or amateur athletes, coaches and personal trainers, and healthcare practitioners.

 

MOBILITY

The Roll Model by Jill Miller 

Pain is an epidemic. It prevents you from performing at your best because it robs you of concentration, power, and peace of mind. But most pain is preventable and treatable, and healing is within your grasp. Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have taken life “by the balls” and circumvented a dismal future of painkillers, surgeries, and hopelessness by using Jill Miller’s groundbreaking Roll Model Method.

Kokoro Yoga: Maximize Your Human Potential and Develop the Spirit by Mark Divine

Kokoro Yoga, by New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. Navy SEAL Mark Divine, is an integrated physical, mental, and spiritual training, designed initially for the nation's elite special-ops soldiers and now taught to anyone seeking to develop the heart and mind of a warrior.

Work In: The Athlete's Plan for Real Recovery and Winning Results by Erin Taylor

Work In shares new mental and physical recovery techniques for athletes who give it all in every workout. Yoga and recovery coach Erin Taylor gives athletes practical tools and an integrated plan for real recovery from training―and everyday life.

HIT RESET: Revolutionary Yoga for Athletes by Erin Taylor

HIT RESET starts by defining 10 problems that hold athletes back and the yoga solutions that can fix them. Each chapter shows you how your body should work, how to self-diagnose flaws in your movement and functional strength, and how to apply just a few specific yoga poses so you can “hit reset” and get back to athletic form.

 

WOMEN'S HEALTH

Roar by Stacy Sims

Women are not small men. Stop eating and training like one.

ROAR is a comprehensive, physiology-based nutrition and training guide specifically designed for active women. Exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy T. Sims, PhD, shows you how to be your own biohacker to achieve optimum athletic performance.

Next Level: Your Guide to Kicking Ass, Feeling Great, and Crushing Goals Through Menopause and Beyond by Stacy Sims

PATHFINDER's favorite female author is back with this newly released book. For active women, menopause hits hard. Overnight, your body doesn’t feel like the one you know and love anymore. The things that have always kept you fit and healthy just seem to stop working the way they used to. 

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski

This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

More Than A Body: Your Body is an Instrument, Not an Ornament by Lexie Kite and Lindsay Kite

Our beauty-obsessed world perpetuates the idea that happiness, health, and ability to be loved are dependent on how we look, but authors Lindsay and Lexie Kite offer an alternative vision. With insights drawn from their extensive body image research, Lindsay and Lexie—PhDs and founders of the nonprofit Beauty Redefined (and also twin sisters!)—lay out an action plan that arms you with the skills you need to reconnect with your whole self and free yourself from the constraints of self-objectification.

ADDITIONAL ENDURANCE TRAINING

NEW! Breathing for Warriors: Master Your Breath to Unlock More Strength, Greater Endurance, Sharper Precision, Faster Recovery, and an Unshakable Inner Game

People are less in touch with their bodies―and especially their breathing―than ever before. Ironically, athletes and others who pride themselves on taking care of their bodies actually put themselves at greater risk. Why? Because they’re asking their body to take on next-level demands, but failing at life’s most essential skill: efficient breathing.

Primal Endurance by Mark Sisson

Primal Endurance shakes up the status quo and challenges the overly stressful, ineffective conventional approach to endurance training.

The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Phil Maffetone

Dr. Philip Maffetone’s approach to endurance offers a truly “individualized” outlook and unique system that emphasizes building a strong aerobic base for increased fat burning, weight loss, sustained energy, and a healthy immune system. Good nutrition and stress reduction are also key to this commonsense, big-picture approach.

 

NEW! NUTRITION

*Cookbooks do not count for Challenge credit. They're just books we personally use and love!

Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes: A Cookbook by Shalane Flanagan

Finally here's a cookbook for runners that shows fat is essential for flavor and performance and that counting calories, obsessing over protein, and restrictive dieting does more harm than good.

The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You'll Want to Eat by Erin Clarke

Her recipes are fast, budget-friendly, and clever; she never includes an ingredient you can't find in a regular supermarket or that isn't essential to a dish's success, and she hacks her recipes for maximum nutrition by using the "stealthy healthy" ingredient swaps she's mastered so that you don't lose an ounce of flavor.

The Real Food Dietitians: The Real Food Table: 100 Easy & Delicious Mostly Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy-Free Recipes for Every Day: A Cookbook by Jessica Beacom RDN

If you know, you know! Comfort food that is actually healthy—gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and more—and easy to make sounds almost too good to be true. 

Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-based Recipes: A Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Liddon shares wildly delicious recipes that are perfect for busy lifestyles, promising to make plant-based eating convenient every day of the week—including holidays and special occasions.

The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Prep, Grab, and Go by Toby Amidor

Meal prep is a great way to save time and money with wholesome grab-n-go options for breakfast and lunch, and quick dinners you and your family will love. The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook introduces you to the benefits of meal prep with 2-week meal planning templates and shopping tips designed to meet specific nutritional goals.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Nearly two thousand years after it was written, Meditations remains profoundly relevant for anyone seeking to lead a meaningful life.

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

The book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

A book for finding purpose and strength in times of great despair, the international best-seller is still just as relevant today as when it was first published.

The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher's Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient by William B. Irvine

“The ultimate mental fitness program” (David Heinemeier Hansson, coauthor of Rework), The Stoic Challenge teaches us how to respond to the challenges of our increasingly unpredictable age.

In this practical, refreshingly optimistic guide, philosopher William B. Irvine explains how centuries-old wisdom can help us better cope with everything from the everyday stresses of modern living to its significant crises.

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash our Power and Change the Game by Abby Wombach

Based on her inspiring, viral 2018 commencement speech to Barnard College’s graduates in New York City, New York Times bestselling author, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach delivers her empowering rally cry for women to unleash their individual power, unite with their pack, and emerge victorious together.

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, MSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. "Officers eat last," he said.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

An updated edition of the blockbuster bestselling leadership book that took America and the world by storm, two U.S. Navy SEAL officers who led the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War demonstrate how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.

 

MOTIVATIONAL PERSONAL STORIES

One Life by Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women's World Cup champion, reveals for the first time her life both on and off the field. Guided by her personal journey into social justice, brimming with humor, humanity, and joy, she urges all of us to ask ourselves, What will you do with your one life?

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

Warrior's Creed: A Life of Preparing for and Facing the Impossible by Roger Sparks and Don Rearden

Introduced to a tough code of honor, family, and brotherhood from birth, Roger Sparks rose to become a distinguished instructor in Marine Reconnaissance and a Silver Star recipient as an Alaska Pararescueman. A raw and exhilarating tale of guts, grit, and heart, Warrior's Creed recounts the hidden side of special operations training, heroic and heartbreaking Alaskan wilderness rescues, and the surreal and deadly rescues during Operation Bulldog Bite in Afghanistan’s Watapur Valley.

I, Tarzan: Against All Odds — An Inspiring Real-Life Story of Courage, Hope, and True Resilience by Jean-Philippe Soulé

Influenced by Jacques Cousteau and other grand explorers before him, Jean-Philippe spent his childhood in the beautiful outdoors pushing physical boundaries before joining the elite French Special Forces Mountain Commandos in 1985 and ultimately leaving his native France to travel the world.

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. 

NEW! Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within by David Goggins (release date December 6, 2022. Pre-order available.)

This is not a self-help book. It’s a wake-up call!  In Never Finished, Goggins takes you inside his Mental Lab, where he developed the philosophy, psychology, and strategies that enabled him to learn that what he thought was his limit was only his beginning and that the quest for greatness is unending.

Born to Run : A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
 
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets.

Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance by Christopher McDougall

Christopher McDougall’s journey begins with a story of remarkable athletic prowess: On the treacherous mountains of Crete, a motley band of World War II Resistance fighters—an artist, a shepherd, and a poet—abducted a German commander from the heart of the Axis occupation.

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eger

Edie weaves her remarkable personal journey with the moving stories of those she has helped heal. She explores how we can be imprisoned in our own minds and shows us how to find the key to freedom. The Choice is a life-changing book that will provide hope and comfort to generations of readers.

Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story of Fighting the Taliban, UFC Warriors, and Myself by Tim Kennedy

From decorated Green Beret sniper, UFC headliner, and all around badass, Tim Kennedy, a rollicking, inspirational memoir offering lessons in how to embrace failure and weather storms, in order to unlock the strongest version of yourself.

War and Me: A Memoir by Faleeha Hassan

Faleeha Hassan became intimately acquainted with loss and fear while growing up in Najaf, Iraq. Now, in a deeply personal account of her life, she remembers those she has loved and lost.

As a young woman, Faleeha hated seeing her father and brother go off to fight, and when she needed to reach them, she broke all the rules by traveling alone to the war’s front lines―just one of many shocking and moving examples of her resilient spirit. Later, after building a life in the US, she realizes that she will coexist with war for most of the years of her life. In a world on fire, she finds courage, compassion, and a voice.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." 

The Salt Path: A Memoir by Raynor Winn

Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, through Devon and Cornwall.

 

PERSONAL GROWTH

 

NEW! You Owe You: Ignite Your Power, Your Purpose, and Your Why by Eric Thomas

No matter your story or your struggle, Eric Thomas—celebrated motivational guru, educator, and problem-solver to many of the top athletes and business leaders—will “help you work harder, discover your real motivation, and crack the code of enduring success.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

Negative Self-Talk and How to Change it by Shad Helmstetter

Negative Self-Talk and How to Change It is an immediately helpful, life-changing handbook of how to deal with negative self-talk – for yourself, or anyone in your life. In this ’60-Minute’ Book™ written for today’s reader, Dr. Helmstetter gives you all of the important information you need to change negative self-talk forever, in a short, easy-to-read, and condensed format.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink

Discipline Equals Freedom covers it all, including strategies and tactics for conquering weakness, procrastination, and fear, and specific physical training presented in workouts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced athletes, and even the best sleep habits and food intake recommended to optimize performance.

The Mental Toughness Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Facing Life's Challenges, Managing Negative Emotions, and Overcoming Adversity with Courage and Poise by Damon Zahariades

Damon Zahariades provides a step-by-step training program for toughening your mind against adversity. You'll learn how to persevere when life become difficult and your circumstances deviate from your plans. You'll discover how to handle pressure, control your impulses, and endure the emotional and psychological distress that accompany misfortune.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition by Brene Brown

What transforms this book from words on a page to effective daily practices are the ten guideposts to wholehearted living. The guideposts not only help us understand the practices that will allow us to change our lives and families, they also walk us through the unattainable and sabotaging expectations that get in the way.

 

 


     

    AGES 4-6

    Hard-working Ninja: A Children's Book About Valuing a Hard Work Ethic (Ninja Life Hacks) by Mary Nhin

    Hard-working Ninja finds out you have to value a hard work ethic first! Find out what happens in this new Ninja Life Hacks story by Mary Nhin about working hard. Life is tough. But so are you!

    National Parks of the USA by Kate Siber

    Packed with maps and fascinating facts about the flora and fauna unique to each of the 21 parks portrayed, this lushly illustrated coast-to-coast journey documents in large format the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places—and shows why they should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

    Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

    A determined Owl builds strength and confidence in this medieval picture book about the real mettle of a hero: wits, humor, and heart.

    Nature Smarts Workbook, Ages 4–6: Learn about Animals, Soil, Insects, Birds, Plants & More with Nature-Themed Puzzles, Games, Quizzes & Outdoor Science Experiments by The Environmental Educators of Mass Audubon

    It’s fun to be nature smart! Nature Smarts Workbook, Ages 4-6is packed with interactive learning activities that expand STEM knowledge to include nature literacy

    Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?  by the Editors of Storey Publishing

    Jump-start curiosity with this take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, young explorers learn what to look and listen for wherever they are — whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard.

     

    AGES 6-10

    The Grit Workbook for Kids: CBT Skills to Help Kids Cultivate a Growth Mindset and Build Resilience by Elisa Nebolsine LCSW

    As a parent, you want to give your child a solid foundation for living a happy, successful life. But if you have a child who is easily sidelined by obstacles, has trouble bouncing back from setbacks, who melts down easily, or gives up quickly when things get tough—you may worry about their ability to succeed in our competitive, high-pressure world. So, how can you help your child develop grit—a trait that embodies tenacity and self-control?

    Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation by Edward O. Wilson

    Regarded as one of the world’s preeminent biologists, Edward O. Wilson spent his boyhood exploring the forests and swamps of south Alabama and the Florida panhandle, collecting snakes, butterflies, and ants—the latter to become his lifelong specialty. His memoir Naturalist, called “one of the finest scientific memoirs ever written” by the Los Angeles Times, is an inspiring account of Wilson’s growth as a scientist and the evolution of the fields he helped define.

    This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth by Sean Rubin

    A deeply moving story about community and resilience, from the point-of-view of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on September 11, from Eisner Award-nominated author-illustrator Sean Rubin.

    Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes by Rebel Girls

    Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes celebrates the stories of 25 phenomenal women in sports all written in fairy tale form. It is part of the award-winning Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

    Bushcraft Kid: Survive in the Wild and Have Fun Doing It! by Dan Wowack

    How cool would it be to know how to build a fire, build your own shelter, find your food (and cook it too), and survive almost any environment? Now you can learn all the basic bushcraft skills from expert survivalist Dan Wowak.

    Adventure Girls!: Crafts and Activities for Curious, Creative, Courageous Girls (Adventure Crafts for Kids) by Nicole Duggan

     Packed with exciting activities and crafts for girls (ages 6 to 12), this book inspires young adventurers to be curious, innovative, and bold. From stargazing and animal tracking to making a pinhole camera and building a shadow theater, Adventure Girls! is not one of your typical craft books.

     

    AGES 10+

    Wolfpack (Young Readers Edition) by Abby Wombach

    In this young readers adaptation of her #1 New York Times bestselling book, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach inspires the next generation to find their voice, unite their pack, and change the world.

    No Better Friend: Young Readers Edition: A Man, a Dog, and Their Incredible True Story of Friendship and Survival in World War II by Robert Weintraub

    No Better Friend tells the incredible true story of Frank Williams, a radarman in Britain's Royal Air Force, and Judy, a purebred pointer, who met as prisoners of war during World War II. Judy, who became the war's only official canine POW, was a fiercely loyal dog who sensed danger--warning her fellow prisoners of imminent attacks and protecting them from brutal beatings. Frank and Judy's friendship, an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances, is one of the great recently unearthed stories of World War II.

    Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand

    In this captivating and lavishly illustrated young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a former Olympian's courage, cunning, and fortitude following his plane crash in enemy territory. This adaptation of Unbroken introduces a new generation to one of history's most thrilling survival epics.

    Northwind by Gary Paulsen

    From Gary Paulsen, the bestselling and much-loved author of Hatchet, comes another high-stakes survival story about a young boy on the knife-edge between life and death, where the raging seas meet a coastal wilderness.

    The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals―and Other Forgotten Skills by Tristan Gooley

    To help you understand nature as he does, Gooley shares more than 850 tips for forecasting, tracking, and more, gathered from decades spent walking the landscape around his home and around the world. Whether you’re walking in the country or city, along a coastline, or by night, this is the ultimate resource on what the land, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and clouds can reveal—if you only know how to look! 

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR GROWN-UPS TOO!

    Parenting

    Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

    As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

    How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting--from Tots to Teens by Melinda Wenner Moyer

    How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes is a clear, actionable, sometimes humorous (but always science-based) guide for parents on how to shape their kids into honest, kind, generous, confident, independent, and resilient people...who just might save the world one day.

    Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught to Their Sons by Eric Davis and Dina Santorelli

    As a SEAL, Eric learned to innovate and push boundaries, allowing him to function at levels beyond what was expected, comfortable, ordinary, and even imaginable, and he knew that as a father he needed to do the same with his son. Meeting extreme with extreme was the only answer.

    Outdoor Kids in an Inside World: Getting Your Family Out of the House and Radically Engaged with Nature by Steven Rinella

    The “imperative call to action” (Nick Offerman) for parenting tough, curious, and competent kids who feel at home in the outdoors, from the New York Times bestselling author and host of the TV series and podcast MeatEater

    ---------------------------

    Challenge Restrictions

    • Always carry a basic First Aid kit with you. Paper cuts can turn gangrenous, and therefore lethal. Cliff hangers can kill. Be wise while gathering your wisdom.
    • Ruck safely. Communicate your route and estimated times to another individual/party who can alert
    • YOU MUST COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS AND RESTRICTIONS. DO NOT TRESPASS. If you are in doubt contact facility management for a clear understanding of access to and usage of any facility’s property. PATHFINDER assumes no liability whatsoever for any actions taken by a PATHFINDER roster.

    PATHFINDER assumes no responsibility or liability for any injuries, damages or death. A roster assumes all risk associated with their participation in any and all PATHFINDER programming.

          ALL PATHFINDER CHALLENGES ARE COPYRIGHT © PATHFINDER RUCK TRAINING. 


          5 comments

          • I’d like to recommend Devotion as a book at add. It’s very well written, with a Stephen Ambrose feel to it (think Band of Brothers). And the topics it covers are fairly unique. Plus it’s coming out as a major movie. It blends together subjects like overcoming racism, life as a Naval Aviation Officer, flying close air support / strike missions, the Korean War, US Marines confronting Soviet built tanks, the Chosin Reservoir, … and somehow also Golden Age Hollywood’s Elizabeth Taylor. It’s about the Navy’s first African-American Carrier Aviation Pilot, but as demonstrated by all those subjects it covers A LOT of subjects. And it does so quite seamlessly. Also, massive spoiler alerts, do no Google or Wiki the characters.

            Greg Williams
          • I recently finished reading Michael Easter’s “The Comfort Crisis” and man let me tell you….that book is AMAZING! It is because of that book that I actually dusted off my ruck back in August after not having touched it in YEARS! So much great information in that book. Word is Michael Easter is working on a second book and I can’t wait!

            Stephanie Roberts
          • I would strongly recommend “The comfort crisis” Michael Easter. Fantastic book and Michael Easter has definitely got his s..t together. Great read.

            Shaun McGrath
          • There are some awesome books on this list! I’m actually kinda surprised that no Simon Sinek or Brené Brown books made the list though. Also a two good books I’ve read that I’d suggest for different categories are: (Motivation) I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair by Patrick Gray & Justin Skeesuck. (Leadership) Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by by Michael S. Erwin & Raymond M. Kethledge.

            Matt Kiddoo
          • WOW! These options are endless. I’ve already read a handful of these books, and they’re incredible. I’m adding five to my TBR list now.

            Happy Reading to all!

            TK

          Leave a comment