Editor’s note: This article was originally written for personal trainers on thePTDC.com. The term client is synonymous with patient.
HOW MUCH AND WHAT BOOKS SHOULD I READ?
This is a tricky question.
You shouldn’t be asking how much to read, so much as what are the best books for Naturopathic doctors to read? And how to identify the difference between reading/studying for your personal interest versus professional development?
One of the things that helped catapult my career was a rule I made early on to read for an hour a day, every day, Monday to Friday, for professional development. That was the minimum. For many years I ended up reading 7-10hrs/week on average.
While I thought that I was reading for professional development, I look back and now recognize that much of the personal trainer reading that I was doing was done out of interest.
Most clients’ protocols require pretty basic knowledge of exercise, biomechanics, and physiology. And their success is dependent on your ability to get them to want to comply with your guidelines.
This means that you need to learn how to be a great coach, which requires knowledge of psychology and self-efficacy –– something that I discuss in detail in my book, Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career.
“I believe that reading a minimum of an hour a day is a good guideline but only if that reading is material that will benefit your patient.” – Jon Goodman<– TWEETABLE
Learning about something as obscure and narrow-focused like the specifics of how branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) affect the P13K-mTor rapamyacin signaling system isn’t going to benefit your client much. It might be interesting to you, which is awesome, but it’s not going to help you in your career and increase your Naturopathic doctor salary.
It’s also important to note that knowledge is only power if acted upon. It’s more important to spend time applying the lessons from your many books than it is to read more. A solution might be to create a study group of local trainers that meet up once every two weeks to discuss and practice the lessons from the material that you all read.
“It’s more important to spend time applying the lessons from your many books than it is to read more.” – Jon Goodman <– TWEET THIS
According to PTDC coach Mark Young, there are 3 things to consider every time that you encounter something to read for professional development:
1. Is the content relevant to my business or my day-to-day activities with my clients?
If the content is not relevant to them or your business then you don’t need to waste your time reading it. Of course, being that anything health- or nutrition-related CAN be related to your patient you could pretty much stretch your definition of what fits so you can continue to read nearly everything.
But if your patients aren’t getting a Sapien transcatheter aortic valve as an alternative to open-heart surgery, don’t read it. If it is something of personal interest to you, then bookmark it for later and read it at a time that isn’t supposed to be set aside for professional development.
2. Is the content valid?
At this point you’ll need to do some investigation on the points made in each piece of writing to determine whether these are generally scientifically accepted or merely the musings of an Internet health guru. You’ll need to consult research and reason, while discounting logical fallacies, to come to a conclusion about whether the points are legit. Learning how to analyze medical research is a must.
Once you start to recognize people whose facts are continually off-base, you’ll know that they aren’t reliable sources. And you’ll come to know those who are reliable and perhaps begin to be a little more lenient with fact-checking when reading their material.
3. How does this fit in my model or system?
Say you read an article on a the applications for melatonin that you haven’t seen before. You’ve determined that this protocol would probably be a good fit for your client and you’ve validated the claims with medical journals and research. You now need to determine where this fits in the scheme of your patient’s programming.
Does this addition go along with their current protocol or after? Or should they be working on their sleep and water intake first? How long should they be on the supplement before deciding if it helping their condition? What dose is indicated for their specific case?
Plug it in where it belongs and actually use it.
What Are the Best Books On Business Systems and Marketing?
Naturopathic doctors should split their reading time 50/50 between medicine and business books.
I decided on sharing my top 10 recommendations for upping your business acumen. Every one of these books has had a significant impact on me, my business, and the people around me. Some will offer you strategies, others will get you to think differently, and the rest will get you to see the world around you in a different light.
1. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahnamen
As a psychologist, Kahnamen won the Nobel Prize in economics for the establishment of behavioral economics. You will not read a more important book on the human condition and its relation to business. I omitted half a dozen other books from this list because they are simply reworkings of Kahnamen’s book. Go to the source. Take your time with this one.
2. Stumbling on Happiness – Dan Gilbert
Perhaps the most notable thing that makes us human is our ability to predict the future. And, even though it constantly preoccupies us, we’re terrible at it. This is one of my all-time favorite books. It went a long way to help me understand my clients better and learning to tell the difference between what they said and what they were going to do.
3. Linchpin – Seth Godin
A major influence on me. I’ve gifted Linchpin to more people than any other book. The reason? Godin taught me how to get noticed and set myself apart from the crowd. In a World where it takes a weekend to become a health professional, becoming indispensable in your client’s minds is imperative.
4. Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Everything that’s worth having in this World takes time. “Trust the process” is often repeated but never was it fully understood until Gladwell’s iconic work was released. I can tell you from my experience that when something tips, things are good. Very good.
5. 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
Everything relationship is a power struggle. Your relationships with your patients are no different. These laws became my guide when I was a trainer and they still serve me well as an entrepreneur. Follow them unabashedly.
6. On Writing Well – William Zinsser
The most important skill set is to be able to influence with the written word. Something as simple as an email to a client can have tremendous benefit. If you really want to make a go at this industry, learn how to communicate through your writing even if it’s just for promotional material.
7. The Wiki Man – Rory Sutherland
The only book that I’ve ever read 4 times. Make sure to buy the physical book and enjoy. Sutherland is as brilliant as he is funny. Wiki Man covers a multitude of subjects, but I suggest it particularly if you’re interested in behavioral economics and advertising.
8. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
You’re in the relationship business. At the core of it, we’re all the same with the same desires — perhaps that’s why Carnegie’s classic has been in print for over 75 years. These lessons will serve you well in your career, and life.
9. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries and Jack Trout
I’ve gained a lot from reading many of Ries books. While Positioning was the most influential for me, I decided to list this one instead as it’s a succinct overview of the major lessons in all of his works.
10. The Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes
I know, I was skeptical when I first read the title too. Holmes has written the best book on time management, business organization, and sales that I’ve ever come across.
To read my favorite Fitness Books please click this link.