Mind-Expanding Reads from The Outdoor Realm

Now is the time to dig into that book you’ve always been wanting to read—and we’ve got a great list to choose from.

This article is part of the Mountain Life Isolation Reading List

Introducing our Curated COVID-19 Isolation reading list. Editors from each of our publications have gone through and compiled a list of pieces from past issues of Mountain Life for you to enjoy, and we’re excited to share them with you. Sit back and relax, because we might be in this for the long haul. But most importantly, let’s not forget to do this together.

words & photo: Taylor Godber

Stimulate your mind in the present moment with something beyond social media. Dive into a book to gain knowledge, expand your vocabulary, reduce stress, and improve memory and focus. Here are a few of our favourites:

Breatheology: The Art of Conscious Breathing

By Stig Severinsen

Four-time freediving champion and multiple world record holder, Severinsen shares methods on how to breathe more efficiently and how this shift in habits can be advantageous in all aspects of life. 

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Get it here. 

Conquistadors of the Useless: From the Alps to Annapurna

By Lionel Terray

An insightful mountaineering narrative by a French lead figure in climbing and expeditions well-known for many first ascents in the Alps, Alaska, the Andes, and the Himalaya in the ’50s and ’60s.

Get it here.

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters to the Modern World  

By Wade Davis

Renowned anthropologist Wade Davis takes us on a stirring journey with a wide variety of indigenous cultures from across the globe to celebrate the wisdom they hold, and what is at stake if they are lost.

Get it here.

Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit

By Robert MacFarlane

The history of the human love affair with mountains.

Get it here.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman   

By Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard—legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.—shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally-responsible companies on earth.

Get it here.

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance

By Steven Kotler

Kotler dives into understanding the state of consciousness known as “flow state”—a heightened state of decision making. Using action adventure-based athletes as case studies, he attempts to decode how they are entering the “flow” and how this knowledge can be applied across all domains of society.

Get it here.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life  

By Mark Manson

A book against the grain in the self-help section, both in how it’s written and the lessons taught. Manson debunks the assumption that using the power of positivity to override suffering is the answer to living a life of true meaning.

Get it here.

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves  

By James Nestor

In a journey to understand freediving, both human and animal, Nestor follows extreme athletes, adventurers, legendary water pioneers and scientists as they explore the ocean’s depths. Along the way, he shares his personal experience of unlocking his freediving skills and pushing the boundaries of what we believe to be possible.

Get it here.

Man’s Search for Meaning  

By Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl shares his experiences of time spent in Nazi concentration camps during World War II—an experience that shaped and influenced a psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered known as logotherapy. He discovers that life is not driven by pleasure, but in finding meaning. The ability to overcome immense suffering, which is inherently unavoidable, is possible through a shift in perspective.

Get it here.

365 Tao: Daily Meditations  

By Deng Ming-Dao

In this contemporary collection of meditations is an opportunity to enter a place of harmony with the outside world and one’s self every day. The Tao is constantly moving, and there is nothing that is not part of it: harmonious living is to know and to move with the Tao—it is a way of life, the natural order of things, a force that flows through all life. 

Get it here.