Favorite Books from 2021 | Marathon Training Academy

As you may know I love to read! I finished a total of 262 books in 2021 (kind of a cool number for a marathoner).

It broke down to 131 fiction and 131 non-fiction. About 30% of these were audio books. Pro tip: with the app Libby you can get free audiobooks through your local library.

Below I provided a list of my fiction and non-fiction favorites from 2021.

Books mentioned on MTA Podcast episode #371

If you are reading this post because of podcast episode 371 The Truth About Goals here are the books we mentioned. (Note the following links are Amazon affiliate links).

  • The Practice of Groundedness by Brad Stulberg.
  • Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas
  • Exercised -Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel Lieberman
  • A Runner’s High by Dean Karnazes
  • Out and Back: A Runner’s Story of Survival Against All Odds by Hillary Allen
  • Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Lawrence Gonzales
  • The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter
  • Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodrin
  • Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage by Anne Lamott
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankle
  • 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink
  • Organize Tomorrow Today by Jason Selk
  • Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

My Favorite Non-Fiction Books from 2021

There are a lot of books here so I’ve tried to categorize them. I’ve also marked my absolute favorites with an asterisk *.

Running Related Books

  • *Bravey by Alexi Pappas
  • Abdi’s World by Abdi Abdirahman
  • I Hate Running and You Can Too by Brendan Leonard
  • Return to Center by Rocky Snyder
  • Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
  • A Runner’s High by Dean Karnazes
  • Stronger Than the Dark by Cory Reese
  • Out of Thin Air by Michael Crawley
  • Exercised by Daniel E Lieberman
  • Out and Back by Hillary Allen

Self Improvement and Meditation

  • *The Practice of Groundedness by Brad Stulberg
  • *Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodrin
  • *Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett
  • *Dusk, Night, Dawn by Anne Lamott
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong Parent’s Don’t Do by Amy Morin
  • The Art of Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hahn
  • The Person You Mean to Be by Dolly Chugh
  • How to Do the Work by Nicole Lepera
  • Radical Compassion by Tara Branch
  • New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

Psychology and Science

  • *When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink
  • *Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • *When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate
  • Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain by Shankar Vedantam
  • The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
  • Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection by Vivek H. Murthy
  • Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear by Eva Holland
  • The Art of Dying Well by Katy Butler
  • Clean: The New Science of Skin by James Hamblin
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Survival and Adventure

  • *Deep Survival by Lawrence Gonzales
  • *The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter
  • The Impossible First by Colin O’Brady
  • Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton


  • *Black Elk by Joe Jackson
  • *Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Lacante
  • Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
  • A Higher Call by Adam Makos
  • A Promised Land by Barak Obama
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
  • *The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs
  • A Most Beautiful Thing by Arshay Cooper
  • The Honey Bus by Meredith May
  • The Psychopath by Mary Turner Thomson
  • Unlikely Warrior by Georg Rauch
  • Flying on The Inside by Rachel Gotto
  • The Puma Years by Laura Coleman
  • Where There’s Hope by Elizabeth Smart

Society and Culture

  • *Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
  • *$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J Edin
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • One Billion Americans by Matthew Yglesias
  • Missoula- Rape and the Justice System in a Small Town by Jon Krakauer
  • Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
  • Walk in my Combat Boots by James Patterson
  • The Things Our Fathers Saw by Matthew Rozell
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle


  • *Inward by Young Pueblo
  • *Clarity and Connection by Yung Pueblo
  • The Essential Rumi by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver

My Favorite Fiction Books from 2021

  • *Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • *Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderso
  • *Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
  • *Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
  • *Stone of Farewell & To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams
  • *American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  • *Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
  • *Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
  • In This House of Brede by Rumor Godden
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • Malorie by Josh Malerman
  • The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado
  • I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
  • The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn by Tyler Whitesides
  • Sanditon by Jane Austen
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • The Terminal List by Jack Carr
  • Moonlow by Michael Chabon
  • The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  • The Huntress by Kate Quinn
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  • The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  • The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs
  • Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
  • A Column of Fire & The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

Trevor also loves to read and consumed 84 books in 2021. Here is his list:

Running Related

  • Exercised -Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel Lieberman
  • Out of Thin Air by Michael Crawley
  • Out and Back by Hillary Allen
  • A Runner’s High by Dean Karnazes
  • Running the World by Melissa Carter
  • I Hate Running and You Can Too! by Brendan Leonard

Self Improvement / Business

  • The Practice of Goundedness by Brad Stulberg
  • This is Marketing by Seth Godin
  • Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
  • Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Malt
  • 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
  • Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt
  • Everything is F*cked by Mark Mason
  • Relentless Solution Focus by Jason Selk
  • Organize Tomorrow Today by Jason Selk
  • Organize Your Team Today by Jason Selk
  • The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patric Lencioni
  • Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
  • Retire Early with Real Estate by Chad Carson
  • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell
  • Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
  • David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell
  • Blink by Malcom Gladwell
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Stronger, Faster, Better by Charles Duhig
  • Clarity and Connection by Yung Peublo
  • The Visual MBA by Jason Barron
  • Ultra Learning by Scott Young


  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Leonardo de Vinci by Walter Issacson
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • Martin Luther by Martin Marty
  • Martin Luther by Eric Mataxes
  • Who is Mark Twain by Mark Twain
  • CS Lewis a Life by Alister McGrath

Science, Philosophy, and Theology

  • Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain by Shankar Vedentam
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant
  • Some Philosophical Thoughts by C.S. Lewis
  • Some Everyday Thoughts by CS Lewis
  • Das Neues Testament (New Testament in German)
  • Love Wins by Rob Bell
  • Worldviews in Conflict by Ronald Nash
  • Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
  • The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
  • The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

History and Travel

  • The Shortest History of War by Gwynne Dyer
  • The Shortest History of China by Linda Jaivin
  • Killing the SS by Bill O’Reilly
  • Killing Hitler by Bill O’Reilly
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • Costa Rica: Eco-Adventures in Paradise in James Kaiser
  • The Italians by John Harper
  • Slovenology (book about Slovenia) by Noah Charney


  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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