💪Books & Biceps from Jon Finkel

The Next Evolution in Finkel's Fast Five

You could be reading any e-mail in the world and you’re reading mine. I appreciate that! And now many of you are asking, “What the hell is Books & Biceps?” Here’s your answer and allow me to take you behind the curtain a bit:

I’ve been writing this e-mail for exactly three years. Finkel’s Fast Five Issue #1 was sent the first week in February in 2018. I believe I sent it to 39 people, all of whom were friends, family or the few co-workers I talked into signing up. Since then we’ve grown to nearly 3,000 readers, largely through word of mouth or the snowball effect of my book promotions and various projects. Also, a decent amount through Twitter and Instagram.

During that time, I’ve published nearly 150 quotes, roughly 100 book recommendations and another 400 or so recommendations on everything from snacks, gear, workout stuff, movies, comedy clips, caffeine, tea, socks, articles, features and more.

My plan for this e-mail has always been to send timely reading recommendations (books, articles, twitter threads, whatever) as well as to share cool, motivational, meathead, sports and fitness stuff that I come across, with the occasional dad stuff thrown in. I write sports books. I spent a bulk of my career writing for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, GQ, and Muscle & Fitness. This is my wheelhouse. I know most people don’t have time to curate/find this stuff, but I do it in the course of my work and I’m happy to share. In fact, one thing I’ve always wanted to do is open a gym/bookstore that would could be a physical meeting place at the intersection of reading and fitness/sports. Well, that’s what this newsletter is and the data back it up (oh yeah, there’s data).

I recently went through my analytics and over three years, the top two subjects readers have clicked on are: book/article recommendations & fitness/sports stuff. And yes, the second topic is fairly broad, including everything from workouts to gym playlists to Dominique Wilkins dunk highlights, but you get the point.

Knowing this, and doing some outreach with readers and new people who signed up, I realized that while the Finkel’s Fast Five name has gotten me this far, it is somewhat limiting. For people who are just discovering me through a new book or a twitter post or a blog post (which is most new subscribers), they aren’t sure exactly what the FF5 is and they’re not signing up at nearly the expected rate, given the traffic I generate. And since the goal is to build this community for us, so that we can all share our favorite reads and fitness stuff and sports nostalgia, my name may actually be hindering that. After all, this is supposed to be for all of us, not just me.

I told you. I’m taking you deep behind the scenes.

All of this is to say that I wanted a name that we can all rally around. Something that was easy to remember, easy to understand, maybe a little goofy and corny and meatheady, but made you smile. Most of all, I wanted it to capture what this newsletter is about: reading and sports/fitness stuff. Hence: Books & Biceps.

I’ll be honest. I personally love the name but time will tell if others do too. So I’m taking a chance and I appreciate all of you coming along with me.

For my most OG readers, this newsletter will look very similar to what you’ve been getting these last three years. I don’t know if you’d know the difference if I didn’t mention it here, as I’ve been altering the content slowly towards this move for about three months.

So there it is. My big announcement. If you’re still unclear about what I’m doing, my good friend Randy Couture, a 6x UFC Champion and a veteran of The Expendables franchise, recorded this video to help me explain it.

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back with your brand new Books & Biceps newsletter next Friday morning.

Also, I don’t want to leave you this week without any recommendations, so:

  • Here is a Super Bowl Twitter thread I put together that covers which Super Bowl Winning Head Coach has published the most books. Hint: It’s over six! (and it’s not Ditka or Shula or Dungy, but you’re getting warm)

  • And my son this week asked me how high I could dunk a basketball so I put on a dunk contest. Here’s me easily crushing a dunk on 8’6”. And here I am whiffing on 9’.

  • Lastly, there was big video game news this week with the announcement that EA Sports College Football is finally coming back. This game was a huge part of college for millions of us. My new bud Joe Pompliano wrote a great sports/business breakdown of why the game finally returned right here.

  • And I also want to give Jason Feiffer, the Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine the hat tip for kicking me in the butt and opening my eyes as to how to truly grow this newsletter. If you’re at all into business and start-ups and branding and entrepreneurship, you should follow him here.

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