💪Books & Biceps Issue 167

Your Friday Brain and Body Flex

Every Friday I write an email recommending books & workouts including exclusive interviews with the authors and trainers who wrote them. If you would like to receive this directly in your inbox (and why wouldn’t you???), subscribe now.


Built to Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever by Jake Fischer

If you follow sports then you likely have an opinion on teams tanking, AKA, losing on purpose. It’s easy to dismiss it as wrong or stupid or the total opposite of what a team should be doing. On its surface, it sucks for the fans and for the organization and seemingly for the players stuck playing on a team that is actively trying to dump games. BUT, what if all of those opinions are wrong? Or at least, misguided. This is where Jake Fischer’s book, Built to Lose comes in. Fischer talked to hundreds of people directly involved with the process in the NBA, from players to coaches to executives, to get to the bottom of what it’s like for a team trying to get to the bottom. Fischer is a writer for the Bleacher Report and he’s giving us a sneak peak into where the idea came from and what it was like to write the book in this week’s Three Questions:

1) I first knew I wanted to write a book about tanking in the NBA from covering Sam Hinkie's process-era Sixers for Liberty Ballers. Few things in life are truly polarizing, but from 2013-2016, it seemed everyone even remotely involved in the NBA either loved the strategy of tanking or hated it. The antithetical nature of losing games in a league predicated on winning, for the purpose of later competing, is just such a complicated concept and always will be.

2) Vivek Ranadive's early years as team owner, trying to build a winner around DeMarcus Cousins, features some of the most shocking details in the entire book. The palace-intrigue within the Sacramento Kings, real back-door conversations and back-stabbing, it's straight out of a TV drama. One spoiler: He ordered for an assistant coach to be fired, just as a warning to the team's head coach, a reminder of who was actually in control of the franchise.

3) My favorite interview for the book was probably Channing Frye. The Phoenix Suns are a secondary storyline of this anecdotal history, but a really compelling one, largely because of the characters and personalities at play. Frye might be the most colorful of them all. He was vulnerable about a life-threatening heart issue and the long journey it took to get back on the court. Plus he provided unfiltered stories and memories about locker room scenes and interpersonal dynamics that are invaluable for any good piece of writing.

Pick up Built to Lose here.


I’ve been working more and more circuits into my weight training. The way I’ve been breaking down my week has been like this:

Monday: Heavy 5x5ish (bench, weighted pull-ups, deadlifts, military press)

Tuesday: Cardio/Leg circuit (jump ropes, KB swings, slam ball, bike, sprints, etc…)

Wednesday: Mobility/Flexibility & Basketball or swim

Thursday: full body weight circuit

Friday: Mobility/Flexibility/swim

Saturday: swim

Sunday: pull-ups, push-ups, arm training (because pythons)

Each week I’ve been trying a new circuit on Thursday and I really liked this one from Men’s Health

Took 45 minutes, got a great sweat going and I only needed a a set of dumbbells. Give it a shot!


“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
― Thomas A. Edison


Trick Shot of the Week in honor of Larry Bird… on the playground from about 18 feet behind the basket. I thought it was going to take forever, buuuuut…. Third time’s a charm. Watch my skills here.

Twitter Thread of the Week is my favorite story about friendship, football and how I scored the only two points in my high school career. Lot of great responses here with people sharing their own stories. Read it here.

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