💪Books & Biceps Issue 168

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.


How to Be a Man (Whatever That Means): Lessons in Modern Masculinity from a Questionable Source by James Breakwell

I can’t decide whether I enjoy James Breakwell’s Twitter account or his Twitter handle more. Has account is filled with snippets of conversations with his kids that are funny, familiar and sometimes eerily close to the exact same conversation you just had with your kid. His Twitter handle, on the other hand, never changes and it shouldn’t because it’s perfect: @XplodingUnicorn. It’s part 90s punk band, part kids cartoon parody, but 100% awesome, especially when you learn that Breakwell is the father of four daughters. With over 1 million followers on Twitter but still not enough subscribers on YouTube to impress his kids (this is a great story), Breakwell runs an impressive dad platform of blog posts, videos, newsletters and yes, what we love most here on ‘Books & Biceps’, books. He is the author of Bare Minimum Parenting, Only Dead on the Inside, and his newest book coming out in June: How to Be a Man (Whatever That Means). We’ve already talked about correcting the deadlift form on the book cover below for the next imprint, but in the meantime, please enjoy this week’s Three Answers with James Breakwell.

1) A few years ago, I realized I had a stockpile of funny stories I’d never told because they were outside the scope of my role as a dad. Over the past four books (and 20,000 tweets), I’ve really pigeon-holed myself on that whole parenting comedy thing. Oops. I wanted a place to share all the great, hilarious anecdotes from my own life that turned me into the man I am today, for better or for worse. Definitely for worse. This is like my greatest hits album, except nobody has ever heard any of the songs before. That’s just a metaphor. I promise there is no singing in this book. Any attempt I make to hold a tune is a crime against nature.

2) I didn’t realize just how unreliable eyewitnesses are until I went back and interviewed some of the people from these stories. Everybody has a different version of what really went down. I cobbled them all together, generally siding with the funniest version, even if it made me look bad. Scratch that. Especially if it made me look bad. When you get into comedy writing, your pride is the first thing to go. For one story, I grew up believing one version of how my grandfather almost got killed by a bull, but it turned out I had it all wrong. The real details were even better. I put both versions in there to show the weird, winding way in which family legends grow and change over time. My grandfather was one tough dude. It’s probably for the best that he’s not alive to see this book.

3) My favorite chapter to write was definitely the one about the great lawn gnome caper. It gave me a chance to reconnect with my old roommates from college to swap previously unknown details about our favorite story of all time. Of course, it wasn’t our favorite story when it was happening. A lot of lives were almost ruined. It was the closest of calls. But in the end, it all worked out. Maybe not for my former roommates, but for me because I got the best chapter I’ve ever written. Thanks for sacrificing yourselves, guys.

Buy ‘How to Be a Man’ here.


As I wrote last week, I’ve been trying different circuit workouts every Thursday. Some with equipment. Some bodyweight. Some both. A few people wrote me that they were looking for bodyweight only workouts that combine strength and cardio training… And I found a really good one. My old pals at Muscle & Fitness posted this bad ass burner early in the week from Michael C. Vazquez. All you need to do the workout… is you.

1. Plank Jacks to Push-up
3 sets 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest

2. Plank Tricep Extension
3 sets 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest

3. Plank Walk to Superman Plank
3 sets 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest

4. TypeWriter to Diamond Press
3 sets, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off

5. Body Plank Swimmer taps
3 sets, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off

Here’s a link to his post that shows videos of each exercise. This one works your arms and abs like a bulldozer (a good thing).


“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson


WATCH this video of me unboxing my first set of ‘1996: A Biography’ books that arrived from my publisher. Always a great feeling and I wanted to share it with you. And really, I love looking at this book. It is an all-time great cover (in my opinion but I’m right in this case).

MY TRICK SHOT OF THE WEEK this week was inspired by Marcus Smart. It’s a deep reverse corner three. It’s super awkward, but… yeah… swished it. Hahaha!

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