💪Books & Biceps - Issue 178

Your Weekly Brain and Body Flex

Every Friday I write an email recommending books & workouts including regular exclusive interviews with your favorite authors. Get smarter & stronger for free.


Rum Punch, Hombre, Pronto by Elmore Leonard

I’ve got a fiction fever, and the only cure, is more cowbell…and Elmore Leonard books. As longtime B&B readers know I lean heavily towards non-fiction. Biographies, history, science, event books, whatever… But sometimes I find myself listing too far towards fact-based books and I forget how much I truly enjoy reading thrillers from Stephen King (and owe him a debt of gratitude) and great detective stories from masters like Robert B. Parker or Elmore Leonard. I’ll get to Parker next week, but I’m going to take a brief non-fiction reading vacation to read, re-read and savor the classic wit, dialogue and scene-setting of my favorite fiction writers.

I’m starting with Elmore Leonard. Hopefully, you’ve read some of his books, but if not, I’d bet you’ve watched movies or TV shows based on his work. On the movie side, you’ve got almost too many to count: Out of Sight with Clooney and J-Lo was based on his book. Get Shorty with Hackman, Travolta and DeVito was based on his book. Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown was based on his book, Rum Punch. And there are so many more… And the entire phenomenal Justified television series was based on Leonard’s book series on Raylan Givens. The man was, simply, a genius.

I’ve read maybe a dozen of Leonard’s books, but many were so long ago I forgot how enjoyable they are to read. They’re fast-paced. They’re clever. They’re hilarious. So I’m diving into a few in a row. I picked Rum Punch, Hombre and Pronto.

Pick any story you want and you won’t be disappointed - but if you start with a classic like Rum you’re in for a treat. Perfect for the plane or the beach or wherever you can get some reading in.


It’s summer. It’s hot. You’re likely visiting a beach or a pool or a lake. Maybe you’re self conscious about how you look with your shirt off… or maybe you don’t put one on unless you have to (I’m not talking about me okay maybe I am talking about me). Either way, one thing that always helps your confidence is muscle.

And once a year I redo my pal Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size workout. It’s a 12-week program. I typically start it around July 4th, which is why I started it this week! Jim describes every day in detail for you, keeps the reps/workouts changing each week for each body part and primes you to grow. Best of all, it’s a FREE PDF.


“I try to leave out the parts that readers skip.” - Elmore Leonard


I was lucky enough to be a guest on two excellent podcasts this week on wildly different topics.

First, I recorded an episode of The Midlife Male podcast with Greg Scheinman. We had a no bullshit, warm, honest conversation about fatherhood, fitness, life, failure, family, work, writing, motivation and so much more. Greg is a really inspiring guy and here it is if you’d like to listen.

The second podcast was Collectable Daily with Alan Goldsher who was kind enough to have me on talk about some of our favorite things: his new favorite book (1996: A Biography), sports, cards, nostalgia and memorabilia. We covered how we’d save baseball, my four favorite sports cards of all time and I also reveal what I think would be the best basketball card in history if someone would just make it. He’s a great writer and interviewer and if you collect cards, you should download his pod immediately. You’ll enjoy the hell out of this one.

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PS: Most importantly… BUY YOUR COPY OF 1996 RIGHT NOW