💪Books & Biceps - Your Friday Morning Mind Flex

Three Muhammad Ali books, LL Cool J's greatest song, DMX and the Twitter Tough Guy Workout Playlist

Welcome to this week’s Books & Biceps! Let’s dominate today!


Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig

Sting Like a Bee by Leigh Montville

The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali

Fifty-seven years ago this week, Cassius Clay shocked the world by beating Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight belt. Liston was an 8-1 favorite and had twice demolished the previous champ, Floyd Patterson. From that moment until his death, Ali was one of the most captivating, iconic and flat out famous people on earth. Along with singular stars like Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan, Ali spawned his own cottage industry in publishing. He’s had roughly two dozen books written about him or his various fights. He’s done several autobiographies. There are even a dozen kids books out there from a bunch of children’s publishers.

I chose to draw attention to these three books because they each offer a different perspective on his life and times. Ali: A Life is THE definitive book on Ali. It is quite simply the most comprehensive, all-encompassing, impossibly-researched book about Ali from his birth to his death. This towering effort clocks in at 600 pages or so and weighs about as much as a personal watermelon. But… if you’ve ever wanted to learn…and I mean really learn about Ali’s life, this is the book.

The subtitle of Leigh Montville’s book is ‘Muhammad Ali vs. The United States of America 1966-1971’ and if Eig’s book feels like it’s too big of an undertaking time-wise, then I recommend this one. Like the subtitle says, Sting Like a Bee focuses mainly on the most tumultuous period of Ali’s life and the one that arguable made him the most famous. I had very little understanding of Ali’s decision to not go to Vietnam before reading this. I mean I knew the headlines (or at least thought I did), but it turns out I basically didn’t know squat. I highly recommend reading this if you want to understand what Ali really went through and why.

The last book is an autobiography of Ali that just happens to be edited by Nobel-prize winner Toni Morrison. It’s raw. It moves fast. It’s the best “straight from Ali’s mouth” book out there. It’s an excellent memoir but full disclosure here: I realized while writing this that I never finished it. I don’t remember why. I took it out of the library a decade a go and I remember having to return it before I could finish. Oh well… it’s out there if you want it. Some people prefer autobiographies to biographies so here you go.

Twitter Tough Guys Workout Playlist

I love my workout playlists. Hell, I love all playlists. Back in the day I even gave myself a fake playlist name called DJ Finxellaneous (combining an old nickname, Finx, with ‘miscellaneous’, because you never knew what song was coming next - that’s just how I rolled as a DJ). Oh yeah… I was big time.

That being said, I put the call out on Twitter this week to ask people to share their #1 go-to, bad-ass workout song. A TON of people shared their music so I decided to put a playlist together from the songs that were suggested.

I made no edits and kept them in the order they were received. I gotta say, I’m pleasantly surprised. There were plenty of songs I hadn’t heard of that are good and only one or two questionable choices. Here’s the playlist we ended up with. And if that’s not cool enough, a buddy of mine on Twitter, Ryan, took the list and turned it into a Spotify playlist so you can workout to it RIGHT NOW.

Mama Said Knock You Out

The whole “best workout song” twitter thread came about because I wrote a new blog post defending LL Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ as the number one meathead workout song of all time. I have my reasons. In fact, I have a ton of reasons and I think the argument is unassailable. If you want to try to shoot holes in it, read my blog post here.

Kick Ass Quote of the Week

“Dreams don’t have deadlines.” - LL Cool J

Have you read a book or an article that you think our fellow Books & Biceps readers would like? Want to share your favorite workout song?

Reply to this e-mail and I’ll share it next week.

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PS - Have you pre-ordered my book, ‘1996’ yet?

It comes out May 11th and I cannot wait to share a few of the legendary writers who have endorsed it. I mean, these are some of my all-time favorites. Lots of giveaways coming up so keep your screenshot when you get it.


And lastly…

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