Ongoing Booklist of Bad-Assery

At the age of 43, I decided to dunk a basketball, get out of debt, and seriously invest in my important relationships. All this came with the idea that my best years were not in the past. Instead, I can live my best right now–regardless of age–if I simply seize the moment and do something adventurous.

The following books have inspired or informed my quests in becoming a bad ass dad. This is not a complete list and will be added upon as I come across new titles. I’m open to suggestions, too! Email me.

And, as always, check for these books at your local public library!

Recommended Personal Finance Books

Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames. Elizabeth shares her personal story of leading her family to financial independence. They now live on 60-something acres in New England. She provides practical tips to enjoying life on the cheap, and her story shows how achievable financial independence is.

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. Want a step-by-step money management system? Here it is–in great detail. Ideas that I’ve explored on other parts of this site–like the real hourly wage–were first introduced to me by this book. This is one of the books that would likely warrant a re-read from time to time (that’s a note to self).

The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better by Chris Farrell. While the book was inspired by a past recession, the advice is timeless. Chris Farrell does a good job in detailing how frugality is not really limiting, but, rather, it is freeing. Plenty of practical advice in these pages, too–especially for those who are getting into investing their saved up money.

Recommended Relationship Books

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do by Amy Morin. Amy, a social worker, has both seen and experienced some deep pain. She’s turned those experiences, and the observations she uncannily made about them, into some great advice for practicing resolve and navigating relationships.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Jen offers some straight-up inspiration.

Recommended Fitness Books

Bigger Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews. Well-researched and well-reasoned advice for strength training and dieting. It’s a pretty good primer for all things fitness.

Level up Your Life by Steve Kamb. This book doesn’t include a ton of in-the-gym fitness tips. It’s more motivation and mindset–but it’s really good for that. Stave Kamb provides quite a bit of feel-good motivation, and the added testimonials are a nice treat.

It’s funny: when I got into the idea of gamifying my life, I really thought I was developing something new. Then I came across Steve’s and realized that Steve developed exactly what I was doing about 10 years earlier. More research revealed that Jane McGonigal beat me to it, too. Both have built far more elaborate systems than mine.

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. Another fitness book that is light on the training technique but high on motivation. And this one comes packed with enough self-destruction porn that it’s novel-like engaging.

Diet Rehab by Dr. Mike Dow. Dr. Dow provides sensible, workable ways for keeping a nutritional plan under control–without worrying too much about calorie counting or carb counts.

The Molecule of More by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long. I’m really not sure where to put this book, as it touches on all aspects of life. It is a great read for understanding our impulses and compulsions. Why do we feel so much more drawn to donuts than carrot sticks? Why do we align with one political party over another? The answers are here!

Published by RyanDunn

Ryan Dunn has a bunch of certificates on his desk. A few are awards for content production and marketing. Another marks his ordination as a minister. One says he’s earned a BA in English from the University of Iowa. The certificate next to that says he earned an MA in Christian Practice from Duke (with honors!). Ryan is most proud, though, of the things he’s created: The Compass Podcast, some deep content on, a series of practical spiritual advice videos, a long-lasting marriage, and fantastic little boy. (He enjoyed A LOT of help on all of those projects, especially the last two.)

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