5 books that will change your destiny

I had arrived about 10 minutes late to the key note speech that Jack Kruse was giving to kick off Paleo FX.  There was a huge crowd standing around him and I had to elbow my way past people like Mark Sisson (I didn’t actually elbow Mark for fear it might get caught in one of his abs. If that did happen and he flexed it might just pull my friggin’ arm right off.) just to get a closer view of this crazy dude from Nashville.

Typically, I zone out for talks like this, but Jack Kruse has a gift that goes beyond his intellect. The man can tell a story.  One of the things that I was most captivated with was how this journey began for Jack and how he had ended up intertwined with the Paleo community.

While Jack is a big proponent of an evolutionary diet, he did not get here like most of us do. His journey began when he was a 357lb neurosurgeon (sure hope he charging by the hour and not by the pound!) who was given the book, The Monk who Sold His Ferrari.

If you haven’t read it, it is a fable about a hot shot lawyer who has a brush with death (because of his declining health) who decides to make massive changes in his life.  I won’t go into all the details of the book, but there were two important takeaways for Jack.

  1. Where others saw a lawyer, he saw himself. The first part of that book just as easily could have been his life.
  2. And this is the really cool part. While it is a fable, Jack wondered if the story could in fact be true.

And that simple notion kick started a journey that led to, among other things, a weight loss of 157 lbs, not to mention all the other fascinating discoveries he now blogs about.

So why am I telling you this?

Because I believe that story is symbolic of how change really happens in this Paleo world we run in.

Most falsely believe that their fate lies in in the Paleo Solution alone, and while understanding the key components to Paleo are really important, it is my contention that a large number of Paleo proponents are struggling mightily; not because Paleo doesn’t work, but because Paleo is only a small piece of the overall solution.

The myth we all chase…

Everyone makes the same mistake when we start our journey to transformation. I made it as well and it took me two months to realize the error of my ways.

That mistake? We think this is a weight loss issue.  And so we grab hold of Paleo with both hands thinking that will solve our problems. But it isn’t a weight loss issue.

Weight GAIN and poor health is a symptom of how we lead our lives. It is a reflection of the behaviors that we enact every single day. And the sum of those behaviors either guide us towards our goals or pull us further and further away from where we really want to be.

So what is the solution?

Glad you asked.

The solution lies in understanding that this is an issue of change, specifically the changing of our behaviors. And based on my own experiences and that of Jack it is prudent we become “outsiders” if we want to find that elusive solution we desperately seek.

When I say “outsiders” I mean we need to move outside the Paleo sphere to discover ALL the answers we seek (again Paleo has some but not ALL). To help reinforce my point, watch this great video presentation by Jonah Lehrer’s titled, 3 Critical Insights Into Creativity. It’s only 10 minutes long, but he provides some great data as to why being an outsider might be the best way to solve a lingering problem we have in our life.

My own journey…

Here is a little online confession. I hardly ever read blogs about Paleo. And I don’t read books about Paleo either. In fact I don’t own  a single Paleo book (Gasp!).

My success has been a direct result of realizing I did not have a Paleo problem on my hands, I had a massive change problem.

So I read anything that has to do with change, which includes creativity, leadership, psychology, management you name it.

Here is a little graphic as to how I look at this journey now. The blue circles represent a breakdown of some of the key strategies that I believe make up effective change. The green circles represent some of the genres (not all) that I am constantly pulling from to steal ideas I can use on my own quest for change.

My Top 5 books…

Before I recommend my top 5 Non-Paleo solutions, let me make something very clear.  We need to change the way we read. Our basic human nature is to take principles and only use them within the context they were taught.

Principles are ideas without borders.

They can be applied effectively to any situation if we start thinking with that mind set. So when you are reading work your butt off to uncover the principle that you can then apply to your current situation.

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl.

I made mention about this, on this video way way back.

Frankl was a holocaust survivor who talked about how we can cope with suffering, even unimaginable suffering much like he dealt with.

My three biggest takeaways from this book that I think about often on this journey.

  • We are NOT victims.  Between every stimulus and subsequent response is a gap where we have the ability to choose our desired outcome.
  • Commit to something beyond ourselves. The difference between those who survived the Nazi death camps and those who didn’t: the survivors were committed to something bigger than themselves. For some it was survival so they could tell their story and ensure something like that would never happen again. That lesson is no different on this journey. Those who succeed are committed to a greater cause beyond simply losing weight.
  • Perspective. Seriously, this guy not only survived, he thrived under the most gruesome conditions ever experienced.

2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Here is a bit of background about Steven. He was a writing hack well into his early 50′s when he decided to make a move from screenwriting to novels with an idea he had about a golfer. No one, including his agent, thought it was a good idea. He wrote it anyway, and The Legend of Bagger Vance became an international bestseller and a movie of the same name.

The War of Art was meant to be a small book for writers and how they could deal with that soul sucking force that lurks beneath their surface. Pressfield called it resistance. Resistance is that inner heckler who constantly tells us we can’t do something.

And while he wrote it specifically for writers, I found that everything he talked about was exactly what people (me being a people) experience when they attempt to transform how they look. Resistance runs rampant. That inner heckler within us shouts from the rooftops, constantly reminding us we will never succeed with this.

So here is what I want you to think about with this book. What you are trying to do is create art-the art of YOU. You are attempting to unleash something (someone) inside you that is no different than the writer, painter or sculptor is attempting to do. So it makes sense that that you will experience the same blocks a true artist would experience. Steal ruthlessly from this man!!!

3. Mindset by Carol Dweck

There are a few things I freaking love about this book.

First Dweck’s premise is simple. There are two types of mindsets out there. The fixed mindset and the growth mindset. We are screwed if we have the fixed mindset. But that leads to the next point.

We can LEARN to develop a growth mindset.

Third, she once had a fixed mindset and taught herself to haver a growth mindset. She uses examples in her life to help illustrate the point. I love that kind of stuff because she gets it. She has been there. She’s lived it. That’s far more important to me then the Ph. D after her name.

This book is a MUST read.

4. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

I LOVED his book. I wrote all over the freaking thing and have read it 3 times. People think this is a business book, but personally this is required reading for anyone looking to make change in their life.

One of my biggest takeaways for me was distinguishing “me problems” from “system problems.” That helped me realize most of what I thought were willpower problems were in fact system problems. That lead to one of my biggest discoveries and one of my most important rules.

NO JUNK FOOD IN THE HOUSE. If I crave crap I have to go to it. It becomes an event.

That changed everything for me and I have been able to sustain that now for almost a year and half. There are dozens and dozens of other nuggets I can point to but I will let you discover those for yourself.

This is the BIBLE on change!

5. Change or Die by Alan Deutchman

There are a few things I really like about this book. Deutchman uses case studies that are varied but illustrate the point about how change comes to be.

I was actually inspired to start my membership site after I read about the work Dean Ornish had done with his patients. I didn’t give a rats ass that he promotes a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s the elements of a community that I was interested in and Ornish has done this VERY WELL!!

I can sum up the book best by a friend who relayed her own personal experience. There was one passage in the book that made her cry because she realized, “There was nothing wrong with her.” Her struggle with her weight did not in anyway diminish who she was as a person.

The only mistake I made with this book is I bought the Kindle edition. I have learned that I am very much a visual/interactive learner and I can dramatically influence my learning curve when I can write related ideas in the margins, highlight key points and ideas that really stand out for me and sketch out theories and models that formulate as I read.

Reading Recommendation…

I will suggest the following protocol with these books.

  • Buy only one.
  • Plan on reading it twice.
  • Once you are done, pull out 3 simple things you can act on now and attack them one at a time.
  • DO NOT proceed to a second book until you have completed your 3 tasks.

Remember: reading a book does NOTHING to change behavior. It only allows us to talk more intelligently about what we are not doing

My book!!

Well my book is officially out even though I don’t yet have a copy of it. Shipping books to Canada is never easy when customs is involved. So while I sit patiently, I am going to make a strong pitch that you consider buying my book.


1. It’s one way you can help support the site. Most of what I do is for free and I have recently discovered that in order to be able to do that I also need to eat. It’s true. Apparently I cannot subsist on smiles and oxygen alone.  Who knew. To order your copy of the book click—> HERE. Remember DEANS need to eat too!

2. This is NOT a paleo book.  This is a template on changing how you look.  And you will find that I have woven in concepts that I learned from the books above plus a whack of other resources that I have not mentioned here.

Every shift I talk about in the book, are shifts I have made (and continue to make). This is not some pie in the sky ideal by someone who knows the theory but can’t actually apply it in their own life.  I have made this stuff work and I know if people can steal the principles I have talked about and systematically start applying them to their own life, serious shift can and will happen.

I am also going to ask you do do a few other things for me (and also for you).

1. Share this post with anyone and everyone who you are hoping will eventually jump on board with you. You would not believe how many stories I hear of people who got their start because someone gave them a book on this stuff. And if a Canadian can make shift happen then I mean really…SURELY ANYONE CAN!

2. This ties into number one but if you have been having a hard time convincing someone you love to jump on board, actually give them a copy of my book. My approach in the book is to really help people quietly back in to the notion of changing their health without the fire and brimstone speeches.  (I would use fire and brimstone speeches but I seriously suck at making a fire.)

3.  Post an honest review on Amazon. That actually really helps with the ranking.  And I would be forever grateful! You can do that by clicking—>HERE.

Being Primal is shutting down…

Yup, this is the last time you will get anything from me that has being primal on it.  I’m going to be moving everything over to a new site called…you guessed it…Make Shift Happen.


Because that has been exactly what I have been doing for the past year and half…making shift happen. Not just in how I look, but I live, how I interact, who I interact with, how I think, how I write, how I work etc.  I want my site to reflect that change and Being Primal just doesn’t do that anymore.

The bigger lesson here for the rest of you is Make Shift Happen never would have evolved had I not started something. Being Primal was that something. It allowed me to put something out there (as scary as that was) that could grow and evolve. And it has.

I would challenge you to put something out there as well…whatever that something may be. Ideas are children…they are drooling pooping messes at the beginning. But then something magical begins to happen and suddenly without notice, they begin to take on a life and a personality all on their own. And that is when things really start to take off.

The Make Shift Happen Show debuts May 2nd…

Huh? What? A show?

A podcast in fact. I will officially be launching it May 2nd.

I know what you are thinking. Oh great, another podcast series!

To that I say NO! This will not just be another podcast series.  Talking into a microphone and sticking your stuff up on iTunes doesn’t mean you are offering massive value to people.  I believe that PODCAST standards need to rise and I have enlisted a few friends to help me with that.  More on that in the upcoming weeks but I will tell you this. SPEAKING is my thing. It is my passion. It is my strength and I aim to take advantage of that in my efforts to help more people make shift happen.

Ok I have given you more then enough to noodle on me thinks.

Go and make some serious shift happen will ya.