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109 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
There are plenty of books out there that can teach you about training and nutrition, and while this book does that, it also provides an entertaining, motivating philosophy of how to approach not only lifting but life itself.

This book is essentially a collection of essays on many aspects of training and dieting. The essays aren't organized in any meaningful way, and there was a bit of repetition, but I didn't mind that because I learned something new in almost every one. The writing tone is very conversational--you feel like you're hanging out with a buddy who doesn't take himself too seriously. The essays in this book have a bit of something for everyone: there's advice on strength training, fat loss, nutrition, cardio, inspiration, feeling balanced and fulfilled in life, and more.

That being said, this book isn't for newbies as Mr. John assumes that you're familiar with many different types of lifts, and he doesn't provide a structured workout program to follow. If you're new to working out, I recommend you read Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (The Lean Muscle Series), which has a program I'm currently following and making great gains with.
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85 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Anything will work for three to six months. What then? That's the dynamic message I got from Dan's book. Oh, there was a lot more here. But I generally take one or two new and interesting ideas from a book --- assuming it's a good book. And this one is.

Dan's book is really a collection of essays. They're not in any particular order. I say that because he mentions his fat period twice --- once in the early part of the book and again towards the end. Both are written in the time he is recovering from his fatness.

But that doesn't take away from the messages of the book.

Dan believes in making things simple. Not easy, he says. But simple. I like that idea more and more as I get older. It makes more sense for anyone. Our lives are already far too confusing and full and rushed and out of control.

Dan recons we should focus on our main goal and plan our activities, our workouts and exercises accordingly. If you want to lose weight, you must follow different activities than someone who wants to get power or strength or run a marathon, for example.

Again, this makes sense and simplifies things for us. This is the way Bruce Lee was able to be so great in martial arts. He tried many things and discarded the things that didn't work or didn't help him in his main persuit --- his goals for his unique purposes.

I find this idea empowering. And you'll find it in abundance in Dan's new book.

While you might think the book is written for weight lifters or bodybuilders, it's really for anyone who wants to get fit.

Some of it you may discard. You may find parts of it just don't apply to you. But there is enough encouragement and no BS information in the book that you'll thoroughly enjoy it and come away the wiser. You'll profit with more useful workouts that actually get you to your goal.

Dan cuts through the myths and the outright lies we see in advertising and muscle mags and gets to the heart of the matter. He tells it like it is. And since he's not a young man, we know he's probably tried it all and seen most of it and is well equipped to give you honest solutions.

Buy this book if you need encouragement in your training and fitness program. Moreover, buy it if you want to learn how to cut through the BS and get to the real meat of how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Highly recommended.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Everything I know about lifting, I learned from Dan John.

There's been a lot written about Dan John lately. It's reassuring to see him getting his due, because here's a man who's walked the walk, his whole life, and is still smiling and enthusiastic about his passions. He's genuine.

I've known Dan for a while now. We met online in 1999 or 2000, and corresponded frequently, in email and on assorted message boards and in the occasional phone call. In 2007 I finally got to meet him, twice, both out in Utah and at Denison University in Ohio. I consider him a friend, and knowing him has much enriched my life.

I held off writing this bit until I'd gone through his book a few times. It's hard not saying what other folks have said: Dan's down-to-earth voice and advice cuts through noise and is pure signal, Dan's a humble genius. Dan's a coach's coach. Dan's gently scathing humor draws our attention to the realities of life and lifting and competition.

I can't match the eloquent and descriptive phrases such luminaries like Pavel Tsatsouline and Dave Draper and others have used to describe Dan's contribution to the written word of the Iron Game. I can only say that it's good. It's excellent. It's humbling to me personally. Explaining why is difficult, if not impossible.

If you buy one book about training, hell, if you buy one book about life, this year, or this even decade, make it Dan's book. You might not 'get it' yet. That's OK. You will.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Superb information presented in a clear, highly readable style. He provides an unbiased look at everything from weight training to goal setting. The author is refreshingly self effacing. The book is written as a series of semi-connected essays (originally written as individual articles) and there's not a clunker in the bunch. He's given me a ton of new ideas for my own training. Great stuff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I tend to like "old school" lifting: basic movements, heavy weights, and low reps (usually), so I bought this book with some trepidation. My opinion, not sure what I used to form this opinion, was that Coach John was going to be some "new age" reverse lateral T-raises on a Swiss ball kind of guy. He does seem to do a lot of experimenting with his training, but it always seems that his core workout beliefs are that you need to squat heavy and you need to put heavy weight over your head.

The book is a collection of articles he has written, so the chapters can be read non-sequentially without hurting your understanding of the book. Each chapter covers a different topic (there is some overlap). Located in the articles are some workout plans, ideas, and exercises, but the book does not outline one singular plan. To do so would seem to go against the point of the book. Coach John has a clear and easy to follow writing style, and he can get a few laughs too.

I think this book is good for a fitness enthusiast, coach, or an athlete. I would say that if you are completely new to lifting or looking for a more clearly defined lifting program check out Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength which is geared towards the novice or rank beginner.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a motivational type book that is a very easy read, where the author spends a lot of time bringing his experience in to the book through anecdotal stories. The philosophy in it is roughly, work your ass off at difficult heavy whole body tasks and you will get strong.

If you are looking for motivation, are not interested in technical detail, and enjoy reading stories from someone's life, this would be a good read. However, this book could be condensed considerably since it is very repetitive particularly in the wording. Also, its a book full of articles he has previously written, so the book lacks a bit of consistency and sometimes contradicts itself.

If you are looking for a book to improve you technical knowledge of the strength training in a concise way, this is not your book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've read hundreds of exercise/weightlifting books. Not only is this book a joy to read, it has some of the best and most useful information on lifting available. Defintely in the top 10, of the best books on lifting ever written!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This really is an inspiring book. As a strength coach, I have gotten so much out of this book. It's a constant reminder of patience, keeping it simple and not turning your back on the basics. It's also a great perspective on life. It's rare to read a book geared for the exercise community that is so personal. It really makes me want to be better, train harder, smarter and conquer everything! Thanks Dan John!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I saw on Facebook where this book was free, and being a fan of almost all things Dragon Door and free stuff, I got it. Its not a big technical book, more like a bunch of scattered stories put together in a book, however if you like fitness war stories, its a good book, and the Coach has a funny sense of humor.

It does have a few routines he's done over the years for the curious. And they all work the first 6 weeks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Dan's knowledge of strength training and competition is excellent! For the most part this is an enjoyable read and quite motivating for anyone who trains with weights. The only thing that I didn't like about the book was that some of the content is a bit repetitive.
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