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Best Health Books: 35 TOP Books on Nutrition, Fitness, Sleep

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.

Looking for the best health books of all time?

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Here's what you'll find on this page...

Key Takeaways: The Top 5 Books

The 5 best health books of all time are:

  1. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande
  2. Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker
  3. How Not to Die - Michael Greger
  4. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall
  5. The Body - Bill Bryson

Learn why and get the full list of best health books below...

Here’s What You’ll Find on This List…

I thought creating a list of the best books on health would be easy.

I was wrong.

You see health is a difficult topic.

Where does mind become matter? Health become sickness? Prevention become cure?

The atomist in me wants neat little boxes. The realist knows that it’s complicated.

But you gotta start somewhere right?

So, in this list of book recommendations, I’ve collected the best non-academic books for healthy people who want to maintain and/or improve their physical wellbeing.

The result is a mix of the best nutrition books, best fitness books and best books on sleep of all time from my long list of hundreds of titles.

Or in other words, these are hands down the best books about health ever written.

If You Only Have Time for 3 Books…

Only have time for a few books? Start with:

They’ll give you a good holistic introduction to mastering your physical health.

But don’t take my word for it. Browse through the list like a menu, go with your gut and tuck into whatever excites you.

Enjoy this list of the 35 best health books ever written.

And until next time, be awesome, stay healthy and go well.

P.s., Did you know, Health & Vitality is the most fundamental area on TAoL‘s Wheel of Life?

The 35 Best Health Books Ever Written

Why these best health books and not others? To stay objective, I rank all my book recommendations by a combination of what’s most loved (Goodreads rating), what’s most popular (Goodreads review count) and what’s proven timelessly relevant (first publication date).

This isn’t a whimsical list. It’s a data-driven, crowdsourced collection of the best health books ever published as decided by book lovers just like you.

And if you think something's missing? I LOVE book recommendations so if there are any other best health books that you think deserve mentioning, email me and I’ll be sure to include them in the next round of updates.

Until then, enjoy this ultimate list of the 35 best health books of all time...

Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Health Books of All Time

The top 10 best health books of all time are...

Best Health Books: Being Mortal
1. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande (FREE Summary)
Medicine and What Matters in the End
Being Mortal is an uncomfortable yet enlightening exploration of how treating terminal disease (especially linked to ageing) as a purely extend-life-at-all-costs medical problem is destroying the final moments of our lives - by surgeon and best selling author, Atul Gawande.
Published 2014 // 282 pages // Rated 4.4 over 155,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: Why We Sleep
2. Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Why We Sleep is a fascinating and accessible guide to what sleep is, why sleep matters and how to optimise your sleep habits to live longer, feel happier and set your life up for success - by sleep scientist and best-selling author, Matthew Walker.
Published 2017 // 368 pages // Rated 4.4 over 125,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: How Not to Die
3. How Not to Die - Michael Greger (FREE Summary)
Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
How Not to Die is a deeply researched and compelling primer on the promise and importance of whole food plant-based nutrition in preventing and reversing disease - by medical doctor and nutrition expert, Michael Greger.
Published 2015 // 576 pages // Rated 4.4 over 31,000 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: Born to Run
4. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall (FREE Summary)
A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Born to Run takes takes running back to its roots in this critically acclaimed analysis of evolution, injury and recovery that is filled with compelling insights, great story telling and practical tips - by best-selling author and journalist, Christopher McDougall.
Published 2009 // 287 pages // Rated 4.3 over 186,300 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: The Body
5. The Body - Bill Bryson (FREE Summary)
A Guide for Occupants
The Body is a fantastically-written and awe-inspiring 23-chapter tour through the 30 trillion cells that (literally) make you who you are - by best-selling author, Bill Bryson.
Published 2019 // 450 pages // Rated 4.3 over 58,200 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: The Obesity Code
6. The Obesity Code - Jason Fung (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
The Obesity Code gives an amazing look at how the body uses food to create the perfect conditions for obesity and how to disrupt the cycle to create a healthier future - by kidney disease specialist, best-selling author and MD, Jason Fung.
Published 2016 // 328 pages // Rated 4.4 over 24,200 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: The Emperor of All Maladies
7. The Emperor of All Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee (FREE Summary)
A Biography of Cancer
The Emperor of All Maladies is a rich and deep biography of cancer, from its first documented appearance to our modern battles to understand and cure humanity's (current) second biggest killer - by physician, biologist and author, Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Published 2010 // 571 pages // Rated 4.3 over 92,200 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: Taking Charge of Your Fertility
8. Taking Charge of Your Fertility - Toni Weschler (FREE Summary)
The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand female fertility, maximise conception or learn about chemical and device free methods of contraception - by women's health educator and author, Toni Weschler.
Published 1995 // 536 pages // Rated 4.5 over 9,900 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: Starting Strength
9. Starting Strength - Mark Rippetoe (FREE Summary)
Basic Barbell Training
Starting Strength is a well-illustrated, detailed and time-tested guide to mastering the most important barbell exercises you need to get strong, fast without injuring yourself - by strength training coach and author, Mark Rippetoe.
Published 2005 // 320 pages // Rated 4.5 over 9,100 reviews on Goodreads
Best Health Books: Eating Animals
10. Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer (FREE Summary)
Eating Animals is a part-memoir, part-investigative-journalism philosophical dive into the darkest corners of our dining habits in this fascinating exploration of what we eat and why - by novelist and nonfiction author, Jonathan Safran Foer.
Published 2009 // 341 pages // Rated 4.2 over 72,900 reviews on Goodreads

Books 11-35: The 25 Best Health Books to Read Next

Here are the next 25 best health books from my database...

11. The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan
A Natural History of Four Meals
Published 2006 // 450 pages // Rated 4.2 over 199,100 reviews on Goodreads
12. The China Study - T. Colin Campbell
The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health
Published 2001 // 417 pages // Rated 4.2 over 27,300 reviews on Goodreads
13. Breath - James Nestor
The New Science of a Lost Art
Published 2020 // 214 pages // Rated 4.2 over 36,500 reviews on Goodreads
14. How Not to Diet - Michael Greger
The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss
Published 2019 // 608 pages // Rated 4.5 over 4,600 reviews on Goodreads
15. When the Body Says No - Gabor Maté
The Cost of Hidden Stress
Published 2003 // 320 pages // Rated 4.3 over 7,900 reviews on Goodreads
16. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding - Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised
Published 1985 // 832 pages // Rated 4.5 over 4,300 reviews on Goodreads
17. The Complete Guide to Fasting - Jason Fung
Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting
Published 2016 // 304 pages // Rated 4.2 over 12,500 reviews on Goodreads
18. Lifespan - David A. Sinclair
Why We Age—and Why We Don't Have To
Published 2019 // 432 pages // Rated 4.2 over 10,800 reviews on Goodreads
19. Food Inc. - Karl Weber
A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
Published 2009 // 338 pages // Rated 4.2 over 15,300 reviews on Goodreads
20. Becoming a Supple Leopard - Kelly Starrett
The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
Published 2013 // 400 pages // Rated 4.4 over 5,300 reviews on Goodreads
21. Intuitive Eating - Evelyn Tribole
A Revolutionary Program That Works
Published 1995 // 304 pages // Rated 4.2 over 13,300 reviews on Goodreads
22. The Diabetes Code - Jason Fung
Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
Published 2018 // 288 pages // Rated 4.5 over 3,500 reviews on Goodreads
23. In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
An Eater's Manifesto
Published 2008 // 205 pages // Rated 4.1 over 113,100 reviews on Goodreads
24. Nourishing Traditions - Sally Fallon
The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
Published 1995 // 674 pages // Rated 4.2 over 12,900 reviews on Goodreads
25. Bigger Leaner Stronger - Michael Matthews
The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body
Published 2011 // 356 pages // Rated 4.2 over 7,900 reviews on Goodreads
26. The Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan
A Plant's-Eye View of the World
Published 2001 // 304 pages // Rated 4.1 over 52,600 reviews on Goodreads
27. The Story of the Human Body - Daniel E. Lieberman
Evolution, Health, and Disease
Published 2013 // 480 pages // Rated 4.3 over 6,400 reviews on Goodreads
28. Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes
Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease
Published 2004 // 601 pages // Rated 4.2 over 9,200 reviews on Goodreads
29. Yoga Anatomy - Leslie Kaminoff
Published 2007 // 221 pages // Rated 4.3 over 6,000 reviews on Goodreads
30. It Starts with Food - Dallas Hartwig
Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
Published 2012 // 320 pages // Rated 4.1 over 22,300 reviews on Goodreads
31. Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon
Published 2015 // 306 pages // Rated 4.0 over 487,300 reviews on Goodreads
32. Eat to Live - Joel Fuhrman
The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
Published 2003 // 292 pages // Rated 4.1 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
33. The Big Fat Surprise - Nina Teicholz
Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
Published 2014 // 496 pages // Rated 4.3 over 5,300 reviews on Goodreads
34. Practical Paleo - Diane Sanfilippo
A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle
Published 2012 // 416 pages // Rated 4.2 over 8,300 reviews on Goodreads
35. Endure - Alex Hutchinson
Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
Published 2018 // 321 pages // Rated 4.2 over 9,800 reviews on Goodreads

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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