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Best Health Books: 35 Top Books on Nutrition, Fitness and Sleep (2020)

Best Health Books
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Best Health Books

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Looking for the best health books ever written? You’re in the right place.

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.

Only have time for a few? I’d suggest starting with:

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? The best health books below are the top picks from my master database, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating and the number of Goodreads reviews. The goal is to give a good balance of what’s most loved and what’s most widely read.

Think something’s missing? Leave a comment or email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so please, do get in touch!

  1. Being Mortal (2014), Atul Gawande (Summary)
    Medicine and What Matters in the End
    282 pages. Rated 4.5 over 126,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. The Body Keeps the Score (2014), Bessel A. van der Kolk (Summary)
    Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
    443 pages. Rated 4.5 over 32,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. Why We Sleep (2017), Matthew Walker (FREE Summary)
    Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
    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.
    368 pages. Rated 4.4 over 63,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. How Not to Die (2015), Michael Greger (FREE Summary)
    Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
    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.
    576 pages. Rated 4.5 over 20,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. Born to Run (2009), Christopher McDougall (Summary)
    A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    287 pages. Rated 4.3 over 163,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. The Emperor of All Maladies (2010), Siddhartha Mukherjee (Summary)
    A Biography of Cancer
    571 pages. Rated 4.3 over 77,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. The Obesity Code (2016), Jason Fung (Summary)
    Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
    328 pages. Rated 4.4 over 17,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006), Michael Pollan (Summary)
    A Natural History of Four Meals
    450 pages. Rated 4.2 over 178,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. The Body (2019), Bill Bryson (Summary)
    A Guide for Occupants
    450 pages. Rated 4.3 over 24,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. Starting Strength (2005), Mark Rippetoe
    Basic Barbell Training
    320 pages. Rated 4.4 over 8,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  11. The China Study (2001), T. Colin Campbell (Summary)
    The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health
    417 pages. Rated 4.2 over 25,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  12. The Complete Guide to Fasting (2016), Jason Fung
    Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting
    304 pages. Rated 4.4 over 8,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  13. In Defense of Food (2008), Michael Pollan (Summary)
    An Eater’s Manifesto
    205 pages. Rated 4.1 over 100,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  14. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (1985), Arnold Schwarzenegger
    The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised
    832 pages. Rated 4.4 over 3,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  15. Becoming a Supple Leopard (2013), Kelly Starrett
    The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
    400 pages. Rated 4.4 over 4,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  16. Food Inc. (2009), Karl Weber
    A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
    338 pages. Rated 4.2 over 15,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  17. The Botany of Desire (2001), Michael Pollan (Summary)
    A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
    304 pages. Rated 4.1 over 46,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  18. Intuitive Eating (1995), Evelyn Tribole
    A Revolutionary Program That Works
    304 pages. Rated 4.2 over 7,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  19. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (2007), Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.
    The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure
    320 pages. Rated 4.4 over 3,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  20. Good Calories, Bad Calories (2004), Gary Taubes
    Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease
    601 pages. Rated 4.2 over 8,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  21. Nourishing Traditions (1995), Sally Fallon
    The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
    674 pages. Rated 4.2 over 12,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  22. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (2007), Barbara Kingsolver (Summary)
    A Year of Food Life
    383 pages. Rated 4.0 over 97,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  23. It Starts with Food (2012), Dallas Hartwig (Summary)
    Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
    320 pages. Rated 4.1 over 21,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  24. The Story of the Human Body (2013), Daniel E. Lieberman (Summary)
    Evolution, Health, and Disease
    480 pages. Rated 4.3 over 5,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  25. Gut (2014), Giulia Enders (Summary)
    The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ
    273 pages. Rated 4.1 over 29,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  26. Bigger Leaner Stronger (2011), Michael Matthews
    The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body
    356 pages. Rated 4.2 over 6,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  27. Spark (2008), John J. Ratey (Summary)
    The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
    304 pages. Rated 4.2 over 10,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  28. Lies My Doctor Told Me (2017), Ken D. Berry
    Medical Myths That Can Harm Your Health
    198 pages. Rated 4.5 over 1,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  29. The Food Revolution (2001), John Robbins
    How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
    449 pages. Rated 4.3 over 3,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  30. Eat to Live (2003), Joel Fuhrman (Summary)
    The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
    292 pages. Rated 4.1 over 13,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  31. Strength Training Anatomy (1998), Frédéric Delavier
    144 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  32. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (1939), Weston A. Price (Summary)
    A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects
    524 pages. Rated 4.4 over 1,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  33. Deep Nutrition (2008), Catherine Shanahan (Summary)
    Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food
    336 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  34. Why We Get Fat (2010), Gary Taubes (Summary)
    And What to Do About It
    272 pages. Rated 4.1 over 18,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  35. Food Rules (2008), Michael Pollan
    An Eater’s Manual
    152 pages. Rated 4.0 over 39,100 reviews on Goodreads.

Enjoyed this list of the best health books ever written? You might also like…

II. Best Books Of All Time

These are the overall best books to read (by type).

III. Best Nonfiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best nonfiction books to read (by topic).

IV. Best Fiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best fiction books to read (by genre).

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Arthur Worsley
Arthur Worsley
Arthur is a thinker and writer who helps people who want more from their lives learn to be more productive, find more balance and live life more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

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    • Arthur says:

      Thanks, Sri – great recommendation. I’ve added it to my long list so there’s a good chance it’ll make the next version of the post 🙌

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