3 Mind Altering Books on Fighting & Life

3 Mind Altering Books on Fighting & Life

I have been receiving a number of requests to create a list of inspiring books on fighting. 

Though there aren’t many specific to Muay Thai, there are quite a few gems that directly correlate with the habits, principles and the mindset it takes to become a champion.

All of the books on the list below have had a profound positive impact on the direction of my life – whether that be inside of the ring or life in general. Read all the way through for bonus recommendations!

Note: Some of the links below contain Amazon Affiliate Links – the affiliation does not in any way affect the honest reviews or statements made. Though provided as a convenient source, feel free to search for them yourself, or better yet. . . ! Support your local book store by purchasing paperback!

1. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

Turning Pro is one of the essentials needed in a martial artist’s book arsenal. Reading this book made a night and day difference in my daily habits and in choosing how to act when presented with challenge.

On a daily basis, we are presented with two options:

Do I follow in the footsteps of the amateur? Or do I follow in the footsteps of the professional?

All of my answers became simple and straightforward after reading Turning Pro. The book directly outlines the differences in physical and psychological habits held by the amateur and the professional, as well as why one tends to fail whilst the other succeeds.

As a bonus, the War of Art is another book in the series by Steven Pressfield that breaks down the resistance creators and athletes face on a daily basis, and how to overcome these said barriers.

2. The Fighter’s Mind by Sam Sheridan & Relentless by Tim S. Grover

The Fighter’s Mind & Relentless are both inspirational studies of real-world athletes in MMA, Wrestling and Combat Sports (Fighter’s Mind) and Mainstream Sports (Relentless).  

Picture these books as the motivational, physical examples of Turning Pro‘s principles. 

3. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle is the Way should be the pre-requisite intro class to the curriculum of life. Not many things in life worth having come without an obstacle standing in our way.

These obstacles often cause a fear of failure which leads to inaction. Years pass and we wonder why we never took that step towards our dream. . . 

. . .we were procrastinating. Avoiding the obstacles.

All the while, the obstacles were our path to freedom, success and fulfilment all along.

Inspired by stoic philosophy, The Obstacle is the Way helped me to step into the fire rather than turning and running towards comfort.

Here are a few bonus recommendations that have helped me to form a more wholesome approach and appreciation for life:

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – As a kid raised in Poland, this book had a profound impact in helping me to appreciate not just life in general, but what my great-grandparents went through in order for me to have the opportunities that I have here today. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK by Mark Manson – This book is an extremely intelligent approach to life masked by a clever title, helping you to take action without second guessing yourself. 

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday – Finally finding peace and focus in today’s mayhem and societal distraction.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday – daily gems that reframed my response to things I cannot control.

Paul “Reaper” Banasiak

Professional Coach. 50+ Fight Muay Thai Vet. 
Creator of 
Creator of 

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