Ben Coomber is on a mission to help you achieve incredible results with your nutrition and exercise. He is a self-proclaimed true geek at heart for everything nutrition, health and human performance, an obsession which was born when he turned his life upside down by losing a considerable amount of weight and ending up in the best shape of his life, culminating in Ben finding his ultimate path to athleticism and optimal performance. Ben Coomber spends his time teaching others to achieve similar results, via a series of books, blogs and videos. On top of this, Ben Coomber travels the world giving talks and engaging in projects that help change the state of the world’s health. On top of that Ben also hosts an awesome podcast around these topics, educates personal trainers and running a supplement company. Somehow, I managed to pin him down long enough to learn about his reading habits. Please enjoy my interview with Ben Coomber.
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
If it’s at a party or social gathering I’ll say I work in the fitness industry or that I’m a business owner. If it’s in a normal situation I’ll say I’m a nutritionist, but nothing good comes from a room of people knowing you’re the fit guy or into nutrition. Everyone all of a sudden becomes aware of what they are eating and drinking, or you start getting quizzed on the choices I’m making or how they can lose weight because they’ve tried every diet up until this point. It’s always nice to avoid that happening and just have a normal, non-work related conversation!
I have Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss open, and I’m reading a section here and there as my bedtime book, but I’ve had that open for 6 months, it’s colossal. Otherwise, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks, my current audiobook is Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards, a great book on human behaviour.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
Reading Shakespeare at school, which I hated, the language never made sense to me, let alone reading it out loud and then acting it out in drama class.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
Wow, tough question. I get asked this a lot “whats the one book you’d recommend” when doing podcast interviews. For young people, it would have to be How to be Brilliant by Michael Heppell, to really get focused on your values and what you stand for as a person, which will shape so many of your life decisions.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Probably an event caterer, random hours, dealing with snotty people, on your feet all day, hot and sweaty, in uncomfortable clothing, all for minimum wage!
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
No, but I think that will always be my answer. I love to read and can’t get enough in so I listen to audio books a lot too when traveling around, as well as podcasts.
What books do you feel are important reading for people on your career path?
Books around nutrition and health are key, but so is personal development and business. To be successful at what you do, you need to know your trade as a starting point, then its about how you deliver it and be a solid all round practitioner that knows how to package their product to the people in need of it.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
Yes, How to be Brilliant by Michael Heppell, again – it was such a grounding book for me in my personal development.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek, such a good book on all round health and performance.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
Probably personal development, improving yourself simply improves everything else.
What do you think a world without books would be like?
A sad place, think of all that knowledge that wouldn’t be shared, doesn’t bear thinking about.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
Probably Daniel Priestley (see Daniel Priestley’s reading list here), the way he talks about marketing and makes it usable and englighteninng is genius.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
No, never. There is something irreplaceable with sitting down with a book and going all in and immersing your brain in the knowledge and experience of someone else.
What book do you feel humanity needs right now?
An understanding and a true value of the benefits of true health, a health body and mind leads to a life of unlimted success, and when people realise that they have no opportunity other than to thrive.
With the position I am in today and creating, probably Linchpin by Seth Godin, a book that helped me create and shoot for the stars with my persona and what I wanted to achieve in my career.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
There are just so many, I’ve read a lot. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink is amazing as a leader and shaper of your own life a destiny. Legacy by James Kerr, a great insight into the minds and ethos of the worls greatest rugby team the all blacks, just a few, I could list a ton of amazing books.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
More on the science of human behaviour, in my line of work it fascinates me and really unlocks the potential to speak to your audience on a deep and personal level when you understand it as a subject area.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Wow, what a question. Maybe A life of Failure that Led to Success by Ben Coomber. So many are held back in life by a fear of failure, yet we need to fail to know how to win.