Becoming a Supple Leopard
This is a great starting point for everyday posture and mechanics--everyone, any fitness level or age will benefit. It starts with posture corrections, with step-by-steps on basic lifts. Even if you work out regularly, this will make you rethink what you do on your rest days, like simply how you sit in a chair, that undermines your training. If you're looking for something even more applicable to the everyday, read the similar book by the same author, Deskbound. Literally everyone will take a handful of practical changes.
Simple and Sinister
The reference for starting kettlebell training, written by the master who brought kettlebells to the Western world. It's simple, focusing on only the swing and getup, and again, literally everyone no matter age and fitness level will benefit from these basic movement patterns. The swing trains power and coordination. The get-up is its opposite: slow, fluid, controlled. It's also quite possibly the best conditioning for rock climbing, for power and injury prevention, especially for shoulder stability and posterior chain.
This is the bible for barbell training. If you love high school physics classical mechanics, you'll readily pick up the cues and descriptions. Diagrams are 2-dimensional, handdrawn, and the force arrows are proportionately sized to their magnitude. I've never been able to self-correct so much as from this book. Like Simple & Sinister, it's simple, touching 5 lifts that work the range of human movement. My favorite quote from Rippetoe goes something like this: when asked what he'd do if thrown into a career change to manage a rest home, he responded, "Not much after 6 months. Everyone would be gone." As in, able to life life at home with their strength.
Yes, there's a new diet/theory/study about nutrition that goes mainstream every few years. Atkins, South Beach, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, The China Study etc. I've never bought into the ones on the far ends of the spectrum, like all veggie or all meat. However, this is the first book I've read on nutrition that answers what the government-sponsored literature have failed to address, namely how our lifespan can possibly be shorter now, how we have such high rates of ADHD in kids, why heart and autoimmune disorders are suddenly a problem. It traces the history of America's agriculture, the pots of money funding literature from the American Heart Association, and how America changed its diet for the worse. It answers the anecdotes I've heard in my life, for example, the delivery room nurse telling me that vegetarians have much worse vaginal tears during delivery (due to lack of animal collagen and protein to keep skin and connective tissue resilient). It's also fairly heavy on the biochemistry, which I appreciated. Will this just be another fad? Maybe, but I believe that you have to prescribe to the best data you have now. In my eye, what we're being told about a low-fat diet and high cholesterol isn't adding up, but this book does for me.
If you're female, this is an absolute must-read. It details how to adapt your training, eating, and life to work with your physiology and hormones. It's ludicrous more of this information isn't mainstream since the world's half female, and a shame that most disseminated information is based on men's physiology. For example, during your luteal phase (post-ovulation, pre-menstruation), estrogen and progesterone spike, and your body becomes catatonic (breaks down muscle rather than builds), so cycling your intense exercises to the 2 weeks before ovulation and doing recovery workouts for the 2 weeks after ovulation is much more efficient.
Search Inside Yourself
Mindfulness is such a craze nowadays. This book was totally worth the read, though, especially if you're coming out of ACL surgery during those half-depressed days. The author has an awesome dry humor. For being such a heavy topic on how to be happy, it's light-hearted and easy reading.
Why we sleep
I never fully realized the importance of having a regimented sleep schedule until after having a baby. I always got 6 hours+ of sleep, but during my student years, I'd skimp here and there and make up with 9+ hours on the weekends. This book describes the physiology of sleep, how our bodies grow and learn from our baby years and onward.
The moment you're pregnant, the OBGYN hands you an 8.5x11" piece of paper with the don'ts of pregnancy. It's a long list. It's ridiculous. Emily Oster is an economist who was also fed up with the less-than-scientific claims about pregnancy. She distills everything from don't eat soft cheese, to don't touch cat litter, to don't garden. She evaluates existing research papers from the US and rest-of-world, throws away the unapplicable ones, and summarizes in this book. It'll make your life a whole lot easier. Post-delivery, check out her other book, Cribsheet, which takes the same statistics-based approach to infants and toddlers.
Exercising through your Pregnancy
On the same vein of the don'ts of pregnancy, exercise was one of them. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 30min of moderate activity at least 3 times a week. But for someone who's very active, that's ridiculous. I rock climbed until 2 weeks before delivery (sending 12a at 8 months!) and weightlifted until 2 days before. I've summarized my experience here. The book is much more in-depth into the physiology of pregnancy through the trimesters and how resilient the body really is.
Solve your Child's Sleep Problems
Richard Ferber is the "cry it out" guy. Actually, he has a solid multiplicative-backoff method for training kids, which is far from the reputation he got for supposedly ignoring kids' crying. We started the wait while still in the hospital after birth of our baby, waiting 10sec when crying started. We kept to a backoff-type method of waiting, then waiting more, and we never even went through the dreaded "sleep training." In Ferber's words, 98% of humans are capable of sleeping through the night at 3 months. This book's method helps with everything behavioral, not just sleeping.
Bringing up Bebe
Honestly, most of the info in this book is common sense, but it's light and written almost in story form. Want your kids to eat everything? Cook them a variety and eat with them. Want your kids to listen to you? Listen to them and treat them as people. It's a good reminder to read in the midst of everyone telling you "you just don't understand, you'll see."
I'm not much for having dozens of workouts to supplement climbing. I like the simplicity of kettlebells and barbells. But sometimes you just need to mix it up. Need climbing-specific training ideas? Here ya go. It's written by Alex Megos' trainers.
Make or Break
Nagging climbing injury you want to rehab yourself? Wondering what's too little to do? This book goes over common injuries and when to take a full break vs. work through your injuries. It's written by a Brit, and has way better info than we typically get in the US.
The Crack Climber's Technique Manual
The 3D illustrations are mind-blowing. I've never read a single climbing book as good as this one in describing technique. After being a boulderer for 8 years and having ACL reconstruction, I started in other climbing venues. This book was wow.