Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and The Surprising Science of Real Toughness

"In Do Hard Things, Steve Magness beautifully and persuasively reimagines our understanding of toughness. This is a must-read for parents and coaches and anyone else looking to prepare for life's biggest challenges."

 -- Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and Talking to Strangers and host of the Revisionist History podcast

From beloved performance expert and coauthor of Peak Performance Steve Magness comes a radical rethinking of how we perceive toughness and what it means to achieve our high ambitions in the face of hard things.

Toughness has long been held as the key to overcoming a challenge and achieving greatness, whether it is on the sports field, at a boardroom, or at the dining room table. Yet, the prevailing model has promoted a mentality based on fear, false bravado, and hiding any sign of weakness. In other words, the old model of toughness has failed us.

Steve Magness, a performance scientist who coaches Olympic athletes, rebuilds our broken model of resilience with one grounded in the latest science and psychology. In Do Hard Things, Magness teaches us how we can work with our body – how experiencing discomfort, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action can be the true indications of cultivating inner strength. He offers four core pillars to cultivate such resilience:

  • Pillar 1- Ditch the Façade, Embrace Reality
  • Pillar 2- Listen to Your Body
  • Pillar 3- Respond, Instead of React
  • Pillar 4- Transcend Discomfort

Smart and wise all at once, Magness flips the script on what it means to be resilient. Drawing from mindfulness, military case studies, sports psychology, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, he provides a roadmap for navigating life’s challenges and achieving high performance that makes us happier, more successful, and, ultimately, better people.

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Peak Performance

A few common principles drive performance, regardless of the field or the task at hand. Whether someone is trying to qualify for the Olympics, break ground in mathematical theory, or craft an artistic masterpiece, many of the practices that lead to great success are the same. In Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg, a coach, researcher, and writer who covers health and the science of human performance, and Steve Magness, a performance scientist and coach of Olympic athletes, team up to demystify these practices and make them accessible to everyone.

The first book of its kind, Peak Performance combines inspiring stories of top performers across a range of domains – from athletic to intellectual to artistic – with the latest science on the cognitive, neurochemical, and physiological factors that underlie mastery. The result is an entertaining read that links traditionally-siloed fields and relies upon cutting-edge science. In doing so, it uncovers unique and powerful insights that can help you take your game to the next level, whatever your game may be.


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The Passion Paradox

Nearly everything you think you know about drive and passion is wrong. Learn how to develop your passion and harness it in productive directions, and control your passion so it doesn't control you.

In this book you'll come to understand: How to cultivate passion in a way that is sustainable and healthy. The relationship between passion, addiction, and mental illness. The difference between harmonious passion (the best kind of passion) and obsessive passion (a destructive force), and how to nurture the former and avoid the latter. The mastery mindset, which ensures you stay passionate about your endeavor without becoming a slave to external results. Focusing on process over outcomes. The illusion of living a perfectly "balanced" life and why passion coupled with self-awareness trumps "balance" any day. Why moving on from a passion can be so hard and tips on how to do so with grace and grit. And so much more.


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The Science of Running

The Science of Running is written for those of us looking to maximize our performance, get as close to our limits as possible, and more than anything find out how good we can be, or how good our athletes can be. In The Science of Running, elite coach and exercise physiologist Steve Magness integrates the latest research with the training processes of the world’s best runners, to deliver an in depth look at how to maximize your performance. It is a unique book that conquers both the scientific and practical points of running in two different sections. The first is aimed at identifying what limits running performance from a scientific standpoint. You will take a tour through the inside of the body, learning what causes fatigue, how we produce energy to run, and how the brain functions to hold you back from super-human performance. In section two, we turn to the practical application of this information and focus on the process of training to achieve your goals. You will learn how to develop training plans and to look at training in a completely different way.


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Praise for Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox

"Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness have written essential playbooks for success, happiness, and getting the most out of ourselves and our lives."

—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive and The Sleep Revolution

"What do top performers actually do to make themselves great? Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness are here with some powerful answers. From rethinking stress to transcending your "self," the ideas in Peak Performance will help you become better than you ever imagined."

—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive, When, and To Sell Is Human

“Passion is a roller coaster ride that can send us on a sudden, precipitating plunge from the heights of happiness to the depths of despair.  This thoughtful, immediately readable book shows how to manage passion so it brings out the best in us rather than the worst in us.“

⁠—Adam Grant, author of Give and Take and Originals

“I feel like these books were written for me. I had to resist underlining every sentence."

⁠—Shalane Flanagan, NYC Marathon Champion, 4-time Olympian, author of Run Fast, Eat Slow

"The Passion Paradox brings together multiple angles to peer over the edge at something difficult to grasp but incredibly important to people."

⁠—David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene and Range

"These books provide the road-map you need to transcend your limitations, unleash your inner greatness and, most importantly, sustain it over time. Absolute must reads for anyone interested in unlocking potential to become your best self!"

⁠—Rich Roll, author of Finding Ultra and host of the Rich Roll Podcast.

"Brad Stulberg is one of the most gifted science writers of our times, a master at translating fascinating findings into concrete strategies. His books provide actionable insights from the cutting-edge research on how people excel. They are must-reads for anyone who wants to up their game, transcend boundaries and get out of their comfort zone."

⁠—Kelly McGonigal, Stanford psychologist and author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress

"Clear, concise, and captivating. From the onset, one is quickly drawn in through the honest and open comments supplemented by engaging stories, provocative examples, and supportive research. The Passion Paradox is a page turner, nudging one on to the next chapter and then the next."

—New York Journal of Books

"Peak Performance provides a thoughtful look at taking one’s game to the next level without crashing and burning...readers looking to realize their potential without harming themselves would do well to take this advice."

—Publishers Weekly