Choosing the Red Pill: Tom Bilyeu’s Reading List


Imagine being trapped in the Matrix, a perennial state of scarcity bound by artificial limitations. If you encountered someone offering the red pill, a way out, would you take it?

Tom Bilyeu, co-founder of Quest Nutrition and former host of Inside Quest, defines the Matrix as a sub-optimal mindset, generational poverty, limited by fixed beliefs. His latest venture, Impact Theory, promises to help pull people out of the Matrix. 

Are you stuck in the Matrix?

If you believe that your abilities such as creativity, intelligence, and character are fixed, you may be stuck in the mindset Matrix.

Take a look at the graphic below. Which defines you? And which do you think leads to a life well lived?

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

It takes a fundamental shift in mindset to understand that potential is limitless and growth has no boundary, but making the jump from a fixed to growth mindset is no easy feat. 

Luckily for us, Tom Bilyeu has a red pill reading list, books that had a profound impact in shaping his worldview and provided him with the tools to escape the Matrix. As a fan of Tom’s work on Inside Quest, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on these books for a long time. My girlfriend made it happen and hooked me up with the best Christmas ever. 

Mad props to my lady for these awesome Christmas gifts

Mad props to my lady for these awesome Christmas gifts


The Red Pill

My thoughts are best clarified after I’ve written about them so I’ve decided to start a book review project for Bilyeu’s reading list. By the end of 2017, I will have read and created posts summarizing/analyzing each of the 25 books. The reasons for this project:

  1. Help myself conceptualize the central messages of each book and further my own discovery of “Truth”

  2. Help others discover new ideas that shape their own worldview

  3. Hold myself accountable to actually reading the books

I’ve read a handful of these books before. The Power of Myth is a game-changer (Joseph Campbell is my hero — no pun intended) and Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way is one of my all time favorites, but I’m looking forward to re-reading them within the framework of this challenge.

Will I finally escape the Matrix? Ask me 25 books later. 

1. Mindset by Carol Dweck

2. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

3. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

4. Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn by John C. Maxwell

5. The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

6. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin

7. Relentless by Tim Grover

8. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

9. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

10. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

11. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

12. Bold: How to go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

13. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born, It’s Grown by Daniel Coyle

14. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson

15. Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing its Soul by Howard Shultz

16. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

17. Mastery by Robert Greene

18. The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

19. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

21. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

22. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

23. Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

24. The Moral Animal by Robert Wright

25. Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind by V.S. Ramachandran

If you’re interested in actionable knowledge and actualizing your potential, I highly suggest you watch some of Impact Theory’s video interviews, or listen to the podcast.

If you have read any of these books, I’d love to hear what you learned. Find me @VinceTheAnomaly.