Books about the environment, energy access, the economy, and the way we eat have all influenced the creation of the Honnold Foundation, and the evolution of Alex's approach to the world. Here at HF, we're strong believers in the power of a good book-- and so we've selected 23 of Alex's favorites (and some color commentary) to give you a peek behind the scenes.

Have an awesome read that you'd like to recommend to Alex and the Honnold Foundation team? We're always taking suggestions!

And if we really love it, we might even add it to Alex's Book List.



Climate & Environment


The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman

Alex says: "I think about this book a lot. It’s interesting to imagine how the world would heal without us..."

IndieBound / Amazon


The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

Alex says: "Very depressing. Educational, but depressing."



Overview: A New Perspective of Earth, by Benjamin Grant

Alex says: "I loved this book, and follow @dailyoverview on Instagram. It helps give a global perspective."

IndieBound / Amazon


The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, by Emma Marris

Alex says: "I actually think of this book more than I expected to when I first read it - the idea of our random extra spaces (think highway medians) being nature really sunk in.

IndieBound / Amazon


Money and how we spend it


This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs Climate, by Naomi Klein

Alex says: "Depressing. Good, but grim. Kind of like the economic version of The Sixth Extinction."

IndieBound / Amazon


The Better World Shopping Guide: How Every Dollar Can Make a Difference, by Ellis Jones

Alex says: "My sister bought this for me and signed it with the inscription: For Alex - In case you ever start giving a shit. Love, Stasia.” It was the beginning of a long process in which I’ve given more and more shits.

IndieBound / Amazon


Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim Collins

Alex says: "I read Jim’s books because I once saw a quote where Tommy Caldwell said that Jim was his favorite author. That was before I knew Tommy really well so I couldn’t ask him about it - all I could do was read all the books. It's also worth saying that Jim Collins, besides being the best selling business author of all time or something like that, has also free soloed The Naked Edge (5 pitch 5.11c). Whoa!""

IndieBound / Amazon


Let My People Go Surfing: the Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard

Alex says: "I have a ton of respect for Yvon both as a climber and a businessman. He’s definitely lived his life correctly."

IndieBound / Amazon


What We Eat


In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan

Alex says: “Eat real food, mostly plants, not too much.” I think of that all the time. Words to live by."



Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, by Scott Jurek

Alex says: “I’m good friends with Scott and his wife so I’m biased, but I found this book to be an inspiring tale of veganhood. Scott’s the man!”

IndieBound / Amazon


Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Alex says: “This book made me care more about animal rights than anything else I’ve read. I’d already been vegetarian for years when I read it, but it made me appreciate the suffering of animals a lot more.”

IndieBound / Amazon


The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor, by Mark Schatzker

Alex says: "I remember nothing about this. Maybe the book is as empty as a Dorito..."

IndieBound / Amazon



Adventure & Exploration


Barbarian Days, by William Finnegan

Alex says: "A true surfing lifer! Makes me hope that I can have that kind of love for climbing my whole life. This book was Jimmy Chin’s - I borrowed it in Antarctica after I finished all of mine... the beauty of real, paper books."

IndieBound / Amazon


With Bare Hands: The true story of Alain Robert, the real-life Spiderman, by Alain Robert

Alex says: "This book was either translated to English by Google or by someone who didn’t actually speak English. But thankfully I speak French, so it made some sense anyway. But the climbing is amazing."

IndieBound / Amazon


To Be Brave, by Royal Robbins

Alex says: "Royal is a total legend and I bought this book at a talk that he gave. It’s too bad that he didn’t have enough time to write more of his story before he died."



The Endurance: Shackelton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, by Caroline Alexander

Alex says: "This is possibly the greatest adventure tale of all time. Must read!"

IndieBound / Amazon


No Picnic on Mt. Kenya, by Felice Benuzzi

Alex says: "I read this right before climbing Mt Kenya. It was the proper primer. Made me grateful that I didn’t have to escape from a POW camp before undertaking my climb..."

IndieBound / Amazon


Queen Maud Land Antarctica, by Ivar Tollefsen

Alex says: "I read this in Antarctica and we referenced the photos all the time for beta and route descriptions. It’s a great, readable account of the first climbing trip to Queen Maud Land."



Everything Else

Lighting the World, by Jim Rogers and Stephen P. Williams

Alex says: "A good reminder that there are 1 billion people on earth without access to power and that we should be doing something about it. Which is a big part of why I started the Honnold Foundation."

IndieBound / Amazon


Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris

Alex says: "I loved this book - I wish I could give a copy to everyone in America. It’s freakin’ genius. I read it in a sitting. Two different times."

IndieBound / Amazon


Weep Not, Child, by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Alex says: "I rarely read fiction. When I do, I make sure it’s depressing African fiction while on an expedition in Africa. But it was quite moving."

IndieBound / Amazon


Rules For a Knight, by Ethan Hawke

Alex says: "Conrad Anker gave me this book and it’s freakin’ great. I’ve read it several times and given a few copies to friends. It makes me want to be a better knight."

IndieBound / Amazon


Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Alex says: "Fun, easy reading that reminds us of our place in the universe."

IndieBound / Amazon

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Want More?

Download Alex's complete reading list, including 80 additional titles not listed here.