What Alex Honnold Is Reading Right Now

The free soloist hopes that these four books will teach you something about the world

Alex Honnold considers The New Jim Crow a "must-read for anybody." (Courtesy The North Face/Ted Hesser)
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Alex Honnold didn’t scale El Capitan with a wandering mind. The feats of this prolific free soloist call for incredible focus and an all-consuming approach to training and preparation that might leave you wondering whether Honnold has a mind for anything but climbing. But he’s is actually an avid reader. Here are four books that he highly recommends.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow’ by Yuval Noah Harari 

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(Courtesy Harper)

“I just started reading this book. I almost didn’t put it in my travel bag because it’s so heavy, but I think it will be worth the read. I also really enjoyed Sapiens by the same author.”

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‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’ by Michelle Alexander

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(Courtesy The New Press)

This book was given to me by Dory Trimble, executive director of the Honnold Foundation, who wanted to educate me about social justice. A super-heavy read, but it definitely changed the way I see the entire criminal-justice system. I would consider this a must-read for anybody.”

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‘Off Grid Solar: A Handbook for Photovoltaics with Lead-Acid or Lithium-Ion Batteries’ by Joseph P. O’Connor

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(Courtesy CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

“This was also given to me by Dory—and it was given to her at an event by the author, who hoped to help educate me on solar. Fittingly, I’d been struggling with the solar system on my van, and this textbook helped me better understand the whole system.”

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‘North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail’ by Scott Jurek

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(Courtesy Little, Brown and Company)

“I got this book from Scott and lagged on reading it for a while because I felt I already knew how it ended. But when I finally sat down and read it, I really enjoyed his entire journey. I found it surprisingly inspiring.”

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Filed To: Books / Climbing / Gear / Gear Review / Travel
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