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Episode #630: Uche’s Top 10 Favorite Books Of All Time, With Dr. Uche Odiatu

When you read more, you know more. With more knowledge, you can help patients beyond their dental needs. To get you started on your learning journey, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Uche Odiatu, one of ACT’s favorite health and wellness gurus, to share his ten favorite books that have kept his mind open, challenged, and engaged. Readers become leaders! To learn from some of the best minds in the world, listen to Episode 630 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Read The Diet Myth by Tim Spector

Read Exercised by Daniel E. Lieberman

Read Outlive by Peter Attia

Read Spark by John J. Ratey

Read The Clever Gut Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley

Read Clean by James Hamblin

Read Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge

Read Aging Well by George E. Vaillant

Read The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Read The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Read Think Again by Adam Grant

Read Traction by Gino Wickman

Read The E-Myth by Christopher Barrow and Michael G. Gerber

Read Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Read The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

Read SYSTEMology by David Jenyns

Sign up to be notified for Bulletproof Summit 2024 details

Register for SmileCon

Register for The Greater New York Meeting

Main Takeaways:

Read more to learn from other people’s experiences.

Keep your brain young by moving and reading.

Make an effort to be fit, not just healthy.

Reclaim your health with exercise.

Educate yourself on nutrition.

Maintain your grip strength.

Stay curious.


“It’s inexpensive, the investment of time that goes into [reading books]. We can actually listen to an audiobook in ten hours or read it over two or three weekends. They talk about the best way to learn is other people’s experiences. There’s no better way. Your own experience is the toughest one because you have the school of hard knocks. But when you listen to someone else’s journey, and what they did, and what they wouldn’t do — OPE, other people’s experiences. It’s a very efficient way to get smart and get wise early.” (2:37—3:05)

“The minute you start learning other people’s experiences, you make your ability to solve problems. You have way more tools. It’s like having a carpenter with a hundred tools, compared to someone who just has a hammer and a saw. You’re going to build a better house.” (3:52—4:05)

“People always think they can’t [listen to audiobooks] while they’re doing something. But we’re not listening to it to memorize it. It’s just the subtle nuances. Think about your favorite books. If we said we had to speak about it for a couple of minutes, usually, you’d say, ‘This was my takeaway.’ So, you don’t have to commit it to memory. You’re listening in your alpha state of your brain, and it gets in there.” (4:32—4:54)

Diet Myth is written by an epidemiologist out of England. His name is Tim Spector. I chose it because I saw all these reviews saying it was a great book to buy, a good summary. Also, Tim Spector studied 12,000 twins over 10 years, and he was able to deduce what’s nature, what’s nurture. When I read the review, it said height is 80% nature. So, 80% of your height is your parents and your genes, but 20% is your nutrition when growing up, how much stress you had, and how many infections that you had. That’s a neat thing.” (5:48—6:23)

“Any time you’re talking to a patient, they assume, as we’re doctors, that we know about nutrition. But many dentists, because of our paralysis by analysis, often go, ‘I can’t talk nutrition, chairside. I’m great on the curve of speed and doing a full-mouth rehab. But I don’t know about this food thing.’ Well, people use teeth to eat, so it’s good to know a little bit about nutrition. So, I think if any dentist out there would listen to The Diet Myth and give them a good running, current dialogue of what’s myth, what’s fact — it talks about vitamins, antibiotics in meat and dairy, and gluten allergies and nuts. It’s well done.” (6:56—7:33)

“Sedentary living kills us. But in as little as eight months, on average, any of us can reclaim health. This is all in the book called Exercised by Daniel Lieberman. So, all these dentists are winding down at 55, or saying, ‘Oh, now that I’m 60.’ You don’t realize, within eight months, or 32 weeks, you could reclaim your mojo and be as strong as any new grad.” (9:06—9:26)

“They had a high-performance Formula One race in Toronto a few weeks ago. They said at 500 miles, these people changed their tires five to seven times. So, in a race of 500 miles around Toronto, a few weeks ago, these Formula One cars, they changed the tires five to seven times, which is basically every 70 miles. A normal, day-to-day car, you change your tires every six years or every about 50,000 to 60,000 miles. That being said, if you’re a high-performance car or a high-performance dentist, you need the best tires. You need the best food. You need the best trainer. You need the best information. You’re not a point A to point B old buggy. So, a Formula One racecar is five to seven times in a 500-mile race. Imagine Indy Formula One racecar drivers saying, ‘Oh, we change our racecar tires every six years.’ They’d say that’s crazy. So, why are you, as a dentist, buying the cheapest supplements? Why are you buying the cheapest food? Why are you eating fast-food? You need the best food in that premium body.” (9:52—10:56)

“[Peter Attia is] a medical doctor. He was actually a cancer surgeon. I think he’s 50 years of age. Very popular on podcasts. Very stern, a tough-love guy. He talked about the four horsemen that kill us. The four horsemen are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia. These are the four grim reapers, the four horsemen. In his book, he’s written very cold turkey. He was saying things like, ‘You can’t just be in average shape or in good shape. You have to get in the top five percent for your age group if you want to be a high-level, independent liver between 70 and 90.’ Whatever shape you and I are in now, if we didn’t do anything else, it’s a downhill slide. So, you and I have to get in the top five percent of people in their 50s if you want to be a supreme top-percenter as you get older. There is no way around it. He also said that he used to think nutrition or food was the most important thing to stay healthy. He said exercise, being physically active, is number one. The body needs to move. I’ve even seen that myself. You go to a health food store, and you see a lot of people who are very fragile. Eating healthy, but very fragile. If you don’t exercise — they’re healthy. But are they fit?” (11:22—12:34)

“[Peter Attia] said grip strength, hand grip strength — when someone shakes your hand — is a very defining tale of how you’re aging. So, for whatever reason, a weak handshake is a sign of an early demise. So, hand grip is a powerful indicator of how you’re aging. Something to think about next time you shake a patient’s hand — if you’re going to give them time payments. So, next time a patient shakes my hand and goes, ‘I’d like to pay over time,’ hand grip. ‘Oh, you’re going to have to pay in-full at the time of treatment.’ I’m not that cold, but hand grip is defining. That’s something people should take a look at, shaking hands with your son, or your daughter, or your partner, or your future associate.” (14:08—14:51)

“Exercisers have more of this neurotransmitter called BDNF [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] than non-exercisers. BDNF encourages communication between all 85 billion neurons. So, you have 85 billion neurons. I have 85 billion neurons. Half of them are in our cerebellum, which is designed to keep us upright. The cerebellum has half the neurons in the brain. And it’s all about keeping us upright when you think of physicality and posture and moving. Well, BDNF facilitates communication. Someone said if there are 85 billion neurons, each neuron has up to 10,000 connections it makes — 10,000. So, if you’re not moving very much, you have less of this neurotransmitter, which means brain fog, lack of clarity, poor memory, forgetting stuff, going into a room and wondering why you came. These are all signs of possibly age-related decline. So, it’s good to keep your brain young. One of the best ways is this — Spark, by John Ratey, a psychiatrist. He said exercise is one of the top treatments for almost every mental disorder. Jogging, walking, dance, and Zumba could help every mental illness get better. It’s a powerful book.” (15:31—16:43)

“[Dr. Michael Mosley] is an English doctor. He was given the diagnosis of having type 2 diabetes. In 16 weeks, he lost 20 pounds doing intermittent fasting. He had a different technique. He did five days of regular eating, regular meals. And then, Saturday, Sunday, he ate 600 calories each day. So, five days of regular meals; Saturday, 600 calories; Sunday, 600 calories. I think he lost 20 pounds, and he reversed his type 2 diabetes. That was an interesting prologue. I’m like, okay, he’s got my attention. And he’s all about the fact of fermented foods. One of the things that most people don’t know is that if you cook hot, white rice, it’s got a high glycemic. So, if you eat a cup of rice, your blood sugar spikes. Well, a lot of cultures cook rice, and they keep it over one, two, three days. Every time you let rice cool and reheat it, it lowers the glycemic index factor. So, it becomes more of a resistant starch. That way, it’s actually easier on your blood sugar spiking. You throw in some olive oil, fish, or vegetables, it lowers it even more. I love that. So, if you’re eating rice that’s been reheated, it’s not such a high glycemic spiking food.” (16:54—18:04)

“COVID-19 has made us very clean. We’re always washing our hands. You’re traveling on a plane, and you see people sanitizing their tray, and sanitizers behind the seat — even though they’ve actually shown that the dirtiest place with flying is the kiosk, that kiosk where you put your passport and you check in when you first get to the airport — 350,000 CFUs, the colony forming units. The toilet on the plane, the seat has only 90,000 colony forming units. To give an idea, when you scratch your eye and put your passport in, you’re better off being in the washroom looking at your passport.” (18:18—18:50)

“[The book], Clean, was all about the fact that we’re too clean. Supposedly, about 15% of our biome is on our skin, these two square yards of tissue that cover us, a big part of our physical immune system. They’ve shown that our skin biome communicates with our stomach biome. If we overly sanitize our body by washing every part of ourselves with antibacterial soap, putting on cleansers and moisturizers, and stripping off that sebum layer, which actually helps to keep our skin healthy, our biome gets negatively impacted. He was saying the new research shows being too clean is not good for your overall immunity — not that you should never wash your hands. Just don’t scrub every inch of you because they’ve actually shown that those 100,000 bacteria that are on every square centimeter of you communicates with your biome that everything is okay. So, when we strip it with really strong soaps, cleaners, and cleansers, we’re actually doing our immune system harm.” (18:52—19:48)

“People who sleep well, their body, their brain, processes emotion and memory during rapid eye movement sleep. So, all those dentists out there who snore, who only get five hours a night, or sleep with their dog on their bed, or whose spouse reads beside them, or they have an eight-foot 8K television watching Netflix all night, what happens is you don’t spend enough time in REM, so your memory is poor.” (20:30—20:52)

“Henry Lodge said, ‘Aerobic fitness might help you live a long time, but weight training will make it more fun.’ So, aerobic fitness might help you live a long time by keeping your cardiovascular system working well, your VO2 max and your cardiac output. But it’s your strength training that will make it fun. You’ve got to be able to put your bags in the overhead compartment. You’ve got to be able to shake the hands of your cousin in Naples when you visit. You’ve got to be able to get in and out of the Uber when you’re running around Egypt. If you want to walk up the Eiffel Tower, you need strength, not just cardio. So, I love that part of it.” (21:02—21:37)

“[Henry Lodge] was saying that most people only do one kind of exercise. You’ve really got to do all three. So, strength training, aerobic training, and also flexibility so you can grab your wallet from behind your back, or that whole posture thing where your [ability to breathe] well needs you to have your diaphragm low as you’re taking in air, doing a belly breath. We need good flexibility. And that’s your fascia, the Saran Wrap that covers all your muscles. It has a memory, and your habitual posture keeps you in that closed state. So, flexibility training keeps your fascia open. That’s why I get physio. I get regular fascia care.” (21:37—22:15)

“I’m reading books in multiple disciplines. So, when I talk to any patient, chairside, they see that I’m a current doctor with current knowledge, and then they see me as greater than just a fill-and-drill guy or a fill-and-drill woman. I am the person that likes to have a broad view, so I look at my patients from head to toe. You’d be surprised — patients look up to us. And if I’m in the middle of reading a book and I share that book, patients love it. They think, ‘Wow, Uche. Every time I come in here, I learn something new.’ And they only learn something new because I’m reading.” (22:32—23:03)

“Most of us know a lot about the mouth and the gingiva, a lot about occlusion, and a lot about cements and bonding agents. We know nothing from the neck down. Most dentists don’t know how many muscles are in the human body, how many bones there are, and a big part of who we are is physicality. Like, it’s hard to do dentistry from a distance.” (23:49—24:09)

“It’s all about maximizing your time and whatever works for you. Some people can work out on their own. Pretty rare, because 85% of people have no exercise habit. So, [aging is] a slow, downhill slide [if you don’t exercise]. And Dr. Peter Attia, author of the book, Outlive, says that slow, downhill slide is gradual, and then you fall off a cliff — break a pelvis, or break a femur. And then, within five years, 20% of people die. So, it’s a slow, downhill aging, but then you fall off a cliff. So, that being said, we can stack the deck in our favor of having a long, happy career. There’s nothing like taking care of the body. It’s such a valuable investment — better than Bitcoin, believe it or not.” (24:54—25:34)

“[Aging Well] came out a couple of years ago. It showed how Harvard researchers in 1938 took about 250 Harvard sophomores, and they wanted to follow them for 80 years. So, from 1938, they followed them until about 2018. They went through about five or six different researchers because it was an 80-year study, and they looked at the top six reasons for what makes some people age well. The standard ones, we all know. Drink less alcohol, don’t smoke, eat healthy, exercise, manage stress. But the sixth one, they were shocked. They were shocked at how important your intimate relationships are and how it makes you healthy. So, you could have a flat stomach, do Zumba, have a life coach, eat organic food. You have venison so you’re not having conventionally grown meat. But if you don’t enjoy your family, or if your marriage is in trouble and you’re not getting counseling — Dr. Oz would talk about as men now, in particular, ‘Sure, a man might talk to his spouse about his troubles and challenges. But men need one other person to chat with. If a man doesn’t have a buddy or someone to debrief or download to, you live a shorter life.’ So, they found out that intimate relationships are powerful in terms of how well you age. It’s not all about picking the acai berry and having Lululemon or Spandex. You need to have nurtured your close friendships.” (25:46—27:12)

“[The 48 Laws of Power] is banned in prison and banned in a lot of correctional institutions. Why? Because anyone who studies these laws and uses them, you can rise to the top of leadership fairly quickly. And there aren’t exactly 48 laws. One of them is, never outshine the master. As an associate, you always think, ‘I’m going to show the dentist that I’m doing full-mouth cases, and the hygienists like me now, and all the patients are switching over to me.’ Your principal goes, ‘Hmm.’ Every owner or principal has an ego, and if you constantly outshine the master or outshine the principle, guess what? Subconsciously or unconsciously, he or she is thinking, ‘How do I get rid of this guy? How do I get rid of this lady?’ So, it said always defer or always edify. ‘If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be doing so well. If it wasn’t for your mentoring, I wouldn’t be where I am today.’ But also compliment their work sincerely. One of his top three rules was don’t outshine the master. And he showed, all through history, how vice presidents and certain cabinet ministers, if they outshined the president, the prime minister, or the king, they’re either beheaded, imprisoned, or banished.” (27:36—28:43)

“[The Body Keeps Score] talks about childhood trauma. You don’t realize sometimes what keeps us from reaching our potential, and why some people sabotage their efforts, and why some people never get past that entry-level area. It said it may not be because of your intelligence. It might not be because of your ability. It’s simply because you have unresolved childhood trauma — not feeling worthy, having grown up in an abusive background. You never got past that thing of, ‘You’re just like your uncle,’ or, ‘You’re just like your stepdad,’ or, ‘You look just like your older brother.’ And it’s unconscious. It talks about all those unresolved traumas in your body. It’s part of who you are, and that could be the reason why you’re on your fourth or fifth marriage, or you’re on your fourth or fifth office manager, or you’re always butting heads with the hygienist, or you can’t seem to keep an assistant. What is unresolved?” (30:33—31:23)

“You think about childhood trauma, ‘What do you mean? I love my parents.’ Well, was it an older brother? Were you bullied? And they said if you have unresolved trauma, if you haven’t dealt with it either by hypnosis, or counseling, or medication, or whatever it is, CBT which is cognitive behavioral therapy — and you can’t medicate your way through it. They said medication just basically postpones it to later. But it said unresolved trauma is like holding a beach ball under the water, which seems easy for the first minute. A day later, it’s exhausting. When it explodes out of the water, that’s when you’re erupted in some trigger.” (31:24—31:56)

“When you think about alcoholism, one in eight people grew up with alcoholism. Sexual abuse, one in four women, sexually abused. Emotional abuse. Growing up in poverty where you had that veil of, ‘This is as good as it’s ever going to get. This is all you’re ever going to be.’ And again, dealing with that, and resolving and working through it somehow, whether therapy, or counseling, that could be the bottleneck. Which, some people own four offices. Say you’re stuck at three, and you can’t seem to get past three. If your dad ever kept saying the word, ‘Rich bastard,’ or, ‘Look at all those rich bastards,’ who wants to be a rich bastard? So, I’ll totally keep my income below $100,000 or whatever multiple six figures because I don’t want to be that rich guy or the fat cats. So, we’ve got to resolve this stuff. The Body Keeps Score talks about the power of unresolved trauma to impact us the rest of our lives. It comes into every relationship and working relationship that we have.” (32:03—33:01)

[Another great book is] Think Again by Adam Grant. It’s all about how most of us learn something and we never change our minds. It’s like The Flat Earth Society still talking about the flat earth. You hold on to a belief that you can never change, and you become boring and old. And so, he’s saying if an idea, belief, or a way of doing things is no longer serving you, like if you’re a dentist and you want three offices, you can’t run those two and three offices like you did with the one office. So, he talks about how to let go of things that aren’t serving you. We talk about decluttering your office. Declutter your brain of what’s not serving you to create space so you can have more of what you do want.” (33:37—34:10)

“Peter Attia, a medical doctor, wrote a book, Outlive. He said exercise is more important than sudoku. So, you can do all the puzzles and Rubik’s Cubes you want. You’ve got to move because that brain is an oxygen hog. It’s only three pounds, but it takes 25% of the oxygen you’re breathing. And at any one point in time in the day, however many calories you eat, your brain takes 20% of the calories. So, because it’s an oxygen hog, it’s movement. You need a good, pumping brain. You need all four chambers working well. So, low blood pressure, good blood pressure, good cardiac output, good stroke volume, a good max VO2. So, he said exercise is more important than sudoku. If you’re doing sudoku and sitting all night, you’re better off [walking] around. Just because you’re a periodontist, you can afford to have someone walk your dog. Fire that dog-walker and take the little buddy out for the walk. Keep that brain youthful.” (34:42—35:38)

“If I didn’t read, I wouldn’t know anything, naturally. I know people say, ‘Uche, how is that?’ I know nothing, naturally. What do you know, naturally? Reading lets me reinvent and take on new information. When you’re on a plane and you tell a person you’re a dentist, if you’re well-read, they see — I always represent my profession anywhere I go. If you’re on a plane or an Uber, they’re always like, ‘Why do dentists know that?’ They always think we just drill holes and fill them, or we make teeth white. You really bust the doors of people’s preconceptions when you’re a well-read dentist. People see you as a renaissance man or woman, and it’s a great way to come across. It really elevates our status.” (37:10—37:50)

“If your mind is good, your heart is probably good, and you probably have good blood sugar management. You don’t realize how mind is everything. So, unless you’re channeling information or you have 13 past lives, you’ve got to read, and listen, and learn, and stay curious. It’s beautiful when someone is curious.” (43:08—43:26)

“The best scientists are open. The minute you have a fixed belief, you miss things. Like the guy who founded Blackberry. He became a billionaire. 2005 came along, and Apple was saying, ‘Hey, touch is the way to go.’ He goes, ‘No, no. The key is the way to go. I’m not going to change. Who wants the touch? It’s messy. There are going to be fingerprints on it.’ He didn’t change. He was so fixed on his QWERTY, his little keys. Guess what? Blackberry tanked and iPhone zoomed. So, just because you’re a billionaire doesn’t mean you’re super smart. So, holding on to what you know is the death to growth in the business, or in a relationship, or a friendship, or as a dentist. Be open.” (43:31—44:10)

“You can tell a lot about someone by what they read.” (45:07—45:09)


0:00 Introduction.

2:00 The value of books.

4:06 Paper or digital?

5:12 The Diet Myth by Tim Spector.

7:35 Exercised by Daniel Lieberman.

10:58 Outlive by Peter Attia.

13:01 Maintain your grip strength.

14:54 Spark by John Ratey.

16:46 The Clever Gut Diet by Michael Mosley.

18:08 Clean by James Hamblin.

20:13 Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge.

25:41 Aging Well by George E. Vaillant.

27:15 The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

30:26 The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk.

33:14 Think Again by Adam Grant.

34:27 Keep your brain going.

35:56 About upcoming events.

38:12 Kirk’s favorite books.

45:52 It’s important to read.

Dr. Uche Odiatu Bio:

Dr. Uche Odiatu has a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). He is a professional member of the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), a Certified Personal Trainer (National Strength & Conditioning Association) NSCA, and the Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals (canfitpro). He is the co-author of The Miracle of Health (c) 2009 John Wiley (hardcover) & (c) 2015 Harper Collins, and has lectured in Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, the UK, and Europe. He is an invited guest on over 400 TV and radio shows, from ABC 20/20, Canada CTV AM, Breakfast TV, to Magic Sunday Drum FM in Texas. This high-energy healthcare professional has done over 450 lectures in seven countries over the last 15 years.

Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.