Keith Thurman is fond of checking chins and reading the kind of books that cause you to stroke yours. He’s like the New Age section of Barnes & Noble come to life with a right hand that could rob a Yeti of his consciousness.
Thurman’s a philosophical dude and a deep thinker. Don't even get him started on whether or not The Matrix is real.
He's also a voracious reader, much of it done on the road.
“I read a lot when I travel,” he says. “Sometimes I bring two or three books to the hotel room to go over. Sometimes I’ll go weeks without reading and then I’ll read for two weeks straight.”
In order to further our own enlightenment, we asked Keith Thurman to share some of his favorite books in advance of his upcoming scrap with Luis Collazo at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida, on July 11, which airs on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
4 “Living Buddha, Living Christ,” by Nhat Hanh Thich
By his own admission, Thurman wasn’t much of a reader when he discovered this weighty tome in his early 20s.
Penned by a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk who was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr., the book helped Thurman develop a measure of mental tranquility, which can be helpful when your career of choice revolves around clobbering dudes’ Chiclets loose.
“I remember grabbing this book and sitting down and reading 50 pages nonstop one day, and for me, that was a real big deal at the time,” Thurman recalls. “In Chapter 2, one thing that really got me right at the beginning was that it focused on mindfulness.
“Mindfulness is a technique that Buddhist monks use throughout their daily activities to try and stay in the moment. A lot of times when we’re stressing over things in life, we stress over what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow over really being aware of how you feel in the moment.
“This book helps bring you more into the moment and it gives you tips on how you can implement little things into your lifestyle. I started to devote 10 minutes a day towards daily mindfulness, meditation. That’s why this book is significant to me.”
3 “Tanya, the Masterpiece of Hasidic Wisdom,” by various authors
Moses, Sandy Koufax, Walter Sobchak: The Jewish tradition has manifested itself in many a great man (and women, lest we forget Estelle Costanza).
With this book, Thurman boned up on the theological tenets of Jewish culture.
“Even though I studied a lot of world religions in my 20s, I didn’t do a lot on Judaism,” he says. “For the most part, it was because I was raised Christian. I studied a lot of the New Testament, and this book brought me back into the Old Testament.
“Moses wrote the Old Testament, and a lot of his wisdom in this book—a lot of other wisdom in it is from old sages from long ago. If you’re into Old Testament knowledge or you want to broaden your spectrum on Judaism itself, I highly recommend this book.”
2 “The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice,” by Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Remember that time your roommate fell asleep on the couch and you were going to fill his palm with shaving cream and tickle his nose with a feather because you’re a factory of laughs but you were out of shaving cream and so you used a handful of boric acid instead?
Well, even if you’ve permanently disfigured another human being for a brief, fleeting chuckle—and really, who hasn’t?—relax, this book can help even a horrible, horrible person such as yourself.
“Even if you’ve been bad to many people in your life, I’m pretty sure that not everything you’ve done was negative,” Thurman says, clearly having never met you. “I’m pretty sure that you’ve treated somebody with some form of love, because at root, humans are love and we are to be kind.
“But just like anything in life, it can be a challenge, so I like books like this to help keep my mind focused on the positive things in life. It’s beautiful. I believe that it can open up your heart.”
1 “The Complete Book of Numerology,” by David Phillips
Keith Thurman hearts math because unlike your mother, when she tells you that she loves you just as much as your far more successful siblings, numbers don’t lie.
“Something that I’ve been into ever since I was a little kid was numbers, numerology,” Thurman says. “I’m into all forms of philosophy, but numbers are something that I always liked growing up.
“This book is fascinating in just going over the way it looks at the world and how it translates anything back into a number, and that number will have a meaning.”
What about Thurman’s numbers?
“I’m 25-0 with 21 knockouts,” he says. “Those are my numbers, and I look forward to adding to them.”