About World’s Strongest Librarian

World’s Strongest Librarian is a blog for anyone looking to get stronger, healthier, smarter, and talk about books.

And I’ve got a book. The World’s Strongest Librarian waspublished by Gotham Books on May 2, 2013.

Actually, all you really need to know is that I have arm wrestled Stephen King (he smashed me!):



Here’s the trailer for my book:


A Promise*

My main goal  here is not to bore myself…or you.That’s the promise I’m making to you.  I’ll even try to keep it.

*I might still bore us both

What You Will Find Here:

Lots of people wind up here because of the Tourette’s series. I haven’t had much to say about it for a while because it’s been a while since I’ve made much progress worth talking about.

I also write about strength training, libraries, and books.

I used to write about the strength stuff more than I do now, but at this point I’ve had my say. There’s only so much to say about it.  I make the best progress when I’m lifting consistently, keeping it fun, and not worrying what anyone else is doing. I’m always happy to talk about it, though, if you’d like to send me an email.

I also answer questions that I receive on the reference desk here on the blog, so I never know exactly what I’ll be writing about, which keeps it interesting.

About Josh Hanagarne

The short answer: just some guy.

I’ve got a pretty simple philosophy of life.

  • Take care of your mind and your health
  • Protect your family and make sure they have what they need
  • Help who you can help
  • Laugh as often as possible
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Distrust the humorless
  • Nobody understood human nature better than Mark Twain
  • There’s always a way to be compassionate
  • Every situation can be improved

Not too profound, but it works for me.


Contact me

Contact me here

Comment Policy

Disclosure of earnings statement

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe D. August 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Just read your article over on Darren’s site and was very impressed…great piece of writing. I just signed up for my Wordpress blog last night, and am working on the first post and “About Me” page, and I will write in the same fashion…to enjoy it, hopefully offer some value, and write for “myself”. If the readers come great, if they don’t…I’ll still keep writing!

Thanks for today’s bit of inspiration.


Josh Hanagarne August 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Joe D., thank you very much. Let me know when the blog is up. I’ll watch with great interest. Good luck to you.


Rosie August 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I just want to let you know that your philosophy “Don’t make anyone’s day worse” is fantastic. It’s so concise and to the point, I want to embroider it on a pillow, but first I’ll have to learn how to embroider.

I’ll add you to my reader and visit any time you post.


Josh Hanagarne August 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Rosie, thank you. When you learn to embroider, I want one of those pillows!


Lisa August 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I found your guest post on problogger and was so inspired! I have been threatening to start blogging for a couple of years and have always stopped short. I will press on and look forward to your posts.


Josh Hanagarne August 17, 2009 at 9:37 am

Lisa, thanks for the kind words. Enough with the threats. Start your blog and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that blogs are a matter of life and death.


Ron - Heroic Nature August 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

“Refuse to deal with life. Make it deal with you.”

Josh, I don’t know where you got that quote, but it’s perfect, I repeat, perfect. I think I’ll start tossing it about in my own head until that kind of attitude sinks in for good!


Josh Hanagarne August 18, 2009 at 8:16 am

Ron, I rarely say this, but that quote might be the only original thought I’ve ever had. I actually think it’s mine, but I usually find out that I’ve stolen things way after the fact. But until I’m called out, I’m claiming it! Glad you like it, thanks for the encouragement.


Lori August 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Hi Josh!

I found you because, well, you found me and posted a comment to my site.

So, I’ve been to your site three or four times today to read your posts, your about page, and other “stuff.” I love it!

Your blog is easy to navigate, funny, helpful, and most of all, I love your writing style and content. I’m glad we ‘found each other.’

Very simply – you had me at hello. :P
Keep up the great work! I know you’re going places – don’t forget us little people. ;)


Josh Hanagarne August 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Lori, thanks. I’m not so sure I’m going anywhere. Not sure I want to, either, but I will take this compliment and add it to the collection. I take them out, print them, and when I’m feeling insecure I roll around in them and say “there there, everyone loves you.”


Beatrice September 13, 2009 at 5:29 am

Hey Josh,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog, I hope I answered your question.. I didnt realise your such a funny guy, cant wait to see that dance youve promised everyone :)

Kind Regards
Beatrice (student at blogmastermind)


Grace W September 19, 2009 at 7:29 am

Love it, love it, love it. I follow Darren Rowse on Facebook and just happened to read “I came, I saw, I commented…” this morning. Funny. More importantly good. So I kept clicking links and ended up reading a couple more of your posts on Problogger, and then ended up here.

Now understand this, I’m a relatively new blogger, overwhelmed by the amount of blogging advice, tips and shenanigans out there. So much so, I don’t read much of it. So the fact that I propped myself up on my elbows long enough, early on a Saturday morning, to read three of them in a row, is a minor feat.

I love your writing style and love that you write about whatever the … you want to write about. I think that’s what makes you fun to read. Kudos. Really looking forward to the book.



Grace W September 19, 2009 at 7:33 am

I take them out, print them, and when I’m feeling
insecure I roll around in them and say “there there,
everyone loves you.”
Try adding butter, it makes the compliments stick longer ;-)


akhlis September 20, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Hi, nice to read your about page…I saw your guest post on Darren’s Poblogger.com (I came, I saw, I commented). It’s true that bloggers no matter how celebrated or skillful or experienced s/he is, s/he still needs comments, responses, badly…It’s fine to say we keep posting even nobody visits or comments on our blog but eventually comment is something that we always long for. I just started blogging not more than a couple of months ago and finding a visitor voluntarily commenting on my blog posts is rewarding..I feel like I was doing something worthwhile for others and the feeling of being appreciated and acknowledged is unbeatable (though I sometimes know that’s only what I imagine). I don’t even care about spams, insincere comment, or irrelevant comment, or anything..Comment propels my spirit to stay on the track.


Josh Hanagarne September 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Akhlis, if it works for you, enjoy whatever you want and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Keep it fun or you won’t keep it.


John Huddy September 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

I thought I was the only librarian who weight trained! Open joke at Gold’s was that I was “world’s strongest librarian” as there, y’know, wasn’t much competition.
Keep up the good work.


Twin Mom of 5 May 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

Josh – I love your attitude! Reading your story gives me hope… & some ideas to try with my son. He’s also named Joshua (great name!!), & when he was *finally* diagnosed with Tourettes, we got a few others – hi-fuctioning Autism & ADHD. He is an AMAZING kid with talents out the wazoo – the challenge is to help him manage himself so life doesn’t manage him. Hmm… sounds familliar, eh? Great minds think alike!
I’ll be reading regularly! Thanks for sharing your struggles (not a strong enough word…) – you bless & encourage others to find what works for them. As a mom, I am so grateful.


Stuart Atkins May 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I just saw this and thought of TS. Now this guy puts life in perspective:


No arms, no legs, and no worries…


Jerrie February 3, 2012 at 9:14 am

Just found your blog this morning. I’ve embraced my short attention span and hopped all over reading a bit of this and that. Nice writing! Loving it so far. Definitely subscribing!


Michael Corley March 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Hi Josh,

I thought I’d stop over to see what the World’s Strongest Librarian was offering and I like what’s going on. In fact, I find your About page to sound more like a manifesto … and I really appreciate it.

Can’t wait read future updates.


Josh Hanagarne March 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Glad to hear it, Michael. If I can ever help you with anything, say the word.


Emily January April 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. It seems to be the equivalent of a chain letter for blogging, but it seemed fun. You can see details here: http://emilyjanuary.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/the-versatile-blogger-award/
You probably don’t need this “award” but you deserve it. I’m so impressed with everything you’ve done.


Josh Hanagarne April 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Thanks Emily.


Joe June 25, 2012 at 8:22 am

Just stumbled across your blog, seems like an interesting premise, I look forward to reading through the rest of it.


Kelvin Smith October 19, 2012 at 2:11 am

Hey Josh. My book is out on Amazon.com and doing well! The Unlikely Candidate: An Amazing Journey of a Heart Transplant Patient. I’m will be sending your copy out as we discussed a few weeks ago. Thanks so much for your blog.



Bill December 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Josh,I am 65,I have bi-polar,but doing well,on medication for life.
It is a terrible disease.
If any body out there has it,please get professional help.


Andrew January 1, 2013 at 5:58 am

Josh, hello – my journey to visit you started with Chris Guillebeau’s latest http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/end-of-year-giveaway/

Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2013 :)


Josh Hanagarne January 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Thank you Andrew!


Summer Bear February 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Hey Josh are you comming to Colville anytime soon


Josh Hanagarne February 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Hi Summer. I’m not sure. I’d love to, though.


Jane February 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Thanks for the site. I found it because a friend with Tourette’s posted some links to episodes 1-3 of the “How to have Tourette’s” series. Apparently you made her laugh so hard I think she almost spat on her work computer. Or something like that.

I am sitting at home recovering from a mastectomy. I really miss going to the gym and working out. Being very healthy (other than having cancer) has made this mostly a lot easier, but having major surgery is never fun and I was in pain today, waking up at 3:30 am unable to sleep anymore. So listening to your mellifluous voice on the podcasts was very pleasant. I was particularly moved by the one minute video. Right now I am having a really hard time doing nothing without being distracted, and yet that is my job right now. Resting. So thanks for the inspiration. Someday when I have the energy I will right a tell-all blog about breast cancer, maybe I will call it “how to have breast cancer,” because if I had known certain things ahead of time I would do them differently. I am not talking about major treatment decisions, I am talking about some little choices that would have improved my comfort. (not wanting to give away my stories quite yet.)


another Jane July 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

Jane: I appreciate your comment about your job being “resting” right now. Hang in there, it’s one of the hardest things in the world, to recover and endure.


Marie March 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I just received an ARC of your book and was shocked to find you lived in Spring Creek, Nevada. I’m from Elko, Nevada and also a librarian. My older sister probably went to high school with you. Crazy! Congratulations on making it big!


Sharon Birdsong May 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Josh, I just finished the audiobook version and enjoyed it tremendously. I just wish someone had taught the reader how to say “Nephites” correctly. Your story is very inspiring and educational and I look forward to your book tour on the East Coast. I am in a book club with a group of LDS ladies and am debating whether to recommend your book–a couple of them would refuse to read it because of the profanity, but not the former schoolteacher, psychologist, or Federal government employee. Anyway, I hope that you are able to work through your spiritual issues and continue to progress in your war on the Tourette’s. Your son has several fantastic role models.


barb May 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I was intrigued by the article I read about you in the Atlanta AJC. I have dystonia — a neurological movement disorder. Do you know if weight training has been successful with anyone with other movement disorders (dystonia, blephorspasm, parkinson’s?) Your experience with remission is giving me some hope…


Marilyn May 15, 2013 at 8:41 am

Hi, Josh: I have just finished your book, and I must say it was a real eye opener. Since I knew you during your growing up years, I must confess that your ‘tics’ didn’t bother me much, if at all. I was just always impressed with your abilities in some many areas!
And now that I’ve finished the book and discovered that you used breathing to help your symptoms, I wanted to share with you a website I’ve followed for several years about breathing. http://www.breathing.com/articles/optimal-breathing.htm
Although there is nothing on the site specifically about Tourette’s, I suppose even he (Michael White) would be greatly interested in what you accomplished with breathing!
Good luck on the remainder of your book tour! It is so exciting to say that I know a published author. I can see why your parents are so proud.


Eva May 27, 2013 at 2:29 am


Just finished your book and liked it a lot. Picked it up on account of a great title, and was pleasantly surprised over the warmth, width and general wisdom. I don’t do strength (physical), have no experience with tourettes, but still found your book very relevant. Your life lessons have something to teach everybody. Thank you.

Love, Eva


Pat Edwards June 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Read your book this weekend. I will give it an excellent recommendation. You made me look up books and authors (I love that!). I learned things (love that, too!) and was challenged. I am going to read the chapter with Adam over again — it was wild.
Your honesty and vulnerability when revealing your spirituality are commendable.
truly enjoyed your book.


Josh Hanagarne June 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Thanks Pat! I’ll tell Adam that, he’ll get a kick out of it.


Wendy July 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I now have “Invitcus” by William Henley on my fridge, and shared the last stanza with my 13 year old son. He has many co-morbid dx HFA, tics, speech disorder, OCD. My son is going through a though time, and the last stanza, plus my sharing parts of your book with him has been so inspiring. Your book even got him to finally start lifting weights. Thanks for making me laugh and keeping so engrossed in your story that I stayed up until 2am one night, and woke up at 3am the next to finish it:)


Josh Hanagarne July 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

All right, now THAT’S what I’m talking about.


KaceyT August 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Interesting book. I went into it with zero expectations and found myself surprisingly captivated. By the time I got to the end, I wasn’t ready for it to be over.
Well done.


Josh Hanagarne August 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Glad to hear it, thank you very much.


Jessica Olzak-McDonald October 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Hi Josh!

I just finished reading your book today, and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it! I am a Children’s Librarian, which, at first, is what attracted me to the book (along with the very intriguing subtitle)! I loved reading and relating to the patron encounters you have had inside the library, as well as learning more about Mormons and Tourette’s. Your memoir is a very fascinating and inspirational story that I have been recommending to many people! :)

Toward the end of chapter 12, I found myself in the pages of your book. I, too, felt like attending church didn’t do anything for me when I was younger, and by my late teens, I found myself questioning religion and its place in my life. Since then, I have felt most comfortable identifying myself as agnostic. My husband, on the other hand, still holds onto his own religious beliefs (which is fine by me). A few pages of your book (270-73) helped me to think about how I will approach this topic (of a difference in religious beliefs) with my own children. So, I thank you for that bit of advice you gave me!

I wish you and your family the best! :)

Take care!

Jessica Olzak-McDonald


Josh Hanagarne October 10, 2013 at 8:48 am

Thank you!


Saara October 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Josh, we have nothing in common other than our love of books and being raised in a religious family. But that is enough for your book to draw me in. I am thoroughly enjoying your book!I’m not even finished yet ( on pg 227!) and I had to drop you a note and let you know.It is laugh out loud funny and I enjoy your tone. I have ready many,many memoirs and yours is in my top 20!


Michelle November 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Hi Josh, I just finished your book and loved it! I love books about books and the people who love them. I am an indefatigable reader! I was delighted to read about your pursuit of strength. I have come to exercise, strength, and balance late. I am 53 and am the oldest in my gym by at least 15 years but I don’t care. I just want to be strong so I can age gracefully. Thanks so much!


Kay McCormack December 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Hello, Josh,

My two best friends are librarians (one is a Director, the other works for the Library of Congress . . . I find their conversations fascinating!). When they both recommended your book, I knew I had to read it. Like many before me, I LOVED IT! It made me want to get in my car, pick up my two friends, and drive to Salt Lake City (from Colorado Springs) to take you out to lunch and tell you how much we all enjoyed it. Now my husband is reading it and I’m enjoying listening to him laugh out loud. Thank you for such a wonderful read.


Chantal January 5, 2014 at 12:06 am

I got your book from the library in Victoria,BC yesterday, and finished it today. I loved it. Thanks for sharing your journey.


Josh Hanagarne January 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it. Say hi to BC for me.


Suzie Tee February 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I finally made it to the top of the waiting list at my library and devoured your book in one weekend. Thank you for sharing your gift! I look forward to being a regular visitor here.


Sue July 20, 2014 at 12:32 am

Hi Josh et al,

I’m facilitating this month’s White Rock book clubs discussion of “The World’s Strongest Librarian” because I chose the book when we picked books for the year last fall. I chose it because it is refreshingly different from anything else that I’ve read. Do you or any other bloggers here have some questions that would initiate a thought provoking discussion? If not, I can re-read and come up with some … I wish I’d done so right after I read it! Lesson learned.
Thanks, Sue


Josh Hanagarne July 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

Sue, I know that Penguin put together a reading guide with questions, but I’ll be damned if I can find it! If you search WSL reading guides online, you’ll find lots of book groups discussing it. I think you’ll be able to find the questions others have asked. Questions which I’d probably be too uncomfortable suggesting on my own:)


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