Men’s Reading List, Part One

As men, we are routinely distracted by the society around us.  Sales, advertisement, work, traffic, weather, home repair, many things get in the way of our world and what we’re trying to accomplish.

Very little of this voluntary information is useful, but it’s heavy in interruption.  What’s more, much of it is designed to not only distract, but to casually inform men that they are doing things wrong, unless they remain ignorant, child-like, weak-minded, and overall subservient to women.

Add in the various social media channels most of us participate in, groups, events, viral video reactions, and soon you can see how anyone’s most precious resource, time, gets devoured in a whirlwind that is ultimately nothing.

As men, we are at our most attractive when we have our mission first and foremost, and we silently achieve that mission, without being distracted.  And the best part about this, you do not have to advertise how not distracted you are.  That will reveal itself through your actions.  Through your persistence.  Through your achievement.

But no man can accomplish his mission without having appropriate distractions.  Tis true, being laser-focused on your mission is a necessity, but in that focus comes time for reflection on achievement, evaluating process, and openness to new ideas are part of the exchange between idea, effort, and actualization.

Distraction does play a role in a man’s ability to get somewhere he wasn’t before.  The key is to find those distractions that are worthy investment of that precious resource.

I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last.  Reading is a worthy distraction.  As a man, you generally won’t find a better pound-for-pound activity that can provide tangible information, facts, and overall knowledge than reading.

There are so many topics that are of importance to men, and surely this is not a comprehensive list of what you should be reading.  Rather, this is a starting point.  This is a curated list that gets you on the path to the right topics, and even introduces topics you probably haven’t thought about, but you really should be.

I will be posting the list in two parts.  Here is Part One.


Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha

There’s a lot to be said about this book.  First, it is the beginning of a debate that hasn’t ever happened when it concerns human evolution as it pertains to sex.  The authors say that monogamous relationships are against human nature, and then outline thousands of years of human behavior that backs up their theory.

This is a great book to read, but not for the reason the authors present.  For one, their research is starting to be taken to task – which perhaps was what they wanted, to get the conversation started in the scientific community.  It has been documented that there is research that makes salient counterpoints to their work.  This is a great book to read for you, a man, for very specific reasons: there are plenty of people, particularly in western societies, who prove the message of the book completely accurate.  And you as a man, need to acutely aware of that, and glean how to identify behaviors and actions of others that lead to dishonesty that may affect your life.  When it comes to sex and relationships, it’s imperative you get wise, before you run into trouble.


Bachelor Pad Economics: The Financial Advice Bible for Men

by Aaron Clarey

Clarey’s “Bible” on thriving as a male in the feminist imperative world is major notch in providing clarity to a host of issues that men face concerning their second most precious resource: money.  From selecting your academic path, to estate planning, Clarey provides concise advice on it all, setting you up for an information download that will separate you from the pack.  Bonus points if you buy a copy for the high school age boy in life; that’s when we all should have read this gem.


Small Engines and Outdoor Power Equipment: A Care & Repair Guide for Lawn Mowers, Snowblowers, Small-Gas Powered Implements

by Peter Hunn

This may seem like a big change in direction, but answer this question: how many times have you been stuck with a lawn mower, weed eater, or a snowblower that wouldn’t work?  Probably at least once.  And that ruined your plans didn’t it?  Men should know how to work on small engines, as a base skill.  The talk of needing to be “mechanically inclined” is useful when we’re talking about cars, HVAC, elevators, and so on.  But working on tools that work around the house ought to be a minimum skill that you can accomplish.  Hunn’s manual takes you through all the steps to care for, diagnosis, and solve the problems that small engines present.


The Total Fishing Manual: 317 Essential Fishing Skills

by Joe Cermele

Fishing is life.  And that’s coming from someone who hasn’t gone fishing in several years.  Clearly, I need to follow my own advice on this topic.  Cermele, the Fishing Editor at Field & Stream, has put together an excellent guide that teaches skills your dad may not have known about to consistent catch worthwhile fish.  From pond to ocean, this manual, where Cermele brings in dozens of other experts to weigh in, you’re all set to conquer the open water.  And while you may not hunt, you should at a minimum be able to fish.


The Way of Men

by Jack Donovan

Donovan’s exploration into manhood as a study, free of the constructs of politics and religion, and removed from moral dilemma.  In this study, he ultimately reaches Nietzschean conclusion, without committing.  This book is important not because of a philosophical rationale you should follow, rather it points out how much civilized society has gotten wrong about men over the thousands of years, and how those errors have become normalized.  It’s important to understand these glitches in the world, and to pursue manhood in its proper form.  It’s even more important to teach this to the boys you’re raising.


Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

by Esther Perel

The counselor when it comes to marriage and sex, Perel has developed the answer to how to keep marriage as fresh as when you first get married.  The sad part, more men read this book than women.  Why that’s sad?  Nearly seventy percent of divorce is initiated by women.  Most likely, if women were reading Perel, that number would trend downward.  But, the unfortunate truth to her insight, stemming from years of the practice of counseling married couples, is that feminist imperatives do not agree with Perel’s findings.  Instead, they find her take to be the opposite of empowering.  Which is interesting, seeing as guiding and coaching women to find happiness in all aspects of their marriage would seem to be quite empowering.  In the age of misinformation, the vocal negative takes on something tends to be an indicator about the truth that those things speak.  Mating in Captivity is no exception.


Herschel Walker’s Basic Training

by Herschel Walker

Walker’s book, the pinnacle resource on body weight workout ought to be in every man’s library.  I can admit it’s not in mine just yet, but I’ve been lucky enough to read it several times.

Some of you may not be athletic, and that’s ok.  But here’s what not: not being in shape.  As men, we have one very large advantage that only we possess, and that is the ability to become bigger, stronger, faster, versions of what we would be from birth, if living an average lifespan.  You don’t have to aspire to be in the starting lineup of your high school sports teams, nor college, or wherever else.  What you should be aspired to do is become physically capable to pick up your life, wherever you are settled, and in an instant move elsewhere, in a fury.  You should be able to pick up heavy stuff and put it back down with softness.  You should not be winded after three flights of stairs.  Neither in six flights, for that matter.

You owe it to the genetics within you to maximize your potential and be able to dominate the challenges any day can present.  Walker’s book proved that anyone can do this without a top-tier diet, and without a gym membership, or true workout gear for that matter.  His book is not just a plan for getting to the true you, but it’s also a reflective, inspirational story of someone from meager beginnings, who tapped into their potential to become the dominate force of one of the most demanding professions on the planet.

Editorial Note:  Herschel Walker’s Basic Training has been out of print for some time now, and consequently is considered a rare book.  Expect a copy to run well over $100.00!


The Tactical Guide to Women: How Men Can Manage Risk in Dating and Marriage

by Shawn T. Smith

Another book that is not just for you, but for the boys you are raising.  Give it to them in high school and demand a book report.  It’s too crucial that they get this part of their life right, especially if they are going to pursue relationships.

Smith is a clinical psychologist who has spent years researching, exploring, studying, and answering tough questions for patients, and for readers of his blog.  Smith has spent a great deal of time working on intimate relationships and thus he has a large window into what works and doesn’t work.  The Tactical Guide is based on research, and his own experience in his field, and solves much of the mystery that men encounter when it comes to developing intimate relationships.

Primarily, it gives you nuanced views on exactly what to avoid, and what to accept when it comes to the opposite sex.  Quite honestly, if all men read this in high school, what we are experiencing now in the world would have very little space to succeed.

Do yourself a favor, and get every man you know on board.


The Book of Man

by William J. Bennett

Bennett is well known for his books that encapsulate political history of the US, as well as history that shaped the US, that is little celebrated or known.

In The Book of Man, Bennett puts a philosophical layer to the growing of boys into strong men.  He addresses men squarely, have no doubt, but he positions this title to also cause awareness that as men you have another duty: raising strong men.  Your legacy precedes you in death.


Mental Toughness: Baseball’s Winning Edge

by Karl and John Kuehl

The Kuehl’s have a huge pedigree when it comes to evaluating and preparing talented athletes for professional baseball.  And back in 2006 they unleashed Mental Toughness on the sport, a collection of years of knowledge they have used in scouting and developing players for the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians.

You may not be an athlete, but you have a job that isn’t always great.  You have a family that is challenging at times.  You have goals you’re trying to accomplish while balancing some many other things.  This book is geared towards baseball players but getting mentally tough requires thought and purpose to change the habits occupying your mind.  This book goes over that preparation, and if you read it, finding the ways to apply it to your everyday life, your workout routines, your work day, you name it, will make you that better of a person moving forward.


As a Man Thinketh

by James Allen

Allen’s classic is over a century old now, and in countless reprints, is arguably the best read for men trying to find clarity in their life.  Reprogramming thought and habits are difficult.  This book makes it easy, because it doesn’t focus on the task, rather it provides a challenge to the process you may have already employed.  You’ll likely find that much of your thought process is already sound, with Allen’s writings offering tweaks in places not otherwise on your radar.  These small changes make the difference, making this book a huge investment for a very small price.


Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People

by Joe Navarro and Toni Sciarra Poynter

Navarro has several books on the market that greatly benefit men in general, without being marketed as such.  This title is where a lot of the conversation around the use of his profiling skills could help not just in professional settings, but personal.  Lots of men clued into the depth of knowledge that Navarro provides, with him being credited on social media with helping men identify toxic people in their circle, and that the removal of them led to better results in their path.

I recommend Navarro’s library in whole, but I say start here and explore at your own pace afterwards.


Principles: Life and Work

by Ray Dalio

The founder of Bridgewater has been a sought-after person in the writing market ever since his first title, and Principles was exactly what readers were after.  Dalio maps out the history of building his firm and hedge fund, pointing out company history, the rifts that formed within leadership, and how early conflict shaped the ultimate direction that his business took, and how he had to fight to ensure success.

It can seem a bit high in the clouds for many readers, but the principles of Principles are universal.  Read deep friends.

Part Two of the reading list will post next week.

See you then!

Published by Matthew Ballantyne

I'm Matthew, and I write. I've worked hard in my career, and it's granted me a lot of access to the true character in people, which I now use to create stories for you.

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