Men do many things on their free time, such as watching TV, playing video games, Netflix, going to the gym, or grabbing some beer with friends. Those activities are all good in their own ways, but why not grab a book to read? Reading a book is a great way to spend your free time, especially if that free time is your alone time. Reading opens your mind and uses your imagination, which allows your mind to develop a deeper insight of not just the book you’re reading, but yourself too.
Today, we’ve compiled a list of 50 books that every man should read in some point of their lives. We were diverse with our selection so you can choose something you may have never thought of finding yourself. Some of these books will help or challenge what you know, but hey, at least it keeps you thinking. Check out the list below (not in any order).
This is one of the bestselling books in history because anyone can apply story’s messages to their lives. To sum it up in short, it is a story of a shepherd boy named Santiago, who embarks on a journey to pursue his dream. He is hesitant at first, but decides to follow through with the journey. However, he faces obstacles along the way that he wonders at some point if he should give it up. This should sound familiar because a lot of us have or had something we aspired to achieve. We all have reasons for going through with a goal, going halfway, or not starting it at all, however, we highly recommend reading this book because we want you to find your happiness in life.
Published in 1932, Aldous Huxley creates a dystopian satire out of the phrase “bread and circuses”. The book touches on how technology transformed society morally and psychologically in the future. People are socially conditioned, appear content and indulge in excessive pleasure. They do not have to worry about anything, but they also do not have freedom. They are born into a class and can’t do anything about it, but society will keep them entertained to distract them. We aren’t living in a society as extreme as Huxley’s novel, but we can draw a lot of comparisons from the book.
Similar to Brave New World, but George Orwell’s dystopian world involves being in the state of an endless war and constant government surveillance. Though the year 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s vision of a controlling, all-seeing government isn’t too far off. From start to finish, this haunting book will capture you.
Hemingway’s first novel follows Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley as they journey from France to Spain. This book gives readers a sharp look at the embitterment and anxiety of the Lost Generation. Published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises launched Hemingway’s career and helped establish him as one of the greatest writers of the 20th
Set in Long Island during the Roaring ‘20s, The Great Gatsby is a novel that gives readers a glimpse of the Jazz Age. The story revolves around Jay Gatsby’s shadowy background and his unrealistic love for Daisy Buchanan. The metaphors, symbolisms, and lessons about being stuck in the past are what make The Great Gatsby worth reading.
The novel is set in Italy during World War II and follows the life of bombardier, John Yossarian, who is constantly scheming to keep from flying missions. However, his army increases the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. He is trapped by this bureaucratic rule, Catch-22, which states that a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, yet if he requests to be removed from duty, he is considered sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. There is a lot of dark humor and repetition in this book which makes it a humorous read.
These are true classics; Homer’s epic poems are nearly 3,000 years old and they are still being told. The Iliad is set during the final year of the Trojan War, but it is more than just a war story, it also shows how actions affect the emotions of our characters, Achilles, Hector, and many others from Greek myth and history. The Odyssey is literature’s epitome of a man’s life journey. It is a timeless story of a warrior, Odysseus, travelling home and facing many obstacles and tests that challenge his moral strength and life.
The quintessential novel of the Beat Generation, this fictional novel was inspired by Jack Kerouac’s road trips across the United States with his friends. Their travels include jazz, poetry, bars, and drug use, however, through all of this, it is a story of young men searching for freedom and hope.
The story centers on Alex, a teen who speaks in an invented jargon (that consists of Russian, Romany and rhyming slang), that renders the social pathology of him and his droogs. Separated into three parts, the fundamental theme of this novel is the importance of evil and good in human nature. Be sure to also check out Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation if you haven’t yet.
Fight Club follows an unnamed narrator who suffers from insomnia. He meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and they open underground fight clubs. With the growing presence of the fight clubs nationwide, Tyler Durden gathers members from his fight clubs and forms a cult to bring down modern civilization. This novel touches on various themes, just to name a few, they are: society and class, rules and order, masculinity and emasculation, identity, and dissatisfaction.
Patrick Bateman, our narrator, is a twenty-six year-old Wall Street yuppie living in New York City. He is a psychopath, yet his charm draws his readers in. American Psycho is a black comedy that tackles the themes of materialism, vanity, identity, vice, and violence. Readers will also be constantly looking for the truth since Patrick Bateman is an unreliable narrator.
This story follows an unnamed, black narrator who travels from the Deep South to Harlem. He sees a lot of horrors and joins a Communist rally, but he finds out it isn’t for him. So, he leaves questioning his place as a black man in white America. Race and identity are explored deeply throughout this novel. It is a great piece of work by Ralph Ellison.
Warning, this book is not an easy read. The story takes place in a dystopian North America that focuses on a tennis academy and a substance-abuse recovery center. Even though there are serious topics in this book such as addiction and recovery, family relationships, and suicide, this book is also very funny.
Many consider The Call of the Wild as one of London’s greatest work. This story follows Buck, a domesticated dog that is forced to adapt to the violence and hardship of the Yukon wilderness.
This book contains more than 3.000 years of literary material based on manliness. This historical collection captures the most admirable traits of men. This book reflects on modern manhood by addressing more recent issues. Keep in mind, this book was published in 2000, so the “modern issues” are not up to date. We recommend this book to men of ALL ages.
This novel offers provocative answers to many questions about the current state of masculinity in America. He argues that throughout history cultures have exploited men. Men were more expendable because they were the ones that need to achieve and produce, provide for others, go to war, and sacrifice their lives. His view on gender is equal but different; male and female should use their differences to complement each other instead of antagonizing each other.
Miner gives a thorough history of the meaning of Western chivalry. His philosophy of a gentleman is split in three categories: warrior, monk, and lover. He details each category and concludes with how to be a gentleman in the 21st
The “Nice Guy Syndrome” is when you feel like a doormat or always get in the friend-zone. This book is great for men who feel like they always get pushed around. Dr. Glover gives you information and tools to make sure you take the right steps in getting over his Nice Guy Syndrome. Here is an important quote from the book: “Just about everything a Nice Guy does is consciously or unconsciously calculated to gain someone’s approval or to avoid disapproval.”
The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire by David Deida
This book is the opposite of No More Mr. Nice Guy! however, it doesn’t encourage men to be an over-sensitive, spineless pushover, nor does it encourage men to be heartless jerks. This book focuses on the differences of masculine and feminine energy and the way the differences create attraction. It encourages men to be more masculine, but with an open-mind and integrity.
Many of us probably had times when we dreaded sending a text to someone and started overanalyzing how we should’ve worded it. Or worst, waited anxiously for a text that never arrives. Comedian Aziz Ansari, best known for playing Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation, teams up with NYU sociologist Eric Klineberg for his first book (which is a New York Times best seller by the way). A lot of research was put into this book. They conducted interviews and focus groups worldwide, created their own online research forum on Reddit, and they also worked with well-known social scientists. As a result, you have advice, comedy, and facts mixed together giving readers a view of modern romance.
Bly uses an old Grimm fairy tale to explain a male’s growth in masculinity. This book is not a how-to guide, but uses a lot of poems and analogies for the readers to think about.
Keen raises some questions that invites men to do a personal evaluation on their masculinity. He shares his idea of masculinity through personal experiences. He discusses masculinity and hopes that readers can find an alternative definition of masculinity in today’s world.
This book was written by looking at male development through a Jungian framework. According to Moore and Gillette, there are four archetypes of male energies and they all serve different purposes. The book suggests meditation, ritual processes, and dream analysis to develop these archetypes.
This book gets straight to the point so readers won’t be confused. Alan Roger Currie teaches readers to communicate with women properly so that nothing is ambiguous. Beating around the bush wastes time and effort for both sides. We recommend this book because it is simple and straight to the point.
Levine suggests that men should create their own personal values and commit to them, which is how the term N.U.T.s. (non-negotiable, unalterable, terms) is created. This book provides tools for men to be confident and self-assured in both difficult and healthy relationships.
The editors of Esquire produce a special called The Big Black Book twice a year, and they are successful. The Handbook of Style uses the same formula and Esquire’s trademark humor. This is an enjoyable read because you’ll find style advice on every aspect of a man’s wardrobe, and of course, there’s the humor.
American men’s clothing design Alan Flusser gives men a guide to timeless fashion. This book will help you in being well dressed and stylish for years without becoming a victim of fashion fads. This book also has a lot of pictures too, which definitely helps.
This book details the state of masculinity in America particularly in the late 90’s, when it was published. Written by a feminist author, this book focuses on masculinity in America without attacking it. Faludi traces the problem back to World War II and details how the society that men thrived in has no turned against them. This book is approximately 600 pages, so if that’s too much, definitely check out the first and last chapter, and touch on a little of all the other chapters.
Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he was sent to the Nazi death camps. He details all the horrors he had to endure, and he makes sure the world knows the evil that humans are capable of.
This is a loose autobiography from former heavyweight boxer and three-time World Heavyweight Champion, Muhammad Ali. For die-hard fans of the GOAT, this is not a full autobiography, but just reflections on his faith and some of the major events of his life. There is some poetry in this book and a chapter written by his daughter, Hana, where she reflects on her experiences with her father. This is a good read especially if you’re interested the thoughts of one of the most celebrated figures of all-time.
Malcolm X is one of the most influential figures of the 20th Public schools do not really teach about him, or even mention him at all, but he was HUGE in the Civil Rights Movement. This book details Malcolm X’s struggles in his life journey, from his troubled times leading to prison to his spiritual awakening that transformed him to one of the most controversial leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Vicki Robin
This book shares with readers on how to fix their relationship with money. This book touches on spending habits, living with less, investing, and more. According to Grant of Millennial Money, this is “THE BEST BOOK ON MONEY PERIOD.”
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
This book gives readers an understanding of how habits work. Broken down into three sections, readers will learn about habits of individuals, habits of successful organizations, and habits impact on society. Duhigg closes off the book with a 4- step process for transforming any habit. We recommend this book because Duhigg provides a lot of concepts and examples that you’ll find helpful.
That Thing You Do With Your Mouth: The Sexual Autobiography of Samantha Matthews as Told to David Shields by Samantha Matthews and David Shields
Matthews gives a monologue of her sexual past, which isn’t that pretty. The conversational style of this book helps break down the sexual and emotional barriers of the narrator, giving readers a unique perspective to her point of view.
How to Win Friends and Influence People might be an old book, but its advices are still relevant today. Carnegie’s lessons include: ways to make people like you, ways to win people to your thinking, and ways to change people without causing resentment. This is a great book for people who want to develop better social skills. Even if you think you have exceptional people skills, we guarantee that you can learn a thing or two from this book.
This book helps answer some of our questions of what makes successful people different. He argues that success and opportunity, with a little bit of luck, are intertwined. He states that the most successful people spend approximately 10,000 hours on their craft. A lot of times, we would think that these “self-made” stars just worked hard and achieved their goals, but there’s more to that. It depends on their upbringings, culture, family, environment, opportunities, and so on. Gladwell isn’t dismissing the time and effort that these people put in their craft, but he is stating that there had to be an opportunity or outside support that allowed them to spend 10,000 hours on their craft.
Written in the 1500’s, this book is a guide on acquiring, maintaining, and using political power. The methods in this book can be extremely cold, and some might argue evil. However, readers will get a better understanding of the motivations and actions of politicians, or the ladder climber at their job.
This is a classic on strategy. Written in the late 6th century BC by a Chinese philosopher, his book has influenced military leaders, businessmen, and politicians across the centuries. Many of us encounter conflict in our lives, so its themes can be applied for interpersonal uses even though it is a book on strategic warfare.
Tao Te Ching can be quite a read, and its ideas can be harder to grasp since it is different from Western teachings. However, the poems give readers something to ponder or challenge. Tao Te Ching might be an ancient text, but the problems it addresses, such as distractions and overvalue of money and objects, are still relevant today.
Written by Plato around 380 BC, The Republic is presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three other interlocutors discussing the hypothetical city-state ruled by a philosopher king, justice, theory of forms, the immorality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher in society. This is regarded by many as Plato’s greatest work, many philosophers will try to make you agree with them, while Plato invites you to argue with him.
Dr. Thomas uses years of surveys, interviews with millionaires, and research in giving readers the secrets for accumulating wealth in America. This book analyzes the habits of millionaires and shares it with readers so you can learn them too. To sum it up in short, being a millionaire is a combination of hard work, saving, investing, and living below your means.
The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John
FUBU founder and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, Daymond John shows readers that an entrepreneur is desperate when they are broke. That desperation leads to innovation and creativity because that is all they could afford. That entrepreneur must be efficient with their resources, imaginative with their marketing, and focused on their goals if they want to succeed.
Phil Knight, founder and CEO of Nike bares his soul in this memoir. Readers would think he would inflate his ego because of his success with Nike, but Phil Knight is candid, humble, and even emotional. This is an interesting read because readers will learn what inspired him to start his business, how he started it, and how the company got its name and logo. Readers will also learn of his early failures and success, doubts and goals, and his personal and business relationships. Readers will find the honesty in this memoir refreshing and enjoyable.
In this book, Newport argues against the belief of “follow your passion”, instead, passion comes after you’ve worked hard into becoming excellent at something valuable. It isn’t what you do for a career, it’s how you do it. Newport spends time with various people of different careers who all admit having great job satisfaction. So, if you’ve just started looking for a career or you’re someone who is not satisfied with their job, this book is a must read.
This book explains how people succeed depending on how they interact with each other. Grant divides the people of this world into givers, matchers, and takers. Through his research, Grant explains how each group succeeds. Takers get as much as they want and succeed short-term. Matchers are people who give and take evenly and they make up the majority. The givers are the ones who do the worst because they get burned out from getting screwed over, or they do the best because their good deeds get repaid. Takers and matchers achieve average amount of success while givers are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
According to David Allen, productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. He discusses a system on how to maximize productivity by taking a practical approach of putting yourself together if you spread yourself to thin. This book is for you if you feel like you have too much going on or have a hard time focusing on your goals.
Ferrazzi emphasizes on how the power of relationships affect someone’s success. He gives his account on how he forms his relationships and how many he has formed. Networking is a great way for getting ahead in life, and e shares his system of how he forms relationships.
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, shares his story of his experiences with building and running various tech companies. He goes over the difficult parts of running a business, a few examples are: firing a friend, whether to sell a company and how to do it, or what to do when people are smart but bad employees. This book is probably more for the people who are aspiring to be CEO or are a CEO.
This book will change how we view introverts. Susan Cain argues for that introverts are underappreciated in the American society that highly encourages extroverted behavior. She provides research and stories to prove why introverts are important. She gives advices on how to handle introvert-extrovert relationships and how to help an introverted child. This book will give people a new perspective and a better appreciation for introverts.
Why do we do the things we do? Dan Ariely argues that people do not behave rationally. He combines his research with everyday experience and explains how factors such as emotions, social norms, and other illogical variables affect our rational ability.