If you’re reading this site, you probably have some interest in manhood and masculine things. What follows are some books I found interesting that I figured you might as well. I hope you enjoy.
First, however, I’d be pretty stupid not to tell you that you may want to start with my own book, The Essence of Man: A Real Guide to Masculinity in the 21st Century. It lays the groundwork for the things I’m talking about on this site. In fact, this may well be considered “required reading” except for the fact that I’m not the kind to require anyone to read much of anything.
The Way of Men – Possibly the defining text on raw masculinity. Author Jack Donovan presents masculinity as it was in ages past, and how it may be again if society completely collapses. I’ve been very open to how much this book has influenced my own thinking on masculinity.
Masculinity in Crisis
Men On Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters – Author and psychologist Dr. Helen Smith outlines many of the challenges facing men, and why many men are opting to drop out of societal expectations. While my own writings do not condone what Smith reports here, her examination on the causes is spot on, as is her assessment as to why many guys are dropping out.
The Fighter’s Heart – Author Sam Sheridan documents his adventures to truly understanding fighting, including stints in Thailand to study Muay Thai, Brazil to study Brazilian, and various other locales, all to learn the combat arts. That includes a time with Pat Miletich’s MMA team that included UFC champs Tim Sylvia and Matt Hughes. Coupled with Sheridan’s mastery of language, this is a compelling read.
Sheridan makes no bones about his privileged background, but his earnestness in understanding how to throw down–coupled with his honesty about being a “bleeder”–make this an incredibly refreshing read. Easily one of my favorite non-fiction books.
The Fighter’s Mind – Another by Sheridan, this one delves into the mind of fighters. This includes interviews with Miletich, UFC great Randy Couture, and gold medalist and wrestling deity Dan Gable among many others. While not as good as The Fighter’s Heart, that shouldn’t be taken as an insult. It’s almost as good, and it’s worth a read.
The Professor In The Cage – Author Jonathon Gottschall is an English professor. For some reason, he decided to get into the MMA cage…and in the process shares some very illuminating thoughts on fighting, masculinity, and why guys like to watch other guys pound one another into a bloody pulp. Other than it’s awesome, at least.
Starting Strength – Mark Rippetoe presents nothing more than a guide for making you stronger. Nothing more, nothing less, and he’s been blasted in some quarters for it. This isn’t a weight loss plan, it’s a strength building program based on a few basic lifts. If you have a gym membership or a barbell equipped home gym, then this might be perfect for you.
Can You Go? Assessments and Program Design for the Active Athlete and Everybody Else – This is a fantastic book for understanding how to program a fitness program. Author Dan John knows his stuff and presents it with an enjoyable to read style.
Bigger Leaner Stronger – Another basic strength program, this one also delves into aesthetics moreso than Starting Strength does. Author Michael Matthews describes it as “The simple science of building the ultimate male body,” which may or may not be true. However, I can tell you that you will get stronger.