One of the consistent habits of all great men throughout history is a deep burning desire to learn. Prior to the advent of google and the internet, the best way to educate oneself was through continually reading new and provocative books.
Today, reading remains one of the best activities any man can do to increase his knowledge, success, and sense of belonging in this world. Below, we have compiled a list of the 28 books every man must read.
From philosophy and religion, to biographies and business guides, if you follow this list, you will find yourself with a greater appreciation of the world as well as finding yourself equipped with the tools necessary to go out there and reshape the world as you see fit.
1. The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant
Few books so eloquently and dis-ambiguously reveal the applicable lesson and truths of the past 6,000 years as this masterpiece by Durant. From war and morality, religion and politics, trade and the wealth gap, Durant covers all in his highly approachable and phenomenally written work.
2. My Early Life: 1874-1904 by Winston Churchill
Perhaps one of the most notable men in the past century, Winston Churchill is famous for many things, both good and bad, but undoubtedly remains one of the last of the true patriot statesmen, and by far the finest orator and communicator of modern times. In his book, “My Early Life” Churchill discusses the events and figures that shaped him into the man we know him as today.
3. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrel
Perhaps one of the most harrowing tales to come out of the war in Afghanistan, Lone Survivor is a story of courage, brotherhood, and sacrifice. It offers an incredible look at the challenges our soldiers are facing in a war where the enemy doesn’t have a face and, regardless of your political views, presents several, very well communicated points about the difficulties faced by our troops overseas.
4. Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield
Possibly the greatest war story any man will ever read, “The Gates of Fire” is the fictional recounting of the battle of Thermopylae where the 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas fought against the hundreds of thousands of Persian invaders, holding them off until the every single spartan was dead.
5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Written by Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Nazi death camp survivor, Man’s Search For Meaning is one of the most impactful pieces of literature any man can read. Discussing the inevitability of struggle and how to react to it, Frankl’s final hypothesis is that man does not derive meaning merely from pleasure, but rather by doing those things which each man finds uniquely meaningful.Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 10 million copies and been translated into over 24 different languages.
6. The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
Written by one of the greatest military strategists in all of history, the Art of War presents several lessons that parallel well into modern life. Whether for the classroom, the boardroom or the gym, The Art of War will help you to conquer any battlefield in your life.
7. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the most quintessential books for any young man, Self Reliance is perhaps the best book ever written on what has now become a lost art. In a day and age where men rely more and more on technology and the assistance of others in every facet of life, Self Reliance presents a relevant and actionable game plan for how to take back control and live a life free of dependence.
8. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore
In a day and age where large boys are parading around as “men” and few males lack the emotional maturity required to thrive in their relationships and obligations; King, Warrior, Magician Love presents an excellent guide on how to take control of your masculine energies to become the man you were born to be.
9. The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
One of the most challenging books to comprehend, yet so powerful when understood, The Way of the Superior Man offers a comprehensive blueprint for, as the subtitle says, “Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire.”
10. Hold on to Your NUTs by Wayne Levine
So few men know what is truly important to them, what they stand for, or what they are willing to die for. Hold Onto Your NUTS (non negotiable, unalterable terms) sets out to fix this problem and help men find the rules, virtues and principles that they will stick to no matter what.
11. Wild at Heart by John Eldrdege
Although written from the perspective of a Christian author, this book provides valuable insight into the decline of masculinity and man’s need for adventure, his need to reconnect with his “wild” side. John Eldredge presents a well written and though provoking guide to rekindling that masculine fire in a way congruent with the times in which we find ourselves.
12. The Code of Man by Waller Newell
An incredibly rich and thought provoking book designed to help bring young men back to the moral ideals of our forefathers; The Code of Man offers countless insights into the state and decline of masculinity in the modern world. And what is more, it offers a path to fix it.
13. The Way of Men by Jack Donovan
The way of men is the way of the gang. In this controversial and well researched book, Jack Donovan presents an anthropological case for masculinity based upon the past thousands of years of male culture.
14. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
As a man, it is good to have a general understanding of how things work. If a physics textbook is to dry and you don’t have the patience for any online courses, The Story of Everything will fill in most of the gaps about which you need to know.
15. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
A classic and controversial discussion about human genetics and the inherent nature of the world, The Selfish Gene is an excellent book regardless of your faith or lack thereof. Even if you totally disagree with Dawkins theories (difficult to do after examining the evidence) you will still come away understanding a little bit more about the way your body works and having a greater appreciation of the complexity of the universe.
16. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
One of the all time business and personal growth classics, How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the greatest and most timeless works ever written. Full of immediately applicable and easy to understand principles, Dale Carnegie presents the undisputed “Bible” of winning the social game.
17. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Hand in hand with How to Win Friends and Influence People, Think and Grow Rich is a timeless classic introducing many controversial ideas about wealth and the real steps it takes to get there. Delving deeply into the mastery of the inner world and harnessing the power of the subconsicous to create wealth, this is a must read for any entrepreneur, businessman or anyone who desires success and wealth.
18. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
One of the greatest modern business books, The 4-Hour Work Week presents a radical and controversial new approach to the game of business, money, and life. Disregarding the broken ideas of retirement and selling your soul for a steady pay check, Tim Ferris presents an incredibly in depth guide to creating a lifestyle by design.
19. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco
One of the best business, success, and personal growth books to come out of the 21st century, The Millionaire fastlane, debunks many of the lies that society has fed us since birth. MJ DeMarco opens the readers eyes to a whole new world where pay day doesnt come when we are old and decrepit, but can in fact come during our youth and vibrancy.
20. The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma
One of the leading figures in the personal development industry, Robin Sharma is one of the greatest leaders of leaders. In his book “The Greatness Guide” Sharma lays out a simple yet challenging framework to achieve greatness in all areas of life. Bound to become a timeless classic of our generation, The Greatness Guide is a must read for any man, young or old.
21. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
Political beliefs aside, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most skilled, accomplished, influential, and manly men of the last 200 years. In this excellent biography Edmund Morris dives into the character of Teddy Roosevelt and the events that shaped the life of the man we now know and respect. This is one of the most essential biographies on any man’s list.
22. Beyond Good & Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
One of the finest philisopical writings on morality and the state of humanity. Nietzsche controversially and convincingly brings many new ideas and theories about the true nature of man and what is truly “right” in the world. This book will challenge you, make you think, and if you truly approach it with an open mind, make you more than a little bit uncomfortable.
23. The Alchemist by Paulo Cohello
One of the few fiction books included in our list, The Alchemist follows the tale of young Santiago, a shepards boy, on his journey of self discovery. Filled with life lessons, applicable take aways, and a rich literary style, not only is the Alchemist entertaining, but if approached with the right frame of mind, it is also life changing.
24. Mastery by Robert Greene
The unchallenged guide to mastering any craft, Mastery is one of the most well researched and well organized personal development books ever written. With thousands of historical and contemporary examples of masters, this book offers something for everyone looking to take their life and craft to the next level.
25. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erin Remarque
One of the most famous war novels ever written, All Quiet on The Western Front tells an unconventional tale of war from the perspective of a German soldier during the first World War. Superbly written and incredibly thought provoking, All Quiet on The Western Front is a must-have addition for any man’s library.
26. Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
This behemoth of a personal growth guide offers a path and blueprint to taking control of all areas of your life. With hundreds of pages of actionable content, personal growth master Tony Robbins has once again created a masterpiece that has changed millions of lives and will continue to do so for generations to come.
One of the “God Fathers” of the personal growth world, Benjamin Franklin created a life and legacy that will echo throughout eternity. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin shares not only the events and people who forged him into the man he would become, but also the actionable mindsets and habits that he leveraged to create a life of impact.
28. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
One of the greatest tales of resilience, toughness, and all out grit, Unbroken tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an olympian and World War II pilot who was stranded at sea for over 40 days and then captured by the Japanese and sent to a prison camp. Inspiring and heart wrenching from start to finish, this is a story of courage and perseverance unlike any other.