10 Books All Men Should Read

Sometimes life as a man isn’t easy.  We try to have the traits we think appeals to those we want to attract.  We make our best effort to look good, be funny, sensitive and talented.  If none of the above, we try to project our success, show our good pedigree, smarts and sexual abilities.  Most men have a combination of these traits in their arsenal to illustrate their sociability and confidence.  These ten (11) books illustrate the insight to what men should strive to be. 

10. 48 Laws of Power (Robert Greene)

As much as I hate to admit it, The 1983 Movie “Scarface” made a huge impression on me.  In it, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) states the steps for success in America. “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women”  48 Laws of Power will prepare you for the challenges ahead. 

9. Meditations on first philosophy (Rene Descartes)

I believe we all should meditate, men in particular.  Through meditation we can visualize our perfect future and foresee pitfalls in our plans.  Meditation on first philosophy by Rene Descartes is an ideal blueprint for testing your intellectual boundaries.  This is evident by Descartes’s quote, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things”.      

8. Walden (Henry David Thoreau)

The utilitarian in you will gravitate to Thoreau’s Walden, whose attention to detail describing his surrounding helps heighten awareness of small things we sometimes forget to be thankful for.  The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance.  Disconnect from a world of so many distractions and embrace the now by reading this classic!

7. The Jungle (Upton Sinclair)

Living in the 1970’s & 80’s in The Bronx, New York, I grew up a latino male witnessing scores of hardship stories regarding people making ends meet.  Being egocentric back then, I felt only those around me and myself had it tough while the rest of the world had it easy.  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair illustrates the struggle is universal and made me aware latinos and people of color don’t have a monopoly on hard times.  Sinclair’s vernacular and description of the harsh working conditions these immigrant workers faced made me more receptive to people of different ethnicities.  Sinclair’s intentions for writing The Jungle was to expose these poor conditions.  Instead, most readers (time of release) were more concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, based on an investigation he did for a socialist newspaper.    

6. The Prince (Niccolo Machiavelli) 

Despite going to college for 4 years for business, reading scores of business journal subscriptions and being an avid reader of HBR (Harvard Business Review) papers, the best advice I’ve ever received came from my mother.  She said, “if you can learn from your own mistakes, good;  if you can learn from the mistakes of others, better!” The Prince by Machiavelli offers a buffet of lessons through the mistakes of others.  Tyrants and successful leaders alike — including figures as different as 20th century Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and American presidents John Adams and Bill Clinton — have studied, followed or made reference to the book while in power.

5. Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)

If you think outside the box and seek comfort through explanation, read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. 

4. Siddharta (Herman Hesse)

We wear many hats and play many roles in our life’s journey.  Read Siddhartha once a year to gauge if the life you’re living is inline with the person you want to be.

3. The Master Key System (Charles Haanel)

Read the book the author of “The Secret” got her inspiration,  The Master Key System.  It describes many new thought beliefs such as the Law of attraction, creative visualization and man's unity with God, and teaches the importance of truth, harmonious thinking and the ability to concentrate.

2. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) 

I highly recommend reading The Alchemist to anyone not happy with their job or profession.  Arm yourself with the knowledge and confidence to chase your dream without a safety net.

1b. 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind

Habit 3: Keep First Things First

Habit 4: Thing Win Win

Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood

Habit 6: Create Synergy

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

1a. Manual For Living (Epictetus)

See yourself as a kid playing with another boy and girl.  The three of you grow up as friends and despite your friend’s shortcomings, 15 years later they fall in love and get married.  In time, (with your love and support from the sidelines) your two friends start a family and navigate parenting with the best intentions through trial and error.  This imagined couple is how I view my parents when I seek objectivity while we’re in disagreement.  In such a scenario, I'd listen to Manual For Living (55 minutes) audiobook as I reflect on the problem so not to take things personal and maintain objectivity while I respectfully articulate my point of view.  This process allows me to continue being the good son regardless of disagreement while searching for an amicable resolution.

© Stoop Juice 2012