It’s been said that, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” I believe that’s true. We have so much access to the world’s greatest minds and thinkers and all we have to do is tap into those minds through the power of their written words.
I didn’t always think so highly of reading. In high school, I would do whatever I could to get out of reading and doing book reports. In fact, the only book I remember reading was The Old Man and the Sea which is, of course, a classic. But now, I read at least 50 books per year. I make it an objective of mine to read one per week.
I get a lot of questions about how I’m able to do this and, although that’s not the subject of today’s podcast, I do want to tell you it’s very simple. I commit to reading for at least 30 minutes per day. Every single one of us have 30 extra minutes in the day and, if there’s one thing you can do to spend that time most effectively, it’s reading. Again, you’re tapping into the most powerful minds and ideas in the history of this planet. Incredible.
So, with that said – and just in time for the holidays and last minute Christmas shopping – let me share with you five books that are an absolute must on that list of 50 I would suggest you read. Keep in mind that these are in no particular order.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
This book is my most recommended and gifted book because, if you get this right, everything else will fall into place. As a Man Thinketh was written in 1903 but the insights shared are as relevant today as they were more than 100 years ago.
It was described by James Allen as covering “the power of thought, and particularly with the use and application of thought to happy and beautiful issues. I have tried to make the book simple, so that all can easily grasp and follow its teaching, and put into practice the methods which it advises. It shows how, in his own thought-world, each man holds the key to every condition, good or bad, that enters into his life, and that, by working patiently and intelligently upon his thoughts, he may remake his life, and transform his circumstances.”
It’s a very quick and powerful read and I personally read it 3-4 times per year and keep a copy on my desk.
If you feel like you need to get your mind right about the situation you find yourself in, this is the book for you.
Iron John by Robert Bly
This is a really interesting book and one that I may not really mention of fall into my usual category of books but it is such a powerful read. Essentially it’s Bly’s look into what it means to be a man from his work with men.
It’s written as a story in which a young man is guided through the transition into a mature man. It cover the archetypes of masculinity and cause you to think about your role and responsibility as a man and, of course, how we show up in this world.
Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men by Stephen Mansfield
Another one of my favorites, Stephen Mansfield breaks down four masculine maxims in this book and really lays the framework for the way good and honorable men show up in all areas of their lives.
I personally know Stephen and I can tell you that this is a man who lives by the words he shares and has become a friend over the past couple of years. This isn’t necessary why I share the book with you because I found this book and have recommended it well before I knew Stephen.
You can listen to my first interview with Stephen Mansfield at www.orderofman.com/038 where we dive into the details and additional questions about Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men.
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Wild at Heart is one of my all-time favorite books. It does have a Christian undertone which won’t be a problem for many of you but any man can gain so much insight about what it means to be a man in the first place and why we act and behave the way we do.
For me, one of the most important conversations that is brought up in the book is the idea that boys and men are on a constant journey to answer the question, “Am I enough?”
It was written in 2001 and it’s amazing to me how much “staying power” this book has although, after reading it, it’s not really hard to see why.
It answer a lot of questions for me about my background, why I feel the way I do, why I’ve felt in adequate for a lot of my life, and is a call to return to our masculine roots in a society that seems to, more and more, want to do away with masculinity all together.
As a side note, I had an interview with the author, John Eldredge, which you can find at www.orderofman.com/139
Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men by Ryan Michler
Now, I know this one is biased but if I didn’t think my book belonged among the other greats, I can’t image even writing it. It’s not out currently but will be February 1st and, if you head to www.orderofman.com/book, you can sign up to get notified when the pre-order will be available.
Sovereignty explores the idea that many modern men have given up control and power of their own lives in the form of excuses, lies, justifications, and rationalizations. This book is about the battle that is being waged against men and the sabotage we inflict upon ourselves. I cover 13 virtues that will help all men reclaim their Sovereignty and place them on the path to ultimate control and responsibility over their own lives.
Again, if you head to www.orderofman.com/book, you can get notifications when the book is to be released.
So gentlemen, there you have it. My top 5 recommended books for 2018. Of course, I’d encourage you to read a lot more than that but you now have a start. This would be a great list to share with your loved ones if their looking for Christmas ideas.