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The 18 Books Every Young Man Should Read At Least Once In Their Life

Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

As a young man myself, I didn’t really feel qualified to start spewing out advice on what other young men should read. I decided to reach out to industry leaders, teachers and people from all walks of life to discover the best books that every young man should read at least once in their life.

Here are their 18 suggestions…

#1 Ego Is The Enemy

As a young man it’s easy to get wrapped up in - and ultimately sabotaged by - a false sense of self-importance. Ryan Holiday’s book tells his story, and the stories of others throughout history, as he explores one of the most common vices. It’s one of the most thoughtful and impactful books I’ve read.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Isaac Holmgren

Company: isaacholmgren.com | Twitter

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#2 With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge. [This book] is a first-hand account of the horrifying conditions of an 18-year-old Marine in some of the hardest fought battles of World War II. I recommend this book because it reminds today's men what men in a prior generation had to endure to preserve freedom while teaching lessons in morality which all men need to learn.

I frequently use or reference this book in a class I teach at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Matt C. Pinsker

Company: pinskerlaw.com | mattpinsker.com

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#3 Lord of the Flies

The story gives us a wonderful example of the male process. The need for acceptance, camaraderie, and the survival of male pride. Staying strong in the face of adversity, knowing that others disagree with you, and are willing enough to ignore their ideals, moving to a higher plane.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Paulo Guimaraes | Twitter

Company: pauloguimaraesabstractartist.com

1 point
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#4 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Without a single iota of condescension or vanity, Dr. Peterson manages to outline and break down his unique set of rules for engaging with oneself, one’s family, and the world at large. Subtitled ‘An Antidote to Chaos’, it is proving to be one of the most thought-provoking publishings of our day.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

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#5 You Can Negotiate Anything

Even if your job doesn't entail negotiation, it's a helpful read. We all face setbacks and interpersonal conflicts. But they are not zero-sum. The book inspires you to pause and come up with creative solutions that are mutually acceptable.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Christopher K. Lee

Company: purposeredeemed.com

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#6 Man in the Mirror

Man in the Mirror - Deals with the 24 most common problems men face. [This book] changed my life and continues to be read by men around the world.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: John Crossman

Company: crossmanco.com

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#7 Wild at Heart

[This book] talks about the heart of men and [the] wounding that takes place with our dads. I gave this book to my daughters for them to read.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: John Crossman

Company: crossmanco.com

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#8 Career Killers Career Builders

[This book] is for men and women ages 17 - 31. The reason why I recommend it is that it is based on my research of what causes high achievers to fail and how to prevent that.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

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#9 The Way of the Superior Man

Its title notwithstanding, this book is by no means meant exclusively for men. Rather, it is a book about what it means to be masculine in today’s world. It touches on matters of personal life, family, relationships, business, and also on the metaphysical and spiritual side of things.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

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#10 Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This book outlines several fundamentals of “business think”. It stresses the importance of continuous education; the existence of constant change; and dealing with the ebb and flow of life. It explores the issues of making money and managing money, on the road to financial independence.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

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#11 Tao Te Ching, by Lou Tze

In this masterpiece, Lou Tze manages to convey the deepest foundations and pillars of Taoist thought. There are no hidden meanings or convoluted ideas to wrestle with here. It is timeless wisdom, presented as simple advice on the ways through which one could attain balance.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

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#12 Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

This book is short and impactful. 90 pages that can be read in about an hour. The book cover says it is an Amazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life and I couldn't agree more. The story is very simple and reads almost like a children's fable. Young men can learn that what matters most in a world that is everchanging is their attitude and their ability to expect change, welcome change, and to never stop changing.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Courtney Carrera

Company: theyreallylive.com | courtneycarrera.com

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#13 Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays

If the young man wants to be work with and be social with both men and women, he would do well to read Rebecca Solnit’s brilliant Men Explain Things to Me (Haymarket, 2014). This book of essays opens with the justly famous title essay, recounting some of the many times men have interrupted Solnit to explain to her why she is wrong about what she just said, and won’t stop even when she tells them she has written a book about the subject and knows much more about it than they do.

The other essays cover marriage equality, women in science, rape culture and other topics. The book will give the young man a glimpse into the world as experienced by women today.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Nancy Schimmel

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#14 The Obstacle Is The Way

This is a modern package for an ancient mode of thinking, stoicism. I was introduced to stoicism as a young man and it changed the way I thought and how I reacted to the world. As a young man, every problem can seem immediate and urgent. The Obstacle Is The Way shows that not only are the problems, or obstacles, in our lives, aren't as critical as they may seem. In fact, the obstacles in our way can lead to the greatest changes and moments of our lives.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ryan and Joe

Company: culturecarton.com Instagram

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#15 Makes Me Wanna Holler

Often referred as 'black man's rage' Holler while semi-autographical demonstrates that despite serious mistakes during one's youth, opportunities to improve their situation is not possible. McCall went on to become a newspaper, best selling author and a professor at one of the leading universities in the US.

While The Rose That Grew From Concrete, by the late rapper Tupac Shakur a book of poetry shows the soulful, sensitive side of the rap icon. Boys typically stay away from poetry because of its seeming unmanliness. Shakur shows young men that they can be both sensitive and tough at the same time.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Carol Gee | Author

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#16 We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity

Every black man, every man in America should read We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity by bell hooks.

In this seminal work, hooks confronts toxic, hegemonic masculinity and sexist male identity. Hooks says this indoctrination begins in infancy and is a direct result of a white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy that consumes men regardless of race, socioeconomic background and whether or not they reject of all forms of misogyny. 'We Real Cool' is a holistic analysis and insight into the male psyche - a lesson for all who strive to be better, more interconnected and social aware men.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Aisha K. Staggers

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#17 21 Days to a Big Idea

As the title implies, the book is a kind of 21 Day “daily exercise program for the creative mind” to help current and aspiring young entrepreneurs generate a big idea for a new venture.

The book is based on a program I created for a professor at Columbia Business School Center for Entrepreneurship to help students create more and better ideas for new ventures.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Bryan Mattimore

Company: growth-engine.com

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#18 Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood

Most men end up being fathers - and it's, of course, one of the most important jobs they'll ever take on. We also see today how toxic masculinity is causing real pain and damage across societies, including damage to the male perpetrators themselves.

The answer, of course, is to reshape our ideas about masculinity, and what better arena than love, marriage, and parenthood for that?

Glad to Be Dad is male-friendly and speaks in male terms. But it also models the New Male, through stories, humor, and other means. A young man will especially profit from seeing how a man can be a truer, more giving person, creating happiness for himself even as he creates it for those around him.

And of course, this will be good for women, as the #MeToo movement is reminding us.

The book made #5 on Amazon's Hot New Releases in Fatherhood list, was featured on the Parents Magazine site, quoted on Disney's BabyZone site, won the Ben Franklin Digital Award, and has gotten excellent reviews.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Tim J. Myers

Company: TimMyersStorySong.com

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