5 Absolutely Vital Books for Men on a Mission in Life
I’ve been to a lot of personal development events during which some overexcited guest speaker tells audiences that we all need mentors (before offering his services for 1K per hour…) and while I think this is a very, very important part of life, no one ever explains where you can find elite level mentors. This is why I collated the 5 absolutely VITAL books for men on a mission in life.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve had some fundamental life experiences that have pointed you towards a path of personal discovery and growth, yet when we get to the stage of finding a mentor, who do we approach?
The hard truth is that elite level mentors don’t just walk around the corner when you need them.
In reality, the people we know are great as peers, great to learn from, but not of the excellent variety one looks for in crafting a master-student relationship.
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Secondly, even if you are exceptionally lucky to have someone like this in your life, they are usually very busy and it’s often very expensive to work with such people.
Yet don’t fret quite yet, as we can craft a solution based upon reading the best material men’s personal development writers have to offer, all for the price of lunch.
Admittedly, while we don’t get that amazing one-on-one sustenance that we so need, we can at least source the finest information and action that in our lives as well as bring it to our interactions with likeminded friends and acquaintances.
So without further ado, here are my 5 Absolutely Vital Books for Men on a Mission in Life:
1: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine
Now obviously I want you to read this book as it’s full of gems of realizing your true masculine core strengths and identity, but I know you buy yet another book which goes on your pile of ‘to read’ before collecting dust.
So, if you do nothing else, just memorize these archetypes of masculinity, they can take you where you need to go.
Further, they help you see you’re in a chain of meaning and a tribe of collective male consciousness and the authors – Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette – express this beautifully.
Now, I’ve written many pieces and made many videos (such as the one below) on the loss of male communities and rituals of growth on Recovering Man, and this book is an excellent read in firming us up in this way.
When we understand what we need as a man personally, socially, culturally and spiritually, we become centered and stable. We find our lives carry meaning and confidence emanates deeply from within.
Moore and Gillette see the plight of young men who are lost without this, and don’t even know this is something they need, which is incredibly sad, however for those of us awake and paying attention it provides an amazing opportunity.
2. The Way of the Superior Man
We’ve come from a world in which the masculine presence has been too forceful, too constraining and too fearful of the feminine both in the outer world and in the inner world.
A change had to come.
However, that change has now gone way beyond its original purpose and caused a complete destruction of real and helpful notions of what it is to be a man.
Nowadays, men are too effeminate, lost, hyper-senstive and full of fear.
We’re now in a world where even the mildest forms of ‘traditional’ masculinity are viewed as toxic, and in this space men are dying emotionally, spiritually and literally.
The video below offers an in-detail insight into this:
While David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man was published before men fell to such lows, it sings to the modern men as it has no evident shame in a sense of masculinity.
This helps restore out natural power, yet it is not a power based upon the subjugation of the feminine, Deida writes with real dexterity in articulating the almost divine dance between the masculine and feminine energy poles.
What were are left with is a clear and defined image of what a man can unleash in himself.
3. The Hero with a Thousand Faces
This classic by mythologist Joseph Campbell is so helpful for men because it shows us the fundamental archetypes of masculine identity are deeply rooted in our being.
What Campbell shows in looking at cultures around the world is astonishing in that he articulates the stunning similarities in the foundational mythologies of cultures far and wide.
This counters the notion we constantly hear these days that masculinity and/or gender is just a ‘concept’.
When we see that cultures with no prior interaction with each other have astonishingly similar stories and symbols, we find there is indeed an archetypal reality in our consciousness that is manifested by mythology.
Such mythology later becomes the foundation of culture and identity – the very thing we in The West seem intent on destroying at present.
So, while this book offers us a clear vision of what we are as a species, it also shows us the journey every man must go on and the battles he must endure to find inner peace.
This is where we get the outline of the Hero’s Journey which is utilised in personal development circles and where the famed ‘the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek’ quote emanates from also.
If a man doesn’t feel like a hero in his own life, he will get depressed. That is a truism. That is why this book is a must-read.
I also recently created a free ebook on embodying a heroic consciousness, feel free to download your free copy here:
4. Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations
When it comes to the finest men of all time, philosopher-king Marcus Aurelius has to be up there.
He is a core proponent of stoic philosophy, the tradition of wisdom, detachment, courage and honour.
Stoicism has had something of a reawakening in recent years, in part I believe to the aforementioned fear, sensitivity and meaninglessness young men are feeling today due to the destruction of traditional norms.
In fact, things are so bad on that front ‘stoicism’ was even labeled ‘harmful’ by the (highly partisan) American Psychological Association recently (fully explored in the video below) outlining the mass confusion around what it means to be a healthy man today.
What I have always loved about Marcus Aurelius and why I believe all men should read his work is that he is a strong leader who genuinely cares about the well-being of the people.
He seems to be deeply committed to being truthful, honorable, wise and a good leader.
We are so used to psychotic kings in our history, and career politicians today, that this is very striking.
Marcus Aurelius shows us the honour and wisdom a man should aim to develop in his heart, not just for himself, but for the good of his family, his culture and his society.
5. No More Mr. Nice Guy
We end with a practical classic for the man of today by Dr. Robert Glover.
Dr. Robert Glover takes aim at the core ills men face today; weakness, lack of assertiveness, fear of women, neediness around women, lack of clarity and purpose, and a weight of historical trauma in the soul.
All of the above is collectivized in the enigmatic term ‘The Nice Guy’.
The Nice Guy sees nothing wrong with just being nice, yet to someone who’s come out the other side or who’s been initiated, being ‘nice’ is basically suicide for a man.
Nice Guys cannot stand up for themselves, meaning they get abused at work, at home and taken advantage of left, right and centre.
Nice Guys struggle to say what they really want and need and therefore resentments grow in their souls.
As they are too nice to express these in positive forms of anger (because they see anger as purely bad) these resentments become subconscious stalwarts that function like demons, breeding all forms of shameful compulsive behavior, irrational fears and a consistent sense of malaise.
Why No More Mr. Nice Guy is such a must-read is that it is full of practical actions, self-inquiry opportunities and tips on how to break free and become a man at peace in his core self.
I hope you enjoyed my 5 Absolutely Vital Books for Men on a Mission in Life, you can hit me up on Twitter, Facebook or Youtube and let me know if you’ve read, or plan to read these classics.
Why not add one more to your reading list and pick up the Recovering Man book From Lost Boy to Awakened Man. The book charts the transformational journey of awakening for men in an age of confusion, fear and uncertainty.