10 Books Every Man Should Read

Recently I received the following email:

What book recommendation would you make for a male in his early twenties looking to become wiser, motivated, and have the biggest positive impact on his life?

I have made such a list in the past, but I’ve read dozens of books since then and so it’s time for an update.

Before I share the books, I must state that they were selected not for fine prose or excellent storytelling but because they will push you to accomplishing goals centered around masculinity, earning money, and getting laid. I believe if you give a smart man the right tools, which these books contain, he can figure out how to use them in his own unique situation.

Here are the books, in the order that they should be read:

Walden

walden

This book was written by Henry David Thoreau, who decided to move to the woods and become self-reliant. He shared ideas on how and why men should pursue independent thought and action. It’s not an easy book to read, but I believe it’s important for helping men understand what it takes to carve their own path in life.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

This is the book that pushed me over the edge to quit my job and begin traveling back in 2007. I fondly remember reading it in the coffee shop near my job on lunch breaks, dreaming of the day when I could finally hit the road and live on my own terms.

The Way Of Men

wayofmen

There is no manual for men on how to live a modern life. Mainstream culture constantly bombards us with propaganda to weaken and feminize us. The Way Of Men is the antidote, exploring masculinity and what it takes to be a man.

Men are dropping out and disengaging from our slick, easy, safe world. For what may be the first time in history, the average guy can afford to be careless. Nothing he does really matters, and—what’s worse—there is a shrinking hope of any future where what he does will matter.

Hold on tight during the second half of the book where the author clearly lays out how masculinity is being attacked and marginalized, increasingly seen as something that needs to be treated instead of exalted. The main benefit of this book is that it gives insight into your own behavior while helping you swallow the red pill.

The 48 Laws Of Power

48laws

This book can probably be renamed “Socialization For Dummies.” It gets even introverted guys up to speed on all the little tricks and games that people play. It can be used not only as defense for when they are used on you, but also as offense for when you want to extract your goals from others. The fact that it has been long criticized as “manipulative” is a hint to the power that it contains for those men who are settling into adulthood. It’s our generation’s “How To Win Friends & Influence People.”

Influence

influence

This is easily the most important psychology book ever written, condensing the most effective persuasion tactics into one volume. It teaches six main principles that are easily adaptable to use in commerce and getting laid:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Social proof
  • Commitment/consistency

Examples and explanations are given throughout, so it won’t take a big jump in brain power to apply them to your own life. It’s an easy read that will teach you more practical steps to convincing other people to give you what you want.

Think & Grow Rich

thinkandgrowrich

This is the best self-help book ever written in the history of the universe. It teaches you not just how to make money, but how to achieve any goal you want in life. The author, Napoleon Hill, analyzed the success of the American business titans of his day and then distilled their behavior into a thirteen-step framework that you can apply for your own goals.

Think & Grow Rich is one of the most widely American books of all time, and it is no surprise to me as to why: the techniques simply work. They are ingrained in the DNA of America, contributing to its elevation as the most economically successfully country in the world. Our more recent decline can be partially attributed to going against its ethic.

The War Of Art

warofart

On the path to becoming wealthy or accomplished, you will encounter a devious force that rises up against you: yourself. Steven Pressfield, author of Gates Of Fire and The Legend Of Bagger Vance, explains that it’s so difficult to complete projects you’ve envisioned because an internal force called “resistance” will try to prevent you from reaching your potential. It sabotages you, urging you to laze around, give up, or idle your time away instead of working hard. He gives you a strategy to fight against it. While the book is mostly intended for creative types, it can apply to any task in which consistent effort is required.

The Power Of Habit

powerofhabit

The Power Of Habit aims to rid you of bad habits such as procrastination or overeating by carefully dissecting them to identify the true reward you’re receiving. This allows you to change the habit into something positive that sticks with you.

If you want to do something that requires willpower—like going for a run after work—you have to conserve your willpower muscle during the day. If you use it up too early on tedious tasks like writing emails or filling out complicated and boring expense forms, all the strength will be gone by the time you get home.

It also introduces the concept of a keystone habit, something that improves many areas of your life simultaneously. It’s through this idea that I developed the One Approach A Day habit, which has helped many men improve their game with very little burden. Bad habits are often the first roadblock to achieving your goals, and this book arms you with the tools needed to change them.


The pieces of the puzzle are coming together. After reading the above books, you now have a better understanding of masculinity, independence, social influence, achievement, and positive work and life habits. Two things remain: (1) improving your confidence through fitness, and (2) getting laid.

Arnold

arnold

It will be impossible for you to read Arnold’s autobiography and not get the urge to lift some heavy ass weight. I remember reading it on a resort island, away from any standard gym, but I went ahead and snuck into a hotel gym to lift.

Normal people can be happy with a regular life. I was different. I felt there was more to life than just plodding through an average existence.

Through learning Arnold’s life story, you stumble on the most valuable part of the book: his belief system. He gives you the thoughts that made him a success, which you can then apply to your own life. The fact that he is a balanced man with various pursuits, including chasing women, makes Arnold my personal hero and role model.

His autobiography is one of the most motivating books that I’ve read, not just to bodybuild, but to achieve goals. You can’t ask for more than a book that describes how a man’s labor, harnessed with the right beliefs, can push him towards realizing his dreams.

Starting Strength

startingstrength

I’m firmly in the belief that the modern man needs some type of fitness program to develop confidence and fight the atrophy of his muscles that result from office work and chair-sitting. Therefore he’s going to need a beginner’s workout program to get him in the gym and start building muscle mass and definition. The best book to accomplish that is Starting Strength, which focuses on compounds weights such as the squat, deadlift, shoulder press, and bench press, with dedicated chapters focusing on each.

The results I got from doing this program in one year exceeded the previous five years of doing random machine exercises, and it’s still the default workout I prefer for gaining strength in the shortest amount of time. This book is often described at the best weightlifting book ever written.

Bang

bang

The last thing remaining is getting laid. There has been much written on this topic, but I think—with obvious bias—that my book Bang is the best introduction on using game to have sex with women. It gives you the overall view, from internal game, meeting women, dating them, texting them, to finally sealing the deal. I’m proud of this book and the aid it has given men for solving the surprisingly complicated male problem of getting laid.

So there you have it. If there were only ten books that men should read, these ten are it. With the dutiful application of your own work, desire, and will, the world is yours. I recommend you spend the next year to knock these books out, taking a break between each one to carefully implement their ideas into your life.

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  • Prep

    Great list. Especially agree with the last title on the list.

  • Torsten

    Nice. Only the habit book and the INfluence book that I have yet to read. Great list.

  • AK

    I think Roosh’s list is a decent start if you want to become an average male in the 21st century. If you want to become exceptional, however, you need to be educated. And this is my list for doing that:

    http://orgyofthewill.net/read/

  • AK

    And even his list could be vastly improved quite easily. Lifting weights, for example, is nowhere near as good for your body as swimming — everyone knows this. Besides which, when you are swimming you are actually learning a useful skill while simultaneously becoming fit and stronger (and that’s why it’s not as boring). So I would replace “Starting Strength” with “Total Immersion” by Terry Laughlin. Arnold’s biography is also laughable. Why not Steve Jobs or John McEnroe or some other run-of-the-mill celebrity? They are all stewing in the same pot: that of MEDIOCRITY. Great men do not exist today (well, apart from me lol): everyone you see on TV is some kind or other of stooge or one-trick pony. If you want to read about and be inspired by great men, you have to look at HISTORY. Read Stendhal’s “Life of Napoleon”, for example. Or if you want psychological insight that makes all the “manosphere” books Roosh listed look like children’s books, read Larochefoucauld’s “Maxims”:

    http://insomnia.ac/essays/maxims/google_ebook.pdf

    I am not saying that there’s no value in the books Roosh listed, but they are too pedestrian to be recommended to mankind as “essential” or whatever. They are not in the least essential — they are easily replaceable by hundreds if not thousands of others, or even altogether overlooked. No one will be reading any of Roosh’ recommendations in 50 or 100 years (well, except perhaps “Life in the Woods” — I haven’t read so i don’t know, but it has a reputation), and that’s the very definition of “forgettable” — whereas people will be reading Larochefoucauld until the end of time, and with good reason.

  • Dinky Wang

    Incorrect. Reading Nietzsche is essential, however, gaining insight on self-improvement you can enact today from the abstract contemplation of the Genealogy of Morals is a bit of a stretch for a lot men.

    Roosh’s list are books that impart a practical, right here-right now change to a man’s behavior. They are not as deep as your list, but for a reasonably intelligent guy who would like some inspiration and tangible goals within his near-future reach, they are worthwhile reads. You should give them a go yourself.

    I do like your list as well. Call it the graduate list to the undergraduate list shown here.

    Also, lifting weights are an efficient and effective way to gain strength and muscle mass. Much more so than swimming. Michael Phelps’ physical training isn’t just swimming.

  • Roosh_V

    How many times are you going to spam me with this stupid web site?

  • Craig Mak

    As much as I love the blog, I can’t help but notice the “tag=rooshlog-20″ in the querystring of the URL. That’s good you’re getting a commission, but makes me less certain as to whether I trust your list as much.

  • MightyBoosh

    “wild at heart” by John Eldridge is also worth absorbing. He comes from a Christian perspective, however the message on masculinity is firm. If that book is good enough for Mexico’s La Familia cartel, it’s certainly worth a read.

  • http://quintuscurtius.com/ Quintus Curtius

    Great list. I like how they’re all practical, real world books about things you can actually use.

  • JJ Dickberg

    Question?????

    Is it a sign of progress in your game if you can cold approach anywhere without hesitation and not give a flip if you get blown out??? I even find myself laughing authentically (ie not tomcompensate for akwardness if i get blown out) either because i thought i did something stupid or the woman was so naive/full of herself/deluded, etc. that it truly amused me.

    Right now I get a number 3/10 times.

    I would like to see more written here about mid game.

    I reccomended reading Richard Bandlers stuff- he’s a master of psychology and focuses on putting you in a good state. One day I read his book and pictured my ideal woman and saw her- gorgeous red head. This mental state focusing is not bs. I also focused on a highly sexual mind dame and was at the gym and saw this hit petite red head really watching me as she did an work across the room. This think and manifest kind of stuff has validity.

  • The Quiet Rebel

    A good list, as always Roosh is reading interesting books useful to guys who are unplugged. With regards to Walden, although I enjoyed the book I would also suggest “Into The Wild” which is more or less a modern day version of Walden, and it addresses just how tricky it is to live and survive by oneself. Theere was a good review that compared / contrasted a bit between Walden and Into The Wild:

    “Jon Krakauer does an excellent job at back tracking the expedition of one Chris McCandless. This includes the route McCandless took from his home and all the friends and people he met along the way. The author additionally addresses another theme which was constantly in the back of my mind all the time as I was reading the book: Is it really possible for a man to scrape so-called civilized society off one’s shoe and live far and away and alone? For many folks when we think of this kind of life in nature we are directed towards reading that of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” which, unfortunately is inaccurate, yet McCandless even had a copy of that classic book with him during his journey. If we take a closer look at Walden the reality was that Thoreau lived in a cabin that was situated only a few miles out of town, as well he had friends and family bring him things he needed. Thoreau certainly was not living independently of society, yet this is the over romantic story that gets presented to us when we think of getting off the status-quo hamster wheel and living soley from nature. This is where Into The Wild becomes the true benchmark document on what it means to try to live off of the land.

    In the final analysis this story shows the reader that there are many self essentials that one needs for basic survival that go back to the era of eons ago: that of the hunter-gatherer and semi agrarian. Krakauer also points out: What does one do when one becomes ill? Had McCandless been with someone to help him during his stint in Alaska he would be alive today, but instead he died of something that was in fact not life threatening if he had access to medical assistance.

    In addition to a well detailed story of a man’s desire to become separate from the human tribe, what one can learn from this chronology is that going at it alone is anything but an easy task and requires skills, as well as physical and mental strength. This is why I find Into The Wild a very compelling book and an excellent read for anyone thinking of becoming a lone ranger. For those who understandably want to get away from the modern world, I don’t yet have the answer, but one should read this book before deciding to simply wing it out there in the wilderness.”

  • atl3630

    Happy to see someone else who has as high of an opinion of the 48 Laws of Power as I do. Fascinating book that has served me well in the corporate slaughter house.

  • bungholio

    “everyone knows this” is what you say when you have fuck all actual evidence.

  • Fred Christ

    Roosh – how do you work out when you’re traveling? Do you go to gyms in foreign countries or do bodyweight exercises or what? I’m going overseas for a while, my first time living across the pond (in Poland). I don’t want to turn into a sad sack and would like to gain some muscle. Read starting strength but it’s been a few months since I’ve had access to a gym.

  • http://therationalmale.com/ Rollo Tomassi

    Can I add one more to the list?

    https://www.createspace.com/4450847

  • Kingsley

    Paging GBFM!!

  • Architekt

    Calisthenics are a lot more effective than most people realise

  • Jesse Myner

    And your list is good for becoming a faggy PhD student in philosophy.
    Nietzsche is the very definition of a frustrated beta. He would have been a tough-guy internet keyboard jockey if he was around today. Guy was for much of his life physically sick with debilitating headaches, stomach problems, insomnia and bad eyesight, many days unable to write or get out of bed. He was nothing like the great overman he aspired to. He made one pathetic approach in his life, to Lou Andreas Salome, who refused him and was laid only once by a prostitute (who perhaps gave him the syphilis which drove him insane).
    The Baudrillard is just French fag shit and your book is unreadable.

  • RK

    I just took a look at this site. Of course it’s thinly disguised HBD garbage.

  • RK

    Yes. I hate these dudes who write comments using a false consensus, acting like they speak for everyone.

  • Dirt Man

    I’ve mentioned and linked to the Cialdini book (Influence) no less than four times since 2011. I didn’t realize you also had interest in such an obscure social psych book. It is one of the best, by one of the best.

  • Realist

    Why does Roosh always go on about lifting when he looks like he clearly hasn’t lifted in his life?

  • Live Bait

    Excellent choices, Roosh. I have read none of these books – yet. You are really more of a self improvement guru than a PUA.

  • convictscott

    dammit just fell for the spam troll

  • convictscott

    “Lifting weights, for example, is nowhere near as good for your body as swimming” – Incorrect and demonstrably so. Swimming is great if you want to swim long distances faster, and it is low impact on the joints. However if you want to change the shape of your body (which stripping all the bullshit away is why 99% of people exercise) and make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex, then NOTHING can compete with the hypertrophy of lifting heavy weights. The simple fact is that if you can squat a weight that was previously impossible for you, your body will grow. Look at the average chumps on the treadmill at the gym – most of them look like cancer patients. Sure olympic swimmers look great, but they are already blessed with the genetic lottery.

  • Anon

    Telling Lies by Paul Ekman, another essential in my opinion, it will teach you to see through the most experienced and elaborate liars.

  • icycalm

    “How to make money quick.” “How to get big muscles quick.” “How to bang a lot of girls quick.” Guy recommends some culture as an alternative, and you call him a spammer. Is it any wonder Europeans think Americans are stupid?

  • Trey

    Dude, those are depressing existentialist books. The last thing a man needs to read to enjoy life. Take that omega shit somewhere else, and lift some weights instead.

  • Samseau

    Most of those books are garbage. Nietzsche’s originality runs out after one or two books and postmodernism is 100% sophistry. None of those books will help any man lead a more fulfilling life.

    Your last book recommendation, as a “book of genius,” is completely laughable.

  • icycalm

    There’s more manliness in one page of Nietzsche than Roosh could achieve by lifting weights for 50 years and ejaculating like a monkey inside a million sluts. You are the fags here, who despite 6,000 years of culture cannot seem to set for yourselves a higher goal in life than an erection.

  • Harland

    Cialdini isn’t obscure, he’s the definitive text in the field. Beginning marketing and advertising students read it in class.

  • Harland

    McCandless was a well-known idiot who got into a lethal situation he could have easily avoided had he had a brain between his ears. There’s nothing anyone can learn from that.

  • G Ron

    Roosh-
    I have a challenge for
    You.

    Move to LA and sarge your ass off. Their are beautiful chicks all over SoCal. I would like to see you hit up some models and actresses. I mean even women in their 40s are way hotter out there than the small town Amurica Jane Does that are early 20s. I sarge continually at a small town college and no chick I’ve seen their was as bad ass as an early 40s big tit brunette lawyer I exchanged numbers with in LA. You botch about America and older women but a place like LA has so many fine women young older its unreal. Small town America and suburbs of shit towns like Atlanta and Dc are a joke.

    Do that LA bang mission guru. The talent there is incredible.

  • icycalm

    It was a low blow, I admit it, but consider what he did. He calls me a
    spammer while asking me a question, then simultaneously banning me so I
    can’t answer. No attempt to counter any of my arguments either. All the
    tactics, basically, that the libertarians he hates are employing against
    him. I think he deserved my low blow, considering also that he can’t
    parse anything higher than that.

  • icycalm

    When you are fighting short people, you have to hit low.

  • Paul

    Yet you want to advertize here?

  • Paul

    Why on earth would you want to get 40yo lawyers?

  • http://www.keshkesh.com/ Takeshi Young

    What about “The 4-Hour Workweek”? Napoleon Hill is a great intro to the mindset, but 4HWW offers practical advice on how to escape the rat race in modern times.

  • captain america

    he doesn’t look like a bodybuilder, but he looks like he lifts to me. a lot of guys can’t get huge muscles, and a lot of lifting isn’t really designed to do that anyway. i tried squat-or-die-style lifting with very heavy weights when i was younger, but i struggled to put on 10 pounds of muscle and always eventually ended up hurting myself. i’ve switch to stuff like P90X and insanity now and consigned myself to just being fit and lean. i’m almost 43 and i’m 6’2 with a 31″ waist. could be worse.

  • Roosh_V

    Gaining bulk for me would have to make lifting/eating an obsession. I’m content being just lean and fit.

  • Joe Dick

    seriously…..Arnold’s biography? He must be one of the most hyped/overrated gym-rats on the planet. He’s stupid, he’s uncultured, he’s arrogant, and he’s super-hyped. He thinks he’s the only one who marks 7 lines on a piece of paper when he learns to speak a line in English. He’s pathetic. He said ‘you are wasting your life away, you should study 12 hours a day’ to a hard working student who asked him how he could better organize his life. There’s many autobiographies written by truly remarkable men, Arnold is just the village’s idiot in comparison. ‘The war on art’ is also an hyped book written by yet another judgemental asshole who writes crap such as ‘diseases are just a marketing ploy’ and other nonsense

  • ASAHi

    The language of Walden is so wired. Why can’t the author use more clear English like that of Orwell?

  • Roosh_V

    You can ask Thoreau why he was born 100 years earlier than Orwell.

  • Tommy Hass

    “Nietzsche is the very definition of a frustrated beta.”

    Maybe but he knew alot about women that we teach.

    But maybe back in the day, people just knew these things.

  • Tommy Hass

    He is a role model because of his mentality and because of his success in 3 wildly different fields.

  • Joe Dick

    then you haven’t read good autobiographies yet. I did read Arnold’s biography (most of it anyways, it was very dull), and I was thinking ‘why am I reading this?’. Like I said, he’s the village’s idiot compared to other remarkable men. Obviously he has no idea of how many people there have been who worked their butt off. Except for his body, most of Arnold’s ‘success’ was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. If you think it’s entirely down to ‘making things happen’, you are delusional….you need luck and other people as well, and you need to be in a favourable environment. Yeah, he worked hard on his body. Big deal. In the end, who really gives a shit about somebody’s abs? I think that spending all day in a gym and getting back home looking at your abs in the mirror is probably one of the most shallow things to do. Oh, and he learned some English, too…..the proof is that piece of paper he shows in the book with the 17 mark lines beside.

    Give me a break….arnold is for 15 years old teens

  • Joe Dick

    the 4 hours workweek is just another hyped concept in American ‘culture’. There’s no magic pills, which is what these ‘authors’ thrive on. They are the only ones making money, selling you a book that apparently teaches you to live a good life by working 4 hours a week….Besides, the author of 4 hours is a complete pussy and a cheater, to him winning a kickboxe fight means finding loopholes in the regulations. Bleah….

  • tu_ne_cede_malis

    JoeDick, if you are so accomplished and cultured I wonder why you are writing longwinded internet comments.

  • Karkat Vantas

    HAAHHAH you WOULD recommend your own book!

    But seriously, good job, man. I’m buying that shit.

  • Armchair General

    To teh Amazone

  • Glengarry

    Yeah, better stay home with daddy, bro. That shit can be dangerous.

  • Connor Bryant Steel

    Good list. Love the 48 Laws of power book.
    Also, good review of another of his books with 50n cent (along with willpower/discipline stuff) over at
    http://www.learningthesteel.com

  • 7254

    Currently 1/3 of the way into Walden. So far, as far as our goals are concerned, it’s mostly a waste. Between the interesting parts where he explains why he’s going against the grain and describes in detail how he did it, what he spent and experienced, is interwoven a bunch of philosophical rambling where he just wont shut up about the state of affairs.

    Who cares if I think the education system is shit, effeminate men run rampant, reading the newspaper is redundant, or I can’t find someone to mentally masturbate with over Homer or other classical literature? It feels like the intellectual filler I would inject into my college essays to fluff up the number of pages.

    Aside from an occasional quote now and then that stirs something up inside there’s not much going on here. Especially when the tiresome ramble(whining) causes you to forget that great line many pages ago. The Way of Men and Bang were many times more focused, insightful and motivational.

  • Ragnar

    I was really surprised to see. Starting Strength on the list (and even Arnold’s book)

    I agree, putting on real muscle is one of the most important things a man can do. It helps him throughout his entire life. From a PUA perspective you’d be amazed how often I’ve been the first man to pick a woman up off the ground, or carry her over my shoulder.

  • Ocean

    Arnold – Hmmmm, lets see…came from a dirt poor family in some hole village in Austria, became the most famous bodybuilder of all time, made a killing on real estate in California, became the highest paid movie star for the best part of a decade, married a Kennedy, became Governor of California which as an ecomony bigger than most other countries in the world….yeah, just a village idiot.

  • Peter

    I fucking love you man. I stumbled upon this shitty little website after googling your name and if it wasn’t for your utter demolition of it I would have regretted reading it.

  • Peter

    And you haven’t even started elaborating..

  • Mark

    Starting Strength is the most tuned in book on this list of tuned in books. Kudos. It’ll be one of the best $17 investments any man makes, assuming that they read it studiously and apply it.