The Big Ass Book Challenge

I challenge you to purchase a history or biography book over 500 pages long and read it within two weeks. The reason? To become inspired and motivated from great men of the past, a duty that we sorely neglect in today’s Youtube culture. I explain more in this Youtube video:

The book I’ve undertaken for this challenge is the 700 page Landmark Thucydides, a Greek history book written over 2,000 years ago.

ISBN: 0684827905

I’ve also reviewed several big ass books in the past. Here is a list of some worthy contenders, from most liked to least:

Once you’ve purchased your book, divide its total page count by fourteen to know how much you should read per day. Share your chosen book on this forum thread while advising others which big ass books they should read.

Now go forth, young man, and bathe yourself in masculine wisdom!

Read More: The Best Book Of 2012 For Men

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  • Anonymous

    last book I’ve been reading has an unlimited number of pages: facebook! ;)

  • Sean

    My favorite general history book is JM Roberts’ History of the World, which clocks in at slightly under 1000 pages hardback. He’s dead now, but was very un-PC in his assertion that modern civilization is (or was) more or less a triumph of European ideas.

  • Baron

    I highly suggest Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (though I avoid chick authors usually). Whatever small problems you have will look minuscule when you see what this man went through in the Pacific during WWII. And we need to remember the time when we were the good guys.

  • Tampa

    Such a great post. Nice to see a guy talk about building the chartaristics that build the man. I’ll do this starting chrismas day.

  • http://randwrand.wordpress.com William

    Christmas is coming; I’m trying to get one of my books promoted and another done and published, but I’m going to give this a shot anyway because it’s such a good idea. I’m going to read “Rickenbacker, an Autobiography,” published in 1967 by Edward V. Rickenbacker, 512 pages. I agree with Baron. We also need to remember our male heroes. In addition to other things, I have an interest in aviation. I nearly got my pilot’s license before my first marriage to a feminist went into meltdown, and I filed for divorce. The flying lessons got side-tracked. We’ll see if I can manage this in two weeks.

  • http://theprivateman.wordpress.com The Private Man

    I strongly recommend “Citizen Soldiers” by Stephen Ambrose. It’s a big ass history book about the American (and occasionally German) soldiers who fought in the European theater of war from D-Day to the fall of Nazi Germany. It’s well researched and well written. It’s riveting stuff for any guy interested in the history of WW2.

    In fact, anything written by Stephen Ambrose is really good.

  • Unscrupulous Men

    Roosh, I have just bought volumes one and two of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 1,348 pages. Looking forward to reading them. Moreover, we can sit here and talk about reading to build character, but I think Roosh wants you to read in an effort to get laid. Those of you who have been caught with a bit of the yellow fever might want to consider reading these books. Trust me. For example, a personal ancidote, I was talking to a girl doing the Day Bang thing mentioning something about her computer. We got to talking and she told me she was from China. I said, “China? Oh cool, I was just reading an essay on Zhuge Liang…” She interrupts me, litterally stands up out of her chair and excitedly deadpanned, “You know Zhuge Liang!?” Reading books gets you laid, believe that.

  • FW

    Excellent.

  • http://www.nuancenews.com nuance news

    I read “Dead Bat in Paraguay” in one uninterrupted 8 hour stint. Not that I challenged myself to do it but it was just a F#@king great story. Some books are like that, just couldn’t put it down.

  • greenlander

    I challenge every man to read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. 1400 pages. After that, it will be clear to you that it is a perfect allegory for what is happening in the western world, and that the sooner you GTFO and expatriate the better off you’ll be.

  • Bones

    Citizen Hearst

  • Red Pill

    @10

    You do realize that book is a work of fiction, right?

  • Black Medici

    @12

    So was 1984, and the Matrix – which is where I suppose is where you got “Red Pill” from.

    As for history books: Plutarch’s Parallel Lives is the perfect book for such a pursuit. I’m currently following the ten year course on the great books of the Western World as suggested by Mortimer Adler.

  • dragnet

    “If MRAs want to be taken more seriously, they really need to drop the “men can be raped too!” nonsense.”

    How is this ‘nonsense’? Over 300,000 men were indeed raped in American prisons last year—with many of these guys locked up for victimless “crimes” such as prostitution or possessing/smoking cannabis. This is absolutely a human rights issue–no sane human being could believe otherwise.

  • Red Pill

    @13

    Fine, but Roosh’s suggestion was specifically “non-fiction”. I was just clarifying.

    Fiction may be entertaining; it may be enlightening and thought provoking. It is not learning.

  • World Unweary

    Great choice for a book. Went through the Landmark Herodotus a couple years back and really enjoyed it, and having tried to read Herodotus before but never finished it.

  • KN

    I highly recommend James Belich’s “Replenishing the Earth”. It attempts to explain why it was Anglo-Saxon culture that became the dominant and most successful one in the new world. Explains the boom and bust cycle of immigration and corrects a number of myths over why so many immigrated. Interesting fact: Napoleon’s blockade of the Baltic helped make passage to America cheap because Britain switched from the Baltic to Canada for its supply of naval timber and returning ships had plenty of room for passengers.

  • Brian

    The thing about big-ass history books is that you will get lost in the details without knowing the bigger picture first.

    I recommend reading a simpler, bigger-picture book or article that covers the same time range before digging into one that goes into great detail. Wikipedia would probably work well.

  • Sandson

    “Now go forth, young man, and bathe yourself in masculine wisdom”

    I’d much rather spend that limited time honing my craft in financial wizardry which has enabled me to be my own boss and make a comfortable living. I work hard to be the best at my craft, but I must also play hard so I spend the rest of my time fucking around with young vaginas and taming them with my masculinity.

  • Zorro

    May I heartily recommend “A Genius for War” the biography of General George S. Patton, Jr., by Carlo D’Este.

    One of the finest biographies since “A Life Story” the biography of Ernest Hemingway by Carlos Baker.

  • http://krauserpua.com Krauser

    I’m fully into hero worship.

    Not supplicating in a he’s-so-much-better-than-me way. More like wow-this-is-what-men-are-really-capable-of-I-want-to-do-that

    Rickson Gracie, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Greb top my list but there’s plenty of great men around the history books.

  • Flounder

    It’s a pity that you omega herbs have to be taught this. These are things you should have been doing in grammar and prep school, along with learning how to dance and dress correctly.

  • IamscaredoflifesoIliveontheinternet

    I love biographies. I’ve decided to join you.

    I’m going to be reading “Can You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking?” By The Rock. A truly inspirational figure for me. Him and Batman.
    .

  • John Galt2

    Fiction my ass!

  • Derrick

    22,

    Who the hell are you? Please tell me more about how you were a natural from 12.

  • http://kleyau.wordpress.com kleyau

    These were my close to 700 page reads over the last several months:

    Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll (738 pages)

    First In: How Seven CIA Officers Opened the War on Terror in Afghanistan by Gary Schroen (Technically only 400 pages, but I consider it a continuation of Ghost Wars)

    Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohen (684 pages)

    Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll (704 pages)

    The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran by David Crist (656 pages)

    My focus has been learning about how powerful organizations actually run, both businesses and militaries.

  • http://www.sosuave.net Vice from SoSuave

    Finally, Roosh’s posts have been getting less whiny and more inspirational.

    I’m also big on aviator like another poster, and here are my recommendations:

    1. Yeager – Autobiography of Chuck Yeager, the guy that broke the sound barrier. Be careful; this one might give you the “flying bug” and make you want to run out and get your pilot’s lisence. Starts off with his combat experience in WWII, to Korea, and his flight test exploits at Edwards.

    2. Figher Pilot – This should be read FIRST. An autobiography of Robin Olds, possibly one of the greatest fighter pilots and commanders of all time. Also a WWII fighter ace, and was in Vietnam.

    3. Eric Hartmann’s autobiography is rare, but the name of the book is called The Blonde Knight of Germany. He is the top scoring ace of ALL time in history, with 352 confirmed air to air kills.

    4. Howard Hughe’s autobiography is very interesting, and the movie The Aviator skims the surface of his life. Be warned though, this book will get very scandalous and depressing quickly. Typical Hollywood dysfunctionality.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps the greatest book in the English language, in the ideal edition:

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Samuel-Johnson-Everymans-Library/dp/0679417176

  • OlioOx

    Stop reading Thucydides right now and read Herodotus first! They go together in sequence. Herodotus is the FIRST WORK OF HISTORY IN THE WESTERN WORLD. Besides that it’s a tremendously entertaining book, even more so than Thucydides, who was drier and more systematic. Then of course you must go back and finish Thucydides.

    Actually it doesn’t matter; just be sure to read both, over and over again.

    There is a SUPERB audiobook reading of unabridged Herodotus by an old British dude with the perfect voice and accent for the subject. Unfortunately the audiobook of unabridged Thucydides is by some other brit who is incredibly annoying, he is clearly putting on a snob accent which is not really his own. So a pleasant way to get Herodotus under your belt is to listen to it every night as you fall asleep.

    The more I get to know Roosh the more I like him; now he’s reading the Greeks! Wotta dude!

    Once again I recommend Burckhardt’s “The Greeks and Greek Civilization”

    Amazon quick link: http://amzn.to/12eH3dX

  • http://www.letitrideleague.com Pro

    Recommended…
    Stephen Ambrose “Undaunted Courage” (Lewis and Clark)
    Edmund Morris “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt”, “Theodore Rex”, “Colonel Roosevelt”
    David McCullough “Truman”
    James Stewart “Disneywar” (Michael Eisner)
    Thomas Cahill “How The Irish Saved Civilization” and the rest of the Hinges of History Series, though they are under 500 pages

  • http://greengranted.wordpress.com greengranted

    The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (900 pages):
    Describes the life of possible the most genuine and fearless man I know of. At every job he got, he secured de facto leadership and gained more influence. He had rigorous self disciplince. The most baffling part is where he (against everyone’s advice) decides to join the army with his own batallion of ‘rough riders’ from the West and goes on to become the battle’s biggest hero.

    The autobiography of Malcolm X (500 pages):
    Another fearless man. Roosh did a review of this one already. The one trait of great man seems to be that they always follow their own beliefs, no matter the dangers. “I will probably be dead when this book is in print”. And he was right, but that didn’t stop him from trying to gain absolute respect for black people all over the world.

  • Anonymous

    reading is for nerds. Alpha males don’t read chit!

  • Ben

    “A duty that we sorely neglect in today’s Youtube culture. I explain more in this Youtube video”

    I laughed.

    Also, just bought Neil Young’s new bio before I read this (clocks in at 502 pages). Not sure how inspiring it’ll be, but he’s a pretty rad guy.

  • Anonymous

    “..in today’s Youtube culture. I explain more in this Youtube video..” lol

  • Anonymous

    thucydides…

    lot of respect if you can actually make it through this one

  • Glunder

    “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” — only 410 pages, but an entertaining and just a little sarcastic treatment of (usually destructive) fads, from economic bubbles to “Tulip Mania” to witch-burning to alchemy.

    Very illuminating when it comes to understanding the tech and higher-ed bubbles, the mortgage crisis, and “green energy” crap.

  • Glunder

    Oh, and Churchill’s “The Gathering Storm”, 710 pages. Excellent account of the catastrophic wages of pusillanimity, denial, and wishful thinking.

  • http://randwrand.wordpress.com William

    Number 10 Greenlander has it right. I’m a day into “Rickenbacker, An Autobiography.” The first two chapters focus on themes of initiative, patriotism and family. Eddie Rickenbacker’s father built the house in which the family lived, and he taught them to love their country. He died working to improve their lives. His wife, Eddie’s mother, loved and supported her husband and children to the end. Although I lived through the last thirty years of changing social politics, it is depressing to see in print how the feminist movement and political correctness have damaged men and undermined those ideals.

  • Anonymous

    The Power Broker is required reading for anyone who lives in the city or Long Island… Its a 1000+ page epic biography of Robert Moses, who built the tristate area and as parks commissioner was more powerful then decades of mayors and governors.

  • Hans Sluitspier

    I highly suggest “the holy bible” by my favorite author, Jesus Christ. It’s about a guy who was born in the year 0 and has all kind of adventures. He is a little bit blue pill, but definitely still worth the read.

  • IamscaredoflifesoIliveontheinternet

    “I highly suggest “the holy bible” by my favorite author, Jesus Christ.”

    Which part did he write, exactly?

  • Cad and Bounder

    @19 Sandson

    What is the art of your financial wizardry? I am interested in being in touch with anyone investing for a living.

  • Anonymous

    This is a really great post. Good on you Roosh.

  • OlioOx

    Just want to add something about the Greeks (Thucydides, Herodotus, Homer, etc etc.)

    These aren’t the kinds of books you pick up, read once all the way through, and then never read again. You live with them and consult them regularly over the years until they become part of your personality, and then you keep doing it until you die, because as you change throughout life, your reflections on the Greeks will change — and the Greeks are worth reflecting on at every stage throughout life, whereas Harry Potter is probably not.

    If you’re young and/or don’t know much about the Greeks, don’t overdo it at first. Trying to swallow Thucydides whole would be a total turn-off for a lot of people if they weren’t prepared for it and excited at the prospect of reading something they already knew something about.

    It’s difficult to get into the Greeks at first because the books are hard to appreciate unless you already know something about their contents. Here’s an example: For Homer, I would recommend reading popularized, simple, brief versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey, then some Wikipedia stuff, etc. Once you know both stories pretty well, then is the time to pick up translations of the originals.

    And don’t forget Greek mythology; it’s essential to be familiar with it in order to read almost anything by them. An extremely pleasurable way to get a quick mythological background is “Mythology” by Edith Hamilton. (This book also gives excellent short versions of the Iliad, the Oddysey, and some of the more important Greek tragedies)

    For Thucydides, it would be wise first to read a briefer, simpler account of the history he’s telling; so when he gets to the Sicilian expedition, for instance, you already know a bit about these outlandish characters like Alcibiades. And so on.

    As always, I recommend to everyone to start with Herodotus, background or no background. I also recommend the translation by Aubrey de Selincourt — I don’t know Greek, but I do know that it is very highly rated by scholars, and its style is the most pleasant and excellent of the several English translations I’ve seen.

  • WanderLust

    At first I thought you were challenging yourself to write a book about big asses. But this is pretty cool too, I guess.

    If you are looking for an overview of the Greeks, I recommend Donald Kagan’s course from Yale on iTunes U.

  • dragnet

    “Would you bang Hillary Clinton in 1969? “

    Can totally see why Bill snatched that up—I would hit that like the wrath of God.

    Time is so cruel to women.

  • zoso

    Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) is about the author’s role during the Arab Revolt in WWI against the Turkish Empire.

    He writes about everything with great detail, such as the vast desert, the British and Arab leaders he works with, the battles and hardships he endures along with his brilliant ideas concerning guerrilla and military strategy.

  • Anonymous

    I recommend the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. It’s such an informative book that not only talks about economic factors of the 1700s’s but also about past and present ways of life.

  • Anonymous

    I would also recommend documentaries.

    The BBC has done many on the history of science, mathematics and art.

    Apart from, I recommend anything by Churchill. His writing is captivating. Currently reading “The River War” about his time in the Mahdist rebellion

  • http://lamentablysane.blogspot.com Beefy Levinson

    @40

    Only blue pill people think Jesus Christ was blue pill.

  • Sherpa

    If you want a real reading challenge try getting through the 975 page new healthcare law…did they really have to make the bill as long as “lord of the rings”?

    I love you’re sweater but you do look a bit like a homeless Lothar Matthaeus with that 1990 German national team kit…..still, im happy to see your a fan of the best fussball team in the world, 2014 ist jahr die weltmeisterschafts deustchland.

  • http://www.raulfelix.com Raul Felix

    I’m tackling Titan: The Life of John D Rockefeller, Sr. Just ordered on amazon. Can’t wait.

  • cool

    I’m reading Pacific Crucible…

    It’s a little embarrassing to admit how little I know about the Pacific theater in WWII.

  • Ron

    I like to get books from Project Gutenberg.

    http://www.gutenberg.org

    Last two books I read where from there. The Twelve Twelve Caesars and Anabasis. Now am reading the History of the Peloponnesian War.

  • Max

    Im Halfway through D-Day by Stephen Ambrose
    Started reading it after the I Dare You blog post on ROK
    I’ve noticed that the little things dont bother me as much while I read this 650 pager behemoth, I’ve got a mission to finish.

  • Z

    Roosh,

    love the site. I read Third Reich in the eleventh grade. One of my favorite history books of all time. It’s a real easy read, believe it or not, finished it in a little under two weeks, I recommend it to anyone. Also a fan of Gulag Archipelago, if you haven’t read it. A little more challenging once you get about halfway in, but still a vital read. Keep up the good work, only wish I could do half of what you’ve done for yourself.

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