If you were to search “best books for men” you would find endless blog posts containing boring books which are loosely relevant to men. In this article, I’ve summarised a list of 11 books that I believe every man can find real value in. They’ve also been recommended by credible people including Naval Ravikant, Tim Ferris, and Nassim Taleb. This is why I read most of them in the first place. So if you're a man in your 20s I suggest you get started on the list below.
1. The Almanac of Naval by Eric Jorgenson
Naval Ravikant is a well know Indian-American entrepreneur and angel investor. He co-founded AngelList and was an early-stage investor in hyper-successful companies such as Uber, Twitter, Wish, and Stack Overflow. His recent spike in popularity has been the result of a tweetstorm outlining his philosophies on wealth and happiness.
The Almanac of Naval Ravikant is a distilled collection of maxims. These are mostly extracted from his tweetstorms and podcasts. The book contains profound insights and mental models for simultaneously achieving happiness and wealth. You can read The Almanac of Naval book summary here.
“All returns in life, whether wealth, relationships, or knowledge come from compound interest.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: It reinforces that you simply will not become wealthy if you rent out your time for money.
2. The Unplugged Alpha by Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper is a Canadian entrepreneur best known for his Youtube channel Entrepreneurs in Cars. He’s also a strong voice of reason in the Manosphere, where he encourages men to chase excellence.
The Unplugged Alpha is an eye-opening and highly tactical book for guiding men in their relationships and life. The book covers the importance of maxing out your looks, money, and status. Cooper guides men on how to actually achieve this.
“Women don't care about your struggles. They wait at the finish line and pick the winners.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Cooper explains why men need to take full accountability for the results they get in life.
3. The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is an American author responsible for the attention stoicism receives today. Some would argue that he sells stoicism as a life hack. He’s written many books, and articles and is also the host of the Daily Stoic podcast.
The Obstacle Is The Way applies ancient stoic philosophies to the modern world. Holiday uses stoic principles, and examples to point out how we can live happier more virtuous lives. Obstacles are necessary, they’re also an opportunity to grow and become more resilient.
“Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Obstacles are an opportunity to grow and become resilient, we should start viewing them this way.
4. The Rational Male by Rollo Tomassi
Rollo Tomassi is a well-known blogger who helps men unplug from the lies they’ve been told about women and relationships. The Rational Male is a healthy introduction to “red-pill” content that is backed with relevant theory, philosophy, and sources.
Tomassi shares his “nine iron rules” for success with women and life. The book does an excellent job of explaining the dynamics of the sexual marketplace. Tomassi also makes it clear that for men to be of high value they need to take full accountability for their lives.
“Don’t wish things were easier, wish you were better.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: You’ll get better results with everything important in life if you start by becoming a better version of yourself.
5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Viktor E. Frankl was an Austrian Neurologist, Psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor best known for helping people find meaning in life through logotherapy treatment.
Man’s Search for Meaning is a powerful autobiography detailing Frankl’s experience as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. Frankl applied his own logotherapy treatment to himself and other prisoners. Through this, we see how finding meaning and purpose is key to well-being and happiness.
“Those who have a ‘why' to live, can bear with almost any ‘how'.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Through Frankl’s extreme suffering you’ll be convinced to find meaning in your own life.
Related: Best self help books for men.
6. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Robert Greene is a best-selling American author of books on strategy, power, and seduction. The 48 Laws of Power is a controversial handbook of 48 different strategies to help you acquire some form of power. Society tells us we shouldn’t be power-hungry and that it’s immoral to want the upper hand. Greene encourages readers to view power as a social game rather than something we shun.
Green applies the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl Von Clausewitz, and other figures to support each law.
“When you show yourself to the world and display your talents, you naturally stir all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity… you cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Achieving your goals will be much easier once you understand people and power dynamics.
7. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
The Daily Stoic is another Ryan Holiday book exploring stoicism. The book is divided into 366 days of meditation on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living.
There are three key disciplines The Daily Stoic explores. The discipline of perception, the discipline of action, and the discipline of will. Holiday makes it clear that the core belief of stoicism is understanding what is in our control and what is not.
“A wise person knows what’s inside their circle of control and what is outside of it.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Stoicism is a practical way to become a more virtuous man.
8. Skin in The Game by Nassim Taleb
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American author, risk analyst, and former options trader. He’s a controversial figure and has one of the most interesting Twitter accounts. His recent book Skin in the game explores the hidden asymmetries in life. The book is the fifth installment in the Incerto series, which is a collection exploring risk, economics, philosophy, and uncertainty.
Skin in the game discusses the unreliability of knowledge and the importance of actually having “skin in the game”. Nassim believes that if you can reap the benefits of a positive outcome you should also be equally exposed to the risks of a negative outcome. Taleb argues that it shouldn’t be possible to transfer this risk to other people.
“Those that do not take risks should never be involved in decision making”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Having “skin in the game” is important for the advice you’re giving and receiving.
9. The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
Matt Ridley is a British journalist and businessman. He’s also the author of many provocative science books on evolution, genetics, and society. Ridley argues that prosperity comes from the evolution of ideas. Humans are so special because we have the unique ability to share, communicate and generate new ideas.
Ridley explains why the world is the way it is today and why it’s the best it’s ever been. The rational optimist suggests the positive trends of humanity will actually continue.
“A rising tide lifts the poor’s boat, too”
Why men should read it in one sentence: The world isn’t such a bad place and sharing ideas is important.
10. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
Geroge S Clason was an American best known for his book The Richest Man in Babylon. The book explores seven key rules of money through a collection of parables. The key emphasis is building a habit to save and invest a portion of your income.
Financial literacy isn’t a skill most of us learn the same way we do math or science. If you were to only read one personal finance book make it The Richest Man in Babylon.
“It costs nothing to ask wise advice from a good friend.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: We should only seek advice from credible people, not the enthusiastic novice.
11. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie was an American writer and lecturer, he’s also the face of the self-improvement space. How to win friends and influence people was first published in 1936 and is still one of the best-selling self-help books of all time.
The book explores nine key principles that will literally help you win friends and influence people. Carnegie makes a key point that people only care about themselves and they often lack praise. By learning what interests and desires other people have we’re able to become more effective in every sense.
“The only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what they want.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: Having a fundamental understanding of people will lead to better results, whether in dating or in business.
12. Bachelor Pad Economics by Adam Clarey
Adam Clarey is one of the greatest minds in the “men's” space. He's written a number of books to guide men into making better financial and life decisions. Bachelor Pad Economics does exactly this. Not only will you learn about the cost of dating but you'll see why some degrees are useless and others are well worth their cost.
I expected to learn about how to become a wealthy bachelor, instead, I was left with a list of practical ideas to keep my life on track.
“The tell tale sign of a worthless degree is when the only or primary application of the study is to merely re teach the same stuff to new and future students.”
Why men should read it in one sentence: This book will keep you on track in life and make sure the decisions you make early on serve you well in the long run.