Last year I wrote an article on 25 Books Every Man Should that a lof you enjoyed.
This year I was looking to do a sort of sequel to that article but while I was writing it I realized it was quickly becoming excessively long and unwiedly. So instead of dropping a monster 3000+ word article I decided to parse it out into more manageable chunks.
With that said, here are 5 more books every man should read:
I’m certain most of you are familiar with this book but few of you have probably read it. Read this book. It is absolutely fantastic.
The Iliad is an epic poem about the Trojan War and the 10 year siege of the city of Troy. The Iliad only covers the last few weeks in the final year of the war and focuses on the feud between King Agamemnon and Achilles.
By reading this book you get a good feel of the types of things that mattered to the ancient Greeks. Things like honour, glory, courage, strength etc. In other words, all of the manly virtues.
For example, one of my favourite quotes from the book is from Sarpedon who fought on the side of Greeks. This is what he says to Glaucus before the two enter battle against the Trojans:
“Dear friend, if the two of us were to survive this war and could live forever, without old age, without dying, I wouldn’t press on to fight in the front lines myself or urge you into the battle. But as it is, since death stands facing us all in ten thousand forms and no mortal can ever escape it, let us go forward and either win glory ourselves or yield it to others.”
I recommend going with the Stephen Mitchell translation of The Iliad as it is highly accessible. I know some “purists” will likely turn their noses at this translation for being too pedestrian but I find that it is much more engaging than some of the more stuffy “academic” translations out there.
Hands down this is the best book on leadership I have ever read. It’s written by a couple of retired Navy SEALs: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Jocko was the Task Unit Commander of SEAL Team Three during the battle of Ramadi in Iraq in 2006 and Leif served under his command.
The gist of their “extreme ownership” philosophy on leadership is that everything is your fault. The buck ultimately stops with you.
Okay, so it’s a little more nuanced than that but the general idea is that exceptional leaders always lead by example. They are not “Do as I say not as I do” leaders.
For instance, how many of us have had leaders that passed the buck? Leaders that looked to blame others when things went wrong only to take all the credit when things went right? Leaders that lacked accountability and the confidence to make tough decisions?
According to Jocko and Leif these types of leaders are the exact antithesis of their extreme ownership philosophy. These are the types of leaders that you do not want to emulate.
What I particularly liked about the book was that Jocko and Leif were able to translate their hard earned battlefield leadership skills to the business world. And if you listen to Jocko’s exceptional podcast he explains how you can apply these same leadership principles to your life.
Even if you are not in a leadership position at work you should still read Extreme Ownership. It will not only make you a better employee but a better person, period.
If you’re in the middle of a rough patch in your life then this book is for you. It’s written by former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.
Eric is the quintessential warrior-scholar. He got his PhD from Oxford in 2000 after graduating from Duke University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1996. He’s written numerous books including two New York Times Best Sellers, is a 2nd Dan black belt in Taekwondo, a boxing champion, and a former Navy SEAL. Oh, and he’s now the Governor of Missouri.
Suffice it to say, Eric has accomplished a lot of difficult things in his life and is therefore in a unique position to offer his insight and wisdom in overcoming life’s challenges.
Resilience is actually written as a series of letters to Eric’s friend (a former Navy SEAL) who is battling PTSD. In this sense Resilience is very much like of Letters from a Stoic and the two books share a lot of the same philosophy.
If you enjoyed books like Meditations and Letters from a Stoic then you’ll no doubt enjoy Resilience as well. The book is chock-full of wisdom written by someone who’s faced (and conquered) manydifficult challenges. Eric’s writing is very straightforward and down to earth. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself re-reading certain passages of this book again and again in order to reinforce its great lessons.
Hit a big goal recently? Got a promotion at work? Your business is finally taking off? Does it seem as if success is just following you around lately?
Good. Then this book is for you because you shouldn’t believe the hype.
And it’s hard not to with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram constantly fanning the flames of our own self importance. Let’s face it, with social media it’s never been easier to believe that we are better than we really are, to believe that we are someone special.
Well, Ego Is the Enemy is a sort of antidote to all of that nonsense. It’s a book that will remind you to slow your roll and not get too caught up by your own successes. Why? Because the moment you do that is the moment you set yourself up for failure. The ego needs to be kept in check.
What I particularly enjoyed about the book was its format. Ryan Holiday used a number of historical examples of individuals who had to fight their egos at every turn in order to realize goals that were much more important than their desire for recognition. I found this to be a lot more instructive than merely warning me of the pitfalls of an unchecked ego.
Ego Is the Enemy is full of wisdom on how to navigate the often murky waters of success without losing your soul. I suspect after reading it once many of you will turn to it again and again in order to imbibe its lessons on humility and unpretentiousness.
If you want to know what it takes to become truly exceptional in your field then Relentless is the book to read.
It’s written by Tim Grover who was the personal trainer for a number of NBA stars including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade to name a few.
The book is essentially a distillation of Grover’s knowledge on what it takes to be great based on his more than two decades worth of experience working with elite athletes.
I have to warn you that this is not a book for everyone. Tim is brutally honest with the reader. He lays out exactly what it takes to become an exceptional individual through his “Relentless 13” traits and I can tell you right now there’s a good chance that you may not agree with them all.
What I found particularly interesting in the book was Tim’s discussion of the “dark side” of successful people. It’s something that Tim says all incredibly driven and successful people have. Michael Jordan had it with gambling. Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods had it with women. The “dark side” is something few other books on success touch on and I thought Tim did a great job of explaining the good and the bad and how people can best harness it.
If you’re looking for a book that will give you a kick in the ass then I highly recommend you read Relentless. The numerous examples and stories of the sickening work ethic of guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant will no doubt inspire you to become better. After reading Relentless you’ll find that being good will just not be good enough.
Reading books is one of the best things you can do to develop yourself. In fact, a recent article even suggests that people who read books live longer. So do yourself a favour this holiday season and instead of vegging out on the couch pick up one (or more!) of these books and enrich your mind and your soul. It’s one of the best investments you can make.
So here’s to staying fit, looking sharp, and being smart!