If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is one of the rare books you can’t find a digital copy of, so I had to wait until I got back to the US to read this book. Bly uses the fairy tale of “Iron John” and mythology from ancient times to address modern struggles in masculinity. The wild man in Iron John symbolizes the journey of a man reconnecting with the earth, the king, and the warrior within us. Discussed at length are mentorship from older generations, initiations, and observations of how men get stuck at one stage or another.
Perhaps the best know book by an american indian, Black Elk was an Oglala Lakota medicine man who was there at Custer’s last stand and the battle of the little bighorn. It’s crazy how the settlers chased them up and down the Black Hills trying to kill them in the late 1800’s. The most powerful part of the story for me was the pattern of Black Elk having a strong recurring fear, followed by a vision, followed by a ceremony that helped his tribe (the description of these events are quite detailed). It is also noteworthy that much older men were always available to help Black Elk with mentorship as he came of age as a holy many around 18 years old. Another Indian characteristic that made an impression on me was the emphasis on bravery and talking about past brave deeds, and the concept of the nation as an unbroken hoop or circle.
This is the most important book on relationships I have ever read and I have been talking about it non-stop with my friends. Strauss is the NYT bestselling author of The Game, and he takes us through his years long quest to discover if he can be in a committed monogamous relationship. He takes us through his time in rehab for sex addiction and experiments with alternative non-monogamous and polyamaorous relationships. He attempts to answer big questions such as “Is it natural to be faithful to one person for life?” “How can we keep romance and passion fro fading over time?” And “what draws us to the partners we choose?”
A great book about being a man recommended to me by my friend and relationship coach, Dave Booda. How to not be a pushover at work and in relationships (stay true to your purpose), how to come from a place of integrity and purpose, how to set boundaries, and how to deal with feelings and desires.
There are so many genius insights in this book about communication differences between the sexes. I can think of specific examples where I have provided solutions to a woman’s problems without even realizing she only wanted to be understood and listened to. Likewise, I finally understand why women offer so much unsolicited advice to men (which makes men feel distrusted). There are lots of practical conversation examples: when a man says X, a women feels Y, how to prevent heated arguments, how to explain your actions, etc.
A fascinating look at the difference in European vs. Asian/Arabian sexual world views throughout history, and how curiosity about sex influenced adventurers from Ludovico de Varthema to Marco Polo. The restrictive, prudish conventions of European sexual constructs were in sharp contrast to how the east dealt with sexuality, which was much more open and practical in their accepting of true human sexual nature.
If you believe in the growth mindset, then you know that your most important relationship skills can be improved and cultivated. One of the keys is to first learn to love yourself, which provides the foundation for you to be able to give love to others.
This is really a science book that looks at human mating habits objectively and then applies women’s mating preferences with ways of being that women prefer. From having a solid friends group to humor, you learn why each trait is effective or not at attracting women.
I read this one on the recommendation of my friend Nik Wood over at Life Athletics. This book goes through historical and psychological examples of the four masculine archetypes. As men, we have all have a mix of these ideal and the darker polarized expression or immature expression of these archetypes. I really liked the last part of the book, which tells you how to enhance an archetype that you want more of – for example you can read more about the Pharaoh Ramses II or Abe Lincoln to as role models for the king and warrior.
This book teaches the ancient Taoist sex principles which allow a man to gain energy from orgasm rather than expending it. Before reading this book I didn’t realize that ejaculation and orgasm in men could be separated into two distinct entities. There is actually some good evidence that the less sperm you (or any mammal) produce, the longer you live, so this technique could also help you live longer.
Also by Derek Loudermilk
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