“Books are a hard-bound drug with no danger of an overdose. I am the happy victim of books.” — Karl Lagerfeld
If a man doesn’t know himself, he can’t grow himself. And an excellent place to start learning how to grow yourself, is by reading books–books about optimizing your health, your wealth, and your relationships. There are certain books every man should consider reading in order to up his game in life and business. And this is a list of just ten such books. Some of them are classics. Others are new. It’s not a long list, but it’s a powerful one. Especially if you’re looking to maximize your potential across all four dimensions of your nature: physically, mentally, emotionally, and yep — even spiritually. Enjoy.
1. Give and Take by Adam Grant
Why you should read it: Conventional wisdom tells us—that as men—we need to know how to crush our enemies, claw our way to the top and be “alpha” as often as possible. Followers of this conventional way of thinking believe it doesn’t matter how many fingers you need to step on to get to the top, it just matters that you get to the top. This is non-sense. And in his book, Give and Take, author Adam Grant has the research to prove it. Grant says that the actual drivers of success — in life and business — are centered not around taking, but giving.
2. Are You Fully Charged? by Tom Rath
Why you should read it: Ever feel like you’re working too much, feeling too tired, and/or burning yourself out? Ever feel like, maybe, the work you’re doing isn’t quite as meaningful as it could be? If yes, then Gallup scientist Tom Rath’s new book might be for you. Are You Fully Charged? provides the three keys to energizing your work and life, so you can stop existing and start living.
3. The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Why you should read it: Tim Ferriss was the first guy to put together the right information, in the right sequence, to adequately guide readers down to the path to online prosperity. If you’re looking to quit your 9-5, startup a passion project, or just make some extra dough on the web — this is the book you need to read.
4. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
Why you should read it: Are you interested in getting the edge in life and business — without having to sacrifice your integrity to do it? If yes, then this is your book. Never Eat Alone is a classic book on connecting with others, and a must-read for every man. In the book, author Keith Ferrazzi lays out lots of practical action steps for forging meaningful connections with the people who can help you achieve your goals and move forward in life. But more importantly, you’ll learn why you should stop trying to “network” with people to get what you want, and start trying to add value instead. Just read the book. It’s a game changer.
5. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
Why you should read it: The central message of Leaders Eat Last is simple — the buck stops at the leader’s desk. In other words, those of us who lead may not always understand the impact that our leadership roles have on those we lead. Furthermore, reading this book will put a lot of things in perspective for you about why some companies can have employees that are engaged and inspired to come to work every day. While other seemingly similar companies have employees, that come to work feeling like they’re nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet. Pick this one up to learn what Leadership means.
6. Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz
Why you should read it: This is the grandaddy of self-help books right here. In Psycho-Cybernetics, you’ll learn about super simple — but research-driven — paths to personal growth and self-improvement. This book will provide you with actionable insights into common man problems, like overcoming fear, developing self-confidence, and bouncing back from massive failures.
7. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
Why you should read it: I always felt like folks who wrote and spoke about meditation were way too fluffy for my liking. But then I stumbled onto 10% Happier by Dan Harris. The cool thing about this book is that you and I can relate to the author and his spiritual experiences. He’s not some “spiritual guru” in a toga and leather flip flops, he’s a middle-aged news anchor who became curious about spirituality and enlightenment. This book chronicles that spiritual journey and teaches practical lessons on how to tame the voice in your head via the power of meditation.
8. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
Why you should read it: Think of the ONE thing you ultimately want to do with your career or business over the long-run. Once you’ve got that in your mind, think about how many dominoes you need to line up—and then knock down—in order to achieve it. Simple right? Yeah, it is. But just because it’s simple doesn’t make it easy. That’s why The ONE Thing is such a powerful book. According to the authors, the key to success is figuring out your ONE most important goal — in your business, career, health, relationships, and every other area of life that matters to you. And knocking down one domino at a time until you’ve achieved that ONE goal.
9. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Why you should read it: Decades before we had the science and research to prove the power of Emotional Intelligence, Dale Carnegie written the definitive guide on how to leverage it to our lives and in our businesses. This is a life-changing book that seriously needs to be in every single man’s collection. I’ve lost count how many friends I’ve gotten copies of it for.
10. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Why you should read it: Want to learn how to quit smoking? Want to start eating healthier? How about going to the gym more often so you can finally shred off those extra layers for the summer? Regardless of whether you’re looking to better your health or gain more wealth — the key to success is consistency. And consistency, my friend, only comes from one place: habit. Which is exactly why The Power of Habit should become a mainstay on your stack of books to reach for whenever you want to [insert goal here].
So there you have it — ten books every man should consider reading. Now there’s only one question left. Which one do you read first? Should you go out and get all of them immediately? Should you read them all at once? Or should you take a lifetime to read them? So many options. So little time. Ultimately, it’s totally your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career. But if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started:
— Subscribe to a book summary site, like FlashBooks to get the key takeaways from the books on this list.
— If you’d prefer to read an entire book, I would highly suggest that you read just ONE book at a time. Sometimes, when we see something new and exciting, we have the tendency to want to do/learn/read it all at once. And, as we all know, this is nearly impossible to do without stressing ourselves out. So, choose a book. And then commit to reading it from start to finish.
Photo: Flickr/ Ahson Wardak