Today I wanted to put out my top 5 list of books on Men and Masculinity . These books are game-changers for Men, they can open your eyes about things you may have never seen in yourself and the people around you.
Once the Head of the National Organization for Women, Warren Farrell was one of the Women’s Lib’ Movement’s best-spoken proponents. In the 80s, he started looking for ways that Feminism could better help Men find a healthier and happier way of being.
What he discovered was that Men really weren’t all-powerful in our society, and never have been. That Society has always worked by controlling everyone in it, making everyone sacrifice one kind of power or another for the good of the group as a whole.
Farrell wrote The Myth of Male Power to describe how culture uses Men by causing them to sacrifice their health, happiness, and identity to support and protect their culture and enrich their economies… because they believe it is the only way they can be worthy of love. Likewise he observes that Women were once required to give up their autonomy, power to choose, and right to work to marry and have children, because they believed it was the only way to be cared for and safe.
He argues that modern technology has made it so that work, in the home and out, no longer needs terrible sacrifices from everyone, and Feminism was the world’s way of helping women step out of their sacrificial role and build creative fulfilling lives any way they choose. The Myth of Male Power was a call for Men to understand that they are worthy of love, too and to create a parallel movement to help them step away from their old roles. It is the book whose ideas shaped the Men’s Rights Movement and the 21st Century Masculinity movement alike.
Controversial, hated by many Feminists, and completely mind-blowing, this should be required reading for any Man when he turns eighteen.
One of the first books to really look sympathetically at Men in the modern age, Robert Bly, a poet and philosopher looks at the ancient Germanic Myth of Iron John in its original context of an ancient Pagan teaching tool.
In Iron John, Bly shows how the riddles and mysteries inside the ancient myth teaches about growing up into Manhood, handling shame, loving women, and becoming a father. It describes how men experience loss, fear, and courage through powerful and primal imagery.
Bly also shows how this wisdom still applies to modern Men. It describes live in a culture and environment that now makes much of the most important lessons our Ancestors learned to make them whole and strong Men, and denies them to boys, leading to “soft Men” who are depressive, unhappy, emotionally conflicted, and confused for much of their lives.
This book sparked a revolution in the 1990s called the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement that was dedicated to healing men with deep emotional scars be re-enacting ancient initiation rites, creating a safe space for Men to talk about their pain, and building Men’s groups across North America and Europe. Most of these groups were actively destroyed by feminist advocacy in the late 1990s, but some still exist, and are growing in size again as Masculinity reaches a crisis point.
The definitive look at “Nice Guys”, Dr. Glover takes a sympathetic look at Men who have, thanks to destructive childhoods and a toxic cultural environment, spent their lives putting themselves and their needs dead last. It discusses how these Nice Guys often sabotage their own happiness, health, sex lives, and careers in order to please others and earn the approval of women.
No More Mr. Nice Guy offers a program to help these “Nice Guys” deal with the incredible pent-up anger and frustration they carry around. how to rid themselves of the destructive shame that keeps them fro taking care of themselves, and to take control over the outcomes in their lives.
The program offered in No More Mr. Nice Guy, doesn’t strip a Man of compassion or kindness, instead it makes sure that these things are coming from a place of genuine strength and compassion, rather than out of fear. I know dozens of Men whose lives have been changed for the better thanks to this book.
Dr. Baumeister looks at human beings through the lens of human genetics, history, and social psychology. He describes the actual differences, psychologically, between men and women and their grounding in our genetic Legacy.
Is There anything Good About Men? proposes that we need to understand Society itself as an acting agent that uses the Men and Women within it to meet its own ends… survival and prosperity of the group. That the needs of our Societies throughout human history have shaped everything about us, from our bodies to our minds.
Baumeister examines how our current culture has become a bad fit for Men, emotionally and physically. he observes how the changes in our culture have left Men without a sense of role, connection or function, and how this feeds a current of anti-male sentiment in out culture, that is highly destructive to Men, Boys, and Families. It outs the current Male Crisis into a clear perspective.
You can read a transcript of one of Dr. Baumeister’s 2007 Invited address to the APA on the subject of his book here.
One of the world’s foremost experts on child development, Michael Gurian, founder of the Gurian institute shares his research, observation, and experience in working with boys, and how they develop differently from Girls.
The Wonder of Boys describes the social and cultural context of Boys today, and how our culture is drifting away from a model of education, family, and child-rearing that suits their needs. There is a special focus on relationships with father-figures, role models, and the educational system.
This book is a call to action, with well thought-out proposals on how to re-engage young Men in our culture, bring them back into schools, and away from the lure of alcohol, gang culture, and dropping out.
It also offers powerful parenting advice for mothers and fathers of young boys growing up in today’s culture/