12 Books (And An Author) That Every Man Must Read

 A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.


My mom pretty much forced me to start reading as a child, which is a good thing.  While I never have as much time to read now as I would like it is still a favorite pastime.  So I started to make a list of books that I think every man should read including books from my childhood and also some of my more current reads.  A good book is more than an entertaining read, it is instruction for life.  With that being said, here is a list of books that every man must read, own and act upon.

The Dangerous Book For Boys– The ultimate “how to” for everything about being a man, it was one of my favorite books that unfortunately I lost in a flood.  It is a must have for men of all ages.  Contents include everything from how to tie knots and build tree houses, to famous speeches, how to tan hides and Latin phrases that “every boy should know.”  I would imagine that this book would be helpful  when raising a son.

The Catcher in The RyePerhaps my favorite novel of all time. I think this is the case because I too, like Holden am terrified, not so much of dying but of becoming old.

War and Peace– For some reason I always feel the need to compare this work with The Lord of The Rings series and in doing so War and Peace comes out on top every time.  To me it is the classic epic novel, with painstaking attention to detail.  There are numerous male characters to learn from here.  Hint: Buy the edition with the index of characters in the front, it is most helpful.

Robinson CrusoeMan vs. Wild well before Bear Grylls.  The language can be a bit cumbersome, but the story is one that every man dreams of at some point.  Many have copied the storyline, few have achieved the same result.

Lord of The Flies A depiction of the nature of man made even more terrifying by making the characters children.  A must read for the adventurer and philosopher alike.

Guns, Germs, and Steel– The story of how the world came to be.  A history of the movement of people groups, invasions, and the role that natural resources have played in the formation of societies.  A great book and I hear that another work by the same author, Collapse, is another great read as well.

Mountains Beyond Mountains The story of Paul Farmer and Partners in Health, an organization that provides a “preferential option for the poor” in healthcare. This book had a huge impact on my own life and it will undoubtedly do the same for many of you.  I had the chance to meet Dr. Farmer in Haiti and though the encounter was brief, he seemed to live up to all of the things said about him in this volume.

The Four Voyages­- The journals of Christopher Columbus detailing his four trips across the Atlantic to the new world.  A great insight into the times that should be taken with caution as the story was written by Columbus himself, not exactly a unbiased recounting.  The story is not the same as the one you learned in elementary school.

HatchetAnother survival classic from when I was a kid, pretty similar to some of the other books on the list.  I actually bought a hatchet after I read this one.

Harris and Me It is probably a bit below your reading level but still worth the time.  This is one of my favorite childhood stories about a city boy who moves to the country to spend some time with his cousin Harris while his own family is in turmoil.  It will make you laugh hard and often.

My Side of The Mountain­- As a kid this book made me want to move to the woods, hollow out a tree, and train a falcon to catch my food.  Think Robinson Crusoe but in upstate New York and for kids.

The Cost of Discipleship“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Bonhoeffer lived in Nazi Germany and took part in a plot to kill Hitler, even though he thought it was a sin to do so.  This is his classic work. I believe that when a person is killed for what they believe in, he was hanged for his role in the assassination attempt, you should at least take the time to look at their thoughts and ideas.

Anything By Graham Greene– William Golding, author of The Lord of The Flies described Greene as “the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man’s consciousness and anxiety.” I enjoy Graham Greene so much that he has his own list.  Go buy everything that he has ever written and enjoy, you can send me a thank you note later.  Try The Quiet American, The Power and The Glory, and The Comedians if you are looking for a place to start.

This list is by no means complete.  For another book list check out this one from Josh.  Let us know what books should be added to the list in the comment section below.

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Categories: Lists, Outside of A Dog

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20 Comments on “12 Books (And An Author) That Every Man Must Read”

  1. July 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    My Side of the Mountain is probably my favorite book on this entire earth. I have read it I don’t know how many times over the many many years I have had it. Great list. I would add most anything from Hemingway, but I am a sucker for anything from Papa.

    • curtisrrogers
      July 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

      So far I have only read “A Farewell To Arms” which I loved. I have several works by Hemingway on deck. I started reading “Infinite Jest” today which I would imagine will make this list eventually and also take up most of my reading time for the next month. My Side of The Mountain is a great book, I just convinced my niece to read it and she loved it as well. My kid(s) will most definitely read My Side of The Mountain. Thanks for reading!

      • July 10, 2012 at 6:49 am #

        I am reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. I loved “Islands in the Stream” and “Old Man and the Sea”. One of my goals is to read everything he had done. I just can’t get enough of it.

  2. July 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Hatchet, and My Side are top-notch. Might I suggest Into the Wild, Old man and the Sea and Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut?

    • curtisrrogers
      July 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      I have been meaning to pick up Into the Wild. I started the Old Man and The Sea not too long ago, but for some reason never finished it. I should probably revisit that one. The only thing I have read from Kurt Vonnegut so far is A Man Without A Country, I need to pick up some of his novels. So many books, so little time.

  3. July 10, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    This list reminds me of high school because I read two of the books there, and Guns, Germs and Steel was written by an alumnus.

  4. Paul Murphy
    July 11, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    The Master and Margarita by Mikael Bulgakov. I love this book.

    • curtisrrogers
      July 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      I have actually never heard of this book, but I looked it up and it seems really interesting. Yet another one to add to the list of books to read.

      • joshacorman
        July 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

        I just read The Master and Margarita about a month ago. The edition I got had some helpful explanatory notes (mostly regarding obscure allusions), and I enjoyed it. I feel like it deserves some really in depth study (I’ve found that to be true about most of the Russians) that I wasn’t able to give it, but good nonetheless. Into the Wild is my students’ summer reading this year. Fascinating book.

  5. Biggie Bigs
    February 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I found a much better list here. These books should be compulsory reading in schools.

    • curtisrrogers
      March 3, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      thanks for reading and commenting. That is a good list, though I am partial to my own. Unfortunately I can only make a list of books which I have read and there are several on your list that I have not. I am sure that there are many more deserving of being on the list.


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