5 Great Books Every Young Man Should Read

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

Reading is an extremely powerful tool and a commonly shared habit among life’s ultra-successful. Books allow us to explore ideas and perspectives that we might never otherwise come across. They provide guidance; explain through example; and challenge our most basic beliefs.

For that reason, it’s worth being deliberate in the books that we choose. These are five – potentially life-changing – books that every young man ought to consider.

5. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins

“In 1999, when I weighed 297 pounds, my first run was a quarter mile. Fast forward to 2007, I ran 205 miles in thirty-nine hours, nonstop.”

David Goggins (@davidgoggins) is the epitome of a self-made beast; someone who took the shit cards they were dealt and flipped over the whole fucking table.

Can’t Hurt Me is the astonishing story of his life to date. Goggins walks us through his transformation from a depressed young kid, plagued by a terrible upbringing; to a NAVY Seals icon and one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time.

Though his story paints an extreme picture, the life lessons are extremely valuable.

Above all else, this book will shatter your view as to what the human mind is capable of. It serves as an important reminder that we’ve all got more we can give.

4. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”

The Power of Now is Eckhart Tolle’s guide to spiritual enlightenment. Simply put, it is a guide to living a more grounded and peaceful life.

Though the topic may sound vague and grandiose, Tolle uses simple language (following a ‘question and answer’ style format) to break down his philosophy.

To date, this book has sold over three million copies and has been translated into over fifty languages. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most influential spiritual books of our time.

You don’t need a rock garden to get something out of it, but it does call for an open mind and a willingness to learn from one of the world’s most highly sought spiritual teachers. Tolle will have you questioning many aspects of your life, including whether the thoughts in your head are really you.

the power of now eckhart tolle

3. Mindset by Carol Dweck

“What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?”

Our mindset affects just about everything we do. So, we should probably get it right. Mindset provides a great starting point, presenting a foundational view that every young man should adopt.

Carol Dweck – one of the world’s leading researchers in social and developmental psychology – explores two opposing frameworks: ‘the fixed mindset’ and ‘the growth mindset’. 

Overall, her findings suggest that ‘the growth mindset’ is the optimal stance for achieving success and tapping into our true potential. Best of all? She teaches us how to cultivate one, explaining, “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you  lead your life.”

This book was several decades of research in the making. It is a must read for anyone looking to develop themselves.

2. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

“It is the steady, repeated action of water that can wear even the hardest rock to a smooth surface.”

The Slight Edge is a book on the power of time – more specifically, how it can work for you or against you.

The aim is to encourage a new mindset in its reader. Jeff Olson strives to demystify the process of achievement by emphasising the consequence of small everyday decisions, repeated consistently.

You will learn about compound interest, or as Einstein famously referred to it, “the eighth wonder of the world – he who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” 

This book will have you questioning how you spend your time each day.  It will grant you a new perspective – one where you look through the eyes of time.

slight edge jeff olson

1. Mastery by Robert Greene

“We thrive by the collective activity of people supplying their individual talents. Without such diversity, a culture dies.”

Mastery is about achieving excellence. 

Robert Greene follows the lives of nine modern day masters as well as a plethora of historical figures – from Albert Einstein to Leonardo da Vinci; from John Coltrane to Henry Ford. He breaks down their ascent to Mastery.

What’s more, he describes, in great detail, the three phases along the way – namely, the Apprenticeship; the Creative-Active; and, finally, Mastery itself.

Overall, the book provides guidance that every young man would do well to hear. It covers every topic from skill acquisition, to choosing a mentor, to learning how to better read people.

It is an invaluable read for every aspiring and ambitious young man.