The Bible: The name comes from the the Greek word biblos, which simply means book. There is nothing miraculous about the title. It is a collection of sacred writings by many people over a long period of time. It is not intended to be read straight through like a novel. That is difficult and confusing. Read daily and allow time for personal meditation and reflection. Study it with a concordance and quality commentary. I highly recommend Tom Bradford’s Torah Class for those seeking a deeper understanding.
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca: His thoughts resonate deeply with me. Fascinating to consider we can be linked 2,000 years later. I have always been stoic by nature, but this book revealed that it was once a strong movement with loyal adherents. We could use substantially more of this mindset in the modern world. If you want to pursue virtue, truth, and unemotional clear thinking, I strongly recommend you dive into this book more than once.
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley: I wish I would have read this book when my boys were younger. It has an incredible chapter on wealth and raising children. Kids only appreciate what they work for and spoiling them stymies initiative. Surprisingly, most millionaires are average people. A millionaire is someone with a net worth of $1 million, not just someone who earns a million a year. The book is a study of traits that millionaires have in common. I’ll share two: they stay married and self-identify integrity as the most important principle. A really eye-opening book. Read it in your 20’s.
The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray: Fascinating statistical analysis of the effect IQ has on behavior and potential. Written in 1994, his view were very controversial at the time as race and sex egalitarianism was on the rise and was dominating social policy. The implications were profound and have played out as he predicted. I have ordered his follow up book written in 2010 which should be very interesting considering social justice and political correctness has ignored the science for the past 20 years.
Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Taleb: Follow up to his book The Black Swan. I highly recommend you read this book. It will challenge your preconceived views on risk and allow you make decisions based on the amount of harm you may incur versus the probability of a bad outcome actually happening. You can take advantage of optionality to not only reduce risk to the down side, but create huge benefits to the upside from nonlinear asymmetries.
Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Taleb:
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson: Very much enjoyed this book. I really respect Dr. Peterson. His style, message, and demeanor polarize. The lunatic left hate him with vitriol. Clearer headed youth flock to his message as the absent father figure they never had in single mother households. His insight into child rearing, the temptation of Christ in the Wilderness, responsibility, and inter personal dynamics are incredible.
The Portable Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche translated by Walter Kaufmann: Have heard him discussed and quoted often, but never read his works. Brilliant philosopher with a keen insight into human nature. Became extremely nihilistic and went insane before death. Ruthlessly analyzed Christianity without ever finding comfort in it. I was fascinated with the tragedy of his battle with life.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: This is a classic that has stood the test of time. It is a great introduction into human dynamics. The information is useful for understanding and maximizing human interaction. It is a quick, easy read and should be referenced until the principles are second nature.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: Typically, I loathe numerical lists to success that are plastered everywhere, as if life were ever that simple. However, I make an exception for this book. I have read it several times over the years and it is always helpful for putting life in perspective. The author was Mormon (common critique), but don’t allow that to dissuade you from reading it. As Bruce Lee said, absorb what is useful discard what is not. What is particularly valuable is the way in which he recommends you structure your life. Habit 1 is to Be Proactive. This eliminates the recent victim mentality and puts the onus back where it belongs, on you. Habit 2 is Begin with the End in Mind. How can you get where you are going if you don’t know where that is? Habit 3 is Put First Things First. This deals with priority, something today’s youth are sorely lacking. Habit 4 is Think Win/Win. This is the concept of mutual benefit. Sounds a little cheesy on the surface, but in today’s cutthroat workplace it is important to recognize there is an alternative. Habit 5 is Seek First to Understand Prior to Being Understood. This deals with human communication and is also covered in Carnegie’s book mentioned above. Everyone wants to be heard, but no one wants to listen. Learn to be a good listener, and people will be drawn towards you. Habit 6 is Synergize. Sounds like a motivational poster, but it simply means we can accomplish more working together than on our own. Habit 7 is Sharpen the Saw. This is my favorite. A man is the sum of 4 parts: body, mind, soul, and spirit. Make it a priority (habit 3 see?) to spend time each day focusing on each aspect, neglecting none. Good book. Read it and see if you agree.
How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams: Scott is best known for his famous syndicated cartoon, Dilbert. Unsurprisingly, he is an equally entertaining author. He writes in an easy to read friendly manner that leaves you with the impression that the two of you actually know each other. I believe Scott is the first person to coin the term “skill stacking.” Scott dislikes the concept of short term goals, and prefers establishing systems that increase your odds of success. I tend to agree, although meeting a goal can be a useful metric for evaluating whether your system is useful. I think you will enjoy it and find his perspective unique.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas: Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany during WWII under Hitler’s Third Reich. This book is fairly long. I thank Chaplain Barnes for loaning it to me on deployment. I could not put it down and finished it in 2 days. This intimate study of faith allows you to truly comprehend just how evil Hitler and his ideology were in every sense of the word. Youth today who pretend he had any redeeming characteristics are utterly ignorant of history and the classical European culture that was forever destroyed by his madness. The New World Order so often predicted for the future, actually began with the destruction of the old.
Hitler in Hell by Martin van Creveld: Written by the preeminent military historian alive today. Strange coincidence that I literally read it right before the chaplain loaned me Bonhoeffer (above) so I was primed by the military history and fictional account from Hitler’s perspective. This book is not an attempt to condone him in any way, but to show how it is possible for a man to rationalize his actions along the way.
The Prince by Machiavelli:
The Art of War by Sun Tzu: Classic treatise on strategy and war. Still studied for its impact on combat considerations centuries later. Even if you are not a warrior, you can apply the concepts to the winner-take-all societal conflict that surrounds your daily life.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: Another classic stoic philosopher and brilliant disciplined mind. Similar to Seneca’s book listed above, I firmly believe any man desiring to return to masculine thinking read this book and adopt some of his discipline.
Influence by Robert Cialdini: This book is important to understand the psychology of influence. Useful for gaining influence and avoiding the influential pressuring techniques of others. If you are human, you are susceptible so it is important to learn how salesmen of all stripes operate.
What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro: This is a former FBI agent’s guide to reading body language. Since 80% of communication is nonverbal, it is crucial you understand how to read other people’s signals while controlling your own.
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker: Oddly enough, I picked this up off a free book table at Fort Campbell on my way to deployment in South Africa because I found the title intriguing. I read it on the plane and it was quite excellent. It is a MUST read for every female in your life. He dispels the notion that violence is unpredictable. Intuition, curiosity, and fear are all nature’s way of alerting us that something is wrong. I don’t necessarily agree with his position on gun control, but his points are valid and thought provoking. If your women are too disinterested to read it, at least have them watch his videos on YouTube.
Mastery by Robert Greene: This is my favorite of Robert Greene’s books. Dispels the notion that Masters miraculously acquire their skills. Traces numerous masters paths to dominating their fields. They had to surmount obstacles, face adversity, and withstand criticism and failure but their vision, passion, and life-long pursuit led to greatness.
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Classic book. If you have not read it, you are doing yourself a huge disservice and are way behind the “Power” curve and need to immediately read, digest, and implement the laws as soon as possible. Everyone, at all times, is using these strategies against you for their own benefit and you are at a disadvantage if you cannot accurately discern when, why, and how they do it. You also use many of them inappropriately in ignorance, sometimes to your danger and detriment.
The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene: This is the offensive and defensive application of the 48 Laws of Power. You should read it before reading this book. It uses real historical examples to illustrate the tactics and techniques it defines. If you enjoyed Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, you will enjoy this book equally as much.
The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene: Although my least favorite of his books, it is still pretty good. I enjoy his perspective and writing style. I am not interested in seduction for conquering women, but more for the psychology behind the charisma of the different techniques. He demonstrates all his topics with real life examples throughout history. Every person has some innate tendency towards one or more of the seduction styles discussed and should capitalize on them to improve their game with members of both sexes.
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge: Could easily be mistaken for one of those Christian male trope books that have come and gone over the years, but he writes from the heart and his style is engaging. It has many deep seated truths and is an alternative to PUA masculinity and encourages male nature to be strong and free as God intended.
The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: Easy to read, simple, clear guide to the different types of charisma. She dispels the myth that one is born with charisma. Each person has some tendency to one of the major types of charisma presented in the book and usually another secondary style. By working on your areas of strength, you can begin to influence your daily interactions and make life smoother and less stressful.
Succeeding by John T. Reed: You have to order this book from his web site, it is not available in stores. Some of the information is a little outdated, but it is a great resource to broaden your perspective on what it means to succeed and all the different metrics by which success should be judged. There is more to life than money and fame. Particularly interesting was his take on how much geographic location can improve quality of life as a metric for success.
SJW Always Lie by Vox Day: This is the only manual on how to anticipate, react to, and survive a Social Justice Warrior attack that I am aware has been written. If you are a straight, white, Christian male in the workplace, you WILL be attacked, it is only a matter of time. It will be a malevolent and direct assault at the heart of your identity. The result will be a dizzying descent into uncertainty, anxiety, fear and typically, unemployment. Read this book now, prepare yourself, defend yourself, and learn how they do it. Every. Single. Time. I speak from my own personal experience and wish I had read this book beforehand as I sure would have been able to see it coming and better predict the outcome. Luckily, I made it intact and emerged emotionally stronger with a firm mental resolve to destroy their degenerate, pathetic ideology. You can visit his excellent blog at Vox Popoli.
The 9 Laws by Ivan Throne: Ivan is an interesting character. He is an imposing man with a background in business and martial arts. You can visit his website at Dark Triad Man. His style takes a little getting used to for those unfamiliar with East Asian philosophy, but his breakdown is thoughtful and intriguing. I respect that he does not shy away from the harsh reality of life; a byproduct of his growing up deaf. He has a unique take on the three dark triad personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism and explains how they can be harnessed for success. I have the book on Kindle, but recommend purchasing a hard copy as you will want to take notes and mark cross references. Law 1 is Survival. Law 2 is Concealment . Law 3 is Purpose. Law 4 is Endurance. Law 5 is Posture. Law 6 is Freedom. Law 7 is Power. Law 8 is Preposterousness. Law 9 is No Laws.