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Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  68,150 ratings  ·  2,081 reviews
God designed men to be dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires-aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a "nice guy." It is no wonder that many men avoid church, ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Thomas Nelson
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Jan 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I have a handful of friends who are strong believers in the message delivered in this book by John Eldredge. Its ideas are, in a sense, very appealing to (Christian, American) male sensibilities. Eldredge makes the case that much of the reason why men are discontent, bored, uninspired, un-alive, and lukewarm (particularly as Christians) is because they are out of touch with the wild, adventurous, and manly instincts instilled in them by the creator. Modern society and the expectations of work an ...more
May 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
I know that this book is surrounded by vehement controversy. After my husband read it, it was as though he came alive for the first time. Curious, I picked up the book myself. Though there are sections that I would drastically edit (and so would my husband), I found the heart of Eldredge's message incredibly moving, necessary, and paradigm-altering. I was truly astonished that this "man's man" would have such a perfect grasp of women and their needs and desires. I have consulted with other women ...more
Sep 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can honestly say that I find this book trite, over-espoused, and drastically overadored by a great many men and women that I generally like and enjoy spending time with. This doesn't make them dumb, bad, or idiots. It just makes them different than me. This doesn't make me smarter, good, or a non-idiot. It just makes me not a person who fits comfortably into any of the suggested roles that John Eldridge tells us that men secretly long for.
I don't want and never wanted to be a knight, saving fa
Natalie Vellacott
Jun 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: christian-living
Where in the Bible does it really suggest that men should be "Wild at Heart?" living constantly on the edge and taking all kinds of risks and engaging in dangerous activities. Of course this idea will appeal to younger men and new Christians but it is completely the opposite of the Biblical model of denying self and taking up the cross to follow Jesus. There's nothing weak or unmanly about that!
Gavin Breeden
Jun 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
So I'm about eleven years late in getting to the party here. I remember "Wild at Heart" being really big among guys (and some gals) 16-22 when it came out and I can see why. I'm also really glad I didn't read this at such an impressionable age. There are a few good things here: Eldredge recognizes that there is something of a male identity crisis in many parts of the Church. In other words, there is confusion about what biblical manhood and womanhood look like. He also accurately pinpoints some ...more
Dec 03, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: craptastic
What a sad excuse for a book's premise. I paged through this, after reading some of the ridiculous reviews, and came away as disgusted as I thought I would be. As soon as men stop attempting to ascribe to outdated theistic (and frankly trite) models of masculinity, the world will be a much safer, better place. I pity women who read this and think they may have come away with a greater understanding of men, as it's a false understanding of throwback, primitive males who have no place in a world c ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: nonfiction
I hate this book so much.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
A friend of mine once made a good point by saying that many modern churches are trying to turn men into sweater wearing old women. Nowadays only the uniform has changed: untucked shirt, trendy blue jeans and a Starbucks cup. Eldredge provides an illustrative alternative to the mega church status quo.

I read this at a time in my life when I was searching spiritually, looking for a place to fit. I'm not saying that Eldredge's book provided an epiphany, but he helped to place in context the first ce
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
Which girl wouldn't grab a book with the title 'Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul'?. Men say they don't understand women,well, we don't understand you too! So, out of curiosity, I grabbed this book when I was a young twenty something year old. I don't know what prompted me to read it, or may I do and I just don't want to tell you.

I read it alongside 'Bringing up boys' and as an aunt to several boys, these two books taught me to just let boys be boys. When they decide to fight, I just watch
Aug 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: religion
Eldredge took Robert Bly's splendid, groundbreaking, ennobling book Iron John: A Book About Men as his inspired point of departure & produced, in Wild at Heart, a Christian treatise on masculinity that is, ultimately, as dangerous & misguided a book as I've ever read. Where Bly understands the need to prevent the masculine longing for wildness (a longing that is vital, life-giving, necessary) from proliferating as aggression, Eldredge subscribes to the view that wildness & aggression are (& must ...more
Joseph Reitano
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All men and many women
This book really helped me to understand who I am as a man in terms of creation. Why do I like to drive motorcycles, why do I love to travel the world where the average person dare not tread. Why at the gym I have the need to lift more weight and drive my heart that much harder? It's because that is how God made me. God has a wild and dangerous aspect to His personality. We can see it in creation itself and it's reflected in every man.

Helping men rediscover their masculine
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is such an incredible book. It gives you insight from when you were little up to where you are now. It made me think of a lot of things I hadn't really thought about before.
Gordon Francisco
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-enjoyed
To live for an adventure, to rescue a beauty and to fight a battle. Sounds like a a tale of dragons, ladies in distress and war for the homeland against the dreaded all movies...great books...great tales...stories tell of woes, foes and overcoming great obstacles. These are all great truths, but are they any truer than your own life? But, does your life seem like you are just sliding through, getting by one-day-at-a-time? That's how most of us live, to survive for the n ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
UHG! no no no! This book is bad news. John teaches a man to live according to the wild nature of his flesh, rather than according to the grace and love of the Spirit of God. As if a man can be spiritually free if He's emotionally free and wild? This is not the message of Christ, nor His gospel.

Christ didn't come with an attitude of macho-ism. He came in meekness gentleness and love. He is an all powerful God, and He is not a containable God, but that doesn't make Him wild like the nature of the
Debbie Mcleman
Jan 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed Captivating
A familiar title to many, wild at Heart is a popular book amongst male Christians. After hearing mixed views, I set myself the task of reading the book myself. This book explores the make up of the masculine heart, which appeals to me and I?m sure, to many other female readers out there.

One thing that is clearly highlighted throughout this book is this: you can take the guy out of the country, but you can?t take the country out of the guy. Let me explain.
The writer suggests that boys, sorry men,
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
What I liked: 1. This book was an easy read. I like to alternate between something light and something challenging. 2. It is written from a Christian perspective. 3. If you are not completely a frozen popsicle inside, then the book tries to inspire you to be more fully alive - seeking out your dreams, the very nature of your existence - dare to explore, take risks, and find a true calling.
What I did not like: 1. The author repeatedly makes reference to fighting, like men are made to fight, physi
Bob Price
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Words cannot describe the loathing I have for this book. Instead of going on a complete rant and diatribe that nobody would read, but might make me feel better, I will highlight some of my problems with this book.

1. Shoddy theology--as I read this book, I was wondering...has the author read the Bible? Are you familiar with your supposed source material? Some of the major problems include Eldredge's complaint that by placing Adam in the Garden, God already tried to 'tame' Adam. Eldredge also at o
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-favs
Okay, I would definitely have to agree that if you have a son, if you are married to a man, if you have a brother or a father, or if you have ever had a conversation with a man you should definitely read this book!
It really was just so enlightening to what makes a little boy a little boy and how those things don't really change when that boy grows up. But it's not in a Men are from Mars sort of way (or maybe it is, I actually haven't read that book!). Anyway, I am very glad that I read it. I thi
Ryan Johnson
Jun 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People with daddy issues
Let me start by saying, bless John Eldredge's heart. Bless it. But this book is more scary than anything. I think the author has seen something distasteful to him in the men he has counseled, or possibly in the media, or in church, and while trying to encourage, has thrown the pendulum in entirely the wrong direction.

Maybe it's my bias against the regular use of The Message translation of the Bible, but he plays fast and loose with his Scripture references. Some are not as offensive, like conclu
May 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All single men & women
Shelves: booksiread
This book gave me a different perspective of men and women. Although I've been single for awhile now, I already had in mind what kind of man I wanted in the future and made me think that I can always find someone better than the person in front of me. This book allowed me to focus what I wanted in a man in a way that was refreshing and much more focused on his natural abilities of being "wild at heart."
In the same way that men were created to be adventurous and seekers of challenges, Eldredge p
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
We keep this book in the bathroom so that if we ever run out of toilet paper we have something to wipe our asses with.
If you like books that foster gender biases by speaking to, and encouraging humanities' lowest common denominator, this books for you.

If you can make it through the first 3/4's of sexist sludge, Eldredge does manage to say some intelligent things about brokenness.
That said, those specks of light are far-and-few between, and aren't enough to redeem the amount of damage this book
Aaron West
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is well-intentioned. I imagine it being given by well-intentioned parents to their come-of-age son as he heads out from under their wings to college. I imagine a well-intentioned group of men (and possibly curiously concerned wives) sitting down to include this in their Bible study. John Eldredge himself strikes me as a well-intentioned man. I've heard a lot of buzz in the last couple years about this book, mainly from peers in college, so I decided to finally take the dive. What I fou ...more
J.Aleksandr Wootton
I hover between 2 and 3 stars here. I remember enjoying it with some skepticism, for it seemed to me to be a product of insightful navel-gazing, aspirational imagination, stylized writing, and a rather severe lack of research. And yet, for better or worse, it hasn't stuck with me at all. I remember almost none of it. I do, however, retain the impression that Eldredge's definition of manhood was quite narrow, and a little obliviously self-referential.

Wild at Heart was, in certain Christian circle
Greg Frucci
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wisdom
The book is so powerful that I had to put it down for a time after page 6 for, in those first few pages I knew precisely why I went to Sea and why I will go back...a reason which makes so much sense to me now and was clouded by confusion. It's funny to me now as I write this, I thought I had the reason I love taking off on an adventure figured out, but there was always something missing in my reasoning...this book helped me to solidify my thinking.

The author calls us out in our thinking as men a
Feb 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
It's crap. Granted I can agree that most people should step away from the computer screen, their smartphones, tablets, and ordinary lives and enjoy the nature of God's natural world. Other than that it's pretty damn sexist and contradictory to the Jesus' teachings of loving one another and aiding those in need of help.
Dan Meier
Mar 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
A very disturbing book that pays no heed to particularity or Biblical interpretation. John is neither a theologian nor a psychologist but occupies the bland middle ground of knowing just enough to be damaging but not enough to recognize how much damage his views cause.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Before I write my review, let me first say that I heard numerous negative opinions about this book. In fact, it was overwhelmingly terrible, that I was warned to read this book with extreme caution. Being the avid reader I am, I like to give every book a chance and draw my own opinion about a particular book. There are many instances when I disagreed with the majority about their views on a book but unfortunately this was not the case. Let me first start with the strengths,then I will list the w ...more
Jeff Williams
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Often times when reading Christian books I hit a spot where I have to "eat the meat and spit out the bones." There were a few of those moments in this book, but overall? Loved it.

I first heard of it from a former professor and the background story to why I wanted to read Wild at Heart is worth mentioning. I was helping paint the professor's house for some cash over the summer. In the middle of a hot August afternoon I attempted to kill silence by asking, at the peak of my a.d.d., the famous que
Mary Havens
Oct 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Abandoned on page 83.
I wanted to read this because I wanted to get some insight into raising a boy. What do boys really need and how can I get out of the way of that? I like that this particular book was from a Christian perspective but it has major issues.
Granted, I'm probably the wrong audience but I didn't think I would be THAT wrong.
I found this book incredibly insulting. It has a very black and white way of looking at men, which could be fine if he backed it up with something. Instead, he
Brian Nicks
Mar 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
While I disagree with almost everything written in this book the premise intrigued me: deep within every man is a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. I actually agree with the premise; the problem is that I see those things so very differently in the pages of scripture. The battle to fight is against sin and the flesh - we must be killing sin lest sin be killing us (John Owen; Gal 5:16-18; Eph 4:20-24; etc.) The adventure to live is the Christian life (Phil1:21; 2 Tim ...more
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Diversity in All ...: Wild at Heart Revised and Updated: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul (January 2020) 2 39 Jan 02, 2020 04:54PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Corrections 1 7 May 12, 2019 01:33PM  
Should I read this book? 34 206 Feb 09, 2015 10:12PM  

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John Eldredge is an author (you probably figured that out), a counselor, and teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own heart in his love, and learn to live in his Kingdom. John grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles (which he hated), and spent his boyhood summers on his grandfather’s cattle ranch in eastern Ore ...more

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