100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library


*************** PLEASE DO NOT ADD BOOKS TO THIS LIST! ***************

The intent of this list is to replicate a list compiled by The Art of Manliness (PDF). However, feel free to vote on your favorites that already appear on the list!

The original author's description:

"There are the books you read, and then there are the books that change your life. We can all look back on the books that have shaped our perspective on politics, religion, money, and love. Some will even become a source of inspiration for the rest of your life. From a seemingly infinite list of books of anecdotal or literal merit, we have narrowed down the top 100 books that have shaped the lives of individual men while also helping define broader cultural ideas of what it means to be a man.

Whether it be a book on adventure, war, or manners, there is so much to learn about life's great questions from these gems. Let us know in the comments which of these you loved, hated, and the books that meant a lot to you and should have made the list (you can even get really indignant about your favorite book). And without further ado, this is our list."
1

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2

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3.91 avg rating — 2,336,743 ratings
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3

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4.27 avg rating — 3,910,677 ratings
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4

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4.26 avg rating — 2,519,995 ratings
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5

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4.07 avg rating — 1,011,905 ratings
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6

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3.95 avg rating — 321,540 ratings
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7

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3.98 avg rating — 657,957 ratings
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8

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4.24 avg rating — 675,764 ratings
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9

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3.98 avg rating — 1,255,967 ratings
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10

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3.67 avg rating — 1,945,583 ratings
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11

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3.81 avg rating — 1,077,042 ratings
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11

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4.01 avg rating — 649,119 ratings
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13

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3.80 avg rating — 2,420,294 ratings
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14

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3.91 avg rating — 3,271,718 ratings
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15

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4.03 avg rating — 57,178 ratings
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16

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3.85 avg rating — 288,888 ratings
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17

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4.07 avg rating — 815,273 ratings
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18

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3.67 avg rating — 222,103 ratings
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19

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3.78 avg rating — 1,017,190 ratings
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20

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4.20 avg rating — 533,224 ratings
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21

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3.83 avg rating — 354,286 ratings
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22

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4.32 avg rating — 207,010 ratings
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23

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4.12 avg rating — 115,925 ratings
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24

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4.42 avg rating — 196,888 ratings
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25

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3.80 avg rating — 219,733 ratings
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26

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3.96 avg rating — 229,349 ratings
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27

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3.79 avg rating — 136,881 ratings
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28

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3.95 avg rating — 650,558 ratings
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29

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3.97 avg rating — 778,107 ratings
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30

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3.77 avg rating — 175,270 ratings
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31

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3.87 avg rating — 180,914 ratings
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32

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3.93 avg rating — 143,395 ratings
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33

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3.97 avg rating — 265,798 ratings
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34

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4.37 avg rating — 380,935 ratings
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35

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3.97 avg rating — 588,669 ratings
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36

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3.49 avg rating — 442,076 ratings
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37

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4.07 avg rating — 100,513 ratings
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38

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3.80 avg rating — 235,881 ratings
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39

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4.02 avg rating — 6,161 ratings
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40

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3.63 avg rating — 309,872 ratings
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41

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3.68 avg rating — 328,811 ratings
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42

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3.72 avg rating — 82,077 ratings
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43

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4.18 avg rating — 94,183 ratings
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44

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3.80 avg rating — 520,436 ratings
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45

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4.31 avg rating — 164,877 ratings
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46

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4.31 avg rating — 199,364 ratings
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47

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3.83 avg rating — 57,967 ratings
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48

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4.03 avg rating — 102,045 ratings
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49

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3.70 avg rating — 267,616 ratings
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50

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3.23 avg rating — 82,172 ratings
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51

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4.02 avg rating — 51,201 ratings
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52

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3.74 avg rating — 98,948 ratings
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53

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4.18 avg rating — 441,529 ratings
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54

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4.22 avg rating — 43,513 ratings
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55

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3.93 avg rating — 27,321 ratings
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56

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3.89 avg rating — 209,785 ratings
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57

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3.93 avg rating — 74,135 ratings
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58

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4.19 avg rating — 109,374 ratings
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59

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4.02 avg rating — 7,008 ratings
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60

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4.32 avg rating — 69,941 ratings
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60

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3.89 avg rating — 36,695 ratings
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62

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3.69 avg rating — 56,311 ratings
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63

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3.98 avg rating — 36,879 ratings
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64

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4.25 avg rating — 34,658 ratings
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65

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3.92 avg rating — 91,113 ratings
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66

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4.18 avg rating — 20,089 ratings
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67

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3.98 avg rating — 29,839 ratings
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68

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3.91 avg rating — 76,676 ratings
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69

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3.90 avg rating — 54,547 ratings
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70

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3.80 avg rating — 40,362 ratings
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71

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3.45 avg rating — 169,343 ratings
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72

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3.57 avg rating — 177,861 ratings
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73

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4.06 avg rating — 32,386 ratings
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74

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3.81 avg rating — 117,203 ratings
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75

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4.22 avg rating — 28,715 ratings
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76

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4.18 avg rating — 37,074 ratings
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77

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3.89 avg rating — 24,154 ratings
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78

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3.86 avg rating — 79,118 ratings
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79

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3.69 avg rating — 33,251 ratings
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80

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 16,492 ratings
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81

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4.15 avg rating — 342,499 ratings
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82

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3.92 avg rating — 876 ratings
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83

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3.94 avg rating — 21,828 ratings
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84

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3.98 avg rating — 11,731 ratings
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85

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4.03 avg rating — 32,015 ratings
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86

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4.06 avg rating — 68,441 ratings
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87

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4.11 avg rating — 9,288 ratings
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88

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3.70 avg rating — 700 ratings
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89

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4.12 avg rating — 1,304 ratings
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90

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3.55 avg rating — 506 ratings
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91

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4.25 avg rating — 2,564,216 ratings
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92

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3.75 avg rating — 2,479 ratings
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93

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4.49 avg rating — 132,217 ratings
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94

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3.84 avg rating — 1,358 ratings
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95

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4.14 avg rating — 2,744 ratings
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96

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3.91 avg rating — 14,903 ratings
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97

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3.93 avg rating — 2,771 ratings
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98

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3.69 avg rating — 913 ratings
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99

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4.09 avg rating — 15,167 ratings
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99

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3.93 avg rating — 29,274 ratings
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flag this list (?)
100 books · 233 voters · list created October 21st, 2011 by William (votes) .
Tags: manliness
333 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


William 284 books
109 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3103 books
813 friends
Ben 1078 books
74 friends
Adam 922 books
36 friends
Kate 54 books
6 friends
David 858 books
1988 friends
Thom 6023 books
313 friends
the gift 4878 books
347 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Colin (new)

Colin Bruce Anthes May I nominate The Quiet American by Graham Greene?


message 2: by William (new)

William This is actually a static list that I am (slowly) adding. It can be viewed at the link above. I thought in general the selection was good and I picked a lot from it so others might enjoy it similarly.


message 3: by Ben (new)

Ben This list is now complete. I have deleted the duplicates and books that don't belong on the list.

PLEASE DO NOT ADD ANY OTHER BOOKS.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You probably need to add that (and I'd suggest bolded) to the list description.

But some people will add books anyway.


message 5: by William (new)

William If people vote for all of the listed books it would create something of a buffer to new books being added.


message 6: by Jaymason (new)

Jaymason Thanks for putting this list up! It's made my life much easier. So glad GoodReads has some AoM readers as well!


message 7: by Ben (new)

Ben Chris wrote: ""The Great Gatsby" is listed twice."

I removed the duplicate.


message 8: by Lois (new)

Lois This is a list of male centric books, mostly from past generations. Very few are relevant to today, and fewer are relevant to women. I'll pick my reading list elsewhere.


message 9: by William (new)

William Spot on! The list is entitled "The Essential Man's Library" from the popular blog "The Art of Manliness." I strongly disagree with your point that many are not relevant today; in fact most are. For instance, Brave New World was uncannily clairvoyant in its depiction of certain elements of modern social life, while Grapes of Wrath is a very pertinent cautionary tale against the ideals of the more libertarian factions of contemporary politics. Catch-22 is quite salient with respect to the foolhardiness with which we've entered wars in the past decade and the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four is eerily similar to some present-day totalitarian regimes. Yet, you are free to read as you wish, so be all means do so.


message 10: by Roderic (last edited Aug 11, 2013 09:48AM) (new)

Roderic Day From my sampling of it, the collection isn't all bad.

I find it quite normative- go on, fight your battle, keep centre, come back to your own and take care of them. Apparently noble, but very judgemental.

Let's grant, for a second, that works of female authorship have no place in a list about "Manliness" (though a list about Manliness without S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders"...). Still, where's Hunter S. Thompson? Where's William S. Burroughs? Where's Ralph Ellison? Capote exploring the depths of distorted man-ego "In Cold Blood"? Ken Kesey? How does Winston Churchill get an entry? The Boy Scouts Handbook??? Where are all the latin-american boom writers denouncing colonialism in style? Where is Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", talking precisely and on-point about "Manliness" and its folly across time and distance? Is it not absurd to have "The Wealth of Nations" up there, but not "Das Kapital"?

Surely there's some arbitrary line drawn over time and geography that explains how coincidentally all these books are written by white dudes, how anything still mildly subversive just didn't make the cut.

Manliness, as defined by what this collection of classics and weird ideological hanger-ons, is stuck in the past.


message 11: by William (new)

William I do agree with you that that these are all very important subjects that any man worth his salt ought to read up on. It is obvious that this list has a particular slant, however it makes no claim of being the exclusive list of 'manly' books. The list is a collection of one man's ideas of the hundred most essential books on manliness. Personally, I have great experience drawing from many of the works on this list; there are others that I have no interest whatsoever in reading. I think the take away message is to take this list, or any other, with a grain of salt. It is nothing more than one man's opinion. It does nothing to prevent others from creating their own lists in their own vision, as they well should if they believe they have an insight to share.


message 12: by Roderic (new)

Roderic Day I understand. I mean, I'm not telling you to take it down. I'm just leaving my comment there for whomever happens to browse down to the comment section, perhaps feeling vaguely uneasy.

After all, that's how I got most of my education.


message 13: by Ed Rokose (new)

Ed Rokose No Fight Club?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Apparently not.


message 15: by Skyler (new)

Skyler Thank you for putting this up. Art of manliness is quickly becoming a favorite website of mine and I'm glad to see their list up here. I agree that there are some definite holes in the list, but when choosing only 100 books from the entire span of man's written word, there are going to be some differences of opinion.

Mostly, The Outsiders.

Stay gold, Ponyboy.


message 16: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Rees This seems like a better list, although it has a slight American bias.


message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather Get rid of:
10 Secrets of the New Rich: How To Join The World's New Breed Of Millionaires
by Kevin J. Donaldson
Complicity (The CCCCC Conspirators Code #1)


message 18: by Noah (new)

Noah Heather wrote: "Get rid of:
10 Secrets of the New Rich: How To Join The World's New Breed Of Millionaires
by Kevin J. Donaldson
Complicity (The CCCCC Conspirators Code #1)"


Seconded.


message 20: by Raleighhunter (new)

Raleighhunter I know everyone has their own tastes, but I'll never complete this list.

I will never read Slaughterhouse - Five, Catch-22, A Brave New World, A catcher in the Rye, or Atlas Shrugged. They just don't appeal to me and I don't think I'd finish any of them.

I will never read another Dostoyevsky or Steinbeck novel; once each was painful enough for me.

I had to read excerpts of Walden in high school and all I could think of Thoreau was he certainly could whine.


message 21: by Judeanne (new)

Judeanne Awaken Your Alpha is a book that belongs on this list.

It's being released Oct 3, 2018, but I read an advanced copy. It is the foremost discussion of modern masculinity.

You need to read it and add it to your list.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads This is a "closed" list, Judeanne.


message 23: by Malachi (new)

Malachi Jaymason wrote: "Thanks for putting this list up! It's made my life much easier. So glad GoodReads has some AoM readers as well!"
ditto.


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