Recommended Books

Updated September 2019. This wonderful resource was originally compiled by Ryan Stanga

Suggested Reading for men connected to the ManKind Project (MKP). These books contain an array of perspectives. Some will work for you, others may not. One of the concepts we put forward in our work in the ManKind Project is ‘try it on.’ MKP has a set of values and a mission statement that drive our development. And there are many ideas, modalities, and philosophies integrated into the work. Some of these ideas may be paradoxical at face value, but may appeal to men on different places in their personal growth journey. 

(click on any book image to go to Amazon)

A Circle of Men: The Original Manual for Men’s Support Groups
Bill Kauth, St. Martin’s Griffin, 1992

What is the men’s movement? Hundreds of thousands of men all across North America are forming councils, lodges, and participating in “wild man weekends,” inspired by the mythopoetic writings and personal testimonies of such authors as Robert Bly, Sam Keen, and John Lee.

What do you need to be part of it? Robert Bly’s practical advice to his gatherings of men is to go home and form small groups. This book, fifteen years in the making and written by one of the prominent forces in the men’s movement, is the original handbook for forming and guiding these small support circles.

Here’s what this book gives you: This step-by-step manual grows out of Bill Kauth’s two decades of experience with over 125 support groups. It will help the organizer or leader to start a group, find new members, solve group problems, and create rituals and activities that promote honesty, self–disclosure, and fun.

 

Iron John: A Book about Men
Robert Bly, Da Capo Press, 2004

While the men’s movement was already well along at the time, Bly’s controversial 1990 bestseller almost single-handedly brought that movement into the national spotlight. Often lost in discussion of the politics of this book–real or supposed–is the fact that it may represent Bly’s high-water mark as a prose stylist. Bly sustains a complex, multi-faceted discussion of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale “Iron John” for over 200 pages, examining the story and its implications from mythological, psychological and everyday perspectives.

 

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature
Masculine

Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette, Harper San Francisco, 1991

 

King Warrior Magician Lover presents the four basic archetypes of the mature masculine. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette address the increasing number of men searching for the foundations of an authentic, revitalized masculinity that is generative, creative and empowering. By identifying and awakening of the four basic archetypes—using dream analysis, meditation, “active imagination” and ritual process—the authors guide the listener to a fuller, richer, more mature masculine “self.”

 

 

Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man
Sam Keen, Bantam, 1992

A guide to establishing new personal ideals of heroism, strength, and potency for a fuller life examines the stereotypes, myths, and evolving roles of contemporary men, presenting an alternative vision of virtue and virility.

 

The New Manhood
Steve Biddulph, Random House, 2004

Exploring two critical social issues: establishing a healthy masculinity and how men can release themselves from suffocating and outdated social moulds, Biddulph addresses the problems and possibilities confronting men in their daily life. Women have found the book to be a profoundly moving and revealing read; while men acquire recognition and a sense of hope that life can be different. Topics include:–Seven steps to manhood–You and your father – breaking down the defences–Sex and spirit – coming alive–Being a real father -turning your love into action– real male friends – be proud of being male and much more.

 

The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Joseph Campbell, New World Library; 2008

Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artists—including authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakers—and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.

 

The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire
David Deida, Sounds True, Incorporated, 2006

What is your true purpose in life? What do women really want? What makes a good lover? If you’re a man reading this, you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself these questions – but you may not have had much luck answering them. Until now. In The Way of the Superior Man David Deida explores the most important issues in men’s lives – from career and family to women and intimacy to love and spirituality – to offer a practical guidebook for living a masculine life of integrity, authenticity, and freedom. Join this bestselling author and internationally renowned expert on sexual spirituality for straightforward advice, empowering skills, body practices, and more to help you realize a life of fulfillment, immediately and without compromise.

 

No More Mr. Nice Guy – A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life
Dr. Robert Glover, Running Press, 2003

Originally published as an e-book that became a controversial media phenomenon, No More Mr. Nice Guy! landed its author, a certified marriage and family therapist, on The O’Reilly Factor and the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Dr. Robert Glover has dubbed the “Nice Guy Syndrome” trying too hard to please others while neglecting one’s own needs, thus causing unhappiness and resentfulness. It’s no wonder that unfulfilled Nice Guys lash out in frustration at their loved ones, claims Dr. Glover. He explains how they can stop seeking approval and start getting what they want in life, by presenting the information and tools to help them ensure their needs are met, to express their emotions, to have a satisfying sex life, to embrace their masculinity and form meaningful relationships with other men, and to live up to their creative potential.

 

Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior
David R. Hawkins, Veritas Publishing, 1995

David R. Hawkins details how anyone may resolve the most crucial of all human dilemmas: how to instantly determine the truth or falsehood of any statement or supposed fact. Dr. Hawkins, who worked as a “healing psychiatrist” during his long and distinguished career, uses theoretical concepts from particle physics, nonlinear dynamics, and chaos theory to support his study of human behavior. This is a fascinating work that will intrigue readers from all walks of life!

 

The Elder Within: The Source of Mature Masculinity
Terry Jones, Bookpartners, 2001

The Elder Within offers elder, as an alternative to elderly: that stereotype of older people that frightens the young about aging. Eldership, the expression of elder qualities, is a second half of life adventure in modeling mature masculinity. Elder expression fosters consensus rather than conflict. The man or woman who expresses elder energy uses tools of wisdom like meditation, contemplation and active listening. The elder expresses confidence in their long life experience and wants to seed the future by being accessible to and holding the dream for the young.

The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man
John Lee, HCI, 1989

The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man is a record of one man’s journey to find his “true masculinity” and his way out of co-dependent and addictive relationships. It’s a book for all men and women who grew up in dysfunctional families and are now ready for some fresh insights into their past and their pain.

The Flying Boy is a story about feelings – losing them, finding them and finally expressing them. Here you will find people you know; will discover a way out of the pain and see that it really is OK to express yourself without fear.

The book is about grieving, a very misunderstood process often confused with self-pity. The Flying Boy opens doors to understanding – men will understand themselves and each other, and women will more deeply understand men, learn how to be with wounded men and still take care of themselves.

 

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Eckhardt Tolle, Penguin Audiobooks, 2005

Eckhardt presents readers with a honest work at the current state of humanity. He implores us to see and accept that this state, which is based on an erroneous identification with the egoic mind, is one of dangerous insanity. Tolle tells us there is good news however…

 

 

Absent Fathers, Lost Sons: The Search for Masculine Identity
Guy Corneau, Shambhala, 1991

An experience of the fragility of conventional images of masculinity is something many modern men share. Psychoanalyst Guy Corneau traces this experience to an even deeper feeling men have of their fathers’ silence or absence—sometimes literal, but especially emotional and spiritual. Why is this feeling so profound in the lives of the postwar “baby boom” generation—men who are now approaching middle age? Because, he says, this generation marks a critical phase in the loss of the masculine initiation rituals that in the past ensured a boy’s passage into manhood. In his engaging examination of the many different ways this missing link manifests in men’s lives, Corneau shows that, for men today, regaining the essential “second birth” into manhood lies in gaining the ability to be a father to themselves—not only as a means of healing psychological pain, but as a necessary step in the process of becoming whole.

 

The whole man program: Reinvigorating your body, mind, and spirit after 40.
Jed Diamond, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002

You can take positive steps toward improving your health and maximizing your passion, productivity, and purpose. Written by the bestselling author of Male Menopause and based on the latest breakthrough information, The Whole Man Program offers proven techniques that will help you reach a whole new level of physical, emotional, and spiritual health. You’ll learn how to lose weight and meet specific fitness goals; prevent heart disease, cancer, depression, and other diseases; put life and love back into your sex life; find your calling and be happy with your work life; and achieve new levels of energy and vitality-and have fun while you’re doing it. So get with the program-start reading The Whole Man Program today and feel better than ever.

 

The irritable male syndrome: Managing the 4 key causes of depression and aggression
Jed Diamond, Rodale Press, 2004

From the best-selling author of Male Menopause comes another life-transforming book for men-and the women who love them-on overcoming the mood and behavior changes caused by fluctuating male hormones. Jed Diamond presents the most up-to-date research from around the globe to reveal why so many normally loving husbands, fathers, and sons suddenly become irritable, angry, and withdrawn. He identifies the four common triggers of Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS)-fluctuating testosterone levels, biochemical imbalances, loss of masculine identity, and stress-and then shows how best to treat this condition that, research shows, affects up to 30 percent of males, especially those in adolescence and midlife.

Just as PMS is now acknowledged to be a problem in women, IMS-thanks to this book-is gaining recognition as an affliction among men. By revolutionizing the detection, understanding, and treatment of this condition, The Irritable Male Syndrome is bringing relief and happiness back to the lives of millions.

 

Breaking the Shackles
John Everingham, MPC/BEP Press, 2005

Shame is an emotion that many of us don’t recognize easily, and yet it’s usually the basis of addiction, violence, overwork, emotional shutdown, and adopting a ‘false self.’ The good news is that once we recognize it for what it is, shame loses much of its toxicity. Breaking the Shackles is a revised edition of our 1995 book, Men Healing Shame, in which several dozen men write of their experience healing the effects of toxic shame. Among our chapter authors are Robert Bly and Gershen Kaufman. It’s a book written by and for men–using our natural way of saying things, and yet a number of women have found it helpful. A very practical book, with occasional theoretical underpinning.

 

At My Father’s Wedding: Reclaiming Our True Masculinity
John Lee, Bantam, 1991

This book is a ground-breaking work about the “Father Wound” and the pain men bear because of it. For most men, Dad was lost to work, routine, drugs, alcohol, wars, T.V., or the pursuit of money and all it could buy. The legacy of the missing father is a life of troubled relationships, addictive behaviors, crises, and a deep inner woundedness that leads to emotional numbness, rage, and unhappiness. In this moving, compassionate, and important book, Lee shows how to get past and over this wound as he shares his own struggle to come to terms with his father and to recover from a troubled childhood. He tells how all men can let go of the past, of false and hurtful images of men and manhood, and reclaim themselves, their sense of identity, and their self-esteem. Lee writes about the many different father types, the different wounds they leave and then points the way to self-understanding and healing.

 

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment
George Leonard, Plume, 1992

Drawing on Zen philosophy and his expertise in the martial art of aikido, bestselling author George Leonard shows how the process of mastery can help us attain a higher level of excellence and a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in our daily lives. Whether you’re seeking to improve your career or your intimate relationships, increase self-esteem or create harmony within yourself, this inspiring prescriptive guide will help you master anything you choose and achieve success in all areas of your life.

In Mastery, you’ll discover: The 5 Essential Keys to Mastery Tools for Mastery, Mastery and Energy, How to Master Your Athletic Potential, The 3 Personality Types that Are Obstacles to Mastery, How to Avoid Pitfalls Along the Path

Men and the Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of Men
Michael J. Meade, Harper SanFrancisco, 1994

In the bestselling tradition of Iron John, this masterwork–now available in paperback–uses myths and symbols to provide keen insights into male initiation, power, ordeals, scars, wounds, passion, violence, love, and more. “Meade is a master of the mode.”–New York Times Book Review.

 

The archetype of initiation: Sacred space, ritual process, and personal transformation.
Robert L. Moore, Xlibris, 2001

Derived from a series of lectures, colloquial discussions, and addresses delivered over a ten-year period, this book urges contemporary healers to utilize pre modern tribal principles of sacred space and ritual process long considered lost or inaccessible to modern culture. Properly prepared “ritual elders” can guide people through ritual steps from (a) the challenge of a life-crisis, into (b) sacred space and time for needed reorganization, and then into (c) a newly transformed personal and social world. Deep, transformative experiences release the energies of a mature commitment and fuel the vision of a global, nontribal community of justice and peace. The steps presented in this book are derive from key concepts in the scholarship of Arnold van Gennep, Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, and Victor Turner, reformulated with new insights from extensive field research and psychoanalytic practice.

 

The King Within: Accessing the King in the male Psyche.
Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette, Chicago Theological Seminary dba Exploration
Press, 2007

In this pioneering contribution to masculine psychology, Robert L. Moore, a Jungian psychoanalyst, and Douglas Gillette, a mythologist, examine the inner King-one of the four archetypes of the male psyche. Asleep-as far as Ego-awareness is concerned-for untold generations, the King at the center of every man’s soul is now returning to consciousness. His return is heralded by many men’s growing sense of empowered masculine authenticity and by their enlarged capacity to empower others: other men, their friends and co-workers, the women in their lives, and their children. The inner King integrates power and nurturing, firmness and caring, courage and creativity, self-affirmation and self-sacrifice. From his central position between the world of imagination and the world of action, the King within challenges every man to take up his own scepter, to dream dreams, and to make them come true. This new revised and expanded Text Edition of The King Within recounts, as did the first edition, the many gifts the King can bestow on men. It also offers expanded discussion of techniques for accessing and regulating the King’s powerful energies. Most importantly, it presents, for the first time, a 47-page description of the 16 configurations in which the four archetypes appear in men’s personalities. This additional section includes newly created graphics that illustrate Robert Moore’s ground-breaking “Structural Psychoanalysis,” a new and vital integration of psychoanalytic and spiritual theories that will help men achieve a full and authentic maturity-so as to steward a new and better world into being.

 

Nature and the Human Soul, Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented  World
Bill Plotkin, New World Library, 2008

Addressing the pervasive longing for meaning and fulfillment in this time of crisis, Nature and the Human Soul introduces a visionary ecopsychology of human development that reveals how fully and creatively we can mature when soul and wild nature guide us. Depth psychologist and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin presents a model for a human life span rooted in the cycles and qualities of the natural world, a blueprint for individual development that ultimately yields a strategy for cultural transformation.

With evocative language and personal stories, including those of elders Thomas Berry and Joanna Macy, this book defines eight stages of human life – Innocent, Explorer, Thespian, Wanderer, Soul Apprentice, Artisan, Master, and Sage – and describes the challenges and benefits of each. Plotkin offers a way of progressing from our current egocentric, aggressively competitive, consumer society to an ecocentric, soul-based one that is sustainable, cooperative, and compassionate. At once a primer on human development and a manifesto for change, Nature and the Human Soul fashions a template for a more mature, fulfilling, and purposeful life – and a better world.

 

The song of father-son: Men in search of the blessing
Peter Putnam, iUniverse, 2006

As a son, what words did you desperately want your father to say to you?

As a father, what words from you would change your son’s life?

Putnam’s struggle with the life and death of his own powerful father, his extensive reading of Jung, Bly, and other profound chroniclers of men’s lives, and his work in the New Warrior Training Adventure and the Mankind Project enable him to offer a portrait of the Unblessed son—and a path to The Blessing. The Song of Father-Son moves sons beyond their addictions, their old roles, and their deadened emotions…to their birthright as strong, loving men.

 

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
Matt Ridley, Harper Perennial, 2003

Referring to Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen from Alice Through the Looking-Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity’s best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators. The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture — including why men propose marriage, the method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more likely to conceive a child by an adulterous lover than by her husband. Brilliantly written, The Red Queen offers an extraordinary new way of interpreting the human condition and how it has evolved.

The Saint, the Surfer, and the CEO: A Remarkable Story about Living Your Heart’s Desires
Robin Sharma, Hay House, 2003

Once in a while, a book comes along that has the power and the wisdom to speak to the best part of us and awaken our highest selves to the miracle our lives were meant to be. In this truly unforgettable guide, Robin Sharma, author of the national bestseller “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and a man whose life lessons are currently transforming the lives of many thousands of people across the planet, will show you how to access your inner gifts and reshape your whole outer life in the process. With brilliant simplicity and remarkable insight, The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO will teach you:

How to stop betraying your self and live your destiny. Simple ways to feel a rare amount of fulfillment and joy in your days. How to reconnect to your inner child like heart for a more passion-filled life. Lessons to conquer stress, balance life, and feel good about yourself. A proven process that will revolutionize your relationships and fill your life with love. How to restore adventure, simplicity, and prosperity into your life Powerful principles to become strikingly successful at work. Practical wisdom to help see a gorgeous vision for your future and then make it a reality