Books Gift Ideas

15 Exceptional Books for Men That Will Make You Think

These exceptional books will impact your life as a man, father and husband. Check out this list of best books for men and see what you think.

I read so many books that I often delete them immediately after finishing, having no mental room to linger on any specific book. I also keep a significant queue, moving on to the next book rather than pontificating on completed works.

During the month of February each year, I commit to reading 10 new books within the 28-day period and typically achieve the goal a week early.

Even though I churn through books like a woman goes through shoes, I have a few all-time favorites that stick out in my mind as being impactful, particularly to me as a man, father and husband. The following list is of exceptional books only, a mix of nonfiction and fiction, geared toward men. 

Are Books Written for Men or Women?

Statistics show men rarely read fiction books, preferring to read nonfiction, listen to audiobooks or watch online content. Jordan Peterson claims men account for up to 80% of YouTube usage while women are responsible for 80% of the total sales of fiction books.

Further demonstrating the overwhelming dominance of female-oriented fiction, Romance is the largest category of books on Amazon. Popular authors are becoming almost exclusively female because in 2021 only 21 male writers made it into the top 100 list on Amazon, a list that includes both nonfiction and fiction. That’s 79% female writers in the top 100. 2022 looks likely to exceed the previous year as the top 17 books of 2022 are female authors and only four in the top 50 are male.

Because I predominantly consume fiction and prefer to read rather than listen to audiobooks, I am considered an outlier in the industry. It’s become increasingly challenging to find fiction written by male authors and geared toward men. So to help the ever-shrinking group of men like me who still read, I assembled a list of the top fiction and nonfiction books for men. 

Stories of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang best books for men

by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang is the finest author on planet earth. He doesn’t write fiction; he crafts worlds. There is no other work written throughout history that can compete with this collection of stories. Composed of eight drastically different epic novellas, each one more fantastic than the last, Chiang composes a mind-blowing assortment of meticulously researched realities that suck the reader into a universe so hypnotic, at times you’ll feel part of the adventure.

You cannot read any of his stories once and fully grasp their significance. A person could devote several years of study to this book and never understand it completely.

A warning: This collection is heavy and should not be attempted by a distracted reader. The only way to properly appreciate Chiang’s visionary work is to isolate a time and space to focus intently on his astonishing album. If you only read one book on this list, choose this book.

The Virtues of War

Stephen Pressfield Best Books for Men

by Steven Pressfield

Any book list for men that doesn’t include at least two novels by Steven Pressfield should be ignored. And any man who hasn’t read Steven Pressfield needs to cease calling himself a man until he’s completed at least one of his historical fiction novels. 

In my opinion, “The Virtues of War” is Pressfield’s finest novel, a bold statement considering he wrote several unforgettable masterpieces and remains the undisputed champion of the historical fiction genre. Alexander The Great conquered the world by age 30, easily the seminal military mind in all of history. But not only did he conquer and rule the world, he defeated many countries without a single battle or death, such was his genius. 

A hundred years from now, universities will be teaching Pressfield’s books because they are historically accurate and simultaneously fascinating. Even those most uninterested in history find Pressfield’s books entertaining. And if you pause at key places throughout the stories, you will gain some valuable wisdom from the lessons of history with application to your everyday life.

Other exceptional novels from Steven Pressfield include Tides of War, The Afghan Campaign and The Profession. Read them all because each one has different insights.

Gates of Fire

Stephen Pressfield Best Books for Men

by Steven Pressfield

“Gates of Fire” is uniquely valuable in that it focuses on the Spartan society, a culture ruled by disciplined men. Ancient Sparta had a population of 30,000, miniscule in comparison to the surrounding countries they dominated. Their culture was directly opposite of Western culture and in stark contrast to the weak, emotion-based male culture becoming increasingly common in the US. Boys were sent to a military school called the agōgē at the age of 8 and for the next 10 years were taught military training, self-reliance, pain tolerance, hunting, dancing, singing and communication. This rigorous training program produced the most fierce warriors the world has ever known who were also men of sophistication and competence. If you believe strong men create strong societies, which was certainly the case with Sparta, then read “Gates of Fire.”

Beyond Possible

by Nimsdai Purja

“Beyond Possible” recounts true story of the only man to summit all 14 of the world’s 8000-meter “Death Zone” mountain peaks. Even more amazing is that Purja completed the task in 7 months, beating the previous record of 7 years. Don’t watch the documentary until you read the book first!

Wild At Heart

John Eldredge Best Books for Men

by John Eldredge

Eldredge says what many Christian men are thinking: Something about our middle-class urban existence just doesn’t seem right. Men in the 21st century feel like fish out of water, so we buy bigger houses, vacation in luxury locations, scale businesses and attempt to find purpose and fulfillment in our accomplishments.

“Wild At Heart” strikes down the performance-based lifestyle, easily dismantling why success never breeds fulfillment. Eldredge’s ideas are theoretical, not practical. However, his book does a superb job of offering a spiritual alternative to the current consumerist culture of acquiring more.

The Martian

Andy Weir Best Books for Men

by Andy Weird

Imagine being abandoned on Mars with nothing but a few industrial items. “The Martian” tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who uses his knowledge of the sciences to survive long enough to be rescued from an isolated planet. It’s like a sci-fi MacGyver for the 21st century. If you enjoy science, technology, math, physics and some good old redneck engineering, you’ll love “The Martian.”


by Hugh Howey

“Wool” is book one of a post-apocalyptic series about life in underground silos. Following several characters over multiple generations, this is an accurate and compelling imagining of existence after a nuclear war destroys the earth.

A fun sci-fi read, yet intelligent enough to engage a clever reader, “Wool” explains the damage done when we neglect the individual for the good of the collective. The book is memorable because of the believable plot and excellent, engaging writing. Recommended for young men and high school students interested in STEM.  

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir Best Books for Men

by Andy Weir

Even better than “The Martian,” Weir writes a masterpiece of science fiction with enough emotional connection to make you feel like part of the story. In “Project Hail Mary,” an astronaut lost in space connects with a mystery ship and together their unlikely friendship forms a plan to get both parties back home. A novel for nerds, but also for anyone wanting to read a compelling human drama.

The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexander Dumas

Edmond was unfairly locked away in a dungeon for half his life before escaping and plotting masterful revenge on his enemies. One of the main draws of “The Count of Monte Cristo” is that Edmond is wise, kind, good-hearted, athletic, cunning, suave, rich and successful, an archetype of the perfect man. A must-read!


Eric Blehm best books for men

by Eric Blehm

“Fearless” is the true story of SEAL Team 6 operator Adam Brown, who died in Afghanistan fighting terrorists. His incredible kindness touched thousands of people, while his repeated struggle with drugs echoes the temptations of many men. Warrior, father, husband and Christian, Adam exemplifies the well-led life, overcoming adversity through reliance on his Savior. His legacy lives on and the world needs to hear his story. This book is the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for a father, husband or son.

The Rational Male

by Rollo Tomassi

One of the most controversial books ever written, Tomassi pulls back the curtain on the female psychology of hypergamy and all of its cultural effects. Essentially, a generation of men have no idea what makes them valuable, so they pathetically beg women for their affection.

Tomassi relentlessly attacks the cult of feminism and the ensuing damage on both sexes, which produces miserable, tyrannical women and the 21st-century male desire to appease everyone. The result of the feminist mental disorder is insignificant, spineless, neutered males and we are living in the backlash of the resulting culture.

“The Rational Male” only lists problems with modern gender relations, but offers little in the way of guidance. However, if you’ve never taken the Red Pill, his ideas will shatter all of your previously-held beliefs about women, men, marriage and masculinity. Required reading for every adult male.

(Disclaimer: Tomassi is an atheist who uses copious swear words inappropriate for sensitive readers. He also talks openly about sex and committing adultery since he is amoral and unconcerned about whether a behavior is morally right or wrong.)

World War Z

by Max Brooks

I’m not into zombies nor do I think they are particularly interesting or realistic, but “World War Z” offers the most realistic view of how society would overcome an invasion. This is a retelling of the history of the fictional zombie pandemic told from the perspective of several people. For anyone who thinks there might be a war coming in the future, this will help you mentally prepare for an invasion and offers interesting thinking points on handling a collapse in government and society.

All the Pretty Horses

by Cormac McCarthy

This is a coming-of-age story about a teenager traveling across the Southwest US and into Mexico to find his purpose. Beautifully written with interesting characters and chock-full of wisdom, McCarthy has never written its equal. Part of the Border Trilogy, “All The Pretty Horses” far exceeds the next two books in the series. While McCarthy often receives accolades for other books such as “The Road” and “No Country For Old Men,” I believe this novel has better depth than his other, more popular novels.

Tarzan of the Apes

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A classic novel written in 1976, “Tarzan of the Apes” describes jungle living in a way that makes it sound not only feasible but enviable. You’re probably familiar with Tarzan’s girlfriend Jane from the film, but the movie changed much of the plot, leaving out key details of the story. This is book one of a 24-book series, so if you enjoy part one, you can easily continue investing in the franchise. At only 245 pages, “Tarzan of the Apes” is a compelling read for young males.

English Creek

by Ivan Doig

Part of the three-book Montana Trilogy, “English Creek” is another coming-of-age tale about a young boy growing up in rural Montana in the 1930s. This wonderful novel features hilarious stories about the town, the family’s farm, relationships with teenage girls and a life surrounded by thousands of acres of untouched wilderness. A superb novel for men, but also appropriate for teenage boys who can relate to the struggles of adolescents.

What are your all-time favorite books for men?

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