Do you ever read in your free time? If not, you aren’t alone.
Reading for fun is a luxury that many men don’t have time for. Even when you do have time, it’s hard to know which book to pick up when you see thousands of options on Amazon.
But reading for pleasure is a habit you should consider picking up, even if you aren’t a voracious lover of books.
There is so much valuable information and inspiration hidden in books, both fiction and nonfiction. Between old classics and books that have recently hit the shelves, there’s a lot to learn and enjoy from the minds of other people.
You may be surprised at the many science-backed benefits of reading books:
- It boosts your intelligence by enhancing your vocabulary.
- It improves memory and brain function.
- It helps you relate better to others and become more empathetic.
- Reading print books leads to better comprehension and deeper understanding.
- It may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- It helps you relax and reduce stress.
- It can help you fall asleep if you read before bed.
If you’re a guy who hasn’t been reading much, or you’re looking for some page-turners or motivators but can’t find what you’re searching for, we’ve got you covered.
Take a look at the perfect list of books every man should read.
32 Of The Best Books Every Man Should Read
Best Fiction Books for Men
Check out this list 8 fiction books for men:
1. Band of Brothers, by Stephen E. Ambrose
This iconic New York Times bestseller reveals the story of ordinary men who became some of most extraordinary soldiers in World War II.
Ambrose tells the story of the near-impossible assignments the men of E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne got from 1942 to 1945, ending with their capture of Hitler’s Bavarian outpost.
Ambrose compiled this story through first-hand interviews with E Company members.
Although the lives of the men have diverged, they continue to be connected through their shared wartime experience. This story represents selflessness, brotherhood, and a love for life.
2. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
A father and son walk alone through a cold and burned post-apocalyptic America looking for the coast, although not knowing if anything is there.
McCarthy tells the incredibly moving story of their journey with nothing but the love they have for each other. You can a complete sense of the ultimate destruction, courage, and tenderness that allows two people to survive when faced with total devastation.
At times, you feel as if you are walking along with the characters in this book. But through the despair and hopelessness, you see the powerful and enduring truth that love can get you through any obstacles that come your way.
3. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This quintessential novel of 1920’s America is a love-story and mystery combined. Fitzgerald details a rags-to-riches account of success, its subsequent fallout, and a look into pre-Depression life in NYC.
This cautionary tale about wealth, corruption, decadence, and deception is as relevant now as it was when it was first published in 1925.
It shows a timeless look at human nature while also exemplifying how failure can lead to success.
Through the characters, Fitzgerald shows the hollowness of the pursuit of money and how finding a purpose beyond the material world is what ultimately makes someone rich.
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
This story recounts the life imprisonment of Count Alexander Rostov in the luxurious Metropol Hotel in Moscow.
The aristocrat watches the volatility of 20th century Russia through his window and the people who come and go through the Metropol.
Through the powers of human connection and observation, he is able to have contact with his beloved country while living inside confining walls.
The author helps you gain a deeper understanding of living with a purpose as he welcomes you to relate to the count’s experience.
Intriguing characters, romance, and elegance define this beautiful, humorous, and page-turning novel.
5. The Prince of Tides: A Novel, by Pat Conroy
When Tom Wingo’s twin sister tries to commit suicide in New York City, he works with her psychiatrist to explore the tragic history of their family in rural South Carolina.
Drawing from his own troubled past, Conroy offers a visually detailed, powerful story of a dysfunctional family that is full of contradiction and pain but still has the capacity to love.
The story teaches you that sometimes you have to confront your past to help you overcome your personal demons.
Known for his story-telling and exquisite language, Conroy offers a tour de force with Prince of Tides that you won’t soon forget.
6. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
This 1926 novel by Ernest Hemingway is about a group of American and British expatriates traveling to the Festival of San Fermín to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.
Written after his own trip to Spain in 1925, this story is based on real people and events in Hemingway’s life.
You learn that while the “Lost Generation” was often considered to be self-indulgent and hopelessly damaged by World War I, they were, in fact, strong and resilient.
This story also incorporates themes of love, death, the strengthening power of nature, and the notion of masculinity.
Related: 37 Of The Best Motivational Books To Inspire You
7. WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives, by Dan Millman
This spiritually enlightening book is a blend of autobiographical content and fictional narrative.
Millman delves into issues such as self-awareness, the quest for life’s purpose, and a journey to happiness.
The message that is portrayed to the reader is a timeless one that is relevant to anyone who is looking for a way to matter in their own lives.
8. Shantaram: A Novel, by Gregory David Roberts
This epic novel is based on the life of the author. Set in the slums of Bombay, an escaped convict attempts to create a new life for himself while also searching for love and purpose.
This thoughtful and suspenseful book reminds you of the good in all people and allows you to learn life lessons alongside the book’s protagonist, Lim.
Books Every Man Should Read
Check out this list 8 of the top books every man should read in his lifetime:
9. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
This inspirational collection of poetic essays cover a wide range of topics from love to work to death, revealing deep insights into human impulses.
You learn the importance of having a valid value system as well as other lessons that will help lead you to live a richer life.
The enlightening stories told by the author are thought-provoking and can be read many times while still offering new lessons.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning coming of age story of Atticus Finch and his two children teaches you understanding and tolerance as it asks you to consider the perspectives of other people.
It tells a story of hope among its themes of discrimination and injustice that will inspire and move you. The plot is loosely based on Harper Lee’s own experiences and observations of family and neighbors when she was growing up in Monroeville, Alabama.
It instills a promise in readers that things will change, things can get better, things will improve. Using many examples of hope, the author offers truths that can resonate with and transform any reader.
This book has become a classic in modern American literature and should be on every bookshelf.
11. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
Kesey offers some historical perspective into psychiatry in the 1960s and an appreciation for the progress our society has made in mental health.
Having worked in a mental health institution as an orderly, Kesey brings his personal experiences and observations to life in the characters of this novel.
The story is set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital and focuses on the character, Randall McMurphy, who fakes insanity in order to be transferred from a prison work farm to the hospital.
This incredible story of how invincible the human spirit can be, even when faced with manipulative and controlling systems, leaves a lasting impact on the reader.
Readers appreciate the social messages that this story is able to tell, along with the masterfully crafted writing style.
12. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
This satire of human life helps readers find their own place in the universe, even if it is not realized until the book’s end.
Says Amazon’s review of the book, it’s the story of the “hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc.”
This whimsical science-fiction odyssey is both humorous and dark, and it leaves you wondering what the relevance and meaning of the stories really are.
By leaving you guessing, the author offers you a chance to discover how your inquisitive mind works. If you enjoy dry, British satire, this is the book for you.
13. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 is about the military and war, but it is universally applicable. Everyone has people in their lives who are similar to the characters in the novel, and everyone has seen gross injustices happen in society.
Heller constantly works to show readers the inherent value of human life while offering laughs throughout the otherwise-serious read.
The book is set in Italy during World War II and follows the hero, Yossarian, a bombardier who is caught in a “catch-22” as he tries to escape the perilous missions he’s assigned to as a soldier.
The story told in this book is one of logic — that what is often deemed to be good, is actually bad, and things that make sense are actually nonsense.
Catch-22 is a cornerstone of American literature and still relevant after over fifty years in publication.
14. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
This short, classic tale is full of life lessons which primarily encompass the idea of never quitting or giving up.
Hemingway tells the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his relentless battle with a giant fish in the Gulf Stream.
It is also a story about hard work, courage, and the rewards of personal triumph that perseverance reaps. Written in Hemingway’s classical, terse prose, this is a short read that leaves a lasting impression.
15. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
Another classic must-read novel, East of Eden is a story about family and humanity introduces themes of finding your true identity and the inexplicable power of love.
The story follows two families that relive the fall of Adam and Eve and the rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Steinbeck communicates the tolerance of the human soul and inspires readers to choose who you want to be instead of following the mold that you may have been born into.
16. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses racial issues in this bestseller where he talks about living in America as an African American.
Coates communicates to you through letters to his teenage son that share the story of his revelatory experiences that illuminated his racial identity.
Using personal narrative along with some historical context, Coates shows you the emotional truth about racial issues in America.
Books for Guys Who Don’t Like to Read
17. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer gives an epic account of the deadly storm he experienced on Mount Everest in 1996.
Haunted by the disaster and still blaming himself for the deaths of some of his friends, this extremely personal story gives you a lot of insight into the things that went wrong on that day.
But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber’s death.
This book takes a deep look at life and death and the impact that the fragility of one’s life has on other people.
18. City of Thieves, by David Benioff
This World War II novel is about courage and survival. Set during the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, the two protagonists are charged with a crazy directive that allows them to save their own lives.
These two prisoner’s in a Nazi camp are asked to work together to do an almost impossible task during a time when the city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation.
You laugh and cry alongside their adventures while discovering more of your own sense of courage.
19. The Stand, by Stephen King
This post-apocalyptic novel tackles issues that can determine survival and takes a look a the dark side underneath America when all of the glitz and glamour has been destroyed.
It is “a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people,” and survivors are forced to choose sides between dark and light embodied in the figures of an old woman and an evil man.
You become connected to the characters as they figure out what was truly important in their lives and fight to survive in this new, destroyed world.
It is a modern parable for the fight against good and evil and will leave you thinking about how transient life is.
20. Gray Mountain, by John Grisham
When Samantha Kofer is laid off from her high-paying Wall Street job in 2008, she is given an opportunity to work as a legal aid without payment for a year.
Doing this would give her a small chance of getting her original job back.
After being placed in a coal-mining town in Virginia, she realizes that there are more secrets and litigation to address than she had originally expected.
This New York Times bestseller was named one of the best books of the year by NPR.
21. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer spent years walking the trails that were once walked by Chris McCandless, who hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley, in order to tell Chris’s story of independence and solitude.
McCandless doesn’t survive his adventure, and his body is found four months after he sets out.
Krakauer traveled the country to uncover any information about Chris and to learn more about the circumstances behind his death.
You discover some possible reasons why a smart, young man would walk away from his life and into the outdoors to his own demise.
Says a Washington Post review, “A narrative of arresting force. Anyone who ever fancied wandering off to face nature on its own harsh terms should give a look. It’s gripping stuff.”
22. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
This feel-good story about the angry man next door looks at the large impact that one life can have on other people.
Backman teaches you to take a different look at people who seem grumpy and reframe your opinion. Reading the story invites you to consider who you are as a person and how you want to live your life.
23. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
This story gives you an opportunity to question your self-doubt and anxieties and confront your secrets.
At a small college in Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander is heading toward big league stardom, but when a throw heads extremely off course, five people’s fates change.
This novel is about ambition and its limits, family, friendship, love, and commitment both to oneself and to other people.
24. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
This story of friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant takes you to Afghanistan at a tense moment of change and destruction.
Hosseini addresses the power of reading, the cost of betrayal, and the possibility of vindication.
He also explores the power that fathers have over their sons, including their love, sacrifices, and lies.
With unforgettable characters and beautiful prose, this book is not to be missed.
Inspirational Books for Men
25. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen
David Allen uses this influential business book to help improve your personal organization skills by approaching your professional and personal tasks in a unique way.
The proven principles outlined in this book have developed a cult following.
It is both fun and therapeutic and provides you with a road map for organizational efficiency that can help you get more done in a shorter amount of time, both in your professional and your personal life.
26. How to Stop Worrying & Start Living, by Dale Carnegie
This might be the right book for you if you are struggling with daily worries and anxiety.
Carnegie offers seven ways to improve your mental attitude to help bring you peace and joy.
A combination of true stories and some possible scenarios that you likely face, this classic book offers you relatable situations that will alter your mindset and decrease the amount of time you spend worrying.
27. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
In this memoir, Frankl offers lessons for spiritual survival as he describes life in Nazi death camps.
He makes the strong argument that while people cannot avoid suffering, anyone can choose how they deal with it, find its hidden meaning, and move on with their life with a renewed sense of purpose.
Frankl demonstrates how pleasure is not our main drive in life, as Freud believed, it is actually the discovery and pursuit of the things we find meaningful.
28. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World, by Timothy Ferriss
Ferriss offers a compilation of answers to life’s most pressing questions given by world-class performers ranging from newcomers who are in their 20s to widely-known icons in their 80s.
Each mentor gave practical and tactical advice for finding solutions to some of life’s problems, such as how to get unstuck or how to achieve better results.
Reading what someone else has done in the past to get through a challenge that you are currently facing can help you get through roadblocks in your life.
29. Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking, by Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott
This might be the right book for you if you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed with all of the tasks and responsibilities that you are facing in your life.
By practicing mindfulness techniques, you can create new habits and more space in your mind, allowing you to live a life with more clarity and meaning.
Once you learn to reframe your negative thoughts, you are able to live a life that is more in line with how you want to live your life.
30. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson
In this self-help guide, Manson describes the importance of becoming a truly better person by not putting on a fake, positive mask all of the time.
While many believe that positive thinking is the key to happiness, Manson provides you with the reality check that life isn’t always perfect and sometimes you just have to do what makes you happy.
You have to care about what you do in life in order to live a life of meaning.
31. Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell
What sets the highest achievers apart from the rest of society?
In this illuminating book, Gladwell urges you to stop thinking about what high achievers have that other people don’t, and focus more on their culture, family, generation, and their unique childhood experiences.
He explains the secrets of some of the most successful people in the world while looking deeper into their lives.
32. I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships, by Michael Sorensen
Sorensen offers simple, proven techniques to improve your communication skills and your relationships with other people.
The principles laid out in this book can help you increase feelings of love, stop arguments in their tracks, and calm the concerns of other people.
Readers enjoy the powerful skills that are taught in this book and the quick results it can have on your life.
Did you find this list of books for men useful? Please share the love.
Not everyone likes to read, but each of these books has something special and unique to offer to any man.
Whether it is a life lesson, a laugh, or some motivation, reading this books will help you have a new outlook on life and live in a way that allows you to feel more self-worth and meaning.
If you enjoyed this reading list, please share it on your preferred social media platform with other guys who might be looking for the next book to read.