The first Sunday of Advent was this past weekend, marking the beginning of the pre-Christmas season. We, at the Vital Masculinity Project, reject the consumerist attitude toward this season celebrating the birth of Christ, instead looking back at traditional ways to rejoice at the coming of our Saviour. Nevertheless, we believe that it is still indeed a season for giving, just as Christ gave Himself up for the world.

Over our lives, all of us here at Vital Masculinity have been shaped by many books, their words inspiring and aiding us on our journeys to manliness, faith in God, virtue, and strength. This is only a small collection from our much broader libraries. We believe these are the most foundational (and timely) books for men to read themselves or gift to other men in their families and friend groups as 2020 winds its way to a close.

So without further ado, here is a list of fifty-five books (plus one!) that all men should invest time to read over their life.

Please note: if you choose to purchase any of these books for yourself or others, please consider using the links below, as we receive a small portion of the profits from Amazon via their affiliate program.

The Holy Bible

1. Ignatius Bible: RSV – Second Catholic Edition


1. Terror of Demons: Reclaiming Traditional Catholic Masculinity by Kennedy Hall

2. Iron John: A Book about Men by Robert Bly

3. Wild at Heart Revised and Updated: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldredge

4. Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men by Ryan Michler

5. Reignite: A Man’s Field Guide to Taking Back His Life by Josh Hatcher

6. Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men by Stephen Mansfield

7. No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert A. Glover

8. The Way of Men by Jack Donovan

9. The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet, and King of Your Family by Dr. G.C. Dilsaver

10. The Appearance of Power: How Masculinity is Expressed through Aesthetics by Tanner Guzy


1. The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper

2. Faith, Hope, Love by Josef Pieper

3. How to be Unlucky by Joshua Gibbs

4. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

5. Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

7. A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry by Geoffroi de Charny

8. Cultivating Virtue: Self-Mastery with the Saints by Anonymous

9. The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus

10. Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion by Peter Kreeft


1. The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Dom Jean-Charles Nault

2. Rules for Retrogrades by Timothy J. Gordon & David R. Gordon

3. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

4. The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Robert Cardinal Sarah

5. The Spiritual Combat: The Classic Manual on Spiritual Warfare by Dom Scupoli

6. Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher

7. The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva

8. The Struggle for Virtue: Asceticism in a Modern Secular Society by Abp. Averky (Taushev)

9. Life is Worth Living by Ven. Fulton J. Sheen

10. For the Life of the World by Fr. Alexander Schmemann


1. Building Your Band of Brothers by Stephen Mansfield

2. The Art of Being a Good Friend by Hugh Black

3. De Amicitia by Cicero

4. Building the Benedict Option by Leah Libresco-Sargent

5. The Four Friendships by Kevin Vost


1. Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe

2. Fit for Eternal Life by Kevin Vost

3. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Kelly Starrett

4. Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body by Michael Matthews

5. Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier


1. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

2. The Last Lion by Paul Reid & William Manchester

3. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

4. The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero by Roy Wenzl

5. Franz Jagerstatter: Letters and Writings from Prison edited by Erna Puntz


1. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson

4. Resilience by Eric Greitens

5. The Gulag Archipelago by Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn

6. A Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer

7. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

8. The Porn Myth by Matt Fradd

9. Beauty: A Very Short Introduction by Sir Roger Scruton

10. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer Adler

Did your favorite book on these subjects not make the list? Leave a comment below and we’ll look at including it in next year’s guide!

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