Here they are…
1) Models: Attract Women Through Honesty
By Mark Manson (Goodreads link).
This book represents the newer, more wholesome era of dating advice. A decade or two ago, men had pickup artistry: scripts and tactics to woo more women and have more sex.
But that’s all super narcissistic. Pickup artistry sees women as prizes and status symbols—not living, breathing human beings with lives and values of their own.
I’ve been a single guy most of my life. I’m confident, I’m extroverted, and I consider myself to be reasonably successful. And the act of putting myself out there with women is almost always a terrifying one.
In Models, Mark argues that the key to attracting more women has nothing to do with pickup lines or suave tricks. Instead, it’s all about becoming the best version of yourself as a man. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not; lean into your strengths and create a life that fulfills you. That’s what people find attractive.
A simple example of this is not texting back right away. We shouldn’t wait hours to respond to pretend to be busy. We should have an active life so we’re genuinely not always available.
This all sounds like common sense now, but being more attractive can really be boiled down to:
- working out
- having hobbies outside of work
- being excited by life
- flirting with physical touch and teasing
- never being needy
- being willing to say no and stand up for your values
- risking rejection
- smiling and laughing more
- asking curious questions
I’ve since used many of the principles in this book and have noticed way more fluidity in my flirting and conversations with women.
By Michelle Obama (Goodreads link).
It’s really easy for me to see a well-known figure—an actor, athlete, or politician—and totally forget they’re human beings. They had a childhood. They have fears and insecurities. They want to raise healthy children. They want to be valuable.
Michelle’s storytelling abilities reminded me of Matthew McConaughey’s in his memoir Greenlights. Both of them make you feel like you’re at the dinner table or around a campfire listening to them talk about their lives.
Some of my friends know this, but I’m not a black woman who was raised in South Side Chicago. Despite that, I felt much more connected to Michelle’s story than Matthew’s.
Why? I love Matthew McConaughey but he has almost an unrelatable level of confidence.
My point is: Michelle spends every chapter being vulnerable. Sharing mistakes, frustrations, and anxieties. And being vulnerable is the only true way for others to relate.
When she and the Queen of England were complaining about their sore feet at an event. When she was trying to get Barack to quit smoking. When she was in her twenties and didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. When her best friend died. When everything she wore made headlines. When she and her daughter tried to giddily sneak out of the White House.
I saw her. I saw these things happening. I laughed when she marveled at the little family moments. I cried when she was devastated.
One of the last sentences in this flawless memoir sums it up perfectly:
“I’m an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey.”
What a journey it was.
3) How to Quit Porn
By Brett McKay (Goodreads link).
Porn is wild. It’s something most people consume but don’t talk about.
I haven’t watched it in a long time because of the noticeable physical and psychological consequences. This book has been a huge help in breaking down the science of why we crave porn and how we can remove the habit from our lives.
(Since the vast majority of pornography is made for heterosexual males, it’s written for that audience; but it’s still an informative and fascinating read regardless of demographic.)
A teenager with an iPhone today will see more naked, beautiful women in 60 seconds than a man 100 years ago would see in his lifetime. Our brains aren’t evolved to handle that level of stimuli.
This dopamine hit from porn creates a plethora of issues:
- It creates unrealistic body standards for women.
- Watching a ton of it can make it difficult or impossible to get aroused without it.
- Men often feel deep shame immediately after.
- Watching porn reduces willpower, energy levels, and motivation.
The book describes porn as “sexual junk food.” It shouldn’t be seen as this shameful, disgusting addiction. That gives it too much power.
But on the whole, it is a net negative for most guys. Like any habit, this one can be broken. And since I broke it, I’ve experienced nothing but clear benefits.
(For anyone who wants to learn more about what porn does to the male brain, but doesn’t want to read this book, I’d recommend this short miniseries.)
By Robert Kirkman (Goodreads link).
An action-packed comicbook series that they turned into a show. I tore through this one.
It’s like many other superhero comics but with murder, deep character development, and intricate world-building. It handles romance, betrayal, parenting, political corruption, friendship, teenage angst, and many other mature themes. All while being a funny and captivating page-turner.
5) Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential
By Tiago Forte (Goodreads link).
If this was the only book I read this year, it would be worth it.
Tied with Getting Things Done, Tiago’s Second Brain system has easily had the most impact on my productivity and workflow.
The idea is simple: we’re working with stone-age programming in a hyper-modern world. Our brains haven’t evolved much in the last 100,000 years. We still crave carbs, dopamine, and sex all the same.
But now that we have infinite access to all the information in the world, we expect our meat machines to catch up. But they can’t.
We’re not meant to remember every single thing that happens to us, every task we have to complete, or every idea we’ve ever had.
Enter: a Second Brain.
This simple personal knowledge management organizes anything you read, listen to, or think of. It categorizes things based on the projects you’re working on—whether it be finishing an essay, making a presentation, or redecorating the living room.
This book can be used as a step-by-step workbook. And I felt the result immediately: a feeling of decluttered peace. It’s also made writing blogs and making YouTube videos much easier.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to take control of their digital lives—especially creatives or entrepreneurs.