4 Authors Every Man Needs to Know

Throughout my entire high school and college “career”, I read one book. “Of Mice and Men“, the only book that I had every truly read from start to finish until I was forced to educate myself. I’m as stubborn as a mule. I didn’t read much when I was younger because I never saw how reading was going to help me be successful. I never saw the correlation.

I also didn’t enjoy the books that were being force-fed to me. Since then, I’ve gone back and read many of the books I failed to open as ateenager. And many more on top of that.

When I dropped out of college and got a job in sales, I began educating myself on sales. I began reading. Books on sales led me to books on business which led me to books on entrepreneurialism, then to self-help, biographies, and finally back to fiction. I’ll read anything worthwhile reading. If I didn’t enjoy reading, I wouldn’t have a successful business in any sense of the word.

Reading is not only something that every man should do, but something that every man should love. C.S. Lewis said, We read to know we are not alone. Books connect generations. The living and the dead. They give us knowledge and understanding that even experience might not be able to give us, as we don’t have the wisdom to recognize the lesson when we’re in its midst.

Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.” Aldous Huxley

I’ve read many of the following books multiple times. They’ve left their imprint on me. They’ve forced me to look in the mirror. To man the fuck up. To work harder, live more passionately, with more imagination and testicular fortitude. Books have made me a better person, a stronger person, and a better man.

Let these books have that same effect.

Steven Pressfield

The first Pressfield work I ever witnessed was, The Legend of Bagger Vance. I didn’t know he wrote it, but I loved the movie. Then, about a year ago, I someone recommended I read Turning Pro. Life changed.

I didn’t realize how much of an amateur I was – and still am. I thought I worked hard. I figured I was disciplined enough. I felt that I gave my craft the respect it deserves. In my mind I was persistent. Then I read Turning Pro, The War of Art, Do the Work, and The Warrior Ethos.

I realized that I wasn’t alone in my quest to accomplish something great. I wasn’t the only one working hard but not accomplishing all I wanted to accomplish. The books shawn light on the distractions I allowed to take me away from my work. They introduced me to The Resistance, showed me what a real warrior is, and helped me to simply, do the work.

Pressfield has become my favorite author. Any human who possesses even an ounce of ambition, needs to read these four books. Anyone working hard, but complaining that greatness is yet to show itself in their life, needs these books. I’ve read Turning Pro 3 times this year. I’ll surely read it a fourth. It’s epically simple, but profound. Thank-you Mr. Pressfield.

The War of Art

Turning Pro

The Warrior Ethos

Do the Work

Ambition, I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundament of our being. To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence. ~ Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich, Hill’s most famous book, changed the way I thought, but also altered my view of what’s possible. Negative thoughts have no place in a successful person’s mind. Our thoughts show us where we are going to be.

I have to admit, when I read that title I was skeptical. I thought the book was going to be a bunch of hot air. But it wasn’t. It helped me realize when I was thinking in a way that wasn’t helping me reach my goals, and change that line of thinking to a way that did. It also showed me how to appreciate the struggle. Every man who has accomplished something great has done so in the face of adversity.

To be in the midst of adversity is to be connected to Booker T. Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Steven Pressfield, Andrew Carnegie, and yes, Napoleon Hill, a man who came from rags (literally) to riches all because he made it so in his mind, and then in his actions.

Think and Grow Rich

Think Your Way to Wealth

Dale Carnegie

One of the first books I read when I got that sales job was, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Corny title? Yes. I remember walking around the airport on my way to Costa Rica – fun trip, I’ll have to write an article about that sometime – holding that book. It was, then, my second time reading it, but I noticed people giving me a funny look. I could feel them wondering, why does this guy need to read a book on how to get friends?

That’s what I thought when I saw the title as well. But it’s so much more than that. If you’re in sales – which we all are in some form or another – read the book.

Earlier this year a friend of mine mentioned Carnegie’s other classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. I picked it up. Much like Napoleon Hill’s “Grow Rich”, How to Stop Worrying… shawn a light on how my thoughts were standing in my way. How most of my worries weren’t founded in reality, but concoctions of my imagination. And if they were possible, why dwell on them? Why not work on what you can control, then have a positive attitude about what you can’t?

After reading that book and seeing the many case-studies he highlights of people who faced very tough times, but found success primarily because of a change in thinking and a change in their actions, I too saw the futility in worrying. There’s no point in it! It does nothing for us but cause stress, and even ill health, and death.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, is a book every human on the planet needs to read. Even in conversations with friends I can see how they’d benefit from this book. Everyone would.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma made his way into my life through The Greatness Guide. I can get tired and lose patience with long, drawn-out chapters. This book has 1-3 page chapters, each of which provides the reader with a valuable lesson about how to be great. It’s a fun read. One that should be done with patience. Take your time reading each chapter. Even go as slow as one a day as to grasp the importance of what was just read.

Sharma writes about success like few do. His books grab you and don’t let you go until the final page has been read. The lessons and tips he covers in all of his books, whether it’s straight forward like in The Greatness Guide, or hidden in a story like he does in, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, are one’s that we all need to know, and have reinforced.

I’ll read anything he comes out with, I suggest you do the same.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Leader Who Had No Title

The Greatness Guide

The Saint. The Surfer. And the CEO.


What books would you add to this list? 

What authors?

  • Vincent

    Great timing with this article. I will write the titles on my to read list and buy them on my next trip to the bookstore. Thanks.

  • Simon Sinek – Start with Why. Tony Robbins – Unleash the Giant Within.

    • I’ll check both of those out, thanks. Oddly enough I haven’t read anything by Tony, I’ll get on both of those.

  • Trevor

    Thanks for compiling this list. I’ve been in dire need of some good reading. I’m especially keen to check out the work by Steven Pressfield — he’s now on my “to-read” list.

    And I have to second your recommendation for “Think and Grow Rich.” It’s an odd little book, but each page is chock-full of profound truth — It really makes you think and inspires action.


    • It’s a beautiful book. I absolutely love it. There are a few books I always keep close. The Greatness Guide, Turning Pro, and Think and Grow Rich. I’ll have those around forever.

  • Paul

    Chad great article! Ill definitely look into the authors you’ve listed! I’ve read Dale Carnegies two books and loved them. I still find myself going back and re-reading them. If you’re into fiction The Great Gatsby, The Count of Monte Cristo and Atlas Shrugged are all great books with some life lessons. Also I bought the Powerhouse Challange and am just starting it, I’m pretty excited! Thanks for all you do!

    • I love the first two, haven’t read Atlas Shrugged – need to get on that! That’s awesome man, it’s great to have you on board. Can’t wait to see your before and after pics, you’re going to love the program.

    • Jack

      I agree with Paul’s three classic choices. I would also add The Old Man and the Sea to the fiction list. Classic book about what it truely means to be a man

      • Will do Jack, thanks. I feel like I’m getting more out of this article through the comments than everyone else got out of the article! Appreciate the recommendations.

  • Knight

    Great books, great authors, couple I haven’t read yet though, thanks!
    Couple of favourites of mine, Dangerous book of Heroes, examples of greatness in action from relatively recent history. And out of left field; books by David Gemmel. Fiction, but really present some complex characters in ways that challenge the way you think about being great. Hard to explain properly, but trust me, great reads.

    • I’ll check them out, thanks. I’ll read anything, fiction, non-fiction. So thanks for those.

  • Giuseppe

    Thanks for the list. I had the same experience with reading. In high school and part-way through college, I couldn’t tell you one book that I read. I didn’t like to feel like I was forced to do it, so I didn’t do it. Then when I thought it was a brilliant idea to start reading, I took it up and haven’t looked back.

    • It’s awesome when we find that first book that grabs us. Then the next, and the next. I love reading now man, glad to hear you do too!

  • Jim Perry

    I would add Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

    • I have it, haven’t read it yet. I’ll get on that.

      • Will P

        Terribly important book for someone with your described intentions. It was given to me by an important mentor. I’m still reading it but it’s worth was proven after the first few chapters. It should be required reading in school.

    • Nick M

      I agree, that book was great.

  • I was sorry not to make the list. 😉

    • David, I’ll have to read some of your books. The Ethical Assassin, and The Whisky Rebels have me curious. What do you think I should start with?

      • You strike me as a Whiskey Rebels or Conspiracy of Paper sort of guy.

      • Thanks David I’ll check these out.

  • Matt

    While it’s fiction, Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is a must.

  • Derek

    Thanks for the list. I’ll make sure I get on ’em. My suggestion is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Another good book for not worrying and just living.

    • I have it, never read it, so I’ll get on that for sure.

  • Gran Torino

    Most of Brian Tracy’s books – but especially “Goals”

  • moises

    Chad thanks for the list! I’ve read some books on the list … some books I did not know and I will arrange. I recommend the book of five rings – Miyamoto Musashi.

    • Never read it, heard a lot about the author so thanks for that one, I need some new books.

  • Raider Buck

    Thanks for the list! I’ll be reading these books soon. The Napoleon Hill book was very influential on the band Bad Brains. They wrote a song called ‘Attitude” that mentions “PMA”. That song influenced a large section of the New York Hardcore music scene in the 80s, which espouses a positive mentality and outlook on life. Thanks for the list Chad!

  • Nick M

    When and where were you in Costa Rica? I’m studying abroad in Costa Rica now.

    • I think it was 3 years ago now. AWESOME trip. Went from San Jose all along the west coast. Beautiful country. Where are you studying?

      • I’m studying in San Jose and I’ve been throughout the country and Bocas del toro, Panama. Kinda sucks being suck in the city but it is a beautiful country

  • Patrick

    Hey Chad, are “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro” applicable to non-writers, artists, etc.? They seem interesting and I’ve ordered his other books but by reading some reviews on amazon it seems as if they may seem geared more towards writers and artists. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hey Patrick, I’d say they’re for anyone who is ambitious. He talks to “artists” a lot in each, but more-so to everyone who doesn’t want mediocrity in their lives.

      I wouldn’t classify them as ‘self-help’ either, they’re something better. Both force you to take a look in the mirror. I’d get them for sure.

  • Karl

    Interesting pick! I will definitely check out Sharma’s works.
    At the moment I’m reading Robert Greene’s newest book Mastery,
    which I can highly recommend based on what I’ve read of it so far.
    Thanks again for the book tips!!


    • I’ll check that out – thanks Karl.

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen changed my life organizationally. I would also recommend The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, and The Prince by Niccolo Machiaveli. Thanks for your list. I will definitely be checking them out!

    • The Prince is one of the first books I read actually. Love that book.

      • I started the Prince a few days ago it’s a killer! More than worth the time.

  • Sam Stirling

    Cheers for this list. Have looked up the books and the other recommendations below. Some great reading to keep me occupied for a year. One I would recommended to help with understanding and controlling your behaviour is The Chimp Paradox by Steven Peters. Opened up a whole new understanding of my thoughts.

    • Interesting, I’ll check that out, thanks Sam.

  • Andrew

    Some of my favorite books about marketing yourself, perseverance and art are from Seth Godin. He has a blog with a lot of great content, and his books include Tribes, The Dip, and Poke the Box.

    • Seth Godin has some great books, I love his blog – great to add him on here Andrew.

  • Steven Pressfield is awesome, he was on the Joe Rogan podcast not long ago, really good listening material.

    I’d say Ayn Rand is another very important author.

    Have you read any of her stuff Chad?

  • ami

    Reading wrong books, which means, almost any book, may be very dangerous to any one´s psyche. Why do I say that? Most people, who write a book or even many books, have usually read perhaps 100s of books, written by persons, who have wrong opinions about being a good person. How can I say so?
    During my life of almost 77 years of age, I have been listening to people´s thoughts and opinions. Most people seem to be childish. They don´t really know anything about the main details, materials, of which a good personality should me built. A just person never lies, he is never violent in his hidden thoughts, he understands, that he/she was born to help others, not to be greedy, a powermonger or thinking always only to be rich, to get, to receive, to conquer, to win, to be better than others, the most powerful, the most noticed, the wisest. This list could be continued on and on and on… A good person is willing to use a lot of his/her time to give something, that other people need, friendship, understanding, interest, is always willing to listen to others, who have difficulties, to give a helping hand, to educate, i.e. agape love, that means unselfish warm feelings towards the suffering, the lacking, the needing, the sick, the poor etc.
    You probably know too well, what kind of books most people are reading nowadays? Are they really worth reading, educating, making our thoughts more positive, more unselfish, more empathetic?
    That kind of thoughts we would need, not stories about the so-called “heros”, who kill for fun or other reasons. Here in Spain the matadors (in English: killers) are plain bull-illtreaters, murderers. They are very highly honoured men… Our children learn from our opinions and habits. They see, what kind of books we read, they watch our behaviour, and that makes them, what kind of individuals they will be later in life. Because a human being is an imitator. We are a sum of our experiences, nothing more!

  • Shane Latham

    I have Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich” on my iPod and I listen to it on my commute. At first I was very skeptical, especially of how he seemed to be baiting the audience with his discussion of “the secret.” I’m still working on it, but the power of persistence evidenced in some of the stories (such as the story of Edwin Barnes working with Thomas Edison) is very powerful. I’m currently reading “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business” by Josh Kaufman. Very helpful. “Getting Things Done” has helped me tame my ADHD somewhat. “Fight Club” is the only book I have ever read in one 2.5 hour sitting! Thanks for all you do Chad, you inspire me to stop the self-pity and negative thoughts and get to work!

  • CE Martin

    Your list seems lacking… where’s Jack London or Lester Dent–manly men who adventured in life and on the written page. Where’s Ian Fleming or Warren Murphy? Warren Murphy is 80 and still writing manly action novels that fly in the face of feminism and metrosexuality.

    • Agreed. I need to add to it and definitely look over the writers mentioned here. Thanks for the head’s up on that.

  • Rob

    Great article, Chad.
    I believe that Dan John should be an author on everyone’s list. With him included you would make a well-rounded human who kicks ass personally, physically, professionally, and socially.
    As for books that I would add:
    – Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
    – The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    – Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
    – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius