If you’re reading this site, you probably have some interest in manhood and masculine things. What follows are some books I found interesting that I figured you might as well. I hope you enjoy.
The Fighter’s Heart – Author Sam Sheridan documents his adventures to truly understanding fighting, including stints in Thailand to study Muay Thai, Brazil to study Brazilian, and various other locales, all to learn the combat arts. That includes a time with Pat Miletich’s MMA team that included UFC champs Tim Sylvia and Matt Hughes. Coupled with Sheridan’s mastery of language, this is a compelling read.
Sheridan makes no bones about his privileged background, but his earnestness in understanding how to throw down–coupled with his honesty about being a “bleeder”–make this an incredibly refreshing read. Easily one of my favorite non-fiction books.
The Fighter’s Mind – Another by Sheridan, this one delves into the mind of fighters. This includes interviews with Miletich, UFC great Randy Couture, and gold medalist and wrestling deity Dan Gable among many others. While not as good as The Fighter’s Heart, that shouldn’t be taken as an insult. It’s almost as good, and it’s worth a read.
The Professor In The Cage – Author Jonathon Gottschall is an English professor. For some reason, he decided to get into the MMA cage…and in the process shares some very illuminating thoughts on fighting, masculinity, and why guys like to watch other guys pound one another into a bloody pulp. Other than it’s awesome, at least.
Starting Strength – Mark Rippetoe presents nothing more than a guide for making you stronger. Nothing more, nothing less, and he’s been blasted in some quarters for it. This isn’t a weight loss plan, it’s a strength building program based on a few basic lifts. If you have a gym membership or a barbell equipped home gym, then this might be perfect for you.
The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40 – Basically, it’s Starting Strength for older lifters. It has a few tweaks that may be necessary for older athletes embarking on a strength program for the first time.
Can You Go? Assessments and Program Design for the Active Athlete and Everybody Else – This is a fantastic book for understanding how to program a fitness program. Author Dan John knows his stuff and presents it with an enjoyable to read style.
Bigger Leaner Stronger – Another basic strength program, this one also delves into aesthetics moreso than Starting Strength does. Author Michael Matthews describes it as “The simple science of building the ultimate male body,” which may or may not be true. However, I can tell you that you will get stronger.
The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning: How to Get Stronger and Tougher–In the Gym and in Life–Using the Training Secrets of the Athletic Elite – Easily one of my favorite books on strength and conditioning training out there. Author and coach Zach Even-Esh works with a lot of athletes, particularly combat sports athletes (wrestlers mostly), which has a lot of carryover to what we talk about here. If you want to be ready for a fight, you could do worse than to learn from athletes who do this kind of thing on a regular basis.
Principles of Personal Defense – This is the seminal text on personal defense by none other than Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper. If there’s a piece of required reading on this site, this is it. It’s a short read, but a must for anyone who takes or purports to take personal defense seriously.