The Definitive Reading List for Nice Guys

The sheer volume of self-help material out there can be overwhelming. Not to mention that a lot of it is just plain garbage.
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When I first began recovering from the Nice Guy Syndrome – and even more so when I became a certified coach – I couldn’t resist spending hours upon hours scouring bookstores and the dark corners of the internet for resources to help both myself and my clients. I wanted to find the absolute best books for Nice Guys.

I’m a self-help junkie, after all. And I’m willing to bet that you are, too.

Many men – and, in particular, Nice Guys – are addicted to self-help material, and it’s easy to see why. Nice Guys are constantly looking for a road-map – a set of simple A-to-Z instructions that tells them exactly how to get from Nice Guy to Integrated Man as quickly as possible.

I hate to break it to you, but such a road-map doesn’t exist.

Indeed, radical transformation is possible. But, there is no magic bullet, no magic formula, no magic pick-up line, no magic anything. Recovering from the Nice Guy Syndrome and becoming an Integrated Man is a journey that never truly ends. It’s a practice. A process. And it takes commitment.

Furthermore, self-help material – for many people (especially Nice Guys) – is just another form of avoidance. We read books and listen to podcasts and watch videos and communicate with so-called experts, and our brains lead us to believe we’re making progress. Except, we’re not really making progress at all.

Real progress requires action. And, while continually filling your head with information may feel like action, it often leads to lengthy periods of inaction. It’s just mental masturbation – or, as it’s most commonly called: analysis paralysis.

The truth is, you are not going to find a nifty, book-sized solution to all of your problems. You are not going to achieve all your goals by analyzing them. You are not going to succeed in life by talking to a success coach. And you are not going to grow by watching a PowerPoint presentation about growth.

If you want to make progress, start moving. Put one foot in front of the other. Do something. And, if only for a little while, stop filling your head with so much goddamn information.

That said…

Many Nice Guys who want to improve their lives have no idea where to start. This is understandable. The sheer volume of self-help material out there can be overwhelming. Not to mention that a lot of it is just plain garbage.

Maybe that’s why my clients – both past and present – repeatedly ask me the same question: Got any good books I should read?

Yes, as a matter of fact I do.

And I’ve compiled them all here, in this definitive reading list for recovering Nice Guys and other men who want to improve their lives from the inside out.

Everything on this list has actually helped me. And, that’s an understatement.

Unlike most of the books I plow through, the books on this list have made a significant impact on my life and the lives of several people I know. Many of these books contain passages that I have highlighted, underlined, and highlighted again. Many of these books have ideas that are ingrained in my subconscious because I consistently revisit them.

These are the absolute best books for Nice Guys (and guys in general) who want to be better and live better. I will keep this list updated as I discover new resources.

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover

Believe it or not, this is the only book I considered leaving off this list. Why? Because you should already have this book and you should have already read it about a dozen times.

If you’re reading this list, I can only assume you’ve read this book. If you know what an Integrated Man is, I can only assume you’ve read this book. If you’ve worked with a men’s coach or participated in a men’s group, I can only assume you’ve read this book. But, making assumptions never does anyone much good. So, if you are someone who, for some reason, has never read No More Mr. Nice Guy, please do yourself a favor and buy it now. Not tomorrow. Not on pay-day. Not in a few hours. Now.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

This book is the whack upside the head that you so desperately need. This book will open your eyes to everything you’ve been doing wrong your entire life. This book will explain why your relationships are deeply unsatisfying. This book will show you why you aren’t living up to your potential. This book will turn your whole fucking world upside down – in the best possible way.

In No More Mr. Nice Guy, Dr. Glover explains how the Nice Guy Syndrome is an anxiety-based disorder that affects men all over the world. He illustrates why Nice Guys really aren’t so nice. He shows you how you can stop seeking approval and start making your own needs a priority. Ultimately, Dr. Glover offers a proven plan for getting what you want in love, sex, and life.

The Way of the superior Man by David deida

While this is yet another book that you should have already read, I have found throughout my coaching career that – for whatever reason – many men purchase this book and then promptly put it on a shelf, only to let it collect dust for months, if not years. Whether you own the book or not, if you have yet to crack it open then you are only depriving yourself of its endless wisdom.

The Way of the Superior Man is widely regarded as one of the most influential books on masculinity. And, while Deida is a little out there, he has committed his life to revolutionizing the way men and women grow both spiritually and sexually. In the book, he demonstrates why the more dedicated you are to your mission and purpose as a man, the more fulfilled you feel in life – and, subsequently, women will become noticeably more attracted to you.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

The Way of the Superior Man is a quick read that covers a lot of ground. Deida frequently discusses the concept of masculine and feminine energies. Subsequently, you’ll discover why maintaining a masculine presence is so important in relationships. You’ll learn how to foster and direct the energy you would like in your partner. You’ll learn how to develop into a man that creates trust and comfort in the women you meet. You’ll learn how to trust your yourself by embracing your masculinity as well as your own natural strengths and weaknesses.

More importantly, perhaps, The Way of the Superior Man will help you discover your life’s purpose and challenge you to move through your fears.

NOT NICE by DR. AZIZ GAZIPURA

Not Nice is the perfect companion piece to No More Mr. Nice Guy. Dr. Aziz is a clinical psychologist, a foremost expert on confidence, and the founder of The Social Confidence Center. After suffering from crippling shyness and social anxiety himself, Dr. Aziz finally broke free and has since mastered what it takes to live a life of authenticity and confidence.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

The subtitle of Not Nice says it all. Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself.

This book will show you how to say ‘no’ when you need to, confidently ask for what you want, and speak your truth in relationships. You’ll also learn how to stop worrying about what other people think of you. Not Nice will help you become your most bold, expressive and authentic self.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

The Daily Stoic contains 366 days of insights and exercises derived from Stoicism and features translations from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. There is a reason that some of history’s greatest minds—from Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson, along with many of today’s top performers – have embraced the wisdom of the Stoics. The Stoic philosophy is filled with timeless wisdom that can help you live a better life.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

If you follow these teachings over the course of a year, you’ll find the self-knowledge and resilience you need to live well.  And, because this book requires daily reading, you’ll end up with a new, healthy habit. The Daily Stoic presents big, philosophical themes in an easily digestible format. Read it daily and reap the rewards.

Also Recommended:
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The Obstacle is the Way
by Ryan Holiday

How to be a 3% Man by Corey Wayne

Consider this: 97% of men have no idea what the fuck they’re doing when it comes to dating. Only 3% know what it takes to meet, attract, and seduce high-quality women. I’m guessing you’d like to be part of that 3%. Corey Wayne is a life and relationship coach who has amassed quite a following on YouTube. And there’s a reason why. He offers some of the best and most engaging information available on pickup, dating, attraction, and relationships. And, he’s packaged it all up into How to be a 3% Man.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Because it’s chock full of principles that work. Much like No More Mr. Nice Guy, this book will whack you right upside the fucking head. You’ll quickly learn that you’ve been doing damn near everything wrong your entire life. But, you’ll also learn how to start doing things right.

The tactical guide to Women: How Men can manage risk in dating and Marriage By dr. Shawn T. Smith

There’s a good chance you already know this, but, for men, love is a bit of a gamble. The right woman can positively bless your life. The wrong woman can lead to personal and financial ruin. Backed by Dr. Smith’s clinical experience, The Tactical Guide to Women offers a solid plan for letting the right women in your life.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

No man should enter into a romantic partnership without a risk-management strategy – especially in today’s climate. As Dr. Smith puts it: This is not another book about getting laid. This is a book about not getting screwed.

The Tactical Guide to Women will show you how to meet good women and avoid emotionally unstable women. You’ll learn how to identify red flags, see women more clearly, and reduce the odds of a good relationship going down the shitter Simply put, this book can – and probably will – save your ass.

MODELS: Attract women through honesty by Mark Manson 

Long before Mark Manson became an internationally celebrated and bestselling author with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, he was deeply immersed in the pickup community. Eventually, though, he began to discover why most pickup advice is counter-productive (and manipulative). So, he wrote a little book called Models, the sub-title of which is Attract Women Through Honesty. In the book, he teaches you to do just that. And it’s well worth the read.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Manson is a no-bullshit writer who backs up much of his work with remarkably thorough psychological research. Models is a comprehensive look at many of the principles behind attraction. Among other things, you’ll learn the root behavior that causes female attraction and the attitudes that are sabotaging your success. You’ll also discover why honesty and vulnerability are the most reliable pickup techniques.

the fundamentals of female dynamics by Michael knight

I don’t know much about the author of this book, other than: he is a wicked smart former SpaceX employee, holds two engineering degrees, and uses his analytical mind to coach other men how to interact with women. He doesn’t appear to have much of an online presence. But, as far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read on attraction.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

This is a mature guide to attraction that is neither degrading to women nor to your intelligence as a reader. Most dating and attraction books were written by meat-heads and for meat-heads. The Fundamentals of Female Dynamics caters specifically to men with technical backgrounds and highly analytical minds. And, most Nice Guys are highly analytical. As you read the book, you’ll learn some the deeper principles of attraction and how to implement them into your life.

DATING ESSENTIALS FOR MEN by Dr. ROBERT GLOVER

After divorcing his second wife, Dr. Glover (the same Dr. Glover who wrote No More Mr. Nice Guy, obviously) found himself back in the dating pool. He’d been married for a total of 25 years and, subsequently, needed to learn (or re-learn) how to meet, attract, and seduce women. So, he decided to approach dating as if it were a scientific experiment.

Dr. Glover quickly discovered that meeting and attracting women wasn’t nearly as difficult as he’d anticipated. In fact, women began approaching him. Many of his clients took note of his success and begged him to teach them what he was doing. Thus, Dating Essentials for Men was born.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Dating Essentials for Men is less about dating than it is about developing essential life skills. You’ll learn how to embrace your masculinity, let go of attachment to outcomes, overcome your fear of rejection, develop more confidence and create healthy boundaries. You’ll also learn how to identify, challenge, and abolish the shit out of your self-limiting beliefs.

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and how it can Help you Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Admittedly, I first read this book while in the throes of the heartbreak. And I’m glad I did. Attached goes into fascinating detail about the three relationship attachment types: anxious, avoidant, and secure. The authors reveal how an understanding of attachment theory-the most advanced relationship science in existence today-can help us find and sustain love.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

If you struggle to maintain healthy relationships, this book will help you understand why. You’ll learn why anxious types often fall for avoidant types and why secure types generally fall for other secure types. You’ll also get a great deal of solid advice on how to navigate relationships more wisely given your own attachment style. This book is full of ‘Holy Shit’ moments, especially if you’re an anxious type – and many Nice Guys are.

The RED QUEEN: SEX And the evolution of human nature by matt ridley

The Red Queen answers many riddles around human nature and culture — including why men propose marriage and the troubling fact that a woman is more likely to be impregnated by a cheating lover than by her husband. Brilliantly written, this book offers a new way of interpreting human behavior and how it has evolved.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

It’s a fantastic read. And it’s important that you read it. As the author of The Game, Neil Strauss, once put it, “The importance of reading books on evolution, like this diverse, engaging, and wide-ranging one, is that suddenly some of the attraction principles that seem counter-intuitive become logical and the techniques that are criticized become timeless truths of human nature.”

The multi-orgasmic man: sexual secrets every man should know by mantak chia and douglas abrams

Mantak Chia is a world-renowned teacher of the Taoist arts, from Tai Chi to Taoist sexuality. He lives in Thailand and teaches in the United States and around the world. This book contains simple physical and psychological techniques for having better, longer, more fulfilling sex.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

More often than not, Nice Guys have some degree of shame around sex, as well as problems with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. This book will help you discover – or re-discover – your own sexuality. You’ll learn to separate orgasm and ejaculation and, subsequently, enjoy increased vitality and longevity.  Practice what you learn and your sex life will be forever changed.

Also Recommended:
The Multi-Orgasmic Couple
by Mantak Chia, Maneewan Chia, Douglas Abrams & Rachel Carlton Abrams

she comes first by ian kerner

Most men know a little something about what’s under the hood of a car and absolutely nothing about what’s under the hood of a clitoris. She Comes First solves the mystery of female satisfaction and shows that the tongue can be mightier than the sword. Hilarious and informative, She Comes First is a virtual encyclopedia of female pleasure, detailing dozens of tried-and-true techniques for consistently satisfying a woman and ensuring that sexual fulfillment is mutual.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Women reach orgasm more consistently through cunnilingus than through intercourse. But, as Kerner points out, “The vast majority of women complain about guys who don’t like to do it, don’t know how to do it, or simply don’t do it nearly enough.” Don’t be one of those guys. This book will show you how to become a master of “mouth music” who can make any woman melt blissfully into the mattress.

RICh DAD, POOR DAD by ROBERT kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Dad first made waves in the personal finance area over 20 years ago. Since then, it has become the #1 personal finance book of all time. I’m guessing you’ve already heard of it. And, you’ve probably already read it. But, just in case you haven’t, this book is the author Robert Kiyosaki’s story of growing up with two dads – his real dad (the poor dad) and his best friend’s dad (the rich dad).  In the book, Kiyosaki challenges much of the conventional wisdom around money and advocates for financial literacy that for some reason isn’t taught in schools.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Foremost, I should say that I think Robert Kiyosaki is a scam artist. His company, Rich Dad Education (also known as Legacy Education Alliance, Inc), holds wealth and real estate seminars all across the country. Having been to more than one of them, I can tell you first-hand that it’s all one big, deceptive sales pitch to get you to buy his bullshit products on your way out the door. Google Kiyosaki’s company or look it up on the BBB, and you’ll see a seemingly endless stream of complaints from customers who feel they were duped.

So, you might be questioning why I included Kiyosaki’s book on this list. Well, despite the author’s shady business practices, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a serious fucking eye-opener if you’ve never learned about wealth. Many Nice Guys operate from a scarcity mindset and spend the majority of their lives wasting away in unfulfilling office jobs (while desperately yearning for something more). If you believe that punching a timeclock for 40+ years is the path to a rich life, then you’ve bought into a myth. And you’re only building someone else’s dream instead of your own. Indeed, there far better books out there on investing, wealth creation, and personal finance; but Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a great place to start because it’ll get you thinking differently – and more abundantly – about money.

Change your brain, change your life by Daniel G. Amen M.D.

Dr. Daniel Amen is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain imaging expert who founded the now world-renowned Amen Clinics. Amen Clinics have the world’s largest database of functional brain scans relating to behavior, totaling well over 100,000 brain scans on patients from over 100 countries. The Washington Post called Dr. Amen the most popular psychiatrist in America, and Sharecare named him the web’s #1 most influential expert and advocate on mental health. As Dr. Amen illustrates in this book, your brain health is central to all of your health and success. When your brain works right, he says, you work right.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

As Sara Gottfried M.D., the bestselling author of The Hormone Cure, said, “This is the definitive manual for taking care of your brain, so it can take care of you.” In Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, you’ll learn a variety of all-natural ways to quell anxiety and panic, fight depression, curb anger, improve focus and memory, and stop obsessive thinking. This book is a treasure trove of practical instructions for living a better life.

Spontaneous Happiness by ANDREW WEIL, M.D.

Dr. Andrew Weil is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. He is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology.  In Spontaneous Happiness, Dr. Weil redefines the notion of happiness and illustrates the limitations of the biomedical model of mental health.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Nice Guy Syndrome is an anxiety-based disorder; but, many Nice Guys also suffer from varying degrees of depression. In Spontaneous Happiness, Dr. Weil shines a light on depression and many of its possible causes. He offers a holistic approach to treating your mind, body and spirit, and draws many of his proven techniques from Ayurveda, Buddhism, psychotherapy and mindfulness training.

THe antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking by oliver burkeman

In The Antidote, Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they all argue that our constant effort to be happy is exactly what’s making all of us fucking miserable.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Though not necessarily a self-help book, I’ve given this book as a gift to more friends and clients than I can count. The Antidote will make you think, make you laugh, and make you question the way you’ve been going about life. It is a fascinating and highly entertaining read that turns conventional self-help advice on its head. Among other things, you’ll discover that there is an alternative “negative path” to happiness that requires us to embrace what we spend our lives trying to avoid.

The body keeps the score by Bessel van der kolk, M.d.

Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. is a pioneering researcher and one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma. In The Body Keeps the Score, Van Der Kolk offers a new paradigm for healing traumatic stress. Here’s something to think about: One in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholic parents, and one in three couples engage in physical abuse. These experiences leave traces on the minds, emotions, and biology of humans.Van Der Kolk demonstrates how trauma literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, control, and trust.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Many Nice Guys have experienced some form of trauma. Throughout my coaching career, I’ve had countless men tell me that they had an alcoholic father or they were molested at a very young age or they were in some kind of life-altering accident. In The Body Keeps the Score, Van Der Kolk offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy – and a way to reclaim your life. This is widely regarded as one of the best books ever written on healing trauma.

radical Acceptance: embracing your life with the heart of a buddha by tara brach, PH.D.

Tara Brach Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and one of the western world’s foremost teachers of Buddhist thinking and meditation. She is also the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington D.C. In Radical Acceptance, Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories, case histories, Buddhist tales, and guided meditations. One step at a time, she shows readers how to develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Nice Guys become Nice Guys in part because they don’t believe they are okay, just as they are. “Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the beginning of Radical Acceptance. This book offers a path to freedom – practical techniques to help you overcome feelings of anger, loneliness, self-hatred, and more.

letting go: the pathway of surrender by david r. hawkins m.d., PH.D.

David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Institute for Spiritual Research, Inc., and Founder of the Path of Devotional Nonduality. He is a pioneering researcher in the field of consciousness, and internationally lauded as a lecturer, physician, and scientist. He has devoted his life to uplifting mankind.  Letting Go offers a practical technique to remove the inner blocks standing in the way of your happiness, health, success, and enlightenment.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Nice Guys are generally full of inner blocks that keep them from living up to their full potential. This book will show you how to let go of those inner blocks. The techniques in Letting Go can be applied to all areas of human existence: physical health, creativity, financial success, emotional healing, relationships, sexuality, and spiritual growth. Read this book with an open mind and an open spirit, and there’s a good chance your life will begin to change.

deep meditation: pathway to personal freedom by yogani

Yogani is the author of the Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) system, covering all aspects of Full-Scope Yoga Practice. Since 1970, he has crossed the lines between many traditions, developing an effective integration of methods including Deep Meditation, Spinal Breathing Pranayama, Tantra, Self-Inquiry, and more. Deep Meditation offers concise step-by-step instructions for a simple yet powerful method of daily meditation that brings inner peace, creativity and energy into daily life

Why you need this book

Meditation changed my life. And, whenever I recommend meditation to the men I coach, they all ask the same question: How the hell do I meditate? The answer is in this book.

ham on rye by charles bukoWski

Charles Bukowski was a drunk, a gambler, an exhibitionist, a womanizer, and a loser. He spent the majority of his life jobless, boozed up, and broke. He was also a keen observationist and a deeply introspective thinker. After writing tirelessly – and fruitlessly – for damn near 30 years, he finally got his first book deal. At the time, he was working in a post office filing letters. He accepted his book deal by writing: “I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.”

Bukowski would go on to write six novels, over a dozen short story collections, and hundreds upon hundreds of poems. His work has had a lasting influence on popular culture and has been cited in film, television, theater, and music. In 1994, Charles Bukowski died of leukemia and the age of 73.

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

You don’t. But, every man should read Bukowski. And Ham on Rye is a great place to start.

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