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What are the best books for men to read? I am so often asked this question. The good news is I have an excellent range of suggestions, based on books I’ve read and recommend, as well as reader recommendations I’ve collected.

So, whether you are shopping for yourself or a man in your life, these books are practically guaranteed to please. There’s something here for every “type” of man below.

stack of men's books.
Here’s a stack of popular books I pulled from my husband’s bookshelf

Start Here: Top 3 Best Books for Men to Read

TOP MEN’S BOOKS

SHOE DOG: my top nonfiction pick about the story of the creator of Nike written by a very skilled ghostwriter who tells it well

BENEATH A SCARLET SKY: a WWII historical fiction book that’s really popular with readers of The Literary Lifestyle

BEARTOWN: my top fiction pick for fans of drama and sports (Friday Night Lights meets hockey)

List of 25 Books All Men Should Read

The list below is broken down into popular genres and topics for men to make it easier to find a great book recommendation for yourself or for a gift. Where applicable, these books also offer the male perspective, male authors, and/or male characters.

Non-Fiction Biographies and Memoirs By or About Men


Non-Fiction Narrative: History, Sports, True Crime

Of all these books, this section of books offers the most to discuss in a men’s book club.


Business, Psychology, and Self-Improvement for Successful Men


Classic Literature for Men


Historical Fiction


Science Fiction


This section offers some of the most popular male authors today.

READING HABITS

Just getting started on your reading journey? These posts will help:

Understanding What Men Love to Read

Since I am a woman, I wanted to share my methodology for coming up with this list of the best books for men. These are books that:

  • I read and thought would be great for men
  • my husband (or another man I know) read and loved
  • my Instagram followers recommended in a prompt for the best books for men and/or
  • I know from my experience as a full-time book blogger that men generally love

Men’s Genres, Themes, and Topics You’ll Find Here

  • Fiction: science fiction, historical, and literary fiction
  • Non-fiction: self-help, biography, history, and professional development.

Of note, I specified below what “type” of man I think would particularly like each book (i.e., the sports fanatic, the adventurous man, the businessman). I know this involves generalizations and assumptions about men, but it’s the best way I can think of to recommend to such a broad audience of readers.

The Reading List for Men: More Help Choosing a Book

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

#1 New York Times bestseller

For the man who likes historical biographies and/or Hamilton the Musical

Alexander Hamilton is the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton! It’s without question one of the most popular non-fiction books for men.

The book has it all about Hamilton’s life. It covers his illegitimate, self-taught orphan beginnings in the Caribbean. It also covers his rise to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army. It covers his coauthoring of The Federalist Papers, founding of the Bank of New York, leading of the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. And of course, it covers his famous duel with Aaron Burr.

I purchased this one for my husband, and he enjoyed it!

If he already read it and liked it: Try some other popular historical biographies, like John Adams by David McCullough (a Pulitzer Prize Winner), Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson (my husband loved this one), or Samuel Adams by Stacey Schiff (a Pulitzer Prize Winner).


Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear

#1 New York Times bestseller with over one million copies sold

Best for the man interested in self-help

Simply put, Atomic Habits is one self-help book that everyone should read. I especially think many men will appreciate how logical, tangible, and actionable the advice is. He won’t regret reading it!


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

  • New York Times bestseller
  • One of the best books of the year by NPR, The New York Times Book ReviewTimeWall Street Journal and the Washington Post

For the man interested in tech startups

Bad Blood is the compulsively readable non-fiction story of the rise and fall of medical technology startup Theranos and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who branded herself as the female Steve Jobs. While the company was valued at more than $9 billion, there was one glaring problem: the technology didn’t work.

My husband and I both loved this one!

Related Post: Best Books About Con Artists


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

  • USA Today and #1 Amazon Charts bestseller
  • Soon to be a television event starring Tom Holland

For the man who enjoys historical fiction, suspense and/or cars

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is one of the best fiction books for men and one of the best books set in Italy.

It’s based on the true story of Italian Pino Lella, who had two major roles in World War II. First, in the Italian Alps, he joined an underground railroad led by Catholic priests and helped Jews escape by crossing the Alps.

Second, to avoid the draft for Italy and to spy for Italy, he enlisted as a German. He becomes the driver for Hitler’s right-hand man in Italy.

It’s a page-turning, epic tale with an Italian bent that remains popular with readers years after its publication.


Beartown by Fredrik Backman

  • My top pick
  • Named a Best Book of the Year by LibraryReadsBookBrowse, and Goodreads
  • Now an HBO Original Series

For the man who likes hockey and/or Friday Night Lights

Beartown (the first of three books in the Beartown series) is exceptional fiction and one of my favorite books set in Winter.

It’s about a small community whose lives revolve around hockey and are all intertwined with drama and complexity. In short, it’s Friday Night Lights with a hockey twist.

It’s the type of book that’s both exquisitely written and really makes an impact on you.


Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World by Bradley Hope and Tom Wright

  • Named a Best Book of 2018 by the Financial Times and Fortune
  • New York Times bestseller
  • #1 international bestseller

Best for the man interested in finance

My husband devoured Billion Dollar Whale. He told me it was hard to believe the massive heist in the story actually happened! So, call it a financial shocker.

It starts in 2009, when a graduate of the renowned University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business begins a decade-long scam siphoning billions of dollars from an investment fund — right in front of major global financial industry watchdogs.

It’s a great choice for fans of The Wolf of Wall Street and con artist stories.


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

  • #1 New York Times bestselling story
  • Now a movie

For the man interested in historical non-fiction and/or sports

The Boys in the Boat is the true story of American Olympians in Nazi Germany.

It’s a non-fiction book that I would compare to Seabiscuit. I know so many people, both men and women, who regard it as one of their all-time favorites.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Best for a man who’s coming of age

If you ask young men which classic book they enjoyed reading most in high school, there’s a good chance they’ll mention The Catcher in the Rye. It’s an easy classic that topped fictional reader Jess Mariano’s reading list on Gilmore Girls.

It’s the quintessential coming-of-age novel about an angsty teen named Holden Caulfield. The plot follows him as he’s expelled from prep school and traverses New York City on his own for three days.


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

New York Times bestseller

For the man who loves sci-fi

Blake Crouch’s books are great for science fiction lovers to try. Start with his most popular novel, Dark Matter. In this book, a college physics professor is knocked unconscious and abducted. He wakes up surrounded by people in hazmat suits, “welcoming him back.”

This life is completely different, and he can’t determine what’s real. So, he begins a journey to face the darkest parts of himself and his choices.


The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

  • #1 worldwide bestseller with more than 81 million copies sold
  • Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Best for the man who enjoys history and suspense

Based on the accolades above, it’s clear The DaVinci Code is popular with all kinds of readers worldwide. But, I especially deem it one of the best books for men because it’s so suspenseful and offers a historical mystery.

Robert Langdon is a Harvard symbologist. He is tasked with investigating the murder of the Louvre’s curator. During the murder, the curator was covered in symbols. Along with a French cryptologist, he follows clues that lead him to DaVinci’s works.

If he already read it and loved it: try one of Dan Brown’s other popular books. I recommend Inferno!


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair The Changed America by Erik Larson

  • #1 national bestseller
  • National Book Award finalist

Best for fans of American history and murder mysteries

The Devil in the White City is a popular book I plan on “making” my husband read because I know so many men love it. It’s narrative nonfiction that transports the reader back to 1893 for the World’s Fair in Chicago.

The story is about two men. One is Daniel Hudson Burnham, a famous architect who built the fair’s White City. The other is Henry H. Holmes, a doctor who built a nearby hotel. He used it to lure and murder young women.

The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of the Gilded Age. It features historical figures and showcasing the lightness and darkness of the era.


The Exchange by John Grisham

#1 New York Times bestseller

Best for the man who loves legal thrillers

The Exchange is a popular new follow-up to one of this bestselling author’s greatest successes, The Firm. Even if he didn’t read the original, there’s a good chance he saw the movie adaptation.

Here, fifteen years have passed. The reader learns what happened to Mitch and Abbie after they exposed a law firm’s crimes. A large law firm partner in New York, Mitch heads to Rome, where he, once again finds himself in the center of danger.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best for the man who’s fascinated by the American Dream

If you have not yet read The Great Gatsby, what are you waiting for?! This masterpiece is one of the most classic short novels. It’s about an outsider in Jazz Era Long Island, peering into the social life of a wealthy man.

It’s an easy read filled with symbolism and social commentary on social class in America.

Related Posts: The Great Gatsby Love Quotes | The Great Gatsby American Dream Quotes | The Great Gatsby Quotes About Jay | The Great Gatsby Quotes About Daisy


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • Now a film on Netflix

For the man interested in current events and/or social issues

Hillbilly Elegy is an audibook memoir I absolutely devoured and still think about to this day.

It’s the story of a man who grew up in poor Appalachia. He became a Yale-educated lawyer. What’s really nuanced about this story is its commentary on modern America. It touches on the struggles of economics and addiction in very compelling ways.


Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

New York Times bestseller

For the man who is a foodie

My love of Anthony Bourdain runs deep, as it does for many other men. This book is for the foodie and/or fan of Bourdain who misses his unique voice.

Kitchen Confidential was his foray into stardom. It’s a fast-based, no-nonsense, lesson in life in the kitchen in New York City. Men will learn a few tips and be entertained along the way.


LIV and Let Die: The Inside Story of the War Between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf by Alan Shipnuck

Best for the man who loves to golf

When I heard of LIV and Let Die, I immediately recommended it to my husband. LIV Golf has been such a hot and controversial topic in golf lately. I thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes and learn more about what really happened.

The author himself had a front-row seat as a correspondent. He regales all of the drama between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, and what all the big names in golf really think about it.


A Man & His Car: Iconic Cars and Stories from the Men Who Love Them by Matt Hranek

For the man who loves classic cars

I purchased A Man and His Car (as well as A Man and His Watch) as men’s coffee table book gifts for my husband. He said they were his favorite Christmas gifts!

They are really sleek and handsome, with lots of gorgeous imagery and interesting stories about unique cars and their owners. They also look really good displayed.


The Martian by Andy Weir

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

For the man who loves outer space

The Martian is a beloved book about one of the first astronauts to walk on Mars.

A dust storm causes his crew to flee and leave the main character behind, believing he’s dead. He’s left completely stranded on another planet, with no connection to Earth whatsoever. He has only his own ingenuity to try to find a way to survive.


Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

For a man with ambition

Never Split the Difference is a book I have actually seen men reading. It’s also the book on which I took the most notes myself when I was a lawyer.

It’s jam-packed with negotiation tips for everyday life from a former FBI hostage negotiator (for whom conceding wasn’t an option). His tales from the job will keep you on the edge of your seat, but you will absorb so much practical advice at the same time.


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam M. Grant

#1 New York Times bestseller

For the man who is a leader

Originals is a book that I loved so much I recommended it both to my husband and as one of the best books for graduates.

It draws on real-life examples. It explores and gives insight into the modern workplace and initiatives like recognizing a good idea, speaking up without being silenced, building a team of allies, knowing when to act, managing your fear and doubt, and welcoming dissent.

It’s about what workplace leadership and success look like in a more modern context.


Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder

Best for fans of suspenseful and/or political memoirs

Red Notice is one of my husband’s favorite books, and I have heard from others who liked it too.

It’s about a Wall Street financier who becomes an activist after his lawyer is killed in a Russian jail. His investigation into corruption leads to the U.S. Magnitsky Act. It sanctions those involved. This Act then triggers a Russian response banning American adoptions of Russian orphans.

Overall, the story blends finance, politics, and a personal quest for justice.


Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • Popular with readers of The Literary Lifestyle

For the entrepreneurial man

Shoe Dog is one of my husband’s favorite books, and it’s the ONE book I most often hear men say is their favorite.

As my husband says, it’s not just about the business of Nike, it’s also a genuinely good story.

It shows the very long decades of ups and downs, unknowns, and sacrifices it takes to be a business owner. At times, the book was very emotional and contained unexpected, tragic events as well. So much happened over decades to potentially cause the Nike business to crumble.

I had to ask myself, was Phil Knight (the author) totally crazy or absolutely genius for sticking with his dream?

The man in your life is almost guaranteed to love this one.

If he already read it and loved it: try Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson or The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder.


This Tender Land by William Krueger Kent

New York Times bestseller

For the man who is adventurous and/or loves Huck Finn

When I was recently reading the historical novel This Tender Land, I kept thinking to myself that it was definitely one of the best books for men to read.

Also one of the best books about Native Americans, this is a very Huck Finn-like story of a group of vagabond kids in the summer of 1932. These children travel along the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River.

Two were orphaned brothers confined at the Lincoln Indian Training School. They were forced to flee after a terrible crime.

Along with their friend, a mute Native American named Mose, and a broken little girl named Emmy, they go on a series of memorable adventures toward the Mississippi. Together, they seek to find their place in the world.


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

#1 national bestseller

Best for the analytical man

The Tipping Point is my husband’s all-time favorite book. It explores what caused things to metaphorically explode in popularity and notoriety. It asks: what made a trend trendy?

Gladwell offers his analysis using his signature data-driven storytelling. This style has made his books a favorite of many readers. Once you start reading Gladwell, it’s hard to read other non-fiction books. He’s that good!

Related Post: Guide to Malcolm Gladwell’s Books


The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann

#1 New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of narrative non-fiction

The Wager is a tale of “shipwreck, mutiny, and murder” by the renowned author of Killers of the Flower Moon. Readers love it because it reads more like an immersive fiction narrative.

The story centers on the survivors of a British ship wrecked off Patagonia during a war with Spain. They were initially celebrated as heroes in Brazil. But, their tale turns grim when another survivor group in Chile accuses them of mutiny. 

This leads to a dramatic court martial. It aims to uncover the truth behind allegations of treachery and murder. It reveals a harrowing tale of survival and human extremes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which book every man should read?

A must-read for every man is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. This popular classic book tackles growing up and feeling out of place from the male perspective, resonating deeply with generations of male readers.

How do I start reading for men?

Choose books that are popular with male readers, such as adventure novels, personal development books, or narratives about specific challenges faced by men. Start small, by reading just a few pages or minutes a day.

What type of books do men read?

The fiction books that men most often read are science fiction, historical, and literary fiction. The non-fiction books that men most often read are self-help, biography, history, and professional development.

How do I choose a book for a man as a gift?

To choose a book for a man as a gift, consider a male author or protagonist. Consider his interests, hobbies, and any life challenges he’s facing. Look for books that generally resonate with men.

Are there any classic books that every man should read?

A few classics that resonate with men are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Conclusion

The best books for men offer an array of books from old to new and from fiction to non-fiction. There’s something for every type of guy to love. To recap and help you decide what to buy first or next, the top 3 picks are:

SHOP THE TOP 3 PICKS

SHOE DOG: my top nonfiction pick about the story of the creator of Nike

BENEATH A SCARLET SKY: a WWII historical fiction book that’s popular with readers of The Literary Lifestyle

BEARTOWN: my top fiction pick for fans of drama and sports (Friday Night Lights meets hockey)

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2 Comments

  1. For the man who has to deal with a difficult parent i recommend Homing by Marc Luc Carrier. This is a light humorous book about the adventures and misadventures of a man forced to cope with taking care of his estranged father who has dementia. It is fast paced and entertaining while providing incite into the difficult relationship between a distant father and son.