You should now be on your way to being a socially active person; you’ve got hobbies, sports, and martial arts and are learning social skills, but you need a bit more; you need something to talk about. Your activities give you a couple topics of conversation, but if you drone on them too long, you might wind up an insufferable bore to those who don’t share your enthusiasms.
What you need is to develop yourself intellectually. A man should develop his mind as well as his social skills and body (next week). To do this. you need to read.
You probably already read a bit, but, like most people, it’s probably mostly popular or genre fiction. There’s nothing wrong with reading popular fiction, but to become a better, more interesting person you need to intersperse it with things that are more intellectually demanding.
Here’s why you should start reading non-fiction:
- You’ll learn more about the world around you. And knowledge is power!
- You’ll find more things that interest you.
- You’ll enjoy it. This seems wied, I know; I used to think non-fiction was boring too. I used to read SF and fantasy almost exclusively, but as I started reading more non-fiction, I began to enjoy non-fiction more. Nowadays, other than a few of my favourite authors I prefer non-fiction to the majority of fiction.
- You’ll become a more well-rounded person.
- You’ll have interesting topics of conversation for talking to others, because frankly, no one cares to talk about the latest in the Honor Harrington series.
- If you can talk knowledgeably about interesting things, you’ll be more likely to make interesting friends.
- Being knowledgable about (non-nerdy) things can be attractive to some kinds of women.
Make yourself a better man, start reading non-fiction.
Choose a topic that interests you. Especially when you first start reading non-fiction, it can be tempting to try to read something “you should know about” or pick up one of the classics then never get more than a chapter in because it bores you stiff. Choose something that you genuinely want to learn more about. I’m not going to tell you what to read, but I will make some suggestions to help get you started. Choose something that appeals to you.
You may want to start off with popular non-fiction. Diving straight from genre fiction into the classics or other dense reading can be a harsh transition and there’s a good chance you’ll end up bored. Popular non-fiction usually reads fairly breezily and is a good transition into the realm of non-fiction.
This should be obvious, but if you can’t afford to purchase books, use a library.
Have a pencil when you read so you can highlight important points or make notes to yourself.
Check the Amazon reviews, especially the 2-4 star ones, to make sure you’re getting a good book that is what you’re hoping it is.
If you’re not sure how to go about getting the most from non-fiction reading, you could start with reading How to Read a Book. It’s rather dry, but it has some decent tips. (Skip the third section).
Really, there’s not that many tips. Simply choose a non-fiction book and start reading.
Some reading suggestions:
The Bible – If you’re a Christian, start reading the Bible regularly. (I know, every Christian has a hard time reading regularly, I do too; but it is good to do). Read a few chapters a day. It’s good for your spiritual life and talking about what your recent Bible readings is an easy conversation topic in Christian circles. Being knowledgeable of the Bible will also help impress the right kind of Christian girl. If you’re a non-Christian, the Bible is probably the single most influential book in the Western Canon, so you should read it at some point.
Reading Lists – If there’s some topic you’d like to know more about find a reading list on the internet and use that. I’ve made both a Free Man’s Reading List and an Dark Enlightenment Reading List if those topics interest you.
Your hobbies – You’re doing your hobbies because you enjoy them, so why not read a book on doing them better, on the history of the hobby, or something else related to it?
Popular Economics – Popular economics is how I got into reading non-fiction outside of school. Economics covers a wide range of activity and the pop books do so as well, so there’s all kinds of interesting arguments and ideas. Freakonomics, the Armchair Economist, and the Undercover Economist are easy and fun introductions to the genre.
Malcom Gladwell – I’ll occasionally rag on Gladwell, but he’s popular for a reason. His books are well-written and interesting, if somewhat shallow and occasionally obvious. His easy-reading style makes for a good transition from fiction to non-fiction and his books are designed to be able pick little tidbits as conversation fodder. Blink and the Tipping Point were his better ones.
Sun Tzu – The Art of War is a classic in strategy and what man isn’t interested in the strategy of war. It’s a relatively simple read and can be poetic. I’d recommend it.
Roy Baumeister – Willpower is a great book and will be useful to you in implement this guide. I’d highly recommend it.
Jack Donovan – The Way of Men is an excellent book on masculinity. If you’re trying trying to build yourself up as a man, I can not recommend it highly enough.
Isaac Asimov – Did you know the SF great wrote a Treasury of Humour? Well, he did, and it is a fun read on the theory of humour. It will provide you with a small arsenal of jokes and a look into how humour works, making for good conversation fodder.
Darrell Huff – How to Lie with Statistics is a short, fun little book on the manipulation of stats.
I’m not going to go more than that. These are just suggestions if you can’t think of anything else you want to read. They were mainly chosen for being both informative and simple to read, making them a non-agonizing way to transition into reading non-fiction. There are millions of books out there, find one that interests you.
Your goal for the week is to develop your mind byfind a non-fiction book that interests you, purchase or borrow it, and being reading it.