you’ve got to read books.

24 May

I’ve spoken to a number of men who don’t read books, which is crazy.

But Grown Man, what’s the point of reading a book? Can’t I just watch TV/go to a movie and get the same information? Furthermore, it only takes two hours to get through a movie instead of a whole month for a book!

Here’s the difference: an I.V. versus a cheeseburger. Got it? OK, I’ll explain.

An I.V. gives you the nutrients you need but is completely void of taste or experience. A cheeseburger allows you to truly enjoy the process of nourishment with each chedder-ie, meat-ie bite..mmmmmmm, cheeseburger, mmmmmmmm. When you watch a movie you turn your brain off and ingest for two hours. Then, you clean the butter and Raisinets residue off your hands and leave the experience in the past. It’s very rare to find a movie that leaves you thinking and engaged.

However, a book takes you somewhere and lights up that gray mushy space that’s so often occupied by boredom and Rock Band. A book gives you some of the information but forces you, subconsciously, to fill in the blanks. When Hemingway talks of Spain, you find yourself sitting on a cobblestone street sipping Absinthe (don’t drink Absinthe, you’ll go nuts) and feeling the warmth of San Fermín.

Men, you need to awaken your mind. We spend many days doing the same thing over and over. It’s in our nature, it’s how we make money, serve our family, and do the job of being a grown man. But the mind becomes still – and then it gets restless. Not good.

But Grown Man, I don’t have enough time to read!

Here’s some simple math that proves you’re terrible at managing your time:

Here’s some good places to start:

1- Guy books: Tuesdays with Morrie (dad issues), Jurassic Park (dinosaur issues)
2- Classic, American, male authors: Hemingway, Vonnegut, Twain, Steinbeck, etc.
3- Biographies: Einstein, Truman, Adams, Lincoln
4- TIME Top 100 books of all time
5- Sports Illustrated Top 100 Sports books of all time
6- Magazines don’t count, they’re great, but more like a plate of sliders rather than the full cheeseburger.

Congrats, you just read 374 words.

12 Responses to “you’ve got to read books.”

  1. Mel 25 May 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Hey GM! Another great post…but there’s a category of books you forgot and because I’m unable to name it appropriately right now, I’ll tell you what I mean.

    The “Freakonomics” genre. You know, like interesting books that teach you about stuff. The 10-Day MBA is also in there, as well as “Influence, the Power of Persuasion” and of course, the Art of War by Sun Tzu should be on every man’s reading list.

    A woman who reads more man books than woman books

    • you're a grown man 25 May 2010 at 2:39 pm #

      Great point and fantastic suggestions! Thanks, Mel

      Guys…consider the Freakonomics genre added.

  2. Monroe Maddox 27 May 2010 at 3:46 am #

    You’ve done it once more. Superb read.

  3. fletchtopher 2 June 2010 at 11:15 am #

    “1- Guy books: Tuesdays with Morrie (dad issues), Jurassic Park (dinosaur issues)”

    This is a great line.

    I submit that “Dinosaur Issues” should have been the title of the novel.

  4. Stephanie 2 June 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Terrific post. I would also argue that Grown Men don’t read for show, but rather read what they want.

  5. Steve Weddle 2 June 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Good points. Woulda made a good YouTube video instead of all that reading. Still good though.

  6. Declan Burke 2 June 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Do comics count?

  7. Kherynn 3 June 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, always true :
    “”Number one: Do you know why books such as this [old testament brought by Montag to Faber] are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.
    “So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality. Do you know the legend of Hercules and Antaeus, the giant wrestler, whose strength was incredible so long as he stood firmly on the earth. But when he was held, rootless, in mid-air, by Hercules, he perished easily. If there isn’t something in that legend for us today, in this city, in our time, then I am completely insane. Well, there we have the first thing I said we needed. Quality, texture of information.”
    “And the second?”
    “Oh, but we’ve plenty of off-hours.”
    “Off-hours, yes. But time to think? If you’re not driving a hundred miles an hour, at a clip where you can’t think of anything else but the danger, then you’re playing some game or sitting in some room where you can’t argue with the fourwall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be, right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!'”
    “Only the ‘family’ is ‘people.'”
    “I beg your pardon?”
    “My wife says books aren’t ‘real.'”
    “Thank God for that. You can shut them, say, ‘Hold on a moment.’ You play God to it. But who has ever torn himself from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in a TV parlour? It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth. Books can be beaten down with reason. But with all my knowledge and scepticism, I have never been able to argue with a one-hundred-piece symphony orchestra, full colour, three dimensions, and I being in and part of those incredible parlours. As you see, my parlour is nothing but four plaster walls. And here ” He held out two small rubber plugs. “For my ears when I ride the subway-jets.”
    “Denham’s Dentifrice; they toil not, neither do they spin,” said Montag, eyes shut. “Where do we go from here? Would books help us?”
    “Only if the third necessary thing could be given us. Number one, as I said, quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the inter-action of the first two.”

  8. Tom Dupree 6 June 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Beautiful piece, GM. Here is more data on the issue:


  1. proper grammar is important. « you're a grown man - 11 August 2010

    […] teachers.  Reading books will subconsciously teach you and consciously entertain you.   Plus, you should be reading books […]

  2. practice proper grammar. « you're a grown man - 11 August 2010

    […] teachers.  Reading books will subconsciously teach you and consciously entertain you.   Plus, you should be reading books […]

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