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21 Best Books for Men to Read (Fiction & Non-Fiction)

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“What are the best books for men to read?” is a question I am often asked, and I do have a great range of suggestions, but I admit it’s tough to categorize the best books for men to read, as it requires so many generalizations about men and what they like.

man reading open book

With that in mind, I have compiled my own thoughts, as well as sought suggestions from my readers and other men, including my husband, and came up with this list of best books for men to read (although, like all of my posts, I will continue to update it with new books over time.)

First, I highlight the books that made the cut for the best books for men to read based on my own reading and the input of others. Then, I highlight classic books that make for the best fiction for men, and a few authors that came up repeatedly in my research for non-fiction books for men.

Of note, I specified what “type” of man I think would particularly like each book (i.e., the sports fanatic, the adventurous man, the businessman). Again, I know this still involves generalizations and I hate that, but it’s the best way I can think of to recommend these top books for men in response to a very popular, yet very overbroad, question.

Top 3 Best Books for Men to Read

Popular with readers

My top pick

Popular with readers

More Best Books for Men to Read

Below are the best fiction books for men and the best non-fiction books for men. They would all make excellent men’s book club books as well!

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.

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

I purchased this one for my husband, and he is enjoying 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

  • Popular with readers of The Literary Lifestyle
  • 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 and to recommend to men.

It’s based on the true story of Italian Pino Lella, who played two major roles in World War II: first, in the Italian Alps, he joins the underground railroad, led by a group of Catholic priests, and helps Jews escape by traversing the Alps.

Second, to avoid being drafted and sent to the front lines for Italy and also to operate as an Italian spy, he enlists as a German and becomes the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left-hand man in Italy.

It’s a page-turning, epic tale with an Italian bent. It would also make for one of the most discussion-worthy men’s book club books.

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 is exceptional fiction for men and one of my personal favorite books and one of my favorite books set in Winter. It is a

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

For even more, read my full review of Beartown and the sequel, Us Against You and my guide to the full Beartown series.

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

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, which is now the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of ‘36.

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

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

New York Times bestseller

For the man who loves a good laugh

Dad is Fat is the popular comedian Jim Gaffigan’s laugh-out-loud take on the highs and lows of being a dad, and what it’s like to be outnumbered by your children.

He covers everything from bedtime to large families, and even changing diapers.

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 to become a Yale-educated lawyer, but what’s really nuanced about this book is its commentary on modern America and the prevailing struggles of economics and addiction.

It’s quite simply a must-read!

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 so deep, I wrote an entire tribute to Kitchen Confidential. This book is for the foodie and/or fan of Bourdain, who misses his unique voice.

Kitchen Confidential was his foray into stardom and is filled with a fast-based, no-nonsense, behind-the-scenes look at life in the kitchen in New York City. You will learn a few tips and be entertained along the way.

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 coffee table book gifts for my husband, and 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.

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

For the man who is a negotiator

Never Split the Difference is a book I have actually seen men reading, and it’s the book on which I have taken the most notes myself, as a lawyer by day.

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.

Drawing upon real-life examples, it explores and provides 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.

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 that 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.

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 This Tender Land, I kept thinking to myself that it was definitely one of the best books for men to read. It would also make for one of the most discussion-worthy men’s book club books.

Also one of the best books about Native Americans, it’s a very Huck Finn-like story of a group of vagabond children in Summer 1932, traveling along the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River. Two were orphaned brothers confined at the Lincoln Indian Training School and 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 head on a string of memorable adventures towards the Mississippi, seeking to find their place in the world.

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

  • Winner of the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel from the Crime Writers’ Association (UK)
  • Instant New York Times bestseller

For the man who loves small-town crime dramas

We Begin at the End is for the man (or woman!) who loves HBO kind of crime drama series.

Walk is the chief of police in a small coastal California town, in which, decades earlier, he gave the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent, to prison thirty years earlier.  Now, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old who calls herself an “outlaw.” Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent.  As Walk obsessively tries to protect Vincent and Star, they continue to self-destruct.  This leaves Duchess to essentially parent her five-year-old brother.  

Walk and Duchess are an unlikely duo who continue to learn how to accept loss and disappointment, as they always must begin again at every end. 

Despite this novel’s sorrow, it’s filled with heart and hope — a real masterpiece of character about the human spirit with prose that jumps off the page and draws you in.

Classic Books for Men to Read

Additionally, below are a few classic must-read books for men:

  • Catch 22 – World War II historical fiction that inspired the catchphrase
  • The Catcher in the Rye – the beloved classic about a depressed student
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – just one of Hemingway’s classics, about an American in the Spanish Civil War
  • Slaughterhouse Five – a Vonnegut masterpiece about the infamous firebombing of Dresden and fictional Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey

Readers’ Favorite Books for Men to Read

To make this list of top books for men complete, I also asked my readers to share their must-read books for men. Below are three authors who were repeatedly recommended by readers. I’ve only read Gladwell’s books to date, and I did like them and so did my husband!

Those are the best books for men to read.

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