“Conquest, war, death, hunger, or disease – any of the horsemen will do.”
– Jack Donovan
Typically I avoid reading books on masculinity. Most writings about manhood are either written by postmenopausal feminists, or authored by clueless herbs who consider hiding in a man cave and watching porn to be some kind of high-level male achievement.
Having disliked every previous book on manhood that I’d ever read, I was a little wary about reading Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men. I’d heard great things about it, but I was still a bit skeptical. Fortunately, I followed a link from Viva La Manosphere! to Donovan’s blog. After reading half a dozen posts, I decided to check out The Way of Men.
I was not disappointed.
The Way of Men is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s both relatable and explores many aspects of masculinity that I’d never thought about before.
One of my favorite concepts that Donovan explains is “The Way of The Gang.” Even with our smart phones, cultural diversity classes, and countless amenities we’re still tribesmen at heart. This section was easy to relate to and reminded me of all the crazy situations that my bros and I have gotten into. It also made me think about how my friends and I have certain things that are only acceptable within the crew. As Donovan explains:
“Beyond us is them, and the line that separates us from them is the circle of trust.”
All the guys I’m friends with can mess around and mock each other all day long. However, if an outsider started talking trash the whole group would become hostile to them.
I also found that Donovan’s theory of the need for conflict as a masculine trait to be something that I’ve always thought, but have never been able to put into words. Bodybuilding, business, competitive fighting, learning new skills, and picking up girls are all deeply rooted in the world of conflict. In fact, this whole blog could be retitled “Robert Koch vs.”
Additionally, I found the book’s four pillars of manhood to be fascinating. It was interesting to learn how each element complimented the others and how neglecting certain aspects could have disastrous repercussions. Possessing a genius level of intellect will do little good for a spineless pushover, likewise being powerful but disloyal will quickly lead to trouble. Donovan also has a great section on the meaning of courage, which is something that I’d never thought about before reading The Way of Men:
“Courage implies risk, it implies a potential for failure or the presence of danger. Courage is measured against danger.”
Being a keyboard jockey, anonymous whistle blower, or the guy who scampers to Human Resources the second he hears an off-color joke; are not courageous traits. Where there is no danger there is no bravery.
If you’re a man you should buy The Way of Men. By the time you finish it, you’ll have a whole new view of yourself and the world around you.
P.S. I liked this book so much that I’m going to buy a paperback copy and donate it to my local library. Seriously, the book is that good.