On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
Have you ever read a book that fundamentally shifted your thinking on a tough subject? The kind of book that you can’t stop thinking about (and talking about and recommending to people) for months afterward. The kind of book that leaves you feeling rejuvenated or challenged or both.
With the holidays quickly approaching, we put together a list of our favorite books in that category. Whether you’re looking to kickstart some positive change in your life, searching for the perfect gift, or maybe you just have some extra time to catch up on reading, each of these books offers a unique perspective on health, wellness, and life.
1. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl
This may not be a revolutionary way to start this list, but there’s a reason Viktor Frankl’s memoir is recommended over and over. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl recounts life in the Nazi death camps and shares the hard lessons he learned about survival and life. Ultimately, he finds that while we cannot avoid struggle in life, we can decide how we cope with it, the meaning we draw from it and how we live our lives going forward.
No description could properly capture Frankl’s writing and the book’s reputation speaks for itself anyways. If you’ve not yet read it, consider this a sign.
2. Modern Manhood by Cleo Stiller
Have a lot of strong opinions about what's going on right now, and feeling frustrated or isolated? Modern Manhood is a fun(ny), honest and relatable collection of research and stories from men across the United States that will leave you feeling seen, heard and empowered. Have a lot of strong opinions about what’s going on right now, and feeling frustrated or isolated? Modern Manhood is a fun(ny), honest and relatable collection of research and stories from men across the United States that will leave you feeling seen, heard and empowered. Emmy Award and Peabody Award-nominated journalist and television host, Cleo Stiller bridges conversation divides between men and women — and sends a special shoutout to the Tethr community. "You are doing a good job, and you're in the right place!”
The book follows the national conversation surrounding #MeToo and sheds light on the difficult conversations and “gray areas” from money to sex to dating to work. Stillers intention is to provide a resource for understanding how to be a good man moving forward, with a focus on solutions rather than placing blame or passing judgments.
3. Emotional Equations by Chip Conley
We’ve been talking a lot about fu*king with feelings lately. That idea stemmed from realizing how difficult it can be to navigate emotions, especially if you don’t understand them. If that’s something you know you struggle with, this book is for you. In his recent IGTV with Addison Brasil, Chip Conley explained that Emotional Equations is “really about how to become more emotionally fluent, so understanding what the hell is going on inside of you.”
Emotional Equations takes complex emotional challenges and breaks them down into simple logic that is practical and easy to understand. These equations look like “Despair = Suffering - Meaning” and “Happiness = Wanting What You Have ÷ Having What You Want.” The equations offer a new way of approaching your feelings and getting through tough times. “Once you understand what it is and what are the component parts of those emotions, you are able to figure out what to do with them,” Conley said.
4. Better Boys, Better Men by Andrew Reiner
If you’re interested in learning more about that ‘outdated model of masculinity’ that is often mentioned by tethr founder Matt Zerker, this one’s for you. Cultural critic and New York Times contributor Andrew Reiner dives deep into the “devastating effects” this outdated model has on everyone, but particularly boys and men.
Reiner interviewed boys and men of all ages, educators, counselors, therapists, and physicians throughout the United States to discover how masculinity as it was traditionally imagined is now hurting men and boys. He offers a look at new modes of masculinity that give men the ability to express the full range of humanity.
5. Stay Woke - Justin Michael Williams
Stay Woke is a meditation book for people who wouldn’t read a meditation book. Justin Michael Williams takes a realistic approach to bringing mindfulness to a wide audience, believing that “all people, of all backgrounds, deserve to have access to the information they need to change their lives. And if you grew up in struggle—overcoming homophobia, anxiety, sexism, depression, poverty, toxic masculinity, racism, or trauma—you need a different type of meditation . . . one that doesn’t pretend the struggle doesn’t exist.”
Williams is an author, transformation speaker and top 20 recording artist who works at the intersection of music, mindfulness, and social justice. In Stay Woke, he helps readers develop meditation and mindfulness habits that suit their real life.
BONUS ENTRY: Coming Soon (December 1st)
6. Why Cope When You Can Heal - Mark Goulston and Diana Hendel
This new book from Mark Goulston, friend of tethr, and Diana Hendel directly addresses the trauma experienced by frontline workers during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. However, it also applies to anyone who’s experienced trauma more broadly.
We asked Dr. Goulston to explain the value of the book himself: “Have you had traumas in your life that you got past, but never got over? Do you sometimes feel that you cope with life, which is better than not coping, but is not the same as feeling fully alive? What if there was a way to heal from trauma and move beyond coping? In Why Cope When You Can Heal? you will learn how that is possible, so that you can live the life you always wanted.”
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