In this age of cell phones and tablets and now even the “phablet,” it’s becoming less and less cool to actually own books – you know, a collection of written or printed pages of work that are combined, glued or even sewn together along one side and bound in a cover.

But there is nothing quite like having the physical presence of a page-turner in your hands as you soak up a wealth of knowledge, or lose yourself in a gripping and exciting story.

And as we’ve mentioned before in our 10 NEW Rules to Modern and Successful (and generally awesome) Fatherhood, all dads must be well-read:

[pullquote]Read a book. Like, seriously. If the last time you’ve turned the pages of a chapter was for a summer reading assignment, you’re doing it wrong. Grab some literature. Pick up some nonfiction. Lose yourself in a novel. I don’t care. But, real men need to be reading and quite frankly, you need to know some current events, too. [/pullquote]

There’s simply no excuse for not taking pride in learning a little bit more – it can be about personal growth, fatherhood, a hobby or even just random fiction. But if the extent of your ability to read is limited to a box score, you’re failing. Do better.

Reading not only broadens the mind, it expands our knowledge base, allows us to be more cultured, opens up a world of dialogue passed the latest NFL scandal and it provides excellent material to relay to our kids.

We encourage you … no, implore you to read not only to your kids, but to yourself. Don’t let Green Eggs & Ham be the only thing in your repertoire (although reading anything Dr. Seuss is a wonderful way to spend time with the little ones). Take some time to improve yourself and read some manly stuff, too.

Below is a list of the must-read books for Dads. It’s not a list of published works on how to be a dad, rather this is more about published works of advice, knowledge and even stories that will help you grow and improve as a person … which will in turn make you a better father.

This is an ongoing and constantly updated collection, so check back often for more works and suggestions.

The Expectant Father
The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be
By Armin A. Brott

Let’s begin at the beginning. There’s so much out there for moms to be, but this is the one book that flips it all on its head and actually caters things to fathers. Think of it as the manly version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Author Armin Brott really dives into the many different changes that both mothers AND fathers face during the 40-week journey called pregnancy. Many parenting books just cover the surface of the things dads think about as the alien creature inside mommy is cooking up and preparing for the grand entrance. This book actually tackles it head on. It’s the only book on fatherhood I bought while my wife was pregnant.


Jim Nantz - Always By My Side
Always By My Side: A Father’s Grace and a Sports Journey Unlike Any Other
By Jim Nantz

When my father passed away from cancer in 2008, I received a copy of this book by Jim Nantz that moved me so much I personally reached out to the CBS Sports broadcaster to thank him for having the courage to share his story. It’s a behind the scenes look at some of the most memorable moments in sports, as in just three months time, Nantz provides the play-by-play for the Super Bowl, Final Four and The Masters – a sports trifecta that any former sports broadcaster (like myself) would love. But, what should be an absolutely glorious time is bitter-sweet, as Nantz’s best friend and  father is forced to wage a battle against the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Bible

I’m not going to get all preachy here. But, in a society that is so rooted in religion, faith and spirituality, it just makes sense to read up on the work that inspires it all. Unfortunately, there are a lot of peeps that cite things from The Bible that actually have no idea what they’re talking about. Don’t be that guy. If you want to reference the Word of God, actually take some time to … you know … read the Word of God. And if that’s not your thing, then simply move on to the next book on the list.

How to win friends
How To Win Friends And Influence People
By Dale Carnegie

This is like a self-help book on crack. It’s the essential guide to getting ahead in everyday life with practical examples of historic titans like Charles Schwab, FDR and Rockefeller himself. Consider this a best practices manifesto for becoming a better person.

To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

Forget all of that crap about Atticus Finch actually being a racist in the highly-anticipated “sequel,” Get Set a Watchman. We prefer to think of Finch as pretty much everything a good man and a great father should aspire to be. He teaches his daughter, Scout, to fight for what’s right, even when the odds and the popular opinion say otherwise. At its heart, To Kill a Mockingbird teaches us the age-old lesson of not judging a man until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes – a valuable lesson that still rings true in the 21st Century.

Anything by Tim Ferriss

Okay. I’m cheating a little bit here. But, the master of lifestyle decision and biohacking has three solid books that should belong on every man’s shelves. While the experiments in all three works do not fit for everyone, there are ample lessons in each book for everyone:

  • The 4-Hour Workweek will provide practical solutions for cutting out the excess junk in your everyday life and maximizing your most important asset: time. While you might not be into finding your own muse to starting business, there are still plenty of teachable applications that will benefit your lifestyle.
  • The 4-Hour Body is one of the most impressive biohacking books out there. Looking to drop weight without much effort? Tim has you covered. Trying to figure out the best way to get a decent night’s sleep? It’s in the book. Hell, he even has a chapter on how to give your baby mama the best gift a daddy can give … a 15-minute orgasm. Seriously, there’s an entire chapter on this with graphic details and step-by-step progressions.
  • The 4-Hour Chef is for the dude that is a dunce in the kitchen. And if you are a regular at DaddyMindTricks, that is an absolute fail. All men should have some sort of culinary knowledge outside of boiling water and just slapping some meat on a grill. Tim Ferriss will take your from novice to expert in this step-by-step guide that is actually more about learning how to learn efficiently. Once you know how to learn, he’ll teach you to learn how to cook like a boss.

Engineering the Alpha
Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: A Real World Guide to an Unreal Life: Build More Muscle. Burn More Fat. Have More Sex
By John Romaniello & Adam Bornstein

Two of the biggest names in fitness formed like Voltron to create the real world guide to getting in shape and becoming more of a man. Engineering the Alpha is about reclaiming the concept of the Alpha male and redefining it to a more positive figure of manliness. Authors Roman and Born provide expert analysis of how to get into the best shape of your life, including a step-by-step nutrition and workout plan broken down into phases that include stuffing your face like a ravenous beast once a week for a cheat day. In a world of fitness products that are absolute crap, this is pretty much the one book that I’d recommend as it’s full of practical guidelines and not delusional bullshit. And as a member of the DaddyMindTricks universe, I must reiterate the importance of being in decent shape and not being a total DadBod apologist.
Full disclosure: This is a book written by my business mentor (Roman) and my personal trainer (Adam). That doesn’t make this any less of an awesome read and a guide for all dudes to look and feel more like an awesome dude.

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
By Gary Vaynerchuk

This book by Gary Vaynerchuk is a must-read for anyone looking to start their own business, or simply every dude who wants to get a little more creative on the side by exploring their passion and making some money off of it. By utilizing social media and identifying how to take advantage of the next big trends, Vaynerchuk will show you how to take advantage of your most important resource … you. Personal branding is one of the most important and most under-looked aspects to life in the digital society and this book will detail how to use it to cash in and eventually crush it.

A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)
By George RR Martin

If you watch and enjoy Game of Thrones as much as I do, you’ll really appreciate the evil genius that is George RR Martin even more when you read the actual novels that inspired the HBO hit series. Frankly, there’s not a whole lot of fatherly advice in this series of books – although, one could learn quite a bit about honor from Ned Stark … and learn how to be NOT so awesome at fatherhood from Tywin Lannister. It’s just an awesome collection of storytelling at its finest. And if you watch the series, you owe it to yourself to read the works of art by GRRM.

This is clearly just the beginning. And I can’t pretend to know every single book in existence that a man should read. So, that’s where you come in. As this is an ongoing and constantly update list, I encourage you to chime in below.

See anything missing here? Recommend a page-turner that all of us fellow dads must read? Let us know in the comments and we will read it and maybe even add it to the list.

Cover Image courtesy of ViktorHanacek