The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida

The Way of the Superior Man

David Deida

Stage: all stages, relationships

I can already hear the hate comments coming!

Before people who have NEVER EVEN READ THE BOOK start giving me hate for it, I want to say this:

It is NOT a book about men being superior to women. It’s about men becoming superior to themselves. It’s an internal battle.

Which is exactly what personal development is, not true?

All right, let’s go.

The first thing to keep in mind when you read this book is an openness to the ideas of masculine and feminine energies (also called sexual essence) within all of us. (Side note: a man can have a more feminine sexual essence, and a woman a more masculine essence. Gay people also have these energies. The author makes this very clear from the get-go).

A lot of the book explains how these energies are different and how they can work together to make a beautiful, fulfilling relationship possible. (Yes, David Deida also talks about sex in this book).

But of course, this is about the superior MAN, so he also goes in depth about essentially what makes a man. He touches on the notion of Nice Guys (click here for a review of No More Mr Nice Guy) and Alpha brutes. Here’s Deida’s definition of a Superior Man:

“This man is unabashedly masculine– he is purposeful, confident, and directed, living his chosen way of life with deep integrity and humor– and he is sensitive, spontaneous, and spiritually alive, with a heart-commitment to discovering and living his deepest truth.”

That is the essence of the book.

Some of the points he makes about masculinity include:

  • Purpose (essential for all men)
  • Living at your edge
  • Openness (especially through pain)

And although he never says the word “enlightenment,” that is what he also advocates throughout the book, referring to it as ” ego death.”

David Deida also explains the feminine to men. Certain aspects we as men can find frustrating, confusing, or better ignored are actually meant to be embraced.

I will also say this about this book: It is written in a style that is very abstract. It would have been better for most people if it didn’t contain so many mentions of “love,” “courage,” “wisdom” and “divine.” These I would have preferred it have more hard-and-fast vocabulary as well as more examples and actionable steps, particularly in the realm of purpose.

That’s just something to keep in mind when reading it. The wisdom far outweighs this cost.

I would even advise some women to read this, and you will gain an understanding of what it means to be a man. Why some of the things we do seem stupid to you 😜

Favorite Quote:

“It is time to evolve beyond the macho jerk ideal, all spine and no heart. It is also time to evolve beyond the sensitive and caring wimp ideal, all heart and no spine.”

The Verdict:

This is a phenomenal book despite its abstract language. It is a MUST-READ for any man (or woman, for that matter)!


Dare to Win, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Dare to Win

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Stage: getting to “by me,” relationships

This is another one of those good all-around books to read on personal development.

It covers a lot! From business to family to health… I like this well-rounded approach to life.

Some of the things this book seems to be a specialist on is visualization and affirmation. Now, I don’t know if Canfield and Hansen are the first to come up with these techniques, but in any case they are big advocates of them. They also give instructions on how to do them!


One thing that hit me between the eyes came in the introduction: that people fear WINNING. Not losing. Winning.

Maybe I had just never thought of my situation that way before. But it really opened my eyes as to why I was holding myself back in certain areas of my life.

For example, I had been having trouble asking girls out. Maybe it was fear of rejection. But maybe it was the fear of success. After all, I had never had a girlfriend before. Was the safety of being alone and miserable better (to my subconscious) than the unknown of actually having a girlfriend?

Yes, the mind works in mysterious ways.

To illustrate the points of the book, it contains lots of classic personal development examples along the way: business, health, relationships, social life… You know the drill.

Dare to Win also dedicates two chapters to the subjects of love and family, something I found quite interesting. It gives some great advice for anyone in a relationship or who has a family. Even if you don’t have one, everyone you come into contact with deserves love!

One thing about this book is that it’s not very original. Maybe back in its day it was. But now it feels just like most personal development books.


Favorite Quote: “Once we realize that excuses don’t count, we can begin to break through. Once we see that our subconscious fears – not external circumstances – are the real problem, we can take charge of ourselves and our lives. And once we take charge, we can be, do and have anything we want.”

The Verdict: This is a good, well-rounded book on personal development, especially for those beginning topics like visualization and affirmation. However, there are very few original personal development ideas.




















The Big Picture, Tony Horton


The Big Picture

Tony Horton

Stage: getting to “by me”

Most people know Tony Horton as that fitness guy from P90X. That’s what I first knew him as! I started following his workouts since I was 11 and I’ve stuck with him ever since. He’s kind of a hero in my house, my parents and I love his programs, and Tony was the one that got me started in the realm of physical fitness and health.

So when he came out with his book, I knew I’d read it sooner or later.

Granted, Tony Horton is a fitness guy, and his book is no exception. He takes 11 principles (called Laws in the book) of fitness and health and integrates them into life as a whole.

Some of them work well.

Take one of the Laws: Variety is the Spice of…Everything.

Everyone knows that in order to get results in the gym, you need to change it up now and again. Well, life is the same way. If you’re not exposing yourself to new things, you’re not growing. And when you’re not growing, you’re receding and ultimately dying.

One of the things I like about this book is that it always includes some actionable steps and exercises. There are also lots of anecdotes (mostly from the fitness world, but also a particularly entertaining story about an F-16 fighter jet).

The only thing that I think could have made this book better is by further developing the chapter of Finding Your Purpose. That’s something I’ve personally been struggling with lately and am still not clear on.

It’s worth noting that there’s not much that’s new in this book (for example looking on the bright side, meditating, victim mentality…) but it’s all centered around fitness, which I find interesting and also is a good metaphor for life.

Tony, like a lot of personal development coaches, thinks that mental and emotional health can only come after physical health. There is even scientific evidence to back this up, people, as well as thousands of people who live it!

I think this book is entertaining.  But as much as I love Tony, there are many better books for personal development.

The problem is that Tony isn’t a psychologist, and he doesn’t go to the root of any of the problems people face and what people can do to correct them. These laws are mostly quick-fixes.

True growth goes to the root of the problem and fixes it. These laws are all good and dandy,    and they have some small benefits, but they won’t solve all your problems.

To be honest, these laws work much better in the gym than in life, and you could do well by integrating them into your routine. But life outside the gym requires a much deeper understanding of the human psyche.


Favorite quote:

“When you row your boat consistently, productively, gently and happily, life can really be a dream.”

The Verdict:

Fun and light-hearted book to read. Would recommend for someone who’s into fitness, not for someone who’s serious about personal development.









You are a Badass, Jen Sincero


You are a Badass

Jen Sincero

Stage: getting to “by me” and “through me”

I’ll admit it: I was skeptical about this book when I bought it. I was expecting a load of shallow bullshit (I mean, just look at the title).

But man did it deliver  🙂

I REALLY enjoyed this book. It’s fantastic as a sort of introduction to personal development.

It covers a lot of PD topics like:

  • gratitude
  • purpose
  • fear
  • money
  • mental stories
  • meditation
  • an introduction to the somewhat woo-woo topic of the Universe (or God, Nature… whatever you want to call it)


A whole chapter is dedicated to each topic and gives a complete overview of each. The author also gives some actionable steps and short n sweet quotes along the way (always a plus).

She also illustrates her points with stories from her life, which turn out to be muy entertaining and fun to read.

Jen Sincero really takes a lot of personal development ideas and condenses them into this one 250-page book. It’s like the beginner’s guide to personal development. But there’s something in here for everyone.

I like it because it talks about a lot of different things, not specializing in one.

Another thing I like about this book is its hip, young style. What a refreshing change from all the more obnoxiously uber-polite books out there!



Favorite quote: “There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah.”

(I should get that as a tattoo 😉 )


The Verdict: It’s no surprise this is a best-seller. It is a really phenomenal book, especially for people first discovering personal development!











No More Mr. Nice Guy, Robert Glover

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Robert Glover

Categories: getting to “by me,” relationships

This was a revolutionary book for me.

I first heard about it on the Art of Charm podcast (shoutout to them!) where they interviewed the author, Robert Glover. He talked about a new phenomenon in our culture called the Nice Guy Syndrome. And it really resonated with me.

Here’s how he defines Nice Guys:

“They all believe that if they are “good” and do everything “right,” they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a problem-free life. This attempt to be good typically involves trying to eliminate or hide certain things about themselves (their mistakes, needs, emotions) and become what they believe others want them to be (generous, helpful, peaceful, etc.).”

They’re basically people pleasers. In the extreme.

I know because I was a Nice Guy. I did try to do everything “right” and lead a problem-free life.

Granted, I wasn’t an extreme case, but on some level that was definitely me.

But this book was a real wake-up call for me, as it is with a lot of guys who read it.

You always hear about gurus talking about men improving themselves, which I am all for, and they give you ways to do it. But how do you know how to proceed if you don’t have a starting point from which to proceed? This book explains all of the subconscious traps Nice Guys fall into and the reasons they come up.

He also explains why this paradigm is ineffective for navigating the world, which explains the mediocre results Nice Guys get with friends, work, and especially women.

One of the big reasons he gives is the use of “covert contracts”, which is when the Nice Guy’s subconscious is running this program:

“1) I will do this __ (fill in the blank) for you, so that
2) You will do this __ (fill in the blank) for me.
3) We will both act as if we have no awareness of this contract.”

As one can imagine, this comes most often in the form of being nice in order to get sex when it comes to women. (Btw, the author clearly states that gay men can also be Nice Guys).

The author provides exercises throughout the book to help guys break free from this malicious trap. He also runs recovery groups in multiple cities throughout the States.

The ultimate goal, he says, is to be a man that makes it his job to get his needs met, asks for what he wants, expresses his feelings, faces his fears, has integrity, and isn’t manipulative or faking niceness.

Favorite Quotes: “By trying to please everyone, Nice Guys often end up pleasing no one – including themselves.”

“Nice Guys have believed a myth that promises them that if they give up themselves and put others first, they will be loved and get their needs met. There is only one way to change this illogical, nonproductive Nice Guy paradigm — putting themselves first.”


The Verdict: If anything in this article resonates with you, READ THIS BOOK. It will drastically improve your life.













Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Robert Kiyosaki

Category: money

This was the first book I ever read on the topic of how to make money. I was about 12 at the time. For someone with absolutely NO knowledge of the financial world, this book made a lasting impression on me.

This is the fundamental book for making money. Period. Especially if you are relatively young and can’t handle a bunch of financial jibber-jabber.

About the book: Rich Dad Poor Dad is based on the experience of the author growing up in Hawaii with two dads: the first, his biological father with a college degree, was the poor dad, always struggling with money. The second, the rich dad, never finished eighth grade and instead learned about the world of money.

And Robert Kiyosaki, at the age of 9, decided to listen to his rich dad for financial advice.

The 6 principles taught in the book are the basics of handling money. You can’t get much simpler than what is said here (a 9-year old could understand it for god’s sake)! You don’t need much more than first-grade math skills to get something out of it.

Don’t take it’s simplicity as a detriment. It’s actually amazingly refreshing compared to most other financial books.

(Don’t discount more advanced books, either. This one, in my opinion, is just the best one to begin with.)

A lot of what is taught is in the form of super-simple diagrams (not kidding, just 4 boxes are needed to show how the rich get rich and the poor stay poor). Me, being a mostly visual learner, loved it!

One of the major themes in the book is to teach people how money works and how it can work for them. This is something that is NEVER taught in school. Rich Dad Poor Dad provides a solid basis for everything having to do with passive income.

What I like about the book is it teaches SIMPLE guidelines, not a one-size-fits all financial retirement plan. Some people may need that extra boost if you’re in a ton of debt, but for the rest of us, you can get by with the principles in this book.

As stated in the book, these are guidelines more than answers. There is no magic bullet to getting rich, only principles.


Favorite Quote:

“Most people went to school and never learned how money works, so they spend their lives working for money.”


The Verdict: This is fundamental to the making of money in our world. It should be required reading in schools.

The Art of Possibility, Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander


The Art of Possibility

Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander

Disclaimer: I did not finish this book.

That’s right. I didn’t. And yes, I’m still going to review it.

My philosophy is that if a book doesn’t please me in the first few chapters, I don’t finish it.

Good philosophy for anything in life, too.

All right, let’s get on with it  😉 

With all honesty, I found this book very unoriginal. A lot of it was rehashing the same old stuff.

For example, one of the first points in the book was “It’s all invented,” referring to thoughts and assumptions. This is not a novel idea. Anyone who’s done any personal development has already come across this.

They might be solid ideas, and can serve as a reminder, but I think there are some much better books out there for this kind of stuff. 

One thing I did enjoy about this book? Well, Benjamin Zanders, one of the authors, is a professional symphony conductor. He provides many anecdotes from the music world that illustrate the concepts in the book. 

But again, the point of this book is to inform, not entertain. I found it somewhat lacking.

The Verdict: Don’t waste your time on books that provide no insight. Only positive is the classical music side of it (if you like that kind of music).