In Africa, and in the world generally, the male figure is seen as a symbol of strength and wisdom. Even in the family setting, the man is seen as the rock, and most times the bread winner of the family. This puts so much responsibility on the shoulders of young boys who right from the time of birth, are introduced to this mindset and mentality. As a man therefore, it is imperative to develop one’s self as much as possible.It goes without saying that well-read men often have superior intellect in comparison to men who flirt with the funny pages.
These are a list of books to read before 30. If you are already past the age however, it is not too late.
1. Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office by Zack O’Malley Greenburg.
This is a biography that also functions as a business book. It shows how as a young man in Brooklyn, Jay applied hustling techniques to the music business and eventually built his empire. A true hustler, he never did only one thing – from music to fashion to sports, Jay dominated each field, always operating on the same principles. As he puts it, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” And related to that, I also recommend The 50th Law which tells the stories of many such individuals and will stick with you just as long.
2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X.
I would much rather read about and emulate a man who is born into adversity and pain, struggles with criminality, does prison time, teaches himself to read through the dictionary, finds religion, and then becomes an activist for Civil Rights before being gunned down by his former supporters when he tempers the hate and anger that had long defined parts of his message. Booker T. Washington’s memoir Up from Slavery and Frederick Douglass’s epic narrative are both incredibly moving and inspiring as well.
3. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
It is impossible to describe this book and do it justice. But if you plan on living life on your terms, climbing as high as you’d like to go, and avoid being controlled by others, then you need to read this book. Robert is an amazing researcher and storyteller — he has a profound ability to explain timeless truths through story and example. You can read the classics and not always understand the lessons. But if you read the The 48 Laws, I promise you will leave not just with actionable lessons but an indelible sense of what to do in many trying and confusing situations. As a young person, one of the most important laws to master is to “always say less than necessary.” Always ask yourself: “Am I saying this because I want to prove how smart I am or am I saying this because it needs to be said?” Don’t forget The Prince, The Art of War, and all the other required readings in strategy. And of course, it doesn’t matter how good you are at the game of power, without Mastery it’s worthless.
to be continued…