Table of Contents
When I was growing up, there were few books for Black men on the shelves. All the well known titles were available, but only a few Black male Authors had material that spoke to me.
Nothing can replace having a Father, but these books can offer some wisdom from Black male Authors for those of us who may not have had positive strong Black men in our lives.
1.Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
David Goggins is the strongest Black man on the planet. He is a serial ultramarathon runner who has run or fought through the hardest races on Earth including…
- The San Diego One Day Run (24 Hours of running over 100 miles)
- The Infinitus 88 Kilometer run
- and The Badwater Death Valley 135 mile race ?
Not to mention the fact that he endured Navy Seal indoctrination three times. For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare – poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a US Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes.
Since 2018, I have required everyone who has worked for me to read this book.
2. As A Black Man Thinketh: A Guide to Self-Empowerment and Black Excellence
Reggie Whittaker takes an in depth look into the psychological warfare plaguing African American men not only in America, but all around the world. Using real-life experiences and lessons, along with a dash of accountability, Whittaker openly speaks to the Black Man challenging him to take a stance, discover his inner strength, peace, live a life of service, and contribute to the prosperity and reclamation of African American culture.
The Kindle version is free with a trial, so no excuse not to check it out!
3. The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life
This is one of the best self-improvement books for Black men on this list. The Black Male Handbook is a series of essays written from the points of view of young Black men who are focused on changing nonproductive behaviors into life-enhancing ones.
What makes this book so important is that the solutions proposed are both realistic and powerful. Despite the fact that many Bible references are used, this book is a must read for Black men of all spiritual walks.
The Author – Kevin Powell – has been featured in CNN.com, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ESPN.com and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer.
The Audiobook is free with an Audible trial, so no excuse not to check it out!
4. New Visions for Black Men
This book is a followup to the 1991 Vision for Black Men where Dr. Na’im Akbar, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, breaks down how racism and ignorance of African history have resulted in the emasculation of African-American males. To become good husbands, and then good fathers, he maintains, they first must become good men.
“How do we get from being a boy to becoming a man?” Akbar asks. Discipline, he notes, is what frees the boy from being the slave of his maleness. Learning to exercise control over one’s self transforms. And boys learn best through example.
Being a good man, Akbar maintains, simply means behaving like one.
As the head of a household, writes Akbar, “You must face a full day of work and then be prepared to respond when, at 2 in the morning, a baby yells out and awakens the entire house. Despite the fact that you ache with exhaustion, you begin to understand that you are a father now. When the doctor announces that the little one has an ear infection, you understand that you have another set of ears, and the pain in the little ears becomes your pain.”
Dr. Naim Akbar is one of the most important modern Black male Authors alive. Many of our teachings are based on his work, so this book is naturally a must read.
5.Pulse of Perseverance: Three Black Doctors on Their Journey to Success
This title made it to our list of one of the best books for Black men because we are under-represented in higher education and medicine. Sometimes, all it takes is proof that it can be done before more of us do it.
If you want to inspire your young Black men to become Doctors or you are pursuing the path yourself, add this book to your cart or Kindle.
6. The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose
Growing up in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, Chris Wilson was so afraid for his life he wouldn’t leave the house without a gun. One night, defending himself, he killed a man. At 18, he was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole.
But what should have been the end of his story became the beginning. Deciding to make something of his life, Chris embarked on a journey of self-improvement – reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. He wrote his Master Plan: a list of all he expected to accomplish or acquire. He worked his plan every day for years, and in his mid-30s he did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence and became a free man. Today Chris is a successful social entrepreneur who employs returning citizens; a mentor; and a public speaker. He is the embodiment of second chances, and this is his unforgettable story.
Here is what one reader had to say about The Master Plan:
This book is incredibly uplifting. It is an authentic account of a child sentenced to life in prison, and how that child grew into a man who found life’s purpose through education, and the help of others. The power of books and education have never been more true. This is a story of one mans journey, but really it’s the life experience of so many people in our nations prisons. This will make you think about prison reform, and specifically about reforming the way we overpunish “violent” youthful offenders.
7.Understanding the Assault on the Black Man, Black Manhood and Black Masculinity
Dr. Wesley Muhammad (shown above) has become an important thinker in the Conscious Community. Although his background lies with the Nation of Islam and the Five Percenters, the information he brings in this book is applicable to all of us. Here is some of what is covered:
- The role European Christian cannibalism, soul harvesting and homosexuality played in the subjugation of Black people during colonial expansion and American slavery, particularly the Black male.
- How European pseudo-science and then American science went to work to make African peoples and the Black American male “The Lady of the Races.”
- How Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton all waged government-funded wars against Black males.
- How the inner-city “Thug” and the Black “Sissy” were both scientifically produced.
- The esoteric and theological background of White Supremacy’s Assault on the Black Man
- The deeper truth behind the “Autism Conspiracy” against Black boys
- How the CIA manipulated marijuana and created crack cocaine in order to create Black Zombies in the inner cities.
Dr. Wesley Muhammad is a scholarly aide to Minister Louis Farrakhan at Nation of Islam National Headquarters Mosque Maryam in Chicago. If Minister Louis Farrakhan trusts the information he brings, maybe you should too.
8. Black Men, Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: The Afrikan American Family in Transition
Like many of the books on this list, this is written from the perspective of a Black father to his child. But for those of us who didnt get those lessons, Black Men, Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? is critical. Here is just one passage from the book that changed my life. It is a part of a section called ‘The Definition of Black Manhood” describing what a Black man should be.
…Direction giver. Husband. Sensitive to Black women’s needs and aspirations, realizing that it is not necessary for them to completely absorb themselves into us, but that nothing separates the communication between us. A seeker of truth. A worker of the first order. Teacher. Example of what is to be. Fighter. A builder with vision. Connects land to liberation. A student of peace and war. Statesman and warrior. One who is able to provide as well as receive. Culturally sound. Creative. A motivator and stimulator of others.
Dr. Haki R. Madubhubuti is poet, publisher and educator. He is one of the early prominent voices in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s; he is a Distinguished Professor at Chicago State University, the President of Third World Press.
9. Own or Be Owned: The Black Man’s Guide To Wealth Creation
Andre Hatchett is a serious serial entrepreneur who started selling real estate at the age of 23. I had the pleasure of working with Andre on several projects, and the Brother changed my financial destiny. I cannot recommend this book enough!
This is a short, simple guide that should serve as a starting point for any Black man early in his wealth accumulation phase.
10. Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding
Written by the former leader of the NAACP, Reach is filled with powerful and positive lessons for Black men of all ages. The men in the book represent a wide range of people – celebrities, musicians, teachers, businessmen, and religious leaders – but their stories all have similar themes. Every man has given back. Every man has made tough decisions, and sometimes failed. Every man is confident that he is doing something to make the world a better place.
This is one of the better books for black men who are struggling with creating a clear vision for their lives!
11. The Gray: A Relationship Etiquette Study
Enitan Bereola is a beast. He penned the award-winning and bestselling books that Obama and Oprah own. As CEO of The Bereolaesque Group, Master Communicator, Celebrity Ghostwriter, Producer, Designer, Brand Director & Global Speaker.
Enitan won the 2018 AAMBC Male Author of the Year Award, The Power 30 Under 30™Award Presented by Porsche, BC Award for Greatness in Literature, Equanimity’s Best Story Told Award and “Man of the Year” Award. He has recently been added to the Black Enterprise top 100 BE Modern Man list.
Here is what one reader had to say about his book:
This book is art – the cover and the words beyond it. This book is a necessary relationship and inner self reality check. Starting with the prelude, this book is a journey through the connections we establish with ourselves and with the world around us. I was compelled to take a deep look at my daily practices and routines and my unhealthy habits that I have made excuses not to change.
Relationship books for black men are few and far between, but this one does not disappoint. Read this if you want to take your relationships to the next level, or you are struggling through past heartbreaks. Gift it to other Black men who may need it, too. Hell, read this if you are a fan of literature. This book does not disappoint.
12.Man Heal Thyself: Journey to Optimal Wellness
This is one of the few books for black men on this list written by a Woman. This scroll will give you practical tools for holistic well-being rooted in ancient African cultural teachings. You will learn
- How to attract and maintain healthy relationships
- How to use food, herbs, clay, affirmations and the elements in nature as the tools and techniques for achieving optimal well-being of body, mind and spirit.
- Nature cures based on the 4- elements, zone therapy, hydrotherapy, vegan food preparation, & antiquity affirmations
- Building your purpose, your work and your vision.
This book is the health education that Black men never got.
13. Masculinity in the Black Imagination: Politics of Communicating Race and Manhood
How do Black men imagine who they are and what they must do …within their families, communities, and the world?
The essays in this collection both ask and attempt to answer this question. Based in communication, and drawing from diverse disciplines, Masculinity in the Black Imagination seeks to address identity, race, and gender by examining the communicative dimensions of Black manhood. The collection works to define, deconstruct, and contextualize the interactive practice of masculinity as both a local and global phenomenon.
14. Notoriously Dapper: How to Be a Modern Gentleman with Manners, Style and Body Confidence
Very easy read, funny, engaging, informative, and teaches very valuable lessons to men of all ages.
Not only is this book well written, with a beautiful message, it is also EXTREMELY relatable. Anyone from a teenager to an adult can read this book and find it meaningful. Kelvin Davis is keeping it real with his advice, stories, and testimonies. I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to be, trying to raise or trying to teach a “Modern Gentleman”.
15.Dope Black Boy 2 Rich Black Man: Guide to channeling a young hustler’s ambition into the development of an empowered successful man
Dope Black Boy 2 Rich Black Man is a powerful book co-authored by Christopher Freeman and Marcellus Womack. The book tells the story of how a high school dropout and crack dealer redirected his efforts from being a major dope boy making over $50K profit to building a multimillion-dollar virgin hair enterprise.
This book is an excellent reinforcement for the fact that you can do well without doing wrong.
16. Wake Up To Your True Identity: A Guided Personal Development Journal For Young Black Men
I feel very strongly about the power of journaling (or what I call ‘self authoring’) to change your life. This guided journal was written specifically to help you re-educate your mind to become the strong and mature man that our race so desperately needs.
The author uses self-psychology, specific questions that will force you to dig deep down into your soul for the answer, and challenges that help you evaluate your character and beliefs. There are scriptures and quotes in the journal, but even if you are not spiritual they will inspire you to be your best self.
17. Strong Boys, Fragile Men: A Brokenhearted Boy’s Struggle to find Manhood
This title made our list of books for black men because we can all relate to the struggles of the author. The lessons he learned on his path are jewels that every Black man should possess. From the author:
Growing up, no one ever taught us how to love. In fact, I hardly recall being given any practical advice about how to treat women other than not being physically abusive. In the absence of sound teaching, most guys like myself end up falling deeply into whatever notion of love is propagated within the culture. We never intended to do any harm, but how could we not? Women were merely experiments.
What if this faulty thinking could be corrected? If we learn about the experiences of men from different walks of life, I believe we can begin to gain wisdom that lays the foundation for true manhood. The type of manhood that all women will respect and aspire to submit to.
In my work “Strong Boys, Fragile Men”, I not only share my colorful past, I own it. Having grown weary of stories from individuals who overcame struggles but declined to detail the realness of them, “Strong Boys, Fragile Men” is unique in the fact that even though the struggles were identified, they linger. The fight is ongoing.
18. The U.S. Child Support System and The Black Family: How the System Destroys Black Families, Criminalizes Black Men, and Sets Black Children Up for Failure
This title made our list of books for Black men for a good reason: Child support feeds directly into the system of mass incarceration and the weapon of white supremacy known as fraud. Here is proof:
- Over 115 billion dollars is currently owed to the government in back child support and associated fees, mostly by poor black fathers.
- The U.S. Child Support System began formation in the early 1800’s and was originally designated for white women only, and has since only been updated to incorporate more punitive enforcement actions that are now levied disproportionately against poor black fathers.
- The Child Support System has been instrumental in the much-talked-about breakdown and dwindling of the two-parent black family household since the late 1970’s.
- The Child Support System prioritizes payments over parentage when it comes to fathers, while nearly 70% of all black children in the U.S. are raised in households headed by single women.
- The U.S. Child Support System actively serves as a form of probationary surveillance on poor fathers.
With knowledge comes power. The more we know about this system, the better we are able to defend ourselves as Black men.
19.The Art & Science of Respect: A Memoir by James Prince
James Prince is one of the most well known and well respected men in Black entertainment. He is the CEO of Houston-based Rap-a-Lot Records, and is credited with starting Drake’s career. With a net worth of $45 million, he is one of the most successful Black label owners of all time.
This book is a combination of life lessons and business wisdom that will serve those who are struggling to escape the gravity of the hood.
Another masterful scroll from modern gentleman Entian Bereola. The author finds a way to make this book personal in nature, and in a way that men can feel at ease. There is something for every man, from every single walk of life, to take. You can highlight certain attributes of your personality and still retain the person that you are, and that is something he explains, reinforces, and encourages throughout the book.
Enitan finds solace in giving back. He partnered with the Alice E. Foster Scholarship Program to sponsor scholarships for high school graduates exiting the foster care system. He also partnered with Autism Speaks through American Dreaming Magazine, who donates 100% of profits from POP displays at retailers. The author adopted his former high school – Piedmont Hills, to contribute 20% of his Barnes &Noble book sales to help fund student programs. Recently, he joined forces with Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to help their mission to fund research and programs.
21. Soul on Ice
Eldridge Cleaver is one of the most important Black male Authors of the 20th Century. As an early member of the Black Panther Party, he witnessed the rise and fall of the organization along with the culture wars that ensued.
Every Black man can relate to elements of his story – from incarceration to struggling with his spirituality and interracial dating, Cleaver’s story is a portrait of what it means to be a Black man in America. This book shocked the public when it was first published in 1968, and is required reading on many college campuses.
What Books For Black Men Did We Forget?
If there is a title you read that had a profound impact on your life, leave a comment below.