The Gentleman’s Personal Library

In September I posted about my decision to start a personal gentleman’s library made up of books on history, philosophy, science, and the biographies of great men. My goal is to have a respectable collection lining my study when I retire. A man must be surrounded by good books in order to make the most of deep brooding and solid contemplation. This collection is even more important to me now that I will be a father in the near future.A man’s collection of books is a heavy thing, taking up space both in the physical and intellectual realm and I believe that all men should strive to leave behind things that take up space and demand authority.

J R R Tolkien
2nd December 1955: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

It often seems that modern men and our possessions have been relegated to the margins of the household, either hidden away in garages or limited to juvenile toys. I’ve often noticed that when I visit other men’s houses there is almost no sign of their existence. With the exception of the occasional video game console, sports memorabilia if the wife is into sports, and the necessary clothing and toiletries, there is almost nothing that speaks of their habitation. Honestly, looking back, one can find more signs that a family dog lives there. A sad state.

20170928_211824.jpgA library anchors a man to the home and based on its makeup is a window into his intellectual history and development. So I challenge all men to look around their house, what do you leave behind, how will your children picture your presence when you are no longer here? I know that I want to be remembered as a man who loved reading, writing, conversation, and calm thoughtful relaxation surrounded by an ever-growing library.

I started the Barbarian Library with Andrew Robert’s outstanding single-volume biography Napoleon: A Life. From his birth in Corsica, through the French Revolution, Egyptian Campaigns, Republic, Empire, and finally exile and death on St. Helena, this book is a brilliant portrait of one of the greatest military and political minds to walk to Earth. This book was a fantastic starting point for my collection and I recommend that all who are interested in history, warfare, and leadership read this excellent biography. 20171205_191556492666654.jpg

Continuing with the focus on great men I ordered and received today, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. I chose this book after listening to the author being interviewed on the A Man’s Life podcast and finding his insights fascinating. Also, I chose Leonardo because in my twenties I studied painting and art history before being turned off by the college scene and postmodern art. I’ve avoided delving into art because it tends to leave a bitter taste in my mouth, but lately I’m slowly becoming interested in Medieval and Renaissance painting, architecture, and music, so I figured why not return to the topic by reading about one of the great masters.

Until next time friends, keep reading the best, writing your best, and enjoying life to the fullest.


5 thoughts on “The Gentleman’s Personal Library

  1. It is indeed sad that so many people do not read, even more so men, since men inevitably hold most of the leadership roles in society (at home and outside of it).

    I have never understood what occupies their time and thought patterns if no book written by greater minds has had the opportunity to penetrate it. Is it just Call of Duty and FIFA?? — Alex

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re on to something there. Video games, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and constant, endless, MINDLESS distractions on cellphones and at home… “Mindless” being the optimial word here. No one reads anymore, be it something worth learning or even just fun bubblegum stuff.

      I shouldn’t say “no one” but certainly far fewer people and especially men. Women read much more, which is why romance is such a dominant genre. But finding young men who would rather use their inner brains to experience stories over video games online… It’s depressing.


      1. I put the blame on the heads of our feminized, anti-male, overtly political, high school curriculum. The English and Literature curriculum is responsible for more young men and women giving up reading than any other reason. Pushing boring, un-interesting books. Of course, young men won’t develop a love of reading when they associate it with the dull mess that is force fed to them.

        Harry Potter and Twilight has done more to bring young readers into the fold than all English teachers combined.


        1. Alexandru,

          I absolutely agree with you. The English teachers I had (not so much the French ones) did a stellar job of turning off kids from reading.
          I only have to look at my brother and sister for that. I soldiered on but only because I wasn’t reading in English outside of school.

          I decided to read some of the books from the Spanish and Catalan canons and was blown away at how much fun they were to read. Better yet I didn’t have any teacher tell me about the social and political thought of dead white males from the Mediterranean to bog me down. I did have some essays about the books but they were written by real solid experts in the field. They knew their stuff and it showed.

          The problem with the English teachers is that they chose the most boring books or take great books and make them utterly dull. Worse is the snobbery that whatever the unlearned like, can’t possibly be good (aka Tarzan, Conan, Lensmen, etc etc)



      2. I think there are things people can learn from all those hobbies, and careers to be made from them, but most people are using them as mindless distractions.

        To each their own, but it does present a situation where men aren’t as learned as they could be. Like you said, women read more. We are also more educated in countries that allow equal gender opportunities for education, and tend to do better in school. Men need to get it together if they expect a seat at the head of the table…

        — Alex



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