The concept of being a gentleman has changed dramatically in recent times due to cultural shifts in both trends and attitudes and so the typical idea of a gentleman may be a little archaic and so the concept has to be revised for the modern age. It is no longer simply enough to dress well and have an eye for aesthetic beauty but you must also be informed about the world around you.
Of course, to be a true gentleman, it may be best to find your own way of doing things but here we look at a few books that may help you out along the way.
Style – Icons of Men’s Style by Josh Sims
A bit of a blatant choice but it is a glorious coffee table book about men’s style throughout the ages and what has made certain icons stand out above the rest. The book itself is a beautiful piece with gorgeous photographs of the subjects in question and offers up some styling hints and tips for those going for a more classic look.
With descriptions of iconic men’s fashion items as well as the famous faces that have worn and popularized them, it also adds a bit of social and historical context to your wardrobe.
Business – Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez
Recounting the author’s work life from the time he left working in finance with Goldman Sachs to work move into the booming tech sector on the West Coast of America, where he eventually ended up working for Facebook. A vivid and in-depth look at the current technology establishment, it pulls no punches in showing the world of the ‘it’ market to work in at the moment.
An indispensable guide on why this may not be the industry you think it is, it also shows its inner workings at their darkest and brightest moments.
Culture – Powerhouse by James Andrew Miller
Despite strides in technology and the rise of the internet generation, Hollywood still provides us with the definitive image of the world around us today , even if it is a glossy version of it. This book is an oral history of the industry and who helped build and shape it from the studio heads to actors and agents.
It provides some context to the imagery we are bombarded with day in and day out and why we consider certain things ‘cool’ or ‘stylish’.
Science – Now: The Physics of Time by Richard A. Muller
In a study of what most consider a man made concept, Richard A. Muller passionately and expertly takes us through how time works and gives us a better understanding of it as a scientific concept, how it flows and how some might go about explaining the moment of ‘Now’ and just how hard that is to define.
Interesting and important for those who care about their time. It might change your thinking about it and help you make the most of it.
Travel – The Lost City of Z by David Grann
The Lost City of Z is a fabled lost city in the jungles of the Amazon rainforest which 1920s explorer Percy Fawcett set out to try and find only himself to become lost. With modern technology and knowledge to hand, David Grann sets out to retrace the steps of Percy Fawcett and see if he can either find where the explorer went wrong or the city itself.
A brilliant tale of real life exploration, it is perfect for those who yearn for adventure.
Contemporary Fiction – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
An intriguing yarn of a count who finds himself imprisoned inside a lavish hotel as the Bolsheviks begin to take control of Russia and order the upper classes to keep out of sight. A fantastic story of how a man bound by his idea of civility does in times of great upheaval as well as a fascinating historical look at the intricate and complex history of Russia.
It also offers up a great sense of emotional discovery as history passes the protagonist by.
Contemporary Fiction – The Painter by Peter Heller
A story that follows a famous artist who had spent some tine in prison for shooting a man, it is actually a tale of craft, discovery and the creative process and talks to the artist inside all of us whilst giving it a Western setting with twists of violence in order to keep the reader interested whilst it opens them up to a world of creative opportunity.
Violent and yet touching this is no mere piece of action fuelled pulp.
Classic Fiction – The Great Gatsby
Go back to the 1920s in an era of ungentlemanly dealings under the guise of gentlemanly conduct. If you haven’t read this book, it is a story of unrequited love as the wealthy ignore the plight of the poor. If you had to read this at school, give it a reread for leisure and you may find you enjoy it far more than you did the first time around.
There is a reason this is considered a modern classic due to its underlying depth and fantastical images of how the world once was for an elite few.
Nonfiction – Hillbilly Elegy
A book about life on the fringes of society and a rural culture in decline alongside a family in crisis. A fantastic read to remind us that our life experience is not universal as the bitter side of the American dream comes to the fore as it picks apart America’s white working class living in the rust belt struggling with their situation and their identity.
A memoir filled with colorful characters, it tells of the people who keep America going on a day to day basis.
Philosophy – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Meditations on life’s problems from an ancient Roman who once wielded great power may not instantly seem to strike a chord with many in this day and age but it is actually striking of how similar, in essence, life’s problems have remained and how people have been battling with the eternal issues forever and a day.
It is also a fascinating insight into the mind of one of someone who shaped history dramatically.