Lewis Howes is a giant-sized dude. At six-feet, four-inches tall, he doesn’t strike anyone as a guy who’s wrestled with ongoing, deep, emotional trauma.
The riveting words from his latest book, The Mask of Masculinity, however, tell a different story.
If Howes asked you to read his book like he asked my friends and me, he’d ask it with a glimmer of emotion in his eye. He’d tell you that the world needs his book.
Why, you ask? What makes his book a far cry from anything else about masculinity on the market today?
After devouring his book in only a few short days of owning it, I have come up with these six reasons why every man (and every man’s woman) in the world should take to heart the lessons within its pages:
1. It’s Written By A Man
Women have been surmising and talking about the virtues and shortcomings (probably mostly shortcomings if we’re honest) of men for the last thousand years.
While there’s nothing wrong with that per say, there has been an astonishing lack of material published regarding the deeper issues of men by men.
For a good many years now, men have taken the passive, non-rock-the-boat mode of dealing with their own internal emotions, which has led to a vast assortment of what Howes calls “masks” – in other words, superficial ways of covering pain without actually making it go away.
You know them well, whether you’ve observed them in men as a woman, or you’re a man who struggles with them, since you’ve been born (like the rest of us) into an imperfect world to imperfect parents and brought up with more imperfection.
The Masks are without frills, unembellished by nice words, and exactly as ugly or surprising as they appear: The Masks of Stoic, Athlete, Material, Sexual, Aggressive, Joker, Invincible, Know-It-All and Alpha.
The devastation brought about by these masks are pretty hard-to-swallow. I found myself holding back tears at a couple points.
2. He Says it Like it Is
You’ve probably thought all of these things before, but never felt okay to actually say them. Things like:
- “Real men never cry.”
- “A real man can have sex with any woman he wants and leave her the next morning feeling fully satisfied because he’s that good, of course.”
- “Aggression is natural.”
- “A man is only as manly as his bank account is filled.”
- “Joking is just my way of lightening the mood.”
- “Never let yourself appear weak.”
- “No one can see how hard I struggle. If someone were to notice, they would know I’m not a real man.”
In The Mask of Masculinity, Howes proves how all of the above beliefs have only set us up for disappointment, desperate loneliness, violence, and deep disconnection from ourselves and the people we love most.
3. It’s Research-Heavy
Opinions from even the best minds are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, so backing a lightening-bolt book like The Mask with scientific research and heavy interviews from experts is an amazing perk for readers.
You will learn why testosterone is not as evil as you’ve been told it is, why males are underperforming in schools compared to females, and the truth behind the highest suicide rates in America and male-dominated mass murders.
The challenging times we are living in as a nation demand solutions and Howes has pulled the most essential of these from the archives of time and the science of the future, etching them into the pages of this book.
4. He Leads With His Own Journey
Howes demonstrates vulnerability beautifully when he opens the first pages with tales of his own journey, from the first days of his life being challenged by abuse to his greatest life dream being ripped away as a young adult.
It would be hard to tell now by looking at him, but there was a time when Lewis Howes was entirely incapable of caring for himself, let alone others.
Most of us men can relate to 50% of what Howes personally went through, and the remaining 50% can relate to the challenges that came out of misfortunes such as devastating trauma.
We’re each born into this crazy, imperfect world, and in order to survive, we’ve been taught by our grandfathers and fathers, teachers and coaches, friends and influencers, media and books, that we need to grab these masks and hold onto them as our very identities.
But no longer.
5. There’s Tips for Women, Too
If you’re in a relationship with a man, or if you have a son or a father, chances are you’re experiencing one of these masks up close and personal in your day-to-day.
How to recognize the problems facing him and how to help him are things every woman needs to know in order to truly understand her man and why he behaves the way he does. (I know, we can be confusing and hurtful sometimes.)
At the end of each chapter, Howes gives practical advice on throwing off the masculine masks as well as pertinent advice to women on how to help us guys do that.
My lady tells me she’d buy the book just for that.
6. You Won’t Think of Masculinity the Same Way Again
Move over, Mr. Macho and Mr. I-Have-Everything-Together. Turns out, those guys never existed anyway. As The Mask of Masculinity states, those are only notions of masculinity – not the truth of masculinity.
Real masculinity looks messy and vulnerable because it is messy and vulnerable. It’s not having it all together. It’s not looking invincible or never feeling pain. It’s not stacking up female conquests, shiny trophies or dollar bills. It’s not even being top-dog.
What is it, then?
Not to give you a corny cliffhanger, but hey, corny cliffhanger: You’ll have to read the book to find out.
On October 31st, The Mask of Masculinity will no doubt be gracing the top of The New York Times, and you’ll be hearing out about it from every corner of your friend group, so why not skedaddle over to Amazon and order a pre-release copy now?
You can thank me later.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.