AoM Book Club January 2014: Is There Anything Good About Men?

by Jeremy Anderberg on December 23, 2013 · 20 comments

in Book Club, Travel & Leisure


So far, the AoM Book Club has done classic fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction…in January, we’ll dive into a more focused look on the main topic of AoM itself: men, masculinity, and manliness. In Is There Anything Good About Men?, author and psychologist Roy Baumeister challenges the assumptions that it’s only women who are exploited in our culture, that there are no real differences between men and women, and that this decade is the end of men.

This book will definitely bring up good conversations about the state of men and manliness in America today, and will probably bring up some good dissenting opinions as well. What would a book club be without good debate?!


  • Monday, January 13th — discussion #1, covering the first seven chapters (about 160 pages)
  • Monday, January 27th — discussion #2, covering the final four chapters (about 120 pages)

How to Join the Book Club

We make announcements about the book club here on the main site, while housing the book’s discussion over on the AoM Community in a private group called “The Official Art of Manliness Book Club.” In addition to online discussion in the group forums, the club offers other great features including video chats and Q&As with some literary experts on the subjects of our discussions.

To join the AoM Book Club you pay a one-time $1 membership fee (the aim of this nominal fee is to simply keep out trolls and hopefully increase your commitment). If you’ve already joined the book club group and paid, you don’t have to do so again. You’ll have access to all our discussions, notes, video chats, and expert Q&As from here on out.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andreas Ahrlund December 23, 2013 at 8:10 am

Altough I find his opinions valid and important, I find arguing for them , and “living in that world” can be tiring.

It takes a strong man to be able to argue for the facts in this book, and a strong man to keep this as his reality.

Just a friendly warning!

2 David December 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I hope it doesn’t turn out to be Victimology 101 for men.

3 Ethan Glover December 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Nice choice, a very important topic too. I generally just add these to my to read list and get to them later, but I think this is great for the book club.

4 Jacob December 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

Good to note that if you don’t have the money for the book, or just cheap, Google books has this book free for reading online.

5 Mark December 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I will have to give this one a try. It’s amazing how pervasive it is. Look at commercials. never and I mean NEVER is the woman in the wrong. It is always the idiot guy who chooses the wrong thing, gets into the mess and must be rescued, selects the inferior product, can’t do his own laundry, make food, etc.

I tried to sensitize my sons to it, we made a game of it, calling out “stupid guy commercial” whenever it happens (which is most of the time)

6 Sam V December 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I’m going to echo David here. This could very easily dip into MRA territory, and while these issues are in fact real they’re too often twisted into antifeminist screeds. That said, if there’s a site I trust to approach this with maturity and class it’s AOM, so I await this with cautious and qualified enthusiasm.

7 Ryan December 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

This book is pretty deep into MRA territory.

8 Andreas Ahrlund December 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

“I’m going to echo David here. This could very easily dip into MRA territory, and while these issues are in fact real they’re too often twisted into antifeminist screeds.”

“Antifeminist” does not equal “bad”. To believe that one ideology is the answer to all issues for all genders is a silly notion to begin with. Its quite certain that the strife towards humanitarianism and equality will collide with the ideas of feminism sooner or later.

9 Buddy December 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm

People leaving comments about how this book might turn into “victimology” for men or a MRA rant are proof positive that this is a topic which deserves more exposure. The national conversation/mentality for far too long has been about how rough women have supposedly had it with nearly zero study done on how society affects the other 50% of the population. This imbalance is detrimental to our sons and ironically to our daughters as well.

10 Drekfletch December 25, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Oh, I didn’t know he wrote a book. I went to re-read the article (and check the author) but it’s been taken down.

11 Brian December 29, 2013 at 9:43 am

What is “MRA rant”? I have never seen that acronym before.

12 Matt Wilding December 31, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I look forward to the conversation about this book. While there are some good points in it thus far (I’m at chapter 5), the research is shotty and I’ve already found inaccuracies in his depictions of sources.

13 James Johnson January 1, 2014 at 10:14 am

I almost considered joining the book club until I saw several references to MRA. I had to look it up in the urban dictionary. I am now ashamed to say that I know what you people are talking about.

Labels, such as this, are created to delegitimize opinions and make the labeler feel superior. Be happy knowing you are what you criticize.

14 Matt Wilding January 2, 2014 at 8:59 am

Are you serious, James? Having defined terms to use when having a discussion about gender issues is problematic for you? MRA is a thing that exists, just like extreme feminism is a thing that exists. Are you going to freak out if we read Confederates in the Attic if someone uses the term “racism” too?

15 Curtis January 2, 2014 at 11:15 am

Isn’t it a shame that we can’t just approach things with an open mind, weighing up the pros and cons in a logical, rational way and reaching our own INDIVIDUAL conclusions.

I have to say, if it wasn’t for AoM, I might have lost my way some time ago (I’m 23). The process of growing from a boy to a man is an absolute battlefield, especially when doing what is right for you, can result in alienating friends, family members and, most painfully of all, females.

What I’d give to be back at school. Young, free and ignorant.

16 Rex January 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I see the uncle tim’s and the Manginas are chiming in.
If these are actually men and not troll bots, all they have to do is go into family court to see the hell men go through. We don’t need “victimology” lessons, groups like MRA and MGTOW are doing great job warning guys of the state sponsored oppression that haven’t made the mistake of getting married or cuckolded, by men that have.
More than getting screwed over by family courts, we’re learning that when we’re called to defend freedom and chivalry, we end up screwed over by the very control freak misandrist system that sent us. No more.

17 Andreas Ahrlund January 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

“the research is shotty and I’ve already found inaccuracies in his depictions of sources.”


18 jackorr January 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Anyone posturing as “victims” are extremely suspicious. This is a common form of manipulation. MRAs strike me as the mirror image of feminists on this count. I have little time for either group. Too often, they play tug-of-war with the kids in families. They seem to hate their former spouses more than they love their children.

That said, I’ve read Baumeister’s work on willpower & found it very helpful in my personal life. For that along, I’m giving him a shot. He’s a sharp dude.

19 coyote January 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm

While I strongly agree with many of the assertions that Baumeister makes, I also disagree strongly with many others. Mostly I am extremely critical of his presentation. I think he continually and repeatedly falls into a long list of logical errors and fallacies to the point of intellectual dishonesty. He seems to be more interested in winning the argument than in whether or not his argument is correct.

The urban dictionary’s MRA definitions are extremely harsh and a general Google search on Men’s Rights Activists isn’t a whole lot better. MGTOW (men going their own way) gets a more balanced treatment in the Urban Dictionary. (I didn’t see anything to indicate that there is an actual group named Men’s Rights Activists as the first Urban Dictionary definition implies.)

I don’t see anything inherently wrong with the assertion that men as well as women are culturally oppressed and I’m sure that the MRA’s have their extremists just as the feminists do. The point is that both groups have valid and worthwhile insights and that neither group should be identified only by the most extreme viewpoints within them.

One last point that shouldn’t have to be made: Not all feminists are women and vice versa.

20 Andreas February 13, 2014 at 2:52 am

” Mostly I am extremely critical of his presentation. I think he continually and repeatedly falls into a long list of logical errors and fallacies to the point of intellectual dishonesty. ”

A good beginning would be to actually say what those logical were?

Otherwise youre basically just talking trash in a “polite way”.

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