Issue 1: Curated Reads for Men’s Personal Development


You haven’t heard from GuyGuides in a long time, but we’re back from the dead. This time, with something new (other than a new look):

Curated articles on men’s personal development, delivered fresh to you weekly. The format is simple: once a week, get a trove of the best articles that we hand-pick, along with a blurb of why we selected that content.

It may include quotes, key takeaways, or a particularly good point about why 20-somethings are so obsessed with themselves (smirk).

Finally, a tropical island amidst a vast ocean of social media. The service is for those who want to read truly good content, which we deem to be as such:

  • insightful – all curated articles must contain at least one useful insight or story
  • balanced and mature – no content demeaning either sex or valorizing the YOLO lifestyle. I’m talking about you, Elite Daily.
  • minimum list articles – if we do come across a good “listicle,” it better be the best damn listicle you’ve read all month.

With that, I’m happy to announce the First Issue: Curated Reads for the Attention-Deficit (Male) Brain

Thanks for continuing this journey with us.



Stop Wasting Your Fucking Life (Johnny Wolf)

Starting with this piece really sets the tone for the rest of the weekly curated articles.

But if you’ve been in the pick up community for more than a year and still haven’t actually improved your life. Get out. You are wasting your fucking time.

Johnny Wolf is the moniker of a (former?) Asian pickup artist who’s actually pulling away from the pickup community. While he credits PUA for making men more motivated and entrepreneurial, Johnny also cautions how focusing on tangible goals like starting a business or working on your physique can do way more for a man’s confidence and lifestyle than just practicing “picking up chicks.”

The Incessant Tweets Aren’t Helping You, Man (AskMen)

This piece reads a bit prescriptive, but the overarching point is a fresh reminder to mute the incessant notifications and put the smartphone away once in a while.

A lot of men – especially those in new relationships – feel compelled to spend every waking moment with their bae. This may lead to an exhausting upkeep of texts, tweets, Facebook tags and likes. But remember – she doesn’t need to know everything about you, and vice versa.

An air of mystery will gradually entice a woman to subconsciously make an effort to find out more about you; what’d compel her to exert the effort if everything she could ever want to know was retrievable from a quick click to a history of your 2013-2014 timeline with everything you’ve ever done, ever?

Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives (Brainpickings)

In high school, my best friend shared something interesting with me. He told me, “I wish my parents never told me I was smart. I think that made me lazy.”

Turns out, my friend was 7 years ahead of the game. Maria Popova highlights research on the difference between praising children for their ability (“You’re  so smart”) vs their efforts (“Good job, you must have worked hard at it”).

The former group, on average, becomes interested in protecting the status quo of being smart, and thus want to minimize mistakes. This leads to what the author calls a fixed mindset. The groups praised for their effort were shown to appreciate mistakes as learning opportunities to grow and become better . Thi leads to what is called a growth mindset.

There’s a lot more to the article that just how to praise your kids, so give it a read.

How to Avoid Decision Fatigue (Tim Ferriss Podcast)

I’m the biggest fan of Tim Ferriss and not shy about it. This short podcast (I would start at the 4:30 mark) on how to avoid decision fatigue is especially intriguing and useful.

The main takeaways:

  • Willpower is finite, and it needs to be protected. As the # of choices you have to make go up, the more it drains your willpower.
  • Systematize the # of unnecessary decisions you make.
    This is why Obama and the late Steve Jobs always repeat the same outfit. Similarly, I never think about breakfast because I just drink 30grams of protein (also from Tim Ferriss) every morning.
  • Start small: decide what you’re going to do for the first hour of your day, which may include what you’ll wear, eat or read.

How to Master Your Time (Oliver Emberton)

Oliver mother-effin’-Emberton. I love his in-depth posts and his stick figure drawings. In this article, he simplifies time management not through a series of tactics, but focusing on the fundamentals: what tasks should your prioritize?

The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency. Humans are pre-wired to focus on things which demand an immediate response, like alerts on their phones – and to postpone things which are most important, like going to the gym. You need to reverse that, which goes against your brain and most of human society.

This is one of his best articles on identifying the subtle, but huge difference between doing urgent things vs important things. Choose the latter.

Jim Carrey’s 2014 Commencement Speech at Maharishi University (Youtube)

I’ve always loved the darker, more serious side of Jim Carrey a la Eternal Sunshine or The Truman Show. In this video, Carrey gives a crap ton of sage advice in a highly motivational speech.

The speech was so good, I filled up a page of notes. Here are some of the quotes that struck me:

  • You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well do what you love
  • The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is
  • Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world
  • Risk being seen in all of your glory
  • I was concerned with going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself, until someone smarter than myself, made me realize there was nothing bigger than myself
  • My soul is not contained within the limits of my body – my body is contained by the limitlessness of my soul
  • No matter what you gain, the ego will not let you rest. How tricky is this ego, to tempt us with something we already possess?
You will only have two choices, love or fear. Choose love. And don’t ever let fear turn against your playful heart.

And I want to gratuitously title this part as “How to Be Successful:”

  1. Tell the universe what you want
  2. Work towards it
  3. While letting go of how it comes to pass

Things I Do Have Instead (mmlist)

Each new Thanksgiving seems to bring with it a renewed focus on consumerism, with ridiculous new antics like stores opening on Thanksgiving Day.

Reading someone else’s gratitude list (my term for the opposite of a wish list) brings a new perspective, and I thank Leo Babauta for that.

Here’s my own shortlist of things I already have that I’m grateful for (nothing is too little):

  • A career doing something I actually like
  • My minimalist backpacking setup
  • Airport miles that let me travel for pennies on the dollar
  • Good mentors, caring friends and a loving family

_ _ _

From the GuyGuides Vault

How Pickup Artists Market to Men

This article delves into the darker side of pickup artist industry works by promising instant results and making men chase down a fruitless path of pickup “tactics” and “skills.”

Some takeaways:

  • Internet marketers appeal to people’s lazy side: get instant results with minimal effort (“Get laid after 1 weekend of my workshop!”)
  • The industry survives by making men think they always have to learn just one more tactic or trick to get women. In reality, it never ends – there’s always one more thing you can do.
  • It’s interesting that you almost never see PUAs bragging about healthy, long-term relationships.

_ _ _

Want weekly issues like this sent straight to your inbox? Subscribe below: