5 books all boys should read, from 'Tao Te Ching' to 'Who Moved My Cheese?'

Whether you're into philosophy or want a simple guide to dealing with failure, these self-help titles are packed full of good advice

Susan Ramsay |

Latest Articles

Clockenflap 2021 has a date!

HK teachers split over changes to Liberal Studies

Books like Lord of the Flies and Call of the Wild are fairly standard recommended reading for boys, but there are plenty of other tomes that speak directly to young adult males and are well worth your time. We've rounded up a list of five that we think are imporant.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Peterson is either a “love him or hate him” writer who rose to fame thanks to this book. He is a Canadian professor of psychology who believes that people should be responsible for their own lives.

The book was published last year, and is not an easy weekend read, but more of a meaningful, soul-searching guide to finding purpose in life, combining old wisdom with science.

Peterson unravels many things in life that most people won’t think about – such as what kind of friends they should tell about their successes and what kind they should tell about their failures. He certainly gets on to people’s enemies list by telling youngsters to clean up their rooms before trying to clean up the world, but there is a lot of great advice here about how to navigate the trials that life is sure to throw at you.

The best books we've read in 2019 so far

Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent by Ryan Holiday

In our teens, we take time to separate our own identity from our parents’ and to find our own path in life. That puts a lot of focus on us, as individuals. It’s really hard not to become completely self- absorbed and let our ego take over. This book has a particularly good part on how to deal with failure, with some wise advice about holding ourselves to our own standards, rather than comparing ourselves to others.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Personal Workbook by Sean Covey

What would any inspirational bookshelf be without at least one “Covey” book?

But be warned, this one is only going to be helpful if you actually take the time to work through it. And yes, you need to have read at least one of the “7 Habits” books. But this workbook is full of practical guidance about how to improve your life, so it’s almost like having your own personal life coach.

How books like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter changed young adult fiction forever

Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens by Spencer Johnson

If long reads are not for you, welcome to the 90-page, read-it-in-an-hour masterpiece that teaches you one valuable lesson: change is going to happen, and it’s how you deal with it that matters.

Written in very easy to follow fashion, Cheese for Teens is sure to be a favourite on your bookshelf.

Tao Te Ching: The Book of the Way by Laozi, translated by Stephen Mitchell

What can a book that’s 2,400 years old teach us about living in today’s modern world of exam stress and augmented reality?

Quite a bit, it seems. This is a good translation of the 81 verses of the “Way of Integrity” as the title can be translated into English.

If you’re into philosophy and deep thought, you will love pondering each interpretation to help find more meaning in everyday life.

Edited by Ingrid Piper