Today we’re going to be reviewing the top five books that I’ve ever read on how to build confidence by being more honest.
A specific little niche there, but ultimately I think this is the only topic worth focusing on if you want to build strong social confidence. It’s all about learning what being yourself actually looks like in real life. So here are my top five:
#1: Radical Honesty, by Brad Blanton
My own views on honesty are taken a whole lot further by Blanton. He really delves into the idea of just saying anything that comes into your mind as soon as it comes up.
This is where I got the idea of ‘making a mess and then cleaning it up’. Blanton advocates rather than trying to make something nice inside your head before you say it, just say it. And even if that causes a whole lot of problems, you can work out those problems.
At the start of the book Blanton talks about how to make waves, to provocatively polarize people and make sure they either love you or hate you. He recommends you push away bad connections and bring in good-fit connections through honesty. By the end of the book, Brad goes deeper into philosophy of self. He explores how expressing yourself honestly creates a sense of presence and connection with the world.
None of the books I’ve ever read in my life have been this direct about honesty itself: what it is and and how raw and honest to be in your everyday interactions. While I personally advocate a more considered version of honesty – I don’t just blurt everything out, I think it through before I speak – ultimately, if you’re somebody who’s stuck in people-pleasing and dishonest patterns, Radical Honesty is a great way to break out of this and start fresh.
#2: Models, by Mark Manson
When the Pickup Artist industry blew up there was a lot of emphasis on dishonesty, deception and manipulation. One of the only people to come through with something different at the time was Mark Manson when he released the book Models, which is about attraction through honesty.
Mason talks about his own personal experience, of how he used to go out and meet people by being very very honest with them about everything – his good, his bad, his light, his dark sense of humor etc. He would question people and challenge them and lose their interest if that’s what honesty would lead to – all the stuff that most of the gurus in the pickup industry were condemning at the time.
While others people were saying (and still are saying) that you must hide anything potentially ‘unattractive’ about you – that you’ve got to pretend to be this and that (e.g. pretend to be an ‘alpha’) – Manson came out with the book saying just be yourself and let others decide for themselves. He has a real “Who gives a fuck what they think?” approach.
If you really want a book on dating tips because you’re obsessed with the whole pickup thing but you also want to be honest, this is a great compromise between honesty and tactics. It will give you strategic techniques for meeting people and attracting them. Some of the strategies are a little too focused on trying to get something from others rather than just to be honest (in my opinion), but that being said it really does work, and you won’t have to pretend to be anything you’re not. You can go and just blast your personality out there and let everybody decide for themselves.
Manson also shares some groundbreaking insights in Models. There are a lot of people in the pickup artist industry who will basically claim you can be attractive to everyone if you get all the manipulation techniques just right. Manson’s quite clear that no, you won’t be attractive to everyone, no matter who you are. He discusses how to accept this, how to come to terms with the fact that some people are just not going to like you. He even shares how to identify when someone is a good match for you but there’s too much external ‘friction’ for the two of you to survive a relationship together.
Manson acknowledges that nobody is going to be attractive to everyone so there’s no point even trying to be, instead just be yourself and let people who are naturally attracted to you come through.
#3: No More Mr Nice Guy, by Dr. Robert Glover
This one’s very specific for the people-pleaser type or for people with what’s called ‘Nice Guy Syndrome’.
What I like about this book is Glover really emphasizes just how full of shit ‘nice’ people are. Nice Guys are constantly patting themselves on the back for being kind and compassionate and caring and for saving the world from all the jerks out there, when the truth of it is they’re absolutely needy, amoral and manipulative.
Reading this book was a big kick in the face for me personally. I was so proud of being nice and always considered myself to be a good person… until I read this book and realized actually I’m just a con-artist, a very good one who’s able to make people like me by manipulating them with nice behaviors.
What I loved about this book is Glover showed me that while my manipulation got me short-term rewards, in the long term it was why I was losing. This book showed me there was a reason I couldn’t form deep relationships and friendships, and there was a reason I struggled with the whole dating and romance scene. Being nice was just a dishonest performance that I was putting on. That’s the reason this was probably the most influential book I’ve ever read, because I personally was deep in Nice Guy Syndrome.
I don’t mean this book going to be the best read for everybody, but for realizing the impact that dishonest ‘niceness’ is having on your confidence and on your social connections, this book is the one.
#4: Lying, by Sam Harris
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, author and public speaker whom I admire greatly. I binge on his YouTube videos all the time.
When Harris talks about honesty, he’s referring a lot more to the concept of being truthful. While honesty is about saying what you think and feel, truthfulness is when what you think also aligns with evident reality. So you can be honest and yet not be truthful – you can say what you think but you’re wrong.
Harris, in his entire body of work, is focused on what is true and on trying to get away from what isn’t. What I like about the book Lying it’s just a short sharp read, where he clearly lays out a very logical and reasonable argument as to why even tiny ‘white’ lies are detrimental to your quality of life.
Harris is very focused on the smallest versions of lying and how you constantly condone this for yourself and for others. Harris lays out a case for how even white lies are devastating to your confidence and that your whole life will suffer, but also how quickly you can free yourself from this pain by just not doing it.
It’s a very simple message – it’s a short but very powerful book. If you still think “There’s some times where I have to lie!” see if you still think that after reading this book, because I couldn’t… seriously.
#5: The Truth, by Neil Strauss
This last one is one of my favorite redemption stories. Strauss is the author of The Game which was without doubt the catalyst for the huge wave of pickup artistry around the world.
In The Game, Strauss is constantly advocating deception and manipulation to make women like you, and because he was very good at the manipulation – he was grooming people very well, you might say – he got a lot of sex and everything ‘worked’ for him. So in The Game so he’s a big advocate for manipulation even though he starts to hint that being dishonest with one particular girl who he really liked didn’t quite work so well.
The Truth is kind of a sequel. You discover that after years of being sexually promiscuous, Strauss developed a genuine sex addiction. He became obsessed with it and was cheating on his girlfriend. It basically fucked up his whole life, and so he seeks out support and therapy and starts to unravel a lifetime of sexual shame.
In The Truth, he shares his attempts to find a healthier way to create relationships and sexual connections and intimacy, by trying out basically every type of connection two (or more) humans can have!
What I love about The Truth is just how honest he is about himself and his family in the book. This is one of the most revealing books I’ve ever read, where someone just lays out everything about who they are: their intentions, their jealousies, their insecurities, their manipulation. Strauss just lays it all out through the case study that is his life.
If you read The Game and then read The Truth you’ll see that he was searching for honesty the whole time, and when he was dishonest it seemed to be working for him but it was actually destroying him psychologically. Later in The Truth, you see him learn how to form real connections through just being blatantly honest all the time about everything he’s thinking and feeling. This really lines up with the Radical Honesty approach that Blanton also talks about
It was great for me to read The Truth by Strauss because I felt like he has finally found the way. When I finally let go of pick up and started getting into being honest, I reread The Game again and felt like “Ah dude, you’re miles away from where you need to be, you’re going down the wrong path.” And then reading The Truth I was like, “Excellent, he found the same path that I found.” We both went in that direction: we found honesty and then we just dug into it and healed ourselves.
So there’s the top five social confidence via honesty books that influenced me the most and helped me discover genuine confidence in the social world.
And of course, if you’d like support become more confidently honest, get in touch email@example.com