The Best Books On Fatherhood

September 30, 2010 in Stuff for Dads  

The Best Books On Fatherhood

Below is a list of the best books to prepare us and/or help us become good fathers.

Do you know of one that’s not on this list? Plz add it in your comments!

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer

Ok, if you’re baby is younger than 8 months old you HAVE to get this book. It has a handful of excellent tricks/tips inside about swaddling, shushing sounds, etc. There’s also a DVD which may be easier/quicker to ingest.

From Amazon: “Karp recommends a series of five steps designed to imitate the uterus. These steps include swaddling, side/stomach position, shhh sounds, swinging and sucking.

Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads

OK, this one looks really interesting. It’s got great reviews on Amazon and a few people mentioned it to me. I’ll definitely be picking it up.

From Amazon: “Take your average guide for new mothers, chuck most of the stuff about breast feeding and ditch the deep background research and stats, then generously pepper with illustrations and burley humor and what do you have? Your average guide for new fathers…. There’s heaps of useful advice that’s cleverly and efficiently presented for pops who, despite their best intentions, really aren’t prepared to dig into encyclopedia-sized tomes.

Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

My wife just started reading this one and she’s saying excellent things about it. Namely, things like, “it’s good because it’s very scientific but it comes from a very personal place, not just some doctor talking about all the babies he’s seen.”

It’s by a doctor/mom who’s in tune with research and practice enough to put together some great thoughts… even for us hard to please, upper-crust, crusted-uppers dads.

Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation

Here’s one I heard a few times on the twitters. This book is by Donald Miller who’s hilarious and insightful style really will have you giggling and doing that whole “hmmm” thing that we do when we read/hear something true and new to us.

Even though this book is written about life in the absence of “dad” methinks you’ll pick up a whole lotta goodness about how you can be a great dad. Srsly. I mean it. And yes, I actually have read this and I actually know you’ll enjoy it.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

OK. This one is special. This one is awesome. This one will certainly have you giggling and insighting insightful insights. This one is filled with quick wit and earthy wisdom and a resounding “holy sh*t this is hard and I can do this.”

Even though it’s written by a mom… about raising a child… as a single mom… It’s still hilarious and insightful for us dads. It’s actually a great way to understand more of what your woman is going through. And even though it comes from a particular point of view (liberal, christian, woman) it’s never preachy or pious. It’s great, srsly.

The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men

For the dads of dudes out there I present a psychologist’s close look into modern boyhood.

From Amazon: “Gurian asserts that the biological and neurological differences between boys and girls need to be accounted for and nourished in order to raise healthy, happy boys. In discussing boy culture–and the roles of competition, aggression, and physical risk taking–the author concludes, ‘It’s not boy culture that’s inherently flawed; it’s the way we manage it.’

The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager

From Amazon: “Providing a historical perspective on a modern phenomenon is no easy task, but Thomas Hine has done an admirable job cataloging that ever-changing creature we know as the American teenager. Beginning with a look at colonial times and ending with the present-day burger-flipping menaces portrayed in the press, The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager is a fascinating look at a culture that we take for granted in these times, yet is quite a recent development.

Ok, this one looks really interesting to me. It’s written by Thomas Hines, an American history & design guy, which is interesting to me. I totally look forward to reading it and having it unlock all the secrets of how to raise a teenager.

So, what do you have to add to this list? Plz comment and let us know what books have been a good influence on your fathering. Cheers!

Please Comment & Add Your Voice!

Donn Felker September 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

The “Be Prepared” book is THEE best book for new fathers. EVER. I reviewed it on my blog. Its a must have.


Chase September 30, 2010 at 10:57 am

Glad to hear it! Yea, i’m excited to check that one out.

Samuel September 30, 2010 at 11:10 am

Although not specifically about being a Dad, two of the books that have been important to me in terms of shaping my parenting have been Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD and Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. While I don’t think I’d take either as gospel truth, they certainly called the question on a lot of my assumptions about the way to be a Dad.


Greg September 30, 2010 at 11:32 am

Here’s a great one about making sure you leave a legacy: Letters from Dad. Another very good one is What a Difference a Daddy Makes.


Metroknow September 30, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I’ve found the techniques and observations in “Raising a son” by Don Elium and Jeanne Elium to be really useful, and provide good reality checks from time to time.


Aaron September 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

“Boys Adrift” by Dr. Leonard Sax is Terrific as well!


Rob September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker. The good news is whether she admits it or not, dad is the most important person and a girl’s life. That is also the scary news. It’s all up to us dads!


Diana Dettwyler September 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Since Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors, I vote for Donald.


Chuck Spidell October 2, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Ditto on Be Prepared. Best daddy-prep book ever. Be sure to also check out the companion site for some chapter teasers.


marshall October 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Loving our Kids on Purpose (danny silk)


Paul Daly October 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Wild at Heart by John Eldridge is a blast to read. Funny and practical. Its a faith-based book targeting…well basically being a Man (capitol M that is). No posers allowed in fatherhood. Great illustration of how to teach your son to be a man and your daughter how love should really look.


Chase October 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm

A few others from @bookdads on twitter:

ABCs of Expectant Dads


The Faith Of A Child by Stefan Lanfer


Tamlin Wightman February 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Hi, have you heard of/ read “American FabDad”? It’s brilliant & hilarious. Check it out. The site is and you can buy it online here:

Written by Paul Kerton, former editor of publications such as Men’s Health and Playboy.


Brad Cruz October 12, 2011 at 11:38 am

the Family Man by Deneb Labial.


James in Port (Stumptown) November 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

*The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager* Book listed above is my favorite. Nothing helped me more starting out of the gate with my young boy than this book. I was a youth pastor for 10 years (20-30) and read every book recommended to me on youth, kids. This book was the book that made the most sense in many ways.

The author (Hines) takes us back to the Industrial Revolution, and shows the ramifications that follow when children (especially boys) are separated from their father the entire day …6 days a week. (Its only been the last 100 years) He also walks us through (when) children are marginalized and regulated to other children their own age 5-6 days a week. Do children need their own age group 5-6 days a week? Really? Even in my 40s I want both much older and much younger guys surrounding me every day? I would shrink in wisdom and life if only surrounded 40 yr olds! Why should kids be any different?

Well, these are questions you run straight into as you read Rise & Fall of the American Teenager. If the author doesn’t ask the question ….you for sure, will be asking the question. I give it high marks because the author writes based on history and not from some theological tradition. Rise and Fall is rarely opinion based and the author skillfully weaves you thru history and laws passed in this country the last 100 years that affects how we raise our kids and what we actually teach them.

Nothing has affected my parenting philosophy and fathering skills as much as Hines research in this book. Good luck with it.

Jim Small
Builder/CEO Lewis & Clark Homes
Youth Conference/Camp Speaker
Chaplain at Large (Correction & Halfway Programs)
Mens Ministry Leader
Vineyard Manager at Mountain Valley Vineyards

P.S Chase….What kind of sunglasses should a father wear that is not too cool or too dated?


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