A good deal of my online time is spent researching or creating content for Wolf & Iron, but that is not to say that I don’t have a few resources I turn to when I need my man-tank refueled. A few years back if you wanted to know how to be a man you had only a few options: Brett McKay’s Art of Manliness and perhaps some Christian focused stuff like John Eldredge (both of whom I still follow and will be mentioned later in the article). However, the resurgence of masculinity has hit a number of other men in unique ways and many are setting out to help the world of men in their pursuit of manful living. I have been asked in the past, usually by people who have only heard of Wolf & Iron but not been to the site, “What makes Wolf & Iron different from the Art of Manliness” and I would imagine others in this sphere have been asked the same thing. My response usually goes something like this: “You can hike the same trail with different guides and have a different experience. One guide will point out things that interest him along the way that the other may miss. The conversations are different; the responses to questions are different; personalities and worldviews are different. You may find that you enjoy one guide more than the other, but most people will be thankful for the experience of both.”
That being said, there are other things that separate this blog from the others, but that isn’t the point of the article. Sticking with the trekking analogy above, I am genuinely excited whenever I meet other men along the trail to manliness, whether they are hiking with me exclusively, on their own, or with someone else. Sure there is a sense of competition, but every time a see a man comment on someone else’s blog or social media I am aware that a man, a family, and a community has been impacted for the better. That’s why I’m sharing some of the sites I follow and men I admire. There are a lot of “guides” out there, but I wouldn’t trust all of them. Most of these guys I have interacted with enough to know they are solid, good, genuine men. Check them out.
Manly Sites I Follow
This isn’t a complete list, but these are the ones that I turn to when I think about men having an impact on me and other men in a positive way. The list is in no particular order.
The Art of Manliness
The Art of Manliness needs no introduction unless you are completely new to the manosphere. Brett McKay and his wife, Kate, have created the largest men’s online publication in the world. There are a lot of “men’s” sites out there with a lot of content, but most of it is garbage. Brett has influenced tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of men in a serious and positive way and has maintained the core integrity of what it means to be a man. I can only imagine the numbers of families and generational impact Art of Manliness has had over the years.
Check them out: http://artofmanliness.com
Founded by Bryan Van Slyke, Manturity seeks to develop men’s spiritual maturity in everyday circumstances. Manturity’s strong suit is definitely in the marriage department. If you’re looking for good advice on how to strengthen your marriage, it’s a good place to turn.
Check them out: http://manturity.com
Order of Man
Order of Man is relatively new on the scene but has really hit the ground running! Like far to many men in recent generations, Ryan Michler, the founder and curator, grew up without a true manly father-figure in his life. He is setting out to show men what they’ve been missing, and is doing this primarily through podcasts and videos. It should be noted that he is a ginger and sports a mean looking beard. Now that you’ve been tempted, go have a look.
Check them out: http://orderofman.com
How cool of a name and URL is that? Pretty cool, I’d say! Formerly known as The Blog of Manly, Manly.Is is finding a new groove. If I were to use the trail analogy, Josh Woods, the founder, would be the guide that would say, “Hey look! There’s a trail which men no longer go on because it (pisses people off, makes them look sexist, is hard, makes them feel stupid). Let’s go that way!” In other words, from Manly.Is you can expect a harsher, more direct view of manhood, and that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes that’s the only way the message is going to reach us.
Check them out: http://manly.is
While not a blog site like the others mentioned, these guys get it! Since they are local to me, I had the opportunity to meet with the owner, Xan Hood (cool name, right?), over BBQ. While Buffalo Jackson is a rugged, dry goods, clothing and accessories company, everything they do harkens back to the classic, and all too rare, manly virtues; honor being at the core. I contribute to the blog on occasion and love to read their thoughts on being a man of adventure and restoring classic masculinity. Xan also started something very cool called Training Ground; a sort of wilderness mentorship program.
Ben Hewitt is both a site I follow and a man I admire. Unlike the other sites mentioned above which tend to espouse living the manful life, Ben is actually doing it. After growing up on a rural farm in Vermont, attempting to leave that life and write freelance, he found himself returning to the hard-toil of self-sustaining farm life, literally living off the land. There is a lot about Ben that inspires me: his sons are unschooled, he owns land, he writes when he can, he’s a published author and excellent writer, he gets up at the crack of dawn, he chops woods and kills animals and is teaching his sons to do the same. Also, his wife is pretty tough so it’s good all around. Now is a good time to give him a follow, since fall is close at hand and farm life gets pretty interesting in the winter.
Check him out: http://benhewitt.net
Though the site is called Chad Howse Fitness, Mr. Howse is all about manhood and the determined drive to better ones self. Chad is particularly inspiring in the area of not being a wimp, both emotionally and physically. Remember that amazing scene from 300 where Leonidas kicks the man into the pit yelling, “This is Sparta!” Replace the man being kicked with any modern notion of masculinity and picture Chad yelling, “This is Manliness!!” and you have an idea of what he’s about.
Check him out: http://chadhowsefitness.com
Men I Admire
While I admire the men who manage the sites mentioned above, there are several men I keep an eye on just because I admire when they are about or the influence they have had on me in the past.
John has an online presence through his Ransomed Heart ministries though I know him more from his books, Wild at Heart in particular, but I have read most of them. Like a lot of men, his books were (are) an eye opener to things I had thought, though maybe more subconsciously than anything else. He brought them to the surface where I continue to sort them out to this day. I’m always a bit interested in what he has to say and think.
John Sowers is another author that I have really enjoyed getting to know. His book Heroic Path: In Search of the Masculine Heart (read my review here) is a must read for men. John’s openness in his journey towards the manful life combined with his sense of humor makes him a guy you want to get to know. He is also a co-founder of The Mentoring Project, a project to help the fatherless learn what it means to be fathered and loved. Good stuff!
David Redding (DREDD)
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the other guys, but probably not David Redding. He’s one of the founders of F3 (read more about him and F3 in this interview) and is a really inspirational man. If you check out his Twitter feed you will see a bunch of F3 jargon which won’t matter to the average Joe (we’re not average) but when he posts an article out to F3Nation.com you best check it out (here’s an example).
Give DREDD a follow: @DreddCNC
Mr. Offerman is best known for his character Ron Swanson but is a man of diversified talents: author, actor, talented woodsmith, and musician. Plus he likes Wendell Berry (and so should you). Unlike most of the men I follow, Nick and I wouldn’t see eye to eye on every issue, particularly Christianity. However, he isn’t the simple character one might make him out to be, which is one of the reasons I like him. He’s a good person to challenge your views and generally a likable kind of guy.
Matt and Ben Hobbs
The Hobbs brothers are known for their startup, Sons of Sawdust, where they reclaim century old wood-with-a-history and turn it into amazing furniture. I typically follow these guys through Instagram. What makes them so inspirational and interesting to me is not only their gumption to start a furniture business, but also their love of the old wood; a serious respect for the old things and old ways. They talk a lot about their grandfather through their Instagram posts and the influence he had on them.
There are a number of other sites and men I follow and if anyone was left out, I sincerely apologize. This isn’t an exhaustive list, just something that has been on my mind lately and I wanted to share.
I would love to know if there are any sites or men you follow that inspire you to be a better man.