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How men can embrace vulnerability, create strong relationships, and live their fullest lives.
My entire life, I grew up as an athlete.
I was a two-sport All-American, played pretty much every sport in high school, and went on to play arena football professionally.
My entire childhood was built on beliefs about what "masculinity" is, from being in the locker rooms, to what coaches would say to me over and over, to society, and what the media showed.
I was raped when I was five by a man that I didn't know, the babysitter's son. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I remember having all this resentment, anger, frustration and defensiveness built up inside of me.
I became so driven to prove everyone wrong, so driven to be number one and to never lose.
I was driven to be the best athlete I could be.
A lot of it came from feeling like I wasn't good enough for who I was.
People questioned my masculinity, my value, so I was very driven to achieve. And I did.
I achieved everything I wanted. I seemed to have it all: a New York Times bestselling book, a world-famous podcast, a multi-million dollar business.
At 32-years-old, I had reached the pinnacle of success by anyone’s measure.
But deep down, I felt utterly unfulfilled.
Night after night on my book tour for The School of Greatness, I would lay down only to feel deep and profound loneliness in an impersonal hotel room.
I may have reached the pinnacle of success, but I had no one to share it with.
I had no intimacy or deep connection with anyone else.
In the past, I would have ignored these emotions. "Man up," I would have told myself. "Quit being so soft." But as the book tour came to a close, I decided it was time to do things differently. It was time to take massive action.
So I went on a personal journey to find inner peace and uncover the many masks that men - like myself - wear.
I had life-changing conversations with some of the world’s best psychologists, researchers, and household names, such as Tony Robbins, Alanis Morissette, and Ray Lewis. And through it all, I discovered what it really takes to remove the mask of masculinity.
I realized there are so many men out there struggling because of these ideas of "masculinity."
The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives is the result of this transformational journey.
I know there are a lot of people talking about vulnerability, opening up, and similar topics, but as a jock growing up in America, none of my peers would've ever listened to any of those messages from those people.
I want to connect with the men who are not open to hearing this message, in a way that will resonate with them.
I want women to understand the men in their lives better.
Through entertaining stories, honest reflection, and incredible interviews, I uncovered the 9 masks of masculinity: the hidden psychological and emotional barriers that hold men back from true fulfillment. In each chapter, we explore the depths of a different mask.
For many, The Mask of Masculinity will be the start of a life-changing journey.
Many men have worn their masks for so long that they forget who they are underneath. Removing the masks, then, will not be easy.
It will be terrifying. It will be painful. But it’s in the most difficult and challenging journeys that we find the most meaning. Stripped of the masks of masculinity, men can find true fulfillment. They can love. They can connect. They can find the freedom to be themselves again.
Because every man must be invulnerable and tough, emotions are carefully managed and suppressed. There can be no crying, no pain, no feeling. So he puts up a wall between him and the world, to protect himself, to pretend he doesn't feel the things he does. While wearing a Stoic Mask, he views weakness is an invitation to scrutiny and judgment and rejection. Only through its removal can he feel emotional freedom, experience deeper relationships, and move towards inner healing.
One of the clearest ways a man can distinguish himself is on the field or on the court. He is like a modern-day gladiator whose weapon isn't death, but domination. Sports are how men prove themselves, and a good athlete is a good man—period. He spends hours in the gym to get in shape. It means fighting through injuries and pain and fear, to win at all costs. And of course, if for some reason a man isn't good at sports, he had better compensate for that by loving them and knowing everything he can about them.
There is no clearer sign of a man's worth than the amount of money in his bank account. Not only do men work incredibly hard—and sometimes do questionable things—to make as much money as possible, it's all for naught if other people don't know how much money he has. In this way, his cars, his watches, his houses, and his social media feeds become a representation of who he is. A man's net worth becomes his self-worth.
An alpha man is defined by his sexual conquests—his worth determined not only by his bank account but by the amount of women he's slept with. Relationships? Those are for lesser men— for quitters and settlers.
A real man loves them and then leaves them—but he's so good in bed, they're left fully satisfied, of course.
Men are aggressive. It's their nature. They're violent and tough and they never back down. When they see something they want, they take it. Men hate; men have enemies. Of course they have a temper, of course they break things, and of course they get into fights. They're the hunters, not the gatherers. It's what men do. A man who thinks otherwise is not a man and is responsible for the weakening of the world.
A man has a sense of humor and a wit that can repel even the most withering critique or the most nagging doubt. Talk about his problems? Okay, Dr. Phil, maybe later. Cynicism and sarcasm and a sense of superiority, these are the intellectual weapons that a man uses to defend against every attempt to soften him or connect with him. If you want a man to let you in, expect a knock-knock joke, not an open door.
A man does not feel fear. A man takes risks. Whether that's betting his life savings on a company or cliff diving or smoking and drinking in incredible quantities, a man doesn't have time to think about consequences, he's too busy doing. Other people (i.e., women and betas) have "problems." But men? Men have it all under control. They've "got this" and they'll be fine.
A man is not only physically dominant but intellectually dominant too. If you don't understand why that is, a man is happy to explain it to you—along with all the other subjects he's an expert in. He went to a top school, he watches the news, and he knows all the answers. He certainly doesn't need your—or anyone's—help. He knows it all.
At the most basic level, men believe that there are only two types of men: alphas and betas, winners and losers. No man can stand to be the latter—so a man must dominate, one up, and win everything. A man can't ever defer. As a man, he must be in control, and he can't ever do anything a beta (or a woman) would do.
Men and women in every field are praising Lewis' new book.
Read how The Mask of Masculinity has been impacting people's lives.
"Lewis' raw truth of what it's like to be raised as a male athlete in today's world is exactly what we need to hear. I want every football player (and athlete) to read this book so they can understand what's possible when they take the helmet off."- Steve Weatherford
Super Bowl Champion, 10 year NFL veteran, Fittest Man in the NFL, Father of 5
"The single most important book I've read on what it means to be a man. I laughed. I cried. It's a page turner that will rock you. If you're raising a son...Read this book. Have a father or a brother? Read this book. Just Read this book. You'll LOVE IT and be a better human because of it."- Mel Robbins
Award winning CNN commentator, bestselling author of The 5 Second Rule, entrepreneur and mother of 3
"This is one of the most important topics today that seemingly no one is talking about: how men can take care of their emotional health in a 21st century that demands it. Crucial reading for any young or struggling man."- Mark Manson
#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
"Lewis blends vulnerability, insight and profound courage to a conversation so deeply needed in this pivotal time of dismantling of a stifling and violent patriarchy. May his integrated voice echo loudly and widely as an invitation to provide more freedom and love within masculinity."- Alanis Morissette
Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and activist
"Lewis Howes is going to help a lot of men with this book"- Dr. Drew Pinsky
Board-certified internist, addiction medicine specialist, and media personality
"For women, reading this book will help them to understand the men in their lives on a much deeper level—and show them ways that they can support the men they love."- Gretchen Rubin
#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project
"In his new book, The Mask of Masculinity, Lewis Howes gives us permission to honor our vulnerability so we can create deeper connections and live a better life. There's nothing sexier than our authentic truth and this book helps us harness it! Lewis transcends gender in this book - it’s just as much for women as it is for men."- Gabby Bernstein
#1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back
"The rigid ideas our culture teaches us about masculinity and femininity make it nearly impossible for real men and women truly see and love each other. For men who want to free themselves from cultural cages - Howes’ book is a life changer. For women who want to offer the men in their lives permission to be fully human - The Mask of Masculinity is a vital tool. This book has the power to change lives, relationships and our culture."- Glennon Doyle
Author of #1 NYT Bestseller Love Warrior and founder of Together Rising
Before LEWIS HOWES became a media sensation for empowering people and sharing 'Greatness' across the globe, he had his share of obstacles to overcome. From childhood sexual trauma, to having a learning disability, which led to being alone and bullied in school, to being injured and broke on his sister’s couch, Lewis’s story is the perfect example of how anybody can overcome the obstacles in their life and achieve greatness. Fast forward a few short years, and Lewis is a New York Times Bestselling author of the hit book, The School of Greatness. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high performance business coach and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and two-sport All-American, he is a current USA Men’s National Handball Team athlete. He hosts a top 100 podcast in the world, The School of Greatness, which has over 40 million downloads since it launched in 2013. He was recognized by The White House and President Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country under 30.