Becoming a Renaissance Man, Part 3

To review prior installments:

Introduction explaining the premise of the series
Part 1 in the series
Part 2 in the series.

Find Good Role Models and Study Them

Misery loves company, so people often have a tendency to pick friends who share similar problems, are enables and reinforce their negative traits. Another problem with picking toxic people is that they encourage you to hate successful people. This is poison to your subconscious, because anything you actively hate, you train your subconscious mind to keep out of your grasp. You are telling your subconscious mind to keep you from ever becoming that type of person.

You’ve never seen someone who actively believes money and power are evil ever becoming rich and powerful. Even politicians who rail against the rich and powerful to get votes, if you examine their pasts, have often spent their lives pursuing status and power. Their words are just for rallying votes. But it goes for anything, if you truly grow to hate something, you will never become that thing because your subconscious mind will keep you from that goal. And your subconscious mind will do this because it feels it is doing you a favor.

If you want to be richer, study and learn to admire rich people (but those with good character of course). If you want to be popular, study and learn to admire popular people. If you want to be good with women, study and learn to admire people who are good with women. Petty, bitter whiny people instead tend to surround themselves with other petty, bitter whiny people to use as an ongoing pity party and together they spend their time actively hating the people who are experiencing success. Is it any wonder they stay stuck in a rut?

At the other extreme, don’t take it to worship level either. They’re just people. Worship is another defense mechanism of the weak. By worshiping and being overly reverential of the successful, that is yet another way people put success out of their grasp. They put the successful on a pedestal, which is another way to make them unattainable, as they achieve almost diety-like status. And people get creeped out by those who worship them, which pretty much guarantees they’ll never respect them, much less mentor them.

Find role models, study them, and if possible befriend them. Learn what you can. And don’t be a leech or a user, find something you can offer in return. Bring something of value to the table. For example in high school I had a friend Stan who was the most popular guy in school, the best player on the basketball team with lots of alpha male swagger and swimming in girls. I remember I’d occasionally see him hanging out with this chubby Indian kid who was really nerdy. Sometimes we’d meet up after school and I’d see him parting ways with the guy before coming over to us. Eventually he introduced the guy to us. His name is Marshall. I figured if Marshall was cool with Stan, he must be cool too, so the rest of us occasionally started talking to him as well.

As the months went on, Marshall seemed to get less nerdy. Whenever he did something socially awkward, Stan would immediately check him, firmly but in a reassuring way. Stan would mock him on some of his clothing choices, but in the way male pals bust on each other (that’s how guys constructively criticize, especially at that age). The social proof seemed to help the kid out too, as I started seeing him with more and more friends every month.

One day I remember asking Stan how he even started becoming friends with Marshall in the first place, as he seemed to have nothing in common with our circle of friends. Marshall’s main circle of friends always remained a small group of somewhat geeky but nice guys. Stan told me “He offered to tutored me and helps keep me on the team. He’s a cool guy.” I was surprised because of how they related in public. You’d never know Marshall was tutoring Stan. They seemed totally at ease with each other and acted like equals. At that moment, I understood Marshall’s hustle and really admired the hell out of it. He didn’t just hate on the popular guy from the sidelines, but when he got an in with him, he didn’t kiss his ass either. He got the mentoring and the social proofing, while keeping his dignity and self-respect, and reaped the social benefits from it. He learned a lot and his confidence shot up too.

Now if you can’t find living, breathing role models for whatever reason, use movies, TV, books, autobiographies and interviews as a substitute until you can find some real life ones. Minimize your exposure to any media that saps your testosterone, like an NBC sitcom or a Judd Apatow movie. Don’t cut them out, just don’t make them the bulk of your entertainment. Your mind absorbs that. Don’t immerse yourself in those “nice guys finish first while bad boy jerks always lose” fairytales that movies have become.

Watch as many old movies and TV shows and books as you can. Read biographies and interviews with old school guys. Old movies kept it real. They weren’t obsessed with assuaging the egos of losers. They gave hard life lessons. Although leading men were becoming more sensitive and vulnerable since the 60s, they were still expected to have some swagger as late as the 80s. Even 80s movies like Revenge of the Nerds were funny precisely because they were supposed to be taken as so outlandishly unrealistic. No one was expected to aspire to be a nerd the way movies today try to seriously sell Michael Cera’s characters as someone who goes from hot girl to hot girl just living his life as a socially awkward hipsterish nerd. In the 80s, his counterpart was the lead from The Last American Virgin or Corey Haim in Lucas or Ducky from Pretty in Pink. Painful to watch, yes, but they taught a valuable life lesson: More often than not, life is unfair and the weak, ugly and socially awkward lose more often than they don’t. Being your best is the key, but character and perseverance are also important.

Today though, and I think it started with John Cusack movies but hit critical mass in the late 90s onward, we got the glorification of the slacker, the geek, the wuss and the shlub. And they aren’t even losers who are good, hardworking people with character. They’re losers who are immature, petty, lazy slackers with zero ambition. We are supposed to root for them to win against the bad boy and get the girl simply because they’re losers, as if that is their redeeming factor. Is it any wonder we have so many twentysomething whimpsters who feel entitled to a girl whose out of their league and filling up websites like this one? Nice Guy Entitlement Syndrome is out of control with young men now, who feel they deserve a 9 or a 10 just for having never been an ax murderer.

So what old movies. Go to your DVR and check out the offerings from American Movie Classics, Fox Movie Channel and Turner Classic Movies and start recording right away. Don’t just look for movies you still currently hear a lot about, go for movies you never heard of in your life with names you don’t recognize. In fact, don’t even read the synopsis for some of them, just go by what has a title that grabs you. Just start recording random movies, and when you watch them, note the years they were made. Then note how the men act, how the women act, what generates attraction, what inspires men to follow other men, who the role models are supposed to be, what are held up as good male values and bad male values. Look at how the alpha males and the beta males are portrayed, and how things turn out for them. Engage it critically, not slavishly. What do you think works? What do you think doesn’t? Also, as you watch more and more of these movies, always keep in mind the years they were made and try to form an overall cultural narrative in order to trace the evolution of gender roles in media portrayals. I’ve found, in my opinion, the first very dramatic shift occurred in the 70s.

The primary purpose of this exercise is to develop more role models. Also, it’s to expand your definitions of what men can be besides just the archetype of today’s post-feminist man, and to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each era’s male expectations. And finally, it helps you realize how so many of our current culture’s mindsets that you take for granted are very, very recent developments…ongoing experiments actually that we still don’t know the results of.

It also works with old books, like those by Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler and Henry Miller.

This old movie and old book assignment was something I discovered by accident. I started watching old movies because I wanted to try a new hobby, and all my favorite series like The Wire and The Shield were ending. And after immersing myself in these movies for months I started noticing all types of things. For example, if you think I’m exaggerating about the state of men, ask yourself this: who is a current American actor under the age of 35, not including black/ethnic guys, athletes or rappers, who can convincingly pull off a tough guy role? The only guy I can think of right now is that new actor Channing Tatum. The rest are just prettyboys or wusses. Even the ones with muscles aren’t convincing tough guys, they just look like vain pampered gym rats. Deniro and Pacino for example never had huge muscles but came off way tougher than some of today’s musclebound actors. My friends and I have been rattling off names and every guy we think of turns out to be over 35 or foreign. It’s reached the point where we’re using Matt Damon as our generation’s ultimate action hero. Shia LeBeouf is being groomed to take over the Indiana Jones franchise. Shia LeBeouf, the Disney guy! We import most of our tough guys now, like Jason Statham and Christian Bale.

Is it any wonder that we’re action-hero starved to the point where we’ve seen the likes of Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone brought out of storage to resurrect old franchises like Indian Jones, Die Hard, Rocky and Rambo. Or Clint Eastwood in the recent Gran Torino. And for the two of those movies that did have young guy sidekicks, who were they? Justin Long, the smug, hipster douche from Mac commercials and Shia LeBeouf, the nebbish kid who became famous from a Disney Channel knockoff of the old sitcom Boy Meets World called Even Stevens.

You get the point by now, but in closing, let me link to two brief, great interviews with older men that are very inspiring. First is an article of quotes from Clint Eastwood where he describes what he’s learned in his life. Next is one from Michael J. Fox where he does the same. I highly suggest reading both in their entirety, they’re quick and worthwhile reads.

34 Responses to “Becoming a Renaissance Man, Part 3”

  1. One day I remember asking Stan how he even started becoming friends with Marshall in the first place, as he seemed to have nothing in common with our circle of friends.

    True friendship is only possible between equals.

  2. True friendship is only possible between equals.

    Tupac, true friendship is only possible with the respect between equals – and that respect is not limited to equals within a narrow sphere – it also exists between masters of two different spheres.

  3. Heartily agree. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

    And I LOVE Henry Miller. How about Milan Kundera too?

  4. Laura, I have never read Milan Kundera (that’s the person who wrote Unbearable Lightness of Being I believe? Too lazy to google and double check), but if you and any other commenters want to recommend more books and movies feel free. I think it would be pretty helpful.

  5. Yes, Unbearable Lightness is one of my absolute favorite books. Not only a thought-provoking take on human relationships as a whole, but particularly interesting when it comes to the two main male characters, who are practically personifications of alpha and beta.

  6. I want to read it eventually, but does the movie do it justice? Is it a faithful adaptation? I wanted to watch the movie first before reading it.

  7. Have not seen the movie, so I can’t speak to that. I’ll have to put it on my Netflix list.

    *edit* I’d be really surprised, though, if the movie does the book justice. One of the things I like best about Kundera is how he plays with language–especially considering he writes originally in Czech and then often does a lot of his own translating into English.

  8. Another great part in this series. I totally agree with the old movies thing. If one has Netflix many can be watched online on demand. I particularly like foreign movies from latin countries. Spanish and Italian movies from the fifties show these archetypal males as well, “La Dolce Vita” comes to mind.

    I have had many friendships with masters of other domains. Complementary skills are natural to seek as we men are still trying to build the team. The group of hunters, some skilled at tracking, others at throwing spears, one left handed, one bald etc. I tend to think men who share a very similar skillset are less likely to be close friends.

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  9. The movie is quite good, tho’ I haven’t read the book yet.

    alphadominances last blog post..The Alpha Female: Estrogen and Female Dominance

  10. The archetypal alpha/beta movie is Morocco, a Sternberg-Dietrich film with Gary Cooper and Adolph Menjou. Also Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Third Man (compare the ending with the end of Morocco). Horror movies too: Svengali with Barrymore, Dracula with Lugosi, and Phantom of the Opera with Chaney. Red Dust with Clark Gable, Suspicion with Cary Grant, Hondo with John Wayne…

    Ever read Beneath The Underdog by Charles Mingus, T?

  11. That Clint Eastwood interview was really good. Definitely something about that generation. He seems like a great guy – shitty actor, but great guy.

  12. In fairness to Apatow, he did co-create Freaks and Geeks, one of my favourite shows and one of the best portraits of high school life ever. The lovable (or not so lovable) loser getting the girl stuff there is kept to a bare minimum. And it’s got the wonderful Linda Cardellini.

    Thursdays last blog post..Publication

  13. have you guys ever seen a film called sanjuro. The main protagonist is a perfect example of what movies are missing in male roles.

  14. Brian, it’s been a while since I’ve seen “Kind Hearts and Coronets”, but why do you think it’s a good movie about alpha/beta? I don’t remember that aspect of the movie. I’m going to look for “Morocco”, though.

  15. Never read Beneath the Underdog, but it looks damn good. Last Jazz autobiography I read was Miles Davis’s, which I plan to do a post on one of these days.

  16. A great movie about alpha/beta males is the old French gangster flick Touchez pas au Grisbi (Hands Off the Loot, I think, in English). Jean Gabin was a remarkable alpha male, calmly dominant with both men and women. Here’s the link.

    Of recent TV things, I like the way David Duchovny’s character in Californication is always completely relaxed when interacting with women.

    T., are you going to write in greater detail about what old movies you find helpful in any way?

  17. Zosimus the Heathen on February 6th, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    Another thought-provoking post. Some of my own thoughts on the points you raised:

    On keeping company with negative people – This is something that I’ve found can be dangerous myself, and which I try to avoid doing as a consequence. One thing I always find scary about negativity is just how darn contagious it can be. Just as I always despair at the fact that every winter I seem to succumb to whatever cold, flu or other nasty bug is floating about, despite being generally fit and healthy, so too do I despair at how often I find other people’s negativity threatening to undermine my confidence, even though I consider myself quite strong-willed. Besides, I’ve generally found that not only can negative people not help me, I usually can’t help them either. If I ever try to suggest a way for them to overcome the problems they keep whining about, I’m more likely than not to have my suggestions rebutted with a response of “Tried that – it didn’t work.” Interestingly, I found that a lot of the friends I had at school could be a bit negative. For the most part, they were pretty cool, but I’d often find that if I told them about some fun, crazy thing I was planning on doing, they’d be quick to respond with claims that I’d never get away with it, before proceeding to regale me with horror stories about what could happen to me if I went ahead with the idea regardless. I didn’t let it get in the way of my friendships with them – as I said, they were pretty cool for the most part – but I learnt to ignore their pessimistic predictions and do what I wanted to anyway (which, of course, never resulted in the dire consequences they foresaw!).

    On learning from successful people – Another good idea. Funnily enough, a bunch of “successful” people I’ve found myself reading about quite a bit of late have been African dictators. I’m still not sure what valuable life lessons I’ll be able to take away from my reading there, but we’ll see! Interestingly, I was thinking about the subject of role models (or, rather, the lack thereof) in my own life recently. When I was growing up during the ’80s, I had dreams of becoming a world champion marathon runner someday. I carried this dream (with varying levels of enthusiasm) into the ’90s, before giving up on it about a decade ago, and pretty much forgetting about it for most of the years since. It was only when I watched the men’s marathon at last year’s Olympic Games that it hit me what I’d done in just throwing my childhood dream down the toilet like that (I could have been there, holding my own in the lead pack, before finally pulling away around the 35K mark and running on to victory!), and ever since, I’ve been trying to work out how I could have allowed myself to just give up like that. One conclusion I came to was that I actually hadn’t been sufficiently interested in the sport to really want to succeed at it – not only had I never watched a marathon outside the Olympics (or read about one in the sports section of the paper), but I had no heroes in the sport to look up to, which, now that I think about it, seems very strange. Hell, I hadn’t even known terribly many marathon runners; about the only ones I had known had been a handful who’d probably all retired by the mid-90s. So, yes, I think that played a pretty big part in my failure to make something of my dream.

    On the current decline of positive male role models in movies – Nyehhh… I’m going to have to express some skepticism about this part of your post. I think every generation is fond of bemoaning the fact that its menfolk are becoming too “feminized”; it’s probably like the way every generation thinks that its young are the worst bunch of delinquents ever to have been unleashed on society. Rudolph Valentino, who’s been dead over eighty years now, for example, was often criticized for his perceived effeminacy (a newspaper columnist once called him a “pink powder puff”), and the pernicious effect this was supposedly having on American manhood as a whole. Go back a few decades, and you have a similar kerfuffle erupting over Oscar Wilde’s “effeminacy” and the supposedly corrupting effects that this would have on society. And, going back a few more decades still, you have someone like Beau Brummell, who not only sponged off the Prince of Wales, but also apparently had quite a lucrative little racket going charging the fashionable young men of London to watch him dress in the morning, something he reputedly took five hours to do! I don’t think our own society is by any means the first to make idols out of largely useless men.

  18. Zosimus,

    I don’t discount the truth of your statement that every generation thinks its artists are more talentless, its kids more insolent, its women more classless and its men less upstanding than the last.

    But I think the criticism of men like Valentino and Wilde for “effeminacy” is something different from the “glorification of the slacker, the geek, the wuss and the shlub” that the original post mentioned. While Wilde was castigated for his homosexual behavior, his plays were great successes. He may have been effeminate, but he wasn’t a loser.

    Valentino was actually typecast early on in his career (to his own displeasure) as a “heavy”, a villain. Later on he became the archetypal Latin Lover, whom American men hated because American women loved him. And yes, he was criticized for effeminacy also (although Jack Dempsey defended him as “virile” and “masculine”). But he was nothing like the protagonists of Judd Apatow’s movies; he could hardly be called a “schlub”.

    So, yes, earlier generations had their effeminate males. But that’s not the same thing as portraying male protagonists as losers and asking us to love them not only in spite of, but because of it.

  19. Quick postscript:

    I didn’t mention Beau Brummell because I didn’t know much about him, but after a look at his Wikipedia page I have this comment: No matter how dandyfied, it seems to me that the man who pretty much invented the modern men’s suit and popularized “cleaning his teeth, shaving, and bathing daily” can’t have much in common with the aforementioned schlub-protagonists.

    (Not to keep railing on Apatow, though–I usually find his movies entertaining and I also loved Freaks and Geeks.)

  20. Kundera writes the originals in French.

  21. The movie is rather different from the book. Neither is very good I think, although I remember there were some hot scenes in the flick. I personally prefer Kundera’s earlier books, like “The Joke” and “The Farewell Party” and “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”. Kundera used to write in Czech, now he writes in French (if he still writes, I’m not sure). “Unbearable” was written in Czech.

  22. Zosimus the Heathen on February 10th, 2009 at 7:48 AM

    But I think the criticism of men like Valentino and Wilde for ?effeminacy? is something different from the ?glorification of the slacker, the geek, the wuss and the shlub? that the original post mentioned.

    You’ve probably got a point there. Not that I think there’s no place for the lovable no-hoper in movies: I remember being quite fond of the character of Floyd (a perpetual stoner, played by Brad Pitt, who seemed to spend all of his time lying on a sofa watching movies) in True Romance, for example.

    I’ve been interested in Rudolph Valentino for a good number of years now (by an interesting coincidence, the date of his death – August the 23rd – is my birthday), and have heard that his (brief) life was rather strange in many respects (for example, even though he was a sex symbol to millions of women, his marriages were disastrous, and virtually sexless as well; he was also reputed to be something of a masochist). At any rate, I’d be very interested in seeing some of his movies, which ties in with the earlier discussions here about the value of watching older movies. (Hell, I’d just be interested in watching a few silent movies full stop, just to see how the moviemakers of yore managed to tell a story in the absence of sound, something we all take for granted in movies nowadays.) Unfortunately, I’ve heard that some of his films are now lost.

    Regarding Beau Brummell, I have to admit my opinions of him are not wholly unbiased. While his popularizing of what we would now consider universal male grooming rituals is certainly laudable, his reputed invention of the modern male suit is something for which I fear I will forever loathe him. As a bit of a peacock in my own masculine dress, I’ve always deplored the almost soul-crushing drabness of much male attire since the 19th Century, so do not harbour terribly fond feelings towards the man believed to have been ultimately responsible for such an abominable development in men’s fashion. As far as I’m concerned, if Beau Brummell did indeed singlehandedly change men’s fashion, he did not do so for the better. Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about the man: most of my knowledge concerning him comes from the Wikipedia entry on him (which actually seemed quite short), as well as a recent BBC movie about him entitled Beau Brummell: This Charming Man, which I’d certainly recommend if you’ve yet to see it yourself. It’s almost a comedy, showing Brummell to have been a narcissistic twit and the social scene he was a part of to have been positively surreal.

    Re your very last point, I was a big fan of Freaks and Geeks myself, and would echo Thursday’s comment that it didn’t spread a bunch of pretty lies about high school life. Indeed, I couldn’t get over just how grim it was myself; despite not having been a member of the “alpha crowd” by any means during my own time at high school, my years there weren’t anywhere near as miserable as those of the “geeks” in the above show. Hell, that show even looked pretty grim and dingy, something I found oddly fitting given when it was set: the beginning of the ’80s (for some reason, movies made at that time always seem to look pretty grey and depressing in retrospect).

  23. Honestly, of all the Apatow movies to use as an example of “glorifying losers,” ‘Forgetting Sarah Marchall’ is not the best choice.

    The point of the movie is that the main character goes from being an over-emotional, needy, clingy loser, utterly dependent on Sarah Marshall for his happiness and welfare, to being a mature self-actualized man due to finally pulling his head out of his ass and focusing on pursuing his dreams (ie. composing that play at the end).

    He doesn’t win over the other girl by virtue of “being a lovable loser who deserves to have a hot girl,” but because he finally mans up.

  24. It?s reached the point where we?re using Matt Damon as our generation?s ultimate action hero.

    Looking tough or having bodybuilder muscles doesn’t automatically make you dangerous (the Internet is full of stories about a big tough guy swaggering to a BJJ gym and getting his ass handed to him by someone much smaller). Jason Bourne is a relatively realistic action hero because in real life CIA operatives are highly unlikely to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The idea is to be inconspicuous.

    Do you also resent Burn Notice?

  25. It’s not about the muscles. Many classic tough guys like Dana Andrews, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Fred Williamson, Sean Connery, young Al Pacino, young Bobby Deniro, Humphrey Bogart, even Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, they all were not very muscular or imposing, but they came off more manly. It’s not a size issue. Conversely (am I using that right?) there are some muscular guys nowadays who don’t do it for me either and just come off like tanning salon, chest waxing metrosexual pretty boys that just spend all day in the gym. With Matt Damon, it’s not his size, he just comes off like a young, middle class fratboy to me. He generates zero gravitas to me.

  26. I agree T. The movies illustrate this beautifully. What we’ve seen in the metro movement(?) is the shift of emphasis to appearance for men, the muscles, finely coiffed hair, manicures or whatever highlights the surface. It is a feminizing influence. It calls attention to the lack of substance, of manhood in most “action stars” today. Hollywood seems to have this transformative effect these days for whatever reason. Many of these men start with a certain rawer character that is subsumed in the crucible of Hollywood culture.

    A notable recent exception is the lead man in “Rise of the Footsoldier.” G-Manifesto recommended this film and I really thought it was a refreshing departure from most Hollywood Fare these days.

    Primo implementation of conversely by the way.

    Keep it Raw Dog

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  27. People on this board, as well as Roissy’s, talk about how there are no young American actors as masculine role models. That may very well be true, but there are some other factors at play here. First, the movie industry has become more globalized. There were some Brits and other actors from other countries in the 1950s and 1960s, but nowhere near the number as there are now. So that explains part of the reason more of our masculine actors are not American. Second, there are few actors that get consistently good roles before their 30s. In fact, most of the actors that are viewed as classic examples of tough guys didn’t start getting tough guy roles until their 30s (James Dean being an obvious counterexample). Third, there were fewer movies made per given time period. There weren’t 5 or 6 movies being released every week. This, mixed with the newness of cinema, led to the production of lots of war and western movies. While many of these movies were masterfully done and had themes that dove deeper into the human condition than just killing, there weren’t whole genres of movies that dealt with “feelings” and “sensitivity”. Movies of today, given the saturation of movie ideas over the years, do delve into the more introspective parts of humanity. This kind of lends itself to cutting out tough guy roles.

  28. I think that might be somewhat true for Bourne Identity, but the sequels have a different tone and Matt Damon seems much older in them. Bourne makes more sense if you consider him from a realistic perspective, rather than an action movie perspective.

  29. A great movie about alpha/beta males is the old French gangster flick Touchez pas au Grisbi (Hands Off the Loot, I think, in English). Jean Gabin was a remarkable alpha male, calmly dominant with both men and women.

    I just watched and have to agree – it’s an excellent movie.

  30. I know this post has been up for quite a while, but I had to comment when I saw the Channing Tatum reference since the EXACT SAME THING just occurred to me about a week ago. I had just seen something with Shia LaBeouf and was brooding over what actors who weren’t eligible for Social Security actually had any old-school stoic masculinity anymore, and he was the only one I could come up with. Since then I occasionally find myself reflecting, “What would Channing Tatum do/say here?”

    Speaking of which, I know it got shat on a lot but for my money G.I. Joe was one of the funnest movies of the summer. No emo Bourne “I’ve tried to apologize for what I did” moping, just good, fun, manly action scenes and Dennis Quaid doing his damndest to sound like John Wayne.

    And whoever said above that the Bourne movies need to be thought of as more realistic than normal action movies has got it all wrong. That’s the ugly mistake so many movies are making these days: Dark Knight, District 9, etc. They can’t make up their mind whether they’re celebrating or deploring violence (which even Shakespeare understood was damned entertaining to watch) so they do a lot of awkward faux-realistic straining to seem “relevant” and “enlightened” and deny the audience the simple pleasure of seeing the hero unapologetically kick ass and get the girl.

  31. I recently saw the movie The Hustler with Paul Newman. I agree that portrayal of men back in the days are different than today, which is a shame.

    I recommend reading stuff from Ayn Rand, particularly The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. They are BIG books just warning you, but delivers the message that being a man of full integrity is more attractive than the proverbial conformist.


  32. Two movies come to mind.

    Maltese Falcon (Humphrey Bogart)

    Clock work orange (you know who): It doesn’t have the leading role your thinking of, but you’ll get much more out of it than you expect.

  33. How about Charles Bukowski’s characters? Henry Chinaski really had some alpha qualities, pride, self-esteem?