If you’re interested in understanding dating dynamics, making healthier relationship decisions, and carrying yourself with greater confidence, this bibliography is a great starting point. All of these books have helped shape the advice that I give to you on a regular basis.
I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book
My first book, written while I was working in customer care at JDate in 2002. There are a few dated references, but I’d like to think it holds up surprisingly well. Not only is it funnier than my more recent stuff, but it’s a great place to start if you’re first dipping your toes in the online dating waters.
Why You’re Still Single
My second book was written, in part, as a response to “He’s Just Not That Into You”. It probably would have sold more copies if it were called “WHY He’s Just Not That Into You”. Still, the he said/she said author dynamic, the short punchy chapters and the occasional killer metaphor (“Hitting on 20”) makes this a solid entry in the “self-help lite” category.
Dating and Relationship Books
Kiss Your Fights Goodbye
This is my bible for helping women communicate effectively with men. Learn to diffuse (almost) all your arguments simply by learning a 3-step process to talk with him. It works like magic!
Whether you’re anxious and don’t believe that a man can truly love you, or fearful that if you let him in, he’ll eventually leave, this book helps you understand the effects of your behavior. Soon, you can choose a partner who is a good fit for your attachment style.
Lori Gottlieb knocks it out of the park with a comprehensive look at the plight of highly successful, educated women in their frustrating quest for love. Dozens of experts all point to the same conclusion — refusal to compromise is a one-way ticket to permanent single status, and the sooner you learn what’s important in a relationship, the sooner you can find the man who’s built to last.
The Tao of Dating
Dr. Ali Binazir uses his deep knowledge of the mind and Eastern philosophy to create a must-read manifesto for smart, strong, successful women. It’s brainy stuff, but it’s a worthwhile venture. I devoured this book in one night and since Ali and I agree on 95% of our material, I can give you an enthusiastic endorsement.
Getting to I Do
Dr. Pat Allen lays out some important concepts that I use in my own coaching, involving “feminine energy” and the lifecycle of relationships. She’s a Los Angeles legend, a woman I actually consulted for advice before getting married, and she really knows her stuff.
Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love
Dr. Diana Kirschner has written one of the most practical books I’ve ever read by a therapist. There’s no dense psychobabble, just honest, wise, commonsense solutions to help you learn to connect and communicate with your romantic partner.
Mama Gena’s School of the Womanly Arts
One of the only books on this list that I haven’t read, it focuses on one of the most important topics facing smart, strong, successful women today: feminine energy. She teaches you that you never have to bend over backwards to “get” a man; you just have to be warm, sensual, and receptive to his best efforts. Amen.
Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage
Like me, Suzanne Venker is a type A writer who empowers women by telling the truth. More than any other writer I know, Venker empathizes with men and illustrates how alpha females like you can bring out the best in your partner.
Have Him at Hello
Rachel Greenwald interviews 1000 men and learns that 85% of the time, it’s not just “chemistry” that prevents him from calling you back. It’s something you actually did on the date. Knowledge is power, and, by reading this book, you’ll immediately learn what you’ve inadvertently been doing wrong, and how to course-correct on your next date.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Don’t let the title scare you off. Whether you’re a nice guy or a nice girl, if you’re finding that you get walked all over in relationships, this is the book for you. Learn how being nice is a pathology of its own, and how you can still be a good person and stand up for what you believe in. In fact, you’ll attract a better partner when you do.
Distasteful though it might be, this bestseller is an amazingly well-told story about a society of pick-up artists and how they manage to manipulate and seduce women. If you want a good read — closer to a novel than a self-help book — you’ll marvel at how shy, nerdy guys, armed with information, quickly turn into toxic players. A great look inside the insecure male mind.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
The granddaddy of this genre, and a highly worthy read. I don’t think men and women are as different as Gray makes us out to be, but I do think that understanding our few differences is essential. No longer will you be consistently surprised when he doesn’t do what exactly you want him to do.
Ken Page really does go deeper — at least deeper than I do — and that’s a good thing. His thoughtful guide is equal parts practical and spiritual — and will help you discover the power of intimacy in dating.
Sociological Books on Dating and Relationships
Why We Love
Dr. Helen Fisher explains the neurobiology behind love and how it’s adapted and evolved. Chemistry, she feels, is an adaptive function designed to help us overcome the impracticality of monogamy. The high feeling of being “in love” mirror the high feeling of doing cocaine, lighting up the same brain centers. This, and other fascinating research, will illuminate your understanding of why we love.
Jillian Straus takes a sociological look at why Generation X has remained single for far longer than our parents’ generation. Money, unrealistic expectations, gender equality, Hollywood fantasy, abundant opportunity — you name it, and my generation’s suffering from its consequences. If you’re born between 1965-1976, this explains your singledom as well as anything.
First Comes Marriage
An incredibly wise book, explaining why arranged Indian marriage is as successful — or more successful — than Western-style dating. Bound by the desire to grow and commit together, Indian couples are often happier than American couples. Seth never suggests that we should adopt arranged marriage, but illustrates how having a realistic set of expectations creates healthier long-term relationships.
Sex at Dawn
Christopher Ryan makes an overwhelming case as to why we’re not a biologically monogamous species and what that means for our society. I’m not a fan of open marriage, but this is a compelling read on why monogamy may be problematic long-term issue.
Books on How We Think
The Paradox of Choice
Like The Tipping Point and Freakonomics, this book presents a paradigm shift in thinking about modern society. In fact, more choices do NOT make us happier as people. Reading The Paradox of Choice literally changed my decision making in regards to dating overnight, and helped me have the courage to choose the woman who would become my wife.
How We Decide
Jonah Lehrer’s book is crucial to understanding how humans make decisions — and thus, how you can make better relationship choices. He points out how all decisions should be partially guided by logic and partially guided by emotion. In love, you’re usually way too emotional, which explains why you need to be more objective about your partner.
Dan Ariely loves to point out — thru often entertaining science experiments – how we don’t always act in a rational manner. Sounds a lot like love to me. The more you can understand your own biases and shine the light in your blind spots, the less likely you will be to make healthy choices in life and love.
With compassion — and anecdotes — Christine Hassler illustrates the importance of not getting too high or too low when life doesn’t live up to our wildest dreams. Armed with this information, you can learn, persevere, and achieve the happiness you deserve.
The All-or-Nothing Marriage
A deeply researched book from this Northwestern University professor, which uses science and charts to illustrate the same concepts I teach in Love U: there are more great marriages than ever before and there are best practices to creating one yourself. A must-read.
Spiritual and Self-Help Books
The Untethered Soul
If you wonder if you’re emotionally healthy enough to even be in a relationship, you must read this. Belying its spiritual title, this book is filled with practical metaphors designed to empower you to let go of the negativity and fear of the past. This may be the most important book you ever read.
How To Win Friends And Influence People
The best dating book, just not written for dating. A lot of my philosophy is cribbed from Dale Carnegie’s timeless advice. Because whether you’re in dating or in sales, ultimately, it’s all about getting people to like you. With confidence, enthusiasm, and a keen understanding about what makes people tick, the author passes along his remarkable wisdom to you.
How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling
A Dale Carnegie disciple, Frank Bettger was a top insurance salesman in the 1930’s, who figured out why people trusted him with their lives and money. In similar old school fashion, he lays out his theories, which double as incredible dating advice. A crystal-clear primer on human behavior and relationships.
Fiction About Love
The Post Birthday World
In this searing and realistic book about the trade-offs within relationships, you can test out the theory of “passion vs. comfort”. Each chapter alternates between what would happen if the protagonist chose her safe live-in boyfriend or left him to pursue a more exciting alpha male. The results are predictable, but no less powerful.
The Rabbit Series
Written approximately every 10 years from 1960 to 1990, this series traces the romantic life of “Rabbit” Angstrom, a WASP former high-school basketball star who feels trapped in his marriage. The remarkable thing, is that, in Updike’s hands, Angstrom feels sympathetic, a pitiable fool unable to control his mediocre impulses, rather than an unfaithful monster.