A (Wee) Bit of Reverence:
9 Self-Improvement Blogs the Thinking Man Needs to Read

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Note: not all thinking men wear glasses… just all thinking men in stock photos, apparently.

Contemplative, pensive and introspective guys looking for advice online face something of a strange dilemma.

On the one hand, the men’s blogosphere is chockfull of posts, books, videos and all manner of advice for guys.

On the other hand, so much of the online content that’s made – or more often, marketed – for men plays to our basest instincts by offering the same specious subtext: that it will somehow turn you into a walking, talking erection, seducing chicks (who are basically just prey in this context), dominating rivals (who it turns out are everywhere) and totally fucking killing it, bro! (Will you excuse me for a moment? I just threw up in my mouth a little.)

For those of us who are more discerning – and, frankly, less chauvinistic – this sort of advice leaves a lot to be desired.

An Abundance of (Actual) Advice

Fortunately, amongst the myriad media purporting to turn you into an alpha or a king are a whole host of sites that address issues beyond bedding women, which offer insight and advice you can actually use.

Covering everything from the strength of our character and desire to look like superheroes to our tendency to fall back on certain color combinations, these sites tackle issues we can relate to and provide insight we not only want, but in some cases didn’t even know we needed.

About This List

Don’t worry! I resisted the urge.

First, it’s in no particular order. These sites all have pretty diverse personnel and mandates – some are one-man operations, some are offshoots of a major publication – so ranking them felt kind of artificial.

Second, each site on this list deals with at least one of what I consider to be the four essential elements of a man’s confidence: his mind, body, people skills and style.

And third, you won’t find the blog you’re currently reading on the list – not in a cheeky “I just had to!” sort of way, and not even with a falsely modest qualifier like “I don’t think I really compare to these guys, but…” For one thing, it just feels disingenuous. For another, I’ve made far too many shitty jokes to qualify it for “the best” anything.

But enough preamble. Let’s get to the list!

Self-Improvement Blogs
for The Thinking Man

Art of Manliness

It’s become the gold standard in men’s blogging, and for good reason. Husband and wife team Brett and Kate McKay take a thorough and thoughtful approach to nearly every aspect of a man’s life, from style and grooming to personal finance and more.

With a roster of expert (and equally thoughtful) writers and contributors, they’ve built AoM into the web’s largest independent men’s interest magazine on the web.

The Good Men Project

Billing itself as a forum for “the conversation no one else is having,” The Good Men Project is dedicated to exploring what it means to be a man in the 21st century. Originally founded by Tom Matlack in 2009, GMP has expanded to include the work of hundreds of writers exploring the common themes of what it means to be a man, and more to the point, what it means to be a good man, through lenses like sports, sex and relationships, family and more.

The result is an insightful and often revealing window into the lives of not just individual men, but “man” (well, educated Western men, at least) as he exists today.

The Modest Man

Founded by Brock McGoff, The Modest Man is a style blog designed to help short men dress well and become more confident. Brock acknowledges the fundamental truth that when you look good, you feel good, and has adopted a noble mandate to help shorter guys “level the playing field” and “abandon any lingering notions of height as a handicap” by dressing in a way that helps them command respect – from others, but also from themselves.

As if his noble intent weren’t enough reason to read, Brock also knows his stuff and provides in-depth reviews, articles and lists that can help men of any (almost) any height look sharp.


Dedicated to helping guys in their early 20s make the sometimes-rocky transition from college/university to the real world, Primer calls itself “a guy’s guide to growing up” and seeks to answer damn near every question a young guy could have about adulthood.

Founded by editor Andrew Snavely back in 2008, Primer has grown into a powerhouse that offers sound advice on everything from dating and sex to personal development, menswear, investing and more.

If you’re under 30, you should be reading Primer. Period.

Nerd Fitness

Nerd Fitness is a great example of a blog that’s by the people and for the people. Founded by Steve Kamb in 2008, its mission is to remove the barriers that often keep people who feel like nerds (guilty!) from becoming healthier and happier.

Nerd Fitness beautifully blends the world of fitness/health with that of geekdom, addressing the specific concerns of those of us who have spent far more time on the couch than on the treadmill. With a focus on the three pillars of fitness, diet and mindset, NF takes a holistic approach to getting healthy that focuses on what works.


Dappered puts a unique spin on the menswear blog by focusing on guys who want to look and feel good, but can’t (or just don’t want to) spend a fortune doing so. Dappered’s philosophy is that “fashion is temporary and expensive” but “style is timeless and affordable.”

It “helps you work the retail system,” by highlighting the best, most affordable menswear options available in-store and online and pointing out all the ways you can look sharp without spending a fortune.

Science of Us

One of New York Magazine‘s stable of blogs that burrow in on a particular facet of life, the Science of Us specializes in what studies reveal about human behavior and productivity, conveying the science in language that’s engaging and easy to understand.

There’s a wealth of pop psychology online, and much of it is… well, let’s face it: much of it is bullshit. But by applying the journalistic standards (and pithy tone) of New York Magazine to issues around psychology, productivity and behavior, the staff at Science of Us stand well above their less discerning competition. They’ve created a resource that’s as self-illuminating and insightful as it is fun to read – no small task, indeed.

Real Men, Real Style

Founded by Antonio Centeno, RMRS has become one of the web’s leading authorities on all things related to men’s style. RMRS delves deep into nearly every facet of a man’s style, all with the goal of empowering guys to put their best selves forward.

One of the things I appreciate most is the level of detail Antonio and his team go into. You can find surface-level advice about men’s fashion everywhere, but few sites I’ve found do as much research and provide as much valuable information as RMRS. If you’re just starting down the path toward better style you might find it a little overwhelming. But if you’ve been at it for awhile and you’re looking to up your style game, it’s an awesome resource.

If Our Bodies Could Talk

Another offshoot of a major magazine, If Our Bodies Could Talk is a web series/video blog (or vlog, if you’re the worst) hosted by James Hamblin of The Atlantic, which provides off-beat perspectives on health topics.

While that description makes it sound like some new-agey bullshit, it’s Hamblin’s pedigree that imbues the whole thing with authority. Boasting a medical degree from Indiana University, Hamblin (for some reason) set his sights on journalism and earned a fellowship from Yale and the Poynter Institute – so there’s no doubting this guy knows from what he speaks.

Fortunately he also knows comedic timing, having studied with the Upright Citizens Brigade (founded by no-name hacks like Amy Poehler and Adam McKay), which makes his segments not just informative, but also entertaining as hell.

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About Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Irreverent Gent founder Dave Bowden is a style blogger whose advice on how to look good and live well has been featured in some of the world’s most trusted publications, including New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and more.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found spending time with his wonderful wife and son, indulging in a hoppy craft beer, or sobbing over the woeful state of Toronto's sports teams.

Check out Dave's Style Story to find out how a chance encounter with his friend's step-dad taught him the value of looking good and living well. (Don't worry—it's less creepy than it sounds!)

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