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The Young Man's Guide   By: (1798-1859)

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The Young Man's Guide by William A. Alcott is a captivating and thought-provoking read that offers timeless wisdom and guidance to young men entering adulthood. As a society, we often overlook the importance of providing young men with the tools they need to navigate life's challenges and make informed decisions. However, Alcott's book fills this void splendidly, serving as a comprehensive manual that covers various aspects of a young man's life.

What makes this book truly valuable is its relevance to modern society, despite being published in the mid-1800s. Alcott's principles and advice remain evergreen, as he delves into topics such as self-improvement, friendship, physical health, and responsibilities. Through his insightful anecdotes and relatable examples, he allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of these subjects, fostering personal growth and development.

One of the highlights of The Young Man's Guide is Alcott's emphasis on character-building. He encourages young men to cultivate virtues such as honesty, self-control, and perseverance. It is refreshing to see an author acknowledge the importance of moral values, as these qualities often get overshadowed in our fast-paced, success-driven world. Alcott's arguments are compelling and persuasive, providing a solid foundation for readers to reflect upon and incorporate into their own lives.

Additionally, Alcott's approachable writing style contributes to the book's accessibility. He presents complex ideas with clarity and simplicity, ensuring that readers of all backgrounds can follow along easily. Furthermore, the book's organization is commendable, as it is divided into concise chapters, each focusing on a particular aspect of life. This structure allows readers to navigate the book at their own pace, making it an excellent resource to revisit and reread as needed.

Although some may argue that The Young Man's Guide is dated due to its historical context, this very characteristic enhances its appeal. It offers a window into a different era, allowing readers to compare and contrast societal norms and values. Consequently, this book not only equips young men with essential life skills but also cultivates a sense of appreciation for the progress we have made as a society.

In conclusion, The Young Man's Guide by William A. Alcott is a timeless masterpiece that serves as an ideal roadmap for young men embarking on their journey into adulthood. Alcott's insights and advice are as relevant today as they were when the book was first published. With its emphasis on character development and practical guidance, this book is an invaluable resource for any young man seeking to navigate life's challenges with confidence, integrity, and purpose.

First Page:




Twelfth Edition.

Boston: Perkins and Marvin. 1838.

Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1835, By Perkins & Marvin, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


When I commenced this work, my object was a mere compilation. There were many excellent books for young men, already in circulation, but none which I thought unexceptionable; and some of them contained sentiments which I could not approve. I sat down, therefore, intending to make selections from the choicest parts of them all, and prepare an unexceptionable and practical manual; such an one as I should be willing to see in the hands of any youth in the community.

In the progress of my task, however, I found much less that was wholly in accordance with my own sentiments, than I had expected. The result was that the project of compiling , was given up; and a work prepared, which is chiefly original . There are, it is true, some quotations from 'Burgh's Dignity of Human Nature,' 'Cobbett's Advice to Young Men,' 'Chesterfield's Advice,' and Hawes' Lectures; but in general what I have derived from other works is re written, and much modified. On this account it was thought unnecessary to refer to authorities in the body of the work... Continue reading book >>

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