Although many criticize the manosphere for being too negative, it is undeniable that self-improvement is a major focus of its content. Criticism is useful for knowing what to avoid, but there must be positive thoughts and actions if there is to be any increased happiness to our lives. Self-improvement in today’s manosphere is one of those unspoken tenets that everyone knows we should be doing, even if our efforts in this area are neglected from time to time.

However, have you ever wondered why self-improvement is such a popular topic within our little online home? Who was the writer who brought to our attention that there are greater things we should be doing rather than chasing girls, money, or hating on our culture? Who was the writer that has influenced almost every single manosphere writer you know today, whether or not they are aware of it?

This author is Pook, who many are familiar with, yet still gets little honorable mention today. Pook wrote on the Sosuave forums back in 2000-2006, and then went on to write a blog spanning from 2006-2008 before he finally vanished (or at least retired the handle). Many of  his forum posts are gone, but the best of his posts have since been complied together by admirers into what is known as The Book of Pook. It has been passed down through generations of manosphere writers and today you will get the pleasure of reading it for yourself, if you have not already.

Why is the Book of Pook so great? Because it is written with beautiful purple prose, and offers salvation for the man lost in the eternal ennui of our emasculating culture. While other manosphere authors in the early 2000’s were talking about pickup artist tactics to get laid, or sharing tips to build a stronger career, or finding that perfect girlfriend, Pook decided he did not want any of that.

Pook said: “I know how to get laid. I know how to make money. I know how to get a girlfriend. I know how to build a career. And yet why am I not happy?” “Because,” Pook continues, “My entire life has been focusing on everything except me.

From Pook was birthed what is now known as the, “Men Going Their Own Way” movement, or MGTOW for short, although sometimes I wonder if this movement lives up to the ideals of its founder. For Pook was not about forsaking women, money, or any of the pleasures and passions of life, but instead wanted to teach men to explore the world with their own interests in mind so they could enjoy all faucets of life to its fullest. Pook was an individualist who understood that a man’s value grows with time (unlike a woman’s value), and if it wasn’t for Pook, I probably would not be half as learned and accomplished as I am today.

When I was merely but a boy entering college and deciding on the best way to get women and success, I read his essay, “If Life Seems Hard And Unhappy, Read This!

You have two paths in love and life.
1) Live your dreams.
2) Live other people’s dreams.

[…]

Two paths in love and life. Live your dreams or live other people’s dreams. One path is HARD. The other path is EASY. One path leads to SECURITY. The other path leads to FREEDOM.

Permit me, for this paragraph, to use the analogy of money to love and life. We know how rich people live and what they drive. And let us assume, for this paragraph, that all people want what the rich have. There are two ways (in this  paragraph at least) to obtain it. One is to buy the super cool car, big house, and everything else on bad debt. The other way is to obtain the assets and wealth to actually buy them. One way is EASY. The other way is HARD. One way requires little to no risk. The other takes a lot of risk (obtaining wealth and assets takes courage to go out and create. Bad debt does not). By going into bad debt, you end up literally working for those who lent you the money. And you know what? The world encourages you to get into bad debt. You can easily get a loan on a house you cannot pay off within 30 years. And look in your mailbox. Is that another pre-approved credit card? It’s the third one this week. There are lots of people who ‘look rich’ but they are in major debt. I ask you, ‘Are they free?’ They will be working for the bank and car companies to repay the debt with most of the days from their life.

In the same way, young men do the same for women. They look ‘rich’ because they have the women and can enjoy them, but what was the price they had to pay for it? Whose dreams are they following? And because of that choice, who is he working for? Both the seducer and nice guy work for the women’s dreams as they seem to have none of their own. It is the price for security. And just like bad debt, the world seems to want you to take this EASY path. Movies exemplify this thing called ‘love’ that you must sacrifice your dreams to. Pop songs are modern prayers to the Woman Goddess, to satisfy her and your addiction to female praise (which, today, we label as male ‘love’).

Let me show a chart to illustrate the point.

Pook drags a display up onto the stage.

Turn on the light, please. Thank you. This, gentlemen, is what I call the Security Path, the easy path that is default in 90% of young males:

Time Difference in the Security Path

Current

Girl: Has girlfriend, multiple girlfriends.

Friends: Hang out with old buddies.

Job: OK job. Steady paycheck. Pays the bills.

Family: Loves you.

Later

Girl: No girl or same old girl.

Friends: Same friends.

Job: Same or similar job. Promoted perhaps.

Family: Loves you.

Pook hits the chart with his pointy stick.

In both current and later states, his family and friends are pleased with him. After all, he has a girl. He has his buds. He has a steady job that more than provides. And his family loves him. After all, he repeated exactly what his Dad did. So what more could he want?

Now scroll your eyes over to the ‘later’ side. He will one day wake up and realize he is now ‘average’ in life. He has not grown at all during the time difference. He is what he was with just an aged rotting body. Where is the dream?

All right guys, bring out the next chart.

Time Difference in the Freedom Path

Current Girl: No girl.

Friends: Left many behind.

Job: Transitional. Sometimes jobless.

Family: Thinks he will become a loser.

Later

Girl: Has girl (or girls) who likes his life and him. (Life gets richer because she is with him because of the dreams he embraced, not to be a mere workhorse.)

Friends: New friends. (Often smarter, cooler, better people).

Job: Got the job or made the business/investments he always wanted.

Family: Often despises him for his success.

Pook tapped with his pointy stick.

Here, he seems like a loser currently. Yet, he wins in the end. It is painful and hard to not go for the nearest girl but rather for the girl who likes what you like. (Note: why is so much attention on obtaining the girl but neglecting ourselves? The answer should be obvious.)

Look at his friends! He had to leave them behind. It is painful for sure. But he made new friends which helped develop himself into a better character.

Oh, and there is the job. He was transitional. He was trying out different jobs. He was starting businesses. He was making mistakes. The Security Path is scared of making mistakes. In fact, the Security Path praises itself because it is mistake-free! But in the end, the Freedom Path gets to work in his job of choice.

What I find particularly noteworthy is how there is the frustration that starts early in the Freedom Path, it vanishes over time. However, in the Security Path, the initial pain is not there but accumulates over time. The poor soul either suffers or lies to himself: i.e. “I have done the honorable path.” But you did not honor your dream and so committed treason against your Gift.

[…]

And perhaps the scared young men in particular, whose hearts are dazzled by the securities that women supposedly ‘bring them’, will consider life from this side of the question.

Perhaps they will say to themselves: “The origin of my dream-girl was to place my dream onto her. Thank heavens I was saved from such shackles! Now I know to embrace my dream, and to those girls who love that choice, they cease to be the girl of my dreams but the girl in my dreams.”

So what hope is there for the average guy? “Don’t be average.”

And how do you do this? “By doing what average guys don’t do.”

Which is? “Embracing the dreams first, the girls second.”

One strange phenomenon I’ve noticed among those of the Security Path is that, yes, they construct a ‘dream-girl’ and marry her. Talk to the gentleman and ask about his wife. He will paint the most wondrous praise and glory of his wife, with such animation and passion, even (especially in this case) if she is a fat hag!

Your wife ought to be praised but such infinitude and animation belongs to your dreams, not to a particular female. Do not make the Dante mistake and turn your Beatrice into a gigantic heavenly body.

The difference is so clear and precise. Those on the Security Path submit life to love. Those on the Freedom Path submit love to life. The Security Path reaches only for love. But those on the Freedom Path reach for life first and end up with both life and love. One projects the dreams onto the girl. The other invites the girl into his dreams.

After I had read this essay, I decided to forsake the pursuit of women for the rest of my college career in favor of the pursuit of my dreams. I devoured the classics and got near perfect grades, studied hard for the LSAT so I could go to a great law school.

But before I went to law school, I found myself a virgin in my early twenties with little to no experience with women whatsoever, so I looked through various pick-up manuals until I found Bang, started approaching women for about a year and a half until I got laid. And then once my virginity was gone, I went to law school. But when I was three weeks deep into my 1L I realized I had been chasing an empty promise for the past four years, seeking security instead of freedom, and I reread Pook before I decided to leave law school.

Afterwards, I picked up a job at a bar using the game I learned from Roosh and moved into a city, and I asked myself if there was more to getting laid besides approaching girls in bars all the time. So I went back to an old Pook post called “Be A Man!” and read this:

There is a prize to the person who correctly answers this question, What is a Man? When asked what they want in a guy, women say simply, “A MAN!” But, alas!, real men are becoming more and more rare these days. Women are tired of the sensitive wimps who have no backbones. One women even wrote a song about the subject, “Where have all the cowboys gone?”

So what is a Man? How should he act? Decades and centuries ago, the question was nonsense. But today in our feminized culture (this may be more in America then in other countries), most of us have been raised to believe that there is something inherently wrong with being a man and acting the way how a man should act. No wonder males don’t know how to act around women! No wonder websites like these exist!

Indeed, I embarked on this mystery to find out the answer to this question. Several women were bunched up in a group, gossiping and yapping about cute boys, fashion, relationships i.e. nothing. This behavior extends to all women of all cultures (and also different animal species. Cows group together and moo and gnaw on grass and take notice of bulls brave enough to approach the group).

I approach. “How are you, ladies!! I am the Pook.”

A woman squeals. “Oh! It’s a Pook!” The others squeal in unison.

Once the ladies calm themselves after being in the presence of a Pook, I ask them, “Ladies! Do tell me, what do you define as a Man?”

With devilish tongues, the women answer:

“A Man is someone sensitive to me.”
“A Man is the guy who will take care of my needs.”
“A Man is the one that is in tune with my feelings.”
“A Man is one who doesn’t have an ego.”
“A Man is the guy who will sit and watch chick flicks all day with me.”
“A Man is the guy who will go shopping with me.”
“A Man is the guy who will share all his feelings with me.”

Such are the common answers! The males listen and actualize what the women say. They are constantly declared ‘sweet’ and ‘wonderful’ and ‘nice’, oh ‘so nice’. Mothers and older women are proud of them and tell them, “If I were younger, I would go for you!”

Poor Nice Guy! The women his own age avoid him like the plague and jump for the jerks. The Nice Guy becomes an emotional tampon to be used and discarded. The Nice Guy, being so nice and sweet, listens to the woman vomit her feelings about men and bleed her problems of her boyfriend on him. He listens with baited hope when he hears, “Oh, why can’t guys be like you! You listen and understand.” Then she turns around and gets abused by another jerk! The vicious cycle repeats again and again.

Why are women acting in this way?

They are simply acting as women do, as in their nature. The problem is not with them, it is with guys. We are afraid to embrace OUR nature, that of being a Man. Being in a culture that sees Manhood as predatory and oppressive and uncouth, we cover it up within ourselves. By doing so, we hide our sexuality. (Sexuality! Do I mean rock hard abs and rippling muscles? That is not what women find sexy [it’s a contributing factor, not the core]. A type of PERSONALITY is what women are looking for. Someone they can depend on [has backbone], someone who will be successful [has ambition], and someone who is decisive [has charge]. Nice guys have no backbone because they think women are frail things that will break in confrontation; nice guys reveal no ambition because they fear being seen as arrogant to women; nice guys are afraid to be decisive for fear of being seen as ‘oppressive’.)

Two poles of thought men drift into: the Nice Guy and the Jerk. Both blame the other.

“You ruin the women with your lack of commitment and unappreciative nature,” says the Nice Guy.

“You spoil the women with your endless listening ear and stupid caring attitude,” replies the Jerk.

The two endlessly war. Those on the sidelines have their own conclusions. One side says, “The Jerk is the way to go. Ceaseless sex! Evolution demands it.” The other side says, “The Nice Guy is the way to go. Glorious relationship! Society demands it.”

But the two still argue.

“You cause the women to think they are in control,” says the Jerk.

“Ahh, but you cause the women to think all men are scum,” replies the Nice Guy.

Is there not an end to the Nice Guy vs. Jerk debate? Are these the only choices?

The Cycle

The Nice Guy emerges. He is tenderized and wants to shout in every woman’s ear “I will not abuse you. I am sweet and good. Based on that alone you should date me.” When the Nice Guy talks to the girl on a date, *poof*, the date turns into Oprah. “Oh, my life has been SO downhill from here,” the Nice Guy whines. “My little girly car was slashed, I failed my classes, but because of you this day has been so much better.” Then the Nice Guy goes, “Let me tell you my life story. My birth was long, hard, and painful for my mother…” Our culture has become so feminized that the Nice Guy thinks it is proper to vomit his feelings and emotions all over the place. (It’s gross!) Women, rightfully, run for the hills when they hear your declarations of love.

The Metamorphosis comes. The Nice Guy eventually realizes what all the ladies want, becomes bitter, and changes himself into a Jerk. His goal now is to sleep with as many women as possible and figure out all the tricks and tactics to do so. He focuses on calculation rather then natural joy. When a woman comes, he pulls out a chart of all the ‘moves’ and ‘tactics’ with arrows and patterns. He unleashes his lap top, accesses a Lay Guide, and reviews his strategy. Time passes and once was fun becomes meaningless.

Back to being nice. He sees it now as turning on Nice Guy or turning on Jerk. “Why can’t I just be myself!?” he soon thunders at Reality.

Just be a Man! There is no need to reprogram yourself. You will have the interests you have, the hobbies you have, the body you have, but you can easily become a MAN. It is all simply in the way how you think and as you think you shall become.

But what is Man? Shall we have the answer? Here it is:

A Man is a guy who is not scared of his testosterone!

A Man follows the passion in his life. Passion of women? Of course not. A Man has goals and desires that goes above that of chasing chicks. After childhood, there are TRUE winners and losers in life. A Man desires to be the winner. A Man WANTS to win in what he does. Because of his passion, a Man can sometimes come off as arrogant and egotistical. He does not apologize for this or for his desires.

“It is your actions that cause the disgrace of Men,” says the Nice Guy.

“It is yours,” replies the Jerk.

No, gentlemen, the disgrace of men is in not embracing your true nature: following your passion and, thus, loving life. Women are to enhance your life, not to be your life. So to the Nice Guy, stop placing your happiness on getting a girlfriend. To the Jerk, quit wasting your life on seduction. Don’t SPEND your time chasing girls, INVEST it by putting it into your interests and desires, thus the whole of your life.

When you do this, all of a sudden you have what every woman wants: Ambition, charge, decisiveness, backbone, kindness, stableness, and confidence.

[…]

A Man,

-Does not go through life walking on eggshells.

Nice Guys think, “Does she like me? How do I get her to like me?” Good guys think, “Should I like her? Should I go for her?” The Good guy doesn’t think about the girl’s interest until they’re dating. The Good guy looks at all the girls and TAKES what he wants.

-Focuses on his dreams.

No, this does not include the chick. You must have passion for something in life, something you even want to do for the rest of your life. Your romantic life is an echo of your regular life.

-Does not apologize for his testosterone, for his desires.

“Oh, I am so sorry, ladies! I am afflicted with this disease known as M.A.L.E. It is natural for me to glance at you, your oh so curvaceous body. I am soooo sorry. Please, please FORGIVE ME!”

Would a WOMAN apologize for her feminine acts? So why should YOU apologize for your masculinity?

-Tries to always win in what he does. (After childhood, there are real winners and losers in life.)

Men build towers; women build webs. If you aren’t constructing your tower or aren’t even planning it, why should she cast her web at you? If you want worthy chicks, you, yourself, must strive to become worthy.

-Has deep convictions that allows him to be a possible leader.

This is crucial because one day you will become the leader of your own household. Yes, we talk of 50/50, of everything being equal, but Nature’s laws surpass that of Humans. Women naturally submit and nurture, Men naturally lead and provide.

If you were a woman, would YOU want a Nice Guy in charge of your household? Or would you want A MAN?

-Seeks to solve problems then to place blame.

If there is a problem, you solve it. You do not go, “Oh, BOO HOO! This was because of HIM.” A woman naturally wants a guy who deals with problems, not pass them along. (Would you want that in your woman? Of course not!)

-Sees failure as only a temporary set-back to the inevitable.

Statistically, you’re more likely to be REJECTED then to be ACCEPTED. So how do you become more and more accepted and have lots of girls? It is when you increase your trying so much that the acception rate satisfies you and you don’t notice the rejections.

Napoleon Hill’s book interviewing extremely successful people, these men of destiny did not let failure destroy them. Indeed, Napoleon concludes that Destiny puts out these trials and failures to TEST the men if they are proper and FIT for their role in shaping history.

-Knows where he is going in Life.

True seduction isn’t calculation or painful discipline, it is the same as with everything that makes a success: A Passion for Life.

-Never loses his passion, for that would be the death of his soul.

Nice Guys HATE bachelorhood. They HATE, HATE, HATE it sooo much. Some even wish for the old days of arranged marriages so they wouldn’t have to put up with all the games.

Jerks LOVE bachelorhood so much they can’t see anything else in life. While women love guys that can get women, jerks offer nothing worthwile long term wise.

Alas, the women always try to change the Jerk but never the Nice Guy. Why? Because a Man is STRENGTH and a Jerk displays strength on some level. Nice Guys never do.

-Never feels he has to prove himself to anyone.

Flowers, candy, poetry all can be good additions to a relationship, but so many nice guys use them to BUY the relationship as if they must prove themselves. They flood with the poor woman with gifts to show they mean it.

So away with the flowers, those dead plants as tokens of affection. Away with the choclate, the candy, and sweets, those sugary pursuits to purchase love. Away with the poety, those rotten verses of declarations of love. Away with the quest to prove YOURSELF and let her prove HERSELF to you for YOU are the Don Juan.

Be a Man! And with it, you will advance in your career, your social life, and even your dealings with women. Men are very rare these days so if you become one, you will be in HIGH demand. Your career will become better as people look at you as a leader. Life will re-develop before your eyes for you will obtain the most single quality that men, not trophy husbands, not nice guys, not tactful players, but men have a monopoly on: Respect.

YOU are the MAN! For if you don’t STAND for something, you shall FALL for everything!

So after reading this I decided to approach women the way I wanted to, and ended up creating my own style to truly became a man in my own right. I pull off hustles all the time and am always looking for more. And now as I go forward to the next stages of my life, I just remember the words, “As you think, you shall become…

You can get the Book of Pook here.

Read Next: Best Of The Manosphere: How To Un-Pickup Girls

(As always, feel free to suggest candidates for “Best Of The Manosphere” in the comments below.)