Lewis Howes: The Mask of Masculinity Book Summary





Lewis Howes calls into question the idea of masculinity in our society. He says it’s not really working well for men. They underperform at home, at school, have poorer social skills and commit nearly 90% of the homicides. At the same time, they are also 6 times more likely to commit suicide and much less likely to ask for help compared to women.
Masculinity is clearly failing men, Lewis seems to point out.

Removing the masks will make you happier, better and more successful, Lewis says.
So let’s start to see what these masks of masculinity are:

  1. The Stoic Mask

The stoic mask is possibly the most common and pervasive in our society. Putting on the stoic mask the man pretends he has little or no emotions.

Lewis Howes says that ridding yourself of the stoic mask will give you emotional freedom, deeper permissions and, lo and behold, the power of feeling those emotions again.

  1. The Athlete Mask

As a former athlete himself, Lewis Howes knows this one very well.

He says that some men equate being great at sports as being great at being a man. They will force themselves through pain and injuries just to prove their worth and will spend hours and hours practicing or in the gym.

  1. The Material Mask

Men wearing the material mask will measure their worth by their… Net worth. Bank account statements, cars, luxury items and, these days, social media buzz as well.

Lewis Howes says that when we manage to drop this mask we will finally meet people who like us for who we are instead than for what we have. And we’ll find peace and gratitude.

  1. The Sexual Mask

This man proves his worth with sexual conquests. His value is the number of women he has been with. Relationships are for suckers, he thinks, a real man doesn’t need that safety. A real man loves and moves on.

The sexually masked man needs the next hook up to feel good. And he’ll always be tense and and hungry until, for a fleeting moment, he feels satisfied again after that next conquest.
And then, shortly after, the cycle begins again.

A man who manages to drop his sexual mask will finally find inner peace and he will finally be able to enjoy deeper relationships.

  1. The Aggressive Mask

The author say that some men will think going after what they want with full disregard of anyone else is a male trait that makes them strong and mannish. Men wearing the aggressive mask will often get into arguments and fights.

Lewis Howes says these men think it’s ok to have enemies and to hate.

And actually I might go even further. Some of these men base their own worth on having enemies and hating people. One of the mottos of Benito Mussolini’s fascism was “many enemies, much honor”.


The aggressive mask will have men always tense and restless. They never allow themselves to forgive and move on. Moving beyond this mask will finally give men emotional stability and control and a more enjoyable, more peaceful life.

  1. The Joker Mask

This is the man who has laughs at his problems and uses cynicism and jokes to show his tough, hyper-realist attitude. It’s also a way to show his superiority.
Do you want to talk about problems? Sure Dr. Shrink, lemme just recline this chair and you can start fiddling your thumbs in the meanwhile.

The problem with the joker mask, says Lewis, is that it become an avoidance tool to move away from the uncomfortable emotions.

When you drop this mask, Lewis says, people will finally take you more seriously and, similarly for all other masks, you’ll be able to establish deeper human connections.

  1. The Invincible Mask

The man with the invincible mask fears nothing. He’s a daredevil with little regards for the consequence of his actions and he “lives life to the fullest”.
The bigger the risks, the more his chances of proving his manhood (and one of the reasons why men die younger).


Lewis says it’s ok instead to admit our fears and not do something we don’t want to do. Once we drop the invincible mask our self esteem will go up because we won’t have to feel bad about what we fear and avoid. And we’ll get permission to just being instead of proving our mettle with doing.

  1. The ‘Know-It-All’ Mask

The know it all man must have all the answers and know what to do at any time. This man feels like not knowing is weakness, and that cannot be tolerated.

Men wearing this mask are more prone in “proving” their knowledge than in learning, which will leave them at a huge disadvantage when it comes to growing and learning. This is also one of the worst kinds of fixed mindset.
As Lewis says, everyone knows a few things more than you do, and if you learn from them instead of proving your knowledge, you will progressively become a better and better man.

Dropping this mask will finally allow you to grow, but will also make other people like you more and develop stronger relationships. Because, frankly, nobody likes a know it all.

  1. The Alpha Mask

The alpha mask means a man must win and dominate at anything he takes part in. As the Internet population shows all too well, many men believe there are “alphas and betas”. You can’t be both.
This is similar to what Brene Brown terms in Daring Greatly as “viking mentality”. A viking, similar to the Alpha Male, sees the world as split between winners and losers.


Lewis says Alpha type are not even about getting what they want, they’re about the illusion of winning and feeling in control. Which makes them weak and easy to manipulate.
You might think you’re the big alpha male but you’re actually profoundly weak, he says.

Alpha male can hardly connect with others and dropping this mask will make great things for you. It will help you to create win-win resolutions and make others feel better.








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