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30 Life Skills Every Man Should Know

A few dozen habits of highly effective humans.

From Bar Mitzvahs in Brooklyn to cliff jumping in the South Pacific, every culture has a ritual associated with the ascension to manhood. However your culture might proclaims you an adult male, there are some basic skills every man should master if they hope to realize the greatest possible contribution to society. To make it easier, we've broken these skills down into the categories that will likely dominate your adult life: Basic Life Skills, Work, Sex and Dating, and the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse. So read on — then check out the report that's changed thousands of lives: 100 Ways to Live to 100!


Choose Friends

Friends clinking drinks together

You don't get to pick your schoolmates or work associates. Most people you come into contact with in life are largely incidental. Whom you choose to stay in contact with is an accurate gauge of your ability to make character assessments.

Negotiate Major Purchases

couple buying a car

Whether it's a house, car, or big-screen tv, the ability to secure the best possible deal from a professional salesman is what separates the savvy from the suckers. For more winning details, learn How to Negotiate Anything and Win!

Play Poker

poker cards folded up in front of poker chips

You might have learned the basics of this game as a child, without ever knowing how deeply poker can help you hone many other basic life skills, including (but not limited to): risk assessment, the ability to read body language (while masking your own) and, most importantly, how to lose with dignity. Learn to play poker, and all of life is a game.


Couple cooking in kitchen together

You have actual food in your house? Good, you're a grown-up. Can't cook it yourself? Fail. You don't have to be a gourmet chef, but learn the basics. Know how to fix a decent cup of java, scramble eggs, cook a steak and steam vegetables. It's basic self-sufficiency, and will earn kudos when you entertain. Stock your kitchen with these 25 Foods That'll Keep You Young Forever!

Grocery Shopping

Man shopping in supermarket

Nothing screams, "I can't care for life's basic necessities" like a refrigerator full of condiments and half-empty takeout cartons. The ability to select and procure fresh produce and proteins is proof that you can sustain yourself.

Get a Good Night's Sleep

man sleeping in bed

Seven to nine hours of quality shuteye per evening is the prescription for adults. But most of us are getting 20% less sleep than our own parents' generation. Getting enough quality sleep is essential for health, quality of life and safety. Use 10 tried, tested and/or scientifically supported tactics to get some top-quality slumber tonight: 10 Tips for the Best Sleep of Your Life!

Perform CPR/ the Heimlich Maneuver

group learning how to perform CPR

Someone's choking or has stopped breathing. There's no doctor around. Don't just stand there impotent to help. Be a hero. Step up and save a life.


Write a Resume/CV

man working

Writing a CV can feel egotistical and entirely self-serving. But if you can't convince people why they should hire you just from words on a paper, why should they believe you can do the job you're applying for? Smart self-promotion is just one of these 25 Things Rich People Always Do!

Speak in Public

man giving presentation

There's a reason we love Tarantino-style monologues. Everyone loves a good orator. Learn to speak well in public, and you'll win the begrudging hearts of even your biggest competitors.

Ask for a Raise

man in a meeting

No one will ever offer you more than you think you're worth. If you're confident in the job you do, show it by having the balls to ask for what you deserve to earn. For inspiration, check out How the World's 15 Richest Men Got That Way!

Hire well

man reaching out for handshake

Possibly the most important work skill you can master, knowing how to assess the potential of a job applicant exhibits deep insight and perspicacity. Hire well, empower, then get the hell out of the way. Master these 4 Ways be a Better Boss!

Fire well

men having serious conversation at work

This may be the hardest thing you'll ever do in your work life. Respect that you're interrupting someone's ability to provide for themselves financially. Don't prolong the pain, preserve a person's dignity, and you'll be able to sleep with difficult decisions.


Men shaking hands in office building

Never wait until you've to be asked to leave. When your time has run its course, bow out gracefully–and on good terms–and you'll be positioned to take charge of the next phase of your life.



woman laughing with drink in her hand

Approaching and engaging a stranger in a way that makes them feel relaxed and accessible is a mark of civility and distinction. Don't talk about your confidence — demonstrate it by making others feel comfortable in your presence. The good news: It gets easier. Taht's one of the 40 Best Things About Being in Your 40s!

Pay a Compliment

man embrcing woman closeup

In an age when stalking, creeping and catcalling have sullied the ability to approach strangers, learn how to say something kind, genuine and playful—with no expectation of outcome—and you'll increase your opportunites by a factor of magnitude.

Pick up the Damn Phone

man looking at phone

You've got the number: Don't text, talk. It's too easy for words on a screen to be misconstrued. Take the initiative, then display your ability to perceive the complex and nuanced emotions that are conveyed through voice and breath. For inspiration on how to seem interesting, take some Best Life lessons from the 40 Coolest Celebs Over 40.


woman speaking into mans ear closeup

Too much of what passes for conversation is just waiting your turn to speak. People are dying to tell you about themselves, so pay attention. Dating is about discovery, and you'll learn everything you need to know about someone if you shut your yap and open your ears.


woman embracing man from behind

There is no substitute for witty repartee. Dazzle your love interest with your ability to respond astutely. Be informed and have opinions, but remember: the purpose of great conversation is not to win, but to charm, beguile, and delight. For some amazing conversation starters, get started on these incredible 50 Things You Must Do Before You Die!

Grammar and Punctuation

Man writing in notebook

Although texting has become a fixture of modern communication, unless you're Prince (and you're not Prince), if u typ lyk ths, or can't differentiate between "you're and your" and "they're and their," know that you will be judged accordingly.

Plan a Date

woman getting ready while man seduces

Congrats! Your courage and savoir-faire have gotten you a date. Now prove you're deserving by making it memorable. Apply what you learned from having listened carefully, and engage in a way that not only entertains but allows you to authentically connect. It's one of these Secrets of the Best Relationships.


couple dacning outside

Few things will give a better indication of your ability betwixt the sheets than your dexterity on the dance floor. Don't show off or (god forbid) break dance; just demonstrate that you've got a sense of rhythm, the ability to match your partner's movements and maintain eye contact.

Mix a drink

closeup of brown liquor cocktail

You don't have to be a sommelier, but the ability to craft classic cocktails shows that you bring a level of sophistication to everything that's about to happen. Make them one of these 20 Cocktails Every Man Should Know How to Make!


couple having sex

You've flirted, dated and conversed, but screw up the kiss, and it was all in vain. It's a singular moment in time that may set the tone for everything that comes next. Masterfully mix confidence, gentility, responsiveness, assertiveness and skill, and maybe, just maybe, you'll get a second date.


couple in bed

In addition to (and more important than) the playful time you spend exploring each other before sex, foreplay is everything you do all day to stimulate someone's thoughts. The most erotic things happen in the mind first; mental stimulation, given time to marinate, will manifest physically.

End a relationship

sad couple hugging

It doesn't matter why it's ending. End it kindly and definitively. Don't fade, don't ghost and don't leave someone wondering what happened. Have the decency to make a clean break, and keep your good dating karma.


Find/Purity Water

filling glass with water at water cooler closeup

Humans can go weeks without food but will die of thirst in days. After fighting off (or running from) the undead, the ability to find or purify water may be the key to survival.

Make Fire

man cooking with campfire

Humans have had the ability to make fire for 3 million years; why can't you? Without electricity to provide light, heat and the ability to cook, after water, fire is your next priority. (Wouldn't hurt to practice making this Ultimate Burger Recipe.)


man cutting fish open outside

With supermarkets gone, you'll need to acquire foodstuffs the way your ancient ancestors did: By catching and killing it yourself. You'll need to know how to gut and scale fish, and how to humanely slaughter then butcher an animal. Not for the squeamish, but neither is starving to death.

Work the Grill

man grilling

You've made fire. You've secured protein. Unless you're a sushi chef, you'll need to cook your food if you expect it to last for more than a day. (Until the apocalypse, enjoy the 50 Best Steakhouses in America.)


person planting

You've got food and water, and you've managed to keep the zombie hordes at bay. Want to create something sustainable? Plant things. Agriculture is what allowed humans to transition from being nomads to city dwellers. Put all those hours you spent playing FarmVille to use; go rebuild society!