zenhabits : breathe

Things Every Man Should Own

By Leo Babauta

Many sites have created lists of things “every man should own”, coincidentally around the holiday shopping season.

A reader suggested I create a Zen Habits version of this list.

This list is definitive.

  1. Pen and notebook. For jotting down life lessons, and starting a novel.
  2. A library card. To read the Tao Te Ching, Anna Karenina, and Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind.
  3. A phone for calling friends, so you can spend time together. Email works too, and this can be done for free via the library internet computer.
  4. A set of clothes, plus another set to change into. Second set is optional.
  5. A tea cup. You can use any cup. Goodwill has some if you don’t own a cup.
  6. Soap. Hygiene is important.
  7. A gym membership, so you can have the satisfaction of canceling it when you decide to work out outside, doing bodyweight exercises, and going for hikes and runs with the abovementioned friends. Actually, the gym membership is optional.

As an aside, I think every woman should own these too.

Free Things Every Man Should Do

In addition, I have recommendations for things you should do without needing to own something:

  1. Meditate. You don’t need to own a cushion to do this. You can use a chair or couch, or do it outside for free.
  2. Learn self sufficiency. Stand on your own two feet, be content with yourself, know yourself. This will help when you get involved in a relationship with someone.
  3. Exercise or do something active outside.
  4. Practice compassion.
  5. Learn to cook simple, whole vegan food.
  6. Read often.
  7. Create every day.
  8. Learn something new. Practice often.
  9. Practice letting go of the ego.


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