Book Review: The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do about It

Highly recommended and co-authored by Warren Farrell (author of The Myth of Male Power) and John Gray (author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do about It examines the reasons why boys and young men seem to be falling behind in academics, careers, relationships and overall purpose. The book offers solutions that could help male youth – and subsequently, everyone. In fact, some of these solutions could even be used practically in the realm of legal marketing.

The Boy Crisis begins by exploring how boys have fallen behind in falling grades, lower college attendance and graduation rates compared to previous generations, worse physical health, fewer job opportunities and lower economic mobility, not to mention higher divorce rates and less paternal involvement. The authors point out that boys aren’t prepared to succeed in life; society has shifted from an emphasis on muscle work to one on mental work. The authors argue an imbalance faced by boys regarding heroic intelligence vs. health intelligence. From an early age, society teaches young men to take care of others, not themselves. Over time, cultural pressures have increased males’ vulnerability to depression and suicide.

Many suffer from a purpose crisis. That is, they have no perceived purpose in their lives and don’t know what to do with their lives. The book suggests that helping boys rise to their potential will help girls and young women achieve theirs – that if one gender loses (or is held back), everyone loses.

The Boy Crisis stresses the importance of both parents being involved in the upbringing of our youth. The authors elaborate on how fathers are critical in helping their sons, through a variety of interactions, develop social skills and team-building, and learn how to move on after losses. This can be a challenge for parents who want to be involved with their children post-divorce but are limited by court decisions.

Despite financial, mental health and other circumstances, the book offers opportunities for development, such as vocational training, at an earlier age, and a variety of treatment options for those who struggle with mental health issues. These treatments vary from a few extra hours of sleep each night to herbal supplements to certain types of food to combat their ailments. The book encourage a cultural shift in the way society views mental health, so that the stigma is removed and people may be more inclined to seek the help they need.

The Boy Crisis focuses on building up boys and young men but has practical applications for those who work in legal marketing. It encourages readers to seek a better sense of their own self-worth, and to develop a sense of purpose. Having a better grasp on both would help legal marketers better navigate the waters at their firms and handle their day-to-day responsibilities as well as long-term opportunities. Consider changes in diet and develop healthier lifestyles. These lifestyles could include physical fitness activities regardless of athletic ability, but they might also include making time for friends and family, such as a dinner a couple times each week. The book also offers suggestions for getting involved in one’s community outside of work, methods for increasing one’s occupational potential, and simply looking beyond societal expectations and gender biases.

The Boy Crisis is a long read best consumed in small bites – and digested in small bites. It may even cause a paradigm shift for the reader, regarding the need to take care of male youth. The authors don’t intend chauvinism in their thinking, but equate boys’ well-being with girls’. And their suggested applications could easily get the reader’s wheels spinning on how to better take care of him/herself, especially in the midst of a fast-paced society and demanding work responsibilities.

By Adam Hopkins, Business and Marketing Coordinator, Reno & Cavanaugh PLLC

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