The Purpose of Boys

Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives

Gurian reveals how important purpose is for the success and happiness of boys and explains how a boy’s core personality, nature and genetic predisposition function to create both strengths and weaknesses in his journey towards maturity. A review of this book is available.

264 pages. ©2010.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted August 5, 2019


A great and positive book about boy development. I loved learning about the biological differences between male and female brains that correlate to some of the differences with their learning and life experiences. Geared strongly towards both parents and educators.


Review posted July 17, 2019


As a mother of three daughters I was concerned that as grandparent to 5 beautiful boys I might not be as supportive to their unique development need. The Purpose of Boys helped raise my awareness of the issues, and encourage my daughters and their husbands to read this book and open discussions about it. Michael Gurian does a great job defining the differences between the brains of boys and girls, citing research to back up his statements. He also gives parents great advice about how to capitalize on these differences to bring out the best in children. He reveals why boys need to have purpose without which they will get in trouble and discusses how we can help boys feel useful, develop purpose, and become successful men. This book is a must read for anyone who has, teaches, or mentors boys!


Review posted June 18, 2019


This book gave me some great insight into boys, some things I already knew. I found that raising boys can be easy if you just follow their cues.


Review posted May 15, 2019


The book The Purpose of Boys gives an overview into how the male brain develops. It discusses the search for finding meaning in the life of boys, helping them to find their purpose and promote the growth of strong adults. The book discusses the questions that one should ask to their sons to get them thinking about what makes a good man and many factors that contribute to this idea, such as brain development. The author does thorough research into this matter, with many statistics in just the first two chapters alone. The information presented makes the reader think about what makes a boy function and grow as well as what we as parents and educators can do in order to foster growth of young men. I appreciate the definition of the word “Heroic” in determining how to help foster the growth of a young boy. This book makes me think about the little things that can be done in my classroom with high school boys to encourage and foster healthy growth into respectable young men, to change the statistics in the beginning of the book. I believe that through reading this book, I have a better understanding of how to help, not only my young boy, but the high school-aged students that I work with as well.


Review posted May 4, 2019


It helped me to better understand boys


Review posted April 14, 2019


This book is written to be easily accessible, engaging and informative. It provides statistics, anecdotes and insight on our boys and is a great tool for building conversation.


Review posted April 2, 2019


Very informative and insightful book! I recommend this to anyone who has boys!


Review posted April 1, 2019


Good read very helpful to me as a single mom of a young boy. Do wish it talked a bit mire about possible anger or frustration of a younger boy though.


Review posted March 18, 2019


It's an interesting book about boys and how they get motivated to achieve goals in today's world. It distinguishes the difference between the genders (boys and girls) and how their brains operate in distinctive modes. An educational and inspiring read.


Review posted March 15, 2019


helpful look at socialization issues for young men


Review posted March 6, 2019


I found this book to be insightful in to how boys grow and develop. I have 3 sons and was constantly baffled and frustrated with how they seemed to be completely unmotivated. By changing how I interact with them and give them challenges they have started to really come into their own.


Review posted February 22, 2019


Fantastic! Every parent should ready this book!


Review posted January 26, 2019


I ordered this to not only read for home as I have a son that is 17, but also because I work with a population of at risk youth. I enjoyed having the ability to relay this information casually and add it naturally to discussions, whether small or big. I would recommend.

Patricia Jarrett

Review posted December 17, 2018


I really enjoy this book I wish I had read it when my son was younger, it’s simple and easy to understand.


Review posted December 10, 2018


A resource in helping one understand how to navigate boys toward their purpose physically, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. Working with young boys (middle school age) this was a very good book for opening my eyes, through scientific information.


Review posted October 6, 2018


Outstanding information! I thoroughly enjoyed the book.


Review posted August 22, 2018


Fascinating and useful information for anyone raising or working with children.


Review posted June 13, 2018


excellent resource!!


Review posted May 27, 2018


Probably my favorite book so far. Really useful information. I couldn't put it down!


Review posted May 2, 2018


Helpful for those who work with boys or have lots of boys that need support in their lives.


Review posted March 31, 2018


This book was so enlightening! It had me thinking on multiple levels, as a mother and as an educator! It was easy to read and had practical things that family members can do to help support and encourage the boys in their lives! I would highly recommend this book!


Review posted December 12, 2017


I loved this book, it helps me understand my son better, and communicate better with him.


Review posted November 12, 2017


While this book does provide insight into the needs of males as they mature into young men, the biblical/religious references were somewhat off-putting to me.


Review posted September 17, 2017


This was a great read to find how to help boys in education.


Review posted August 22, 2017


As a single mother, this book has helped me to understand some differences between male/female that I had not thought of before. This book will help me to continue being a great mom, but with a deeper understanding of my son's mind.


Review posted March 5, 2017


I found "The Purpose of Boys" to be a very relevant and timely read. Millennial boys are succeeding at a much lower rate than their female counterparts regardless of opportunity and socio-economic background. The statistics are troubling. Author Michael Gurian does an expert job explaining where, socially, things started going wrong for our boys and young men and follows up with relevant stories and statistics to explain what the current situation is. Most importantly, he provides the reader with an abundance of real-world solutions that are usable by most anyone; parent, educator, or religious leader. I will be using the information in this book to advocate for advancing public school programs to better address the needs of boys. One of the first steps has been to help parents and educators understand that there is a more immediate and acute problem than they may realize. Knowing real statistics that, for instance, for every 100 girls expelled from school 335 boys are expelled, is a powerful tool that Guarian's book provides. I will also be using the information in this book to provide for the needs of my own pre-teen son. There are some wonderful examples of conversations-starters and questions to ask myself and my son to understand what his individual needs might be. "Son, what brings you the most joy in life," and "What is most stressful or desperate in your life right now," or just "How do you want to help people?" are a few examples of things we forget to discuss. I typically don't give five-star reviews but, mostly due to the urgency of the topic, this book comes close. The only thing I struggled with was that there was a good deal of redundancy toward the end of the book. I would suggest using this book more as a text book or reference book than a cover-to-cover read focusing on the chapters and statistics that are most relevant to you.

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Review posted February 1, 2017


Michael Gurian's book is important for everyone to read, especially in light of current attention given to women's rights and equity. As Gurian points out, women outnumber men at every level of educational attainment. For every 100 women enrolled in college there are 77 men. The ratio for associate’s degrees is 100 women to 67 men; for bachelor’s degrees, 100 women to 73 men; and for masters' degrees, 100 women to 62 men. On the flip side, boys are diagnosed with learning disabilities or emotional disturbances 3 to 1 and are expelled from public schools at the same 3 to 1 ratio. Teenage boys outnumber girls in correctional facilities 8 to 1, and commit suicide 5 to 1. Clearly boys are struggling – across all socio-economic classes. But Gurian’s book doesn’t dwell on dire statistics. He explains the biochemical differences between boys and girls from research and science perspectives and provides tools and effective strategies for parents and the community to help guide boys to successful adulthood.


Review posted January 8, 2017


This book raises awareness to the need for our communities to meet young men where they are at and usher them into a new era of masculinity.


Review posted October 11, 2016


This book was a fast read with great information!!


Review posted May 29, 2016


I hesitated in ordering a book that proposes a gender based approach to guiding young boys. I think there is value in the recommendations of Gurian and his approach. There are many things I will put into practice from this informative book.


Review posted May 19, 2016


This book is very informative on how your son would act and how you should push them toward to be successful in life.


Review posted April 15, 2016


Extremely Helpful! I learned so much about how to help my son. Thank you


Review posted January 28, 2016


I did not love this book.


Review posted December 30, 2015


This is great information and good reading. It helps me consider the role of extended family and the community when it comes to raising up boys.


Review posted December 22, 2015


The first few chapters, that focus on development, were fascinating. It became a slow, tough read towards the end. I work with teenage boys and was hoping to gain insights. I did find my previously held perspectives affirmed. I would recommend.


Review posted December 16, 2015


Good book for those with sons :)


Review posted December 1, 2015


I got this book because I am the coordinator for a college and career readiness mentoring program who noticed that boys were reluctant to sign up and those that did, though they were engaged at first, had the tendency to drop out. I wanted to read a book that allowed me to see inside the minds of boys and know how to support them. As a coordinator looking for tips on how to reach boys the book's discussion questions were good in theory, but difficult to practice. The language is pretty easy to follow and all and all it is a decent book.


Review posted November 20, 2015


learned a lot about what boys need to have to succeed

Mr. Bizjak

Review posted November 4, 2015


Love, love this book! I read this book as part of our book study group. We learned so much about the nuances of boys.


Review posted November 2, 2015


This book really gave me an insight on how to properly raise a boy to become someone who has meaning in life and lives a life with direction.


Review posted September 29, 2015


This is a thoughtful and well-written book. It reinforces much of what we learned growing up, but often forget in our busy lives. I do recommend the book for anyone who has sons (or daughters for that matter!) or who works with kids.

Theresa Smith

Review posted September 9, 2015


This book is a must read for anyone that is raising boys (no matter what age). As a grandparent times have changed since I raised my children and it is important for me to educate myself as I have two grandchildren (boy and girl) and have a close relationship with them. I find they confide in me with questions and in order to relate to them I need to keep up on the world THEY are now living in from technology, schools, finances and the list goes on. Not only does the author do an excellent job explaining the differences between boys and girls but also creates a good undertstanding of the research and the science behind these differences. It also introduces the "three family concept" because now that in many families both parents are working...they need to realize and can benefit greatly from accepting the help of a family member (s) or mentor in guiding their boys as they navigate through life. This book would be a great "gift" for new and seasoned parents and grandparents as well...a fasinating read!


Review posted July 4, 2015


Useful book. It helped me to better understand teen boys I engage during community service.

Sarah Mae

Review posted March 15, 2015


This book is what I have been looking for to help my young son. It offers so much needed guidance.


Review posted February 4, 2015


The Purpose of Boys by Michael Gurian I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Portland a few years ago when Gurian was the keynote speaker. I purchased his book The Wonder of Boys at that time. An excellent read and resource. When I ordered the The Purpose of Boys I was excited to 'dig' in to it. It was not disappointing. The 10 Values, Rites of Passage, and information on the brain's gender differences were fascinating and applicable in today's culture. I am passing this book along to my daughter who is currently raising a 15 year old boy. My hope is that she can actively use this information in forming that wonderful boy into a wonderful man. As a therapist I gleaned a great deal of affirmation and information for my work with boys. I Highly recommend this read...

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Review posted December 30, 2014


The book -- the third I've read of Gurian's -- offers helpful ideas for building community around/for boys and gives really good questions that you can use in different settings, for boys as well as for the other adults in their lives. Thank you for making the title available through Select Books!!!