Book review: The Daily Dad

The Daily Dad

Ryan Holiday


Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

My husband describes The Daily Dad as a “mentoring”, “Yoda” dad book.

This also seems to be the theme of Ryan Holiday’s blog and daily emailed newsletter but not his other books which are also of the inspirational variety, with stoicism as the central theme.

In The Daily Dad 366 Meditations on Fatherhood, Love and Raising Great Kids, Holiday collects fatherhood lessons, which he elaborates on using anecdotal examples, often of inspirational or famous people or as the jacket cover calls them “legends”.

The daily “meditations”, as the author calls it, are short −roughly 150 words each − and are grouped together under monthly themes, such as “love unconditionally”, “lessons in nurturing”, “lessons in gratitude”, etc.

My husband took an instant liking to the book and frequently reads from it.

According to his assessment, the book is about how to be aware of your fatherhood and yourself and your interaction with your children.

What I gleaned from the meditations I browsed through, the book is all about being an engaged parent.

In the introduction, Holiday waxes at length about how the styles of parenting have changed throughout history.

He is of the firm opinion that for modern parents to raise healthy, functioning, well-adjusted humans, they need to be constantly and lovingly engaging with their children.

The introduction states: “Think about how different history might have been if more parents had been parents. If [insert villain] had been raised better. If [insert greedy businessman] had been made to feel enough. If [insert heartbreaking victim] had been protected. If [insert anonymous nobody] had been equipped to fulfill their potential.

“If somebody had told [insert powerful person] they were proud of them.

“While we can’t change that traumatic past, we can write a better future. That’s the philosophy of this book.”