Justin Baldoni Reveals New Book ‘Undefining’ His Masculinity (Preorder!)

We’re excited to announce that our Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Justin Baldoni, has written a new book called, Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity. A bold and transparent personal story, Man Enough’s key message encourages men to unpack the expectations of traditionally defined masculinity, and dive deeper into who they are at their core, while encouraging all of us to be brave enough to believe that who we are, as we are, is enough.


Partnered with Los Angeles Black-owned independent bookshop, Eso Won Books, the book invites us to move beyond the scripts we’ve learned since childhood and the roles we are expected to play. Justin challenges men to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to be strong enough to be sensitive, to be confident enough to listen. Encouraging men to dig deep within themselves, Justin helps us reimagine what it means to be man enough and in the process what it means to be human.

Justin Baldoni is a devoted husband, father of two, and Bahá’í. He is an actor, director, producer, and the co-founder and co-chair of both Wayfarer Studios and the Wayfarer Foundation. Over the last ten years, Justin has been on a journey to explore masculinity and reimagine what it means to be a man—what it means to be a human—in the world today. He has spoken about his journey with masculinity in his wildly popular TED talk, and his digital series “Man Enough”, as well as on college campuses across America.


See the book cover reveal below!

Nervous New Father: Becoming the Dad You Never Had, Spit Rags & All

The closer a man gets to becoming a new father, the clearer it becomes: This is not going to go as planned.

Times have changed, and so has fatherhood. What worked in the past is potentially a blueprint for disaster in the years to come, even if you had a great childhood. So how does a new daddy-in-training quell the nervousness of 21st-century fatherhood when it’s impossible to use the past as a how-to guide?

No matter how good of a dad you had, there’s no repeating it, no matter how hard you try. Yes, some learned habits and cherished traditions will live on, but they will appear across a completely different landscape. Imagine spreading peanut butter on a slice of 30-year-old bread — the basic structure is there, but it’s not going to end well. It’s time to get yourself a new loaf. Maybe it’s full of gluten, or maybe it has cinnamon and raisins or something really cool you didn’t even know could be in bread, but at least now you have the opportunity to decide for yourself.

You start to see this doesn’t have to be the same, rather you can be the dad you always wanted to have, even if the old one was perfectly fine. Because there’s no one kind of dad that’s right or perfect. Each new dad has to find his own way, and it likely involves a nuanced approach to adapting as you go, embracing the past without being too rigid, staying open to possibility and unpredictability and, most importantly, not taking yourself too seriously.

And definitely remembering to carry a spit-up rag, no matter what the age.

Embracing to and Adapting the Past

Every great book that gets a movie seems like a good idea at first, but as we know, the movie rarely follows the exact path as the original pages. That doesn’t mean it can’t be unique or great, but it does require a little creativity, loosening your grip on the wheel and riding a little closer than comfort to the guardrails.

Great childhood moments never die off, but they do get harder to find as they change with time, some enough that they become unrecognizable. Pottytraining in the kitchen while everyone eats their green beans, little league games and missing front teeth — that’s all par for the course. But some of your fondest memories might be less ubiquitous today.

Newer doesn’t always mean better, just different. I can remember washing and waxing our ’53 Chevy in the warm Saturday mornings, going to car shows and sipping lemonade in my little jean shorts and a t-shirt with an embroidered bear on it, a kelly green trucker hat shielding my ears and velcro keeping my shoes on my feet. While trucker hats and velcro may be coming back around in the fashion cycle, the rest seems a distant past, another lifetime.

But if you look closely, some things still hold today — my father’s unwavering support, interest in my life and desire to spend time with me. I can’t remember the last time we went fishing in the woods, fired up that old Chevy engine and went to get ice cream to spoil our dinner. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I had ice cream made from an actual cow, but when you break down the specifics of those places we went and things we did, you can see what’s at the heart. And those are things you can keep close and keep going for lifetimes.

That’s what good fathers do. They take the things they had with their father and they adapt them to their lives today. It may not be antique cars and fishing on a lake, but there’s a quality of growing together as a father and son. It can’t be so rigid as to attempt to replicate a great childhood or control a repeat of a bad one, but you can create a world for your child that is unique and special if you so choose.

Creating a World of Possibility

There’s something to be said about the uncertainty of parenting that we get ideas about how it should go stuck in our heads. If we’ve learned nothing else about this year, it’s the certainty of uncertainty.

The reality is you’re likely to spend all of your time reacting to what’s happening and getting exhausted in the process, a neverending parade of puke and other bodily fluids like a fountain that has no plug to yank from the wall. But that shouldn’t stop you from keeping it special in between. Pillow forts and sandcastles, they’re building blocks for creating unique worlds, and they teach about adventure, originality and the impermanence of life.

Like any good book, there’s limitless possibilities. As a father, it’s your job to teach your kids about boundaries and when to break through them. And that there’s nothing the imagination can’t grasp if you put your mind and your heart to it.

Never Taking Yourself Too Seriously

Most men spend their entire lives trying to be cool enough, smart enough, tough enough and man enough. Many of our fathers did a decent job instilling the confidence in us we needed, but many of us were also misled. What it means to be man enough is changing and maturing with time, but something very important to keep in mind is that you don’t have to be tough enough or cool enough for your kid. You can be your genuine self, and you can show them it’s OK for them to be, too.

By letting your guard down and showing them it’s not only OK to cry, to be sad, to be silly, to have bad days, to be different, to be weird, to follow their heart, but that it’s exceptional and appreciated. By dressing how you want, no matter what people may think, by leading with example, you create a safe and special place for them.

We spend so much time taking ourselves too seriously, we forget the playfulness of life. Kids are here to remind us of that, and they’ll teach us more than we could ever teach them. But by never taking ourselves too seriously — our work, sure, but not ourselves — we show them they don’t have to take themselves too seriously, giving them the opportunity to freely become who they want to be.

And in the end, we can look to our fathers and appreciate the world they created for us as we pass along the great tradition of fatherhood, spit rags and all.

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Dear Me: Mailing Yourself a Letter Will Hold You Accountable Someday

In a year when transformation appears inevitable but we’re mostly alone with our progress bars, who better to hold us accountable than…ourselves?

For all the bright-eyed optimists who have become less and less vigilant as the inexhaustible exhaustion of this year continues to permeate through endless, unpredictable events and anxieties, there’s still some small shred of hopeful light piercing through into this narrow hallway that is the end of the year, and it’s saying it’s not too late to start to make a change. It’s never too late, especially when it comes to change, transformative or otherwise.

Life After Quarantine: Who Will You Be When We See You Again?

But how do we hold ourselves accountable when all we want to do is face plant on the sofa and call it a year? We’d much rather take our chips, walk ourselves home and wake up to Christmas morning, or better yet, a total do-over called 2021. But if we’ve learned anything from history, this year especially, it’s that the deepest lows and the hardest years leave a space at the end for a happy ending.

And it can be as simple as picking up a pen.

Dear, Me & the Blank Page

Most of us would rather sit back and wait for the positive change to come to us. But imagine being this “change” and how difficult it must be to find you [enter empathy]. It can’t be easy with all the lockdowns, social distancing and face planting you’re doing into your couch. No, we must not only be looking for change but actively seeking it. Only then can we recognize it.

But how do we know the change we need? Self-awareness, dear friend.

The end of any year is marvelous time for self-evaluation. Think about it. You get reviews at work, you hear about gratitude around the Thanksgiving table that makes you think about what you have (and what you’re missing). It’s the end of a year-long experiment and the cusp of a new one, a chance to do better, to be better.

So you’re going to mail yourself a letter, and you’re going to do it today.

“Why?” you ask.

Because we said so, but only because we’re looking out for you, and we also have some boundary issues (but that’s for our letter to ourselves another day).

A personal letter, handwritten, in your penmanship. It greets you and hopes you are well. You skip over the intervention for all the bad habits you picked up in your unpolished quarantine and head straight to the point. You have a goal in mind for yourself, a change you wish to see, and a date by which you wish to attain it. It seems a bit insurmountable like it’s a lot to bite off, a big pill to swallow. And it’s not something you can do in a single swoop. It’ll take planning, but if you can pull it off (refreshing gasp of air), boy, will it be worth it!

The letter is signed, leaves a PS for a Happy New Year and a few less Christmas cookies moving forward, dated and sealed. You mail it to yourself, and when it arrives, you tuck it away in a safe space. You make a plan, you gather supplies and you begin.

Now you know somebody is watching you, and it’s time to get to work. (no, not the government…well, maybe).

Making Ends Meet

The way you go about your life may seem chaotic and disorderly, but there’s routine in it. At some point each year, I find myself going through old photos, cleaning out the drawers and thinning out the stack of letters on my desk. And in time, you will find this letter you wrote to yourself. It may have been six months or a year, or maybe a lifetime has passed you by.

My, how things fall through the cracks!

Inside your letter is a reminder about some weird year where you sprayed disinfectant on your groceries and wrote letters to people in Georgia begging them to vote. It’s all a little fuzzy, except the part about too many holiday sweets and the other about a change you were seeking in your life.

Look around you. Did it find you? Or did you find it? How long did it take or was it there all along? In the grand scheme, was it as important as you thought it was, or do you see now everything you ever needed was right inside of you?

Sometimes all we need is a little motivation to get from one place to the next, to make our ends meet and come full circle into who we were meant to be and who we’ve been all along. The letter, a contract with yourself, is a reminder to chase after what makes you happy, what makes you…you.

But if nothing else, it’s always nice to get mail.

Cover: Sanja Baljkas (Getty)

Watch Your Mouth: Being Impeccable With Your Words Earns You Respect

A man is only as good as his word, but these days, that doesn’t seem to carry much weight. Everything appears as a meme, criticism or an empty promise. So if you can’t trust a man at his word, what can you trust?

“Your word is the power you have to create. It is through your word that you manifest everything,”
-Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

What is a man’s word? Is it some ancient tradition that all men are incapable of dishonoring? Or does it casually preface swearing on our mothers’ lives and spit-shaking an agreement?

In the beginning, all we had were words. But now we’ve created such intricate systems that allow us to use them in new and exciting ways, as if books and conversations got too boring for everyone. Now we find ourselves turbo-titillated with infinite avenues to exchange ideas — texting, emailing, zooming and — heaven forbid — calling one another.

We don’t use words the same way we did 20 years ago. Every conversation has a funny tweet or GIF attached to it, something to let us off the hook from having any kind of sincere interaction. And yet, words are still everywhere, and they still have so much power. But as we all know, power can corrupt, and many people are more than happy to use their words however they must in order to grasp that power. But with that, words lose their weight, their purpose, their meaning.

Knowing that, how can we trust any man’s word again?

We begin by learning to being impeccable with our words, learning to speak rather than make sounds, which allows us to spot the difference between the force that is words versus fraud. We practice restraint and using words only for good and not for attention. Only then can we earn each other’s respect and begin to trust one another again. And the power we get from that respect is a different kind of power.

It’s good power, and it can spread rampant positive change like wildfire.

Speak, Don’t Just Make Sounds

Most conversations you encounter, especially in a social setting, feel like a competition. Everyone is so cracked out on their own ideas that they can’t wait to share that most people don’t stop to soak up the wisdom others have to impart. It’s one person one-upping another person who gets one-upped by the next. It’s like living inside of a movie you’d never pay to go see.

It’s not a competition, in case that wasn’t clear. Conversations can be entertaining, but they needn’t be gossip, which is a controlling force of so many conversations. The act of ripping one another apart or seeing who can get the most likes on a comment. What does making yourself feel better by using your words to hurt another do to your words? It hollows them.

What things do you text your friends that you’d bite your tongue on if you were there in person? What would you say to someone next to you in traffic if you weren’t flipping them the bird? How would you respond to someone asking how you were if they looked you straight in the eyes?

Words do mean something. In some ways, they’re everything.

It is said you can attain the kingdom of Heaven with the impeccability of your words.

So how will you change how you speak?

Show a Little Restraint

In high school, my closest friend was named Drew, and my mother constantly asked me why I couldn’t be more like him. I used to crack jokes, argue my point when it was never asked for and mostly just spoke to hear myself make sounds. But Drew withheld his words until the right time. His restraint is unimaginable, and what comes out of his mouth is always classic, genuine or thoughtful. To this day, I’ve never met anybody with such a discipline for his words.

So instead of talking just to get your fair share of conversation, maybe sit back and listen to what people are saying. Notice the patterns, the wisdom, the absurdities and at the appropriate time, you can insert a bit of objectivity — a little golden nugget of truth.

The Art of Powerful Conversations

Powerful conversations have eye contact. They do not have brightly-lit screens between them.

Powerful conversations have as much listening as they do talking, if not more. They are not spaces for you to fill up with your words, so many that nothing of value can be taken away by the end.

Powerful conversations are the start of bigger and more powerful conversations. They are not just something to pass the day. If you go to bed having learned nothing that day, you’re not having powerful conversations.

Powerful conversations have intelligent thoughts, observations, and a spark of curiosity. They help us learn more, understand one another, make each other feel better and show signs of gratitude.

Gain Respect By Being Powerful With Your Words

It is by not speaking when people expect us to speak that we gain their respect. It’s by not going for the easy joke, not plucking the low-hanging fruit that we show respect to others with our words. A lack of words shows respect. Carefully chosen words show respect. The more respect you put out in the world, the more you’ll get back. As the call, so the echo.

And that is the power of a man’s word. It’s honest, it’s trustworthy and its power is not meant to corrupt.

What will you do with your words today? How will you change the way you speak this week? Who will you engage with meaningful ideas, and how will you show restraint?

This is a Man Enough challenge if we ever saw one.

Cover: Prostock-studio (Envato Elements)

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Stopping For Directions: The Road to Empathy & Moving Forward Together

Asking for directions has never been the strongest suit of men. It’s not the directions themselves, rather the presumption that we need help and have to ask it. Like we’re admitting defeat.

And yet, we’re more than happy to forego any help and instead scour the backcountry in search of previously undiscovered roads that not only lead the way but are faster than ever before, only to wind up in a ditch in the middle of God knows where. We would much rather miss completely and show up late, if at all, than to simply and quickly ask for a sign that we’re on the right path.

Surely, this doesn’t apply to all men, but for the sake of this argument, it sort of does.

Where we are now at this moment in time is a clear sign we’ve gone well off the beaten path, and it’s high time to reach out, if we’re ever going to get anywhere, if ever we will move forward together. And it starts with a little thing called empathy.

That word sure sounds familiar, but what is empathy really?

Simply, empathy is an attempt to understand another person’s circumstances. In a time when people have never felt more apart, it’s harder and harder to have the sensibility to put ourselves in each other’s shoes, even for a moment. Empathy is narrowly defined, and many people mistake it for sympathy, but it’s easy to confuse the two feelings. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else’s place in this world, but even more, feeling grateful not to be them. But empathy is to embody their experience, the emotions that ensue and to share a moment of their pain to better understand them.

It’s rare, mostly because we don’t make time for ourselves, let alone people we barely know.

Negatively Rewires the Brain in a Bad Way (But Gratitude Brings It Back)

The division that exists right now in America, along with the rest of the world, is a gap so wide and so deep it almost appears impossible to see to the other side. So how do we bridge the canyon and cross the rivers that separate us? Empathy.

And here’s how.

Meet Your Neighbor

Whether you’re stuck at home or not, everyone should know their neighbor. They’re the safety raft when your kitchen’s on fire, your security blanket when you go to bed. Knowing your neighbor, whether next door or down the road, is about creating a community of shared ideas but also opening yourself up to new ones. Don’t just greet your neighbor, meet them where they’re at in their lives in that moment. Embrace them (once it’s safe) but in a larger sense, embrace what they offer daily as they pass through your life.

Belong to Something Bigger Than Yourself

Whatever it is — a team, a cause, a fellowship — being apart of something bigger than yourself shows you you’re not the bright shiny object the entire world revolves around. Especially in the case of a good cause, you’ll learn how the rest of the world lives, the struggles they endure that you take for granted, and you’ll have an appreciation for the basic givens of your life. You’ll learn teamwork, hard work, striving for something with people who are passionate about it, too, and in a sense, you’ll quickly find we’re not so different at our core.

Sometimes that’s all we need — a reminder that we’re a single entity and that when one part of the body is hurting or sick, the whole enterprise is ill. All the more reason to come together for the right reasons.

Image: twenty20photos (Envato)
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Staying inside your bubble, outside the context of pandemics, is not going to teach you a damn thing about how the other half lives. By continuing the same routines in the same places with the same people and never branching out, you’re not going to find much diversity in your life if it’s always the same. Surprise yourself with someplace new, doing something you never thought you’d try, trying foreign cuisines, learning how they get and make their food, and not only will you have a new experience to excite your life, you’ll have a little perspective, any viewpoint that’s different than the one you walk around with every day.

By traveling to new places where you don’t speak the language and engaging with groups of people you’ve never met before, you learn to communicate in new ways, which in a sense is the universal language — love.

Be Here Now

When you’re communicating with people — doesn’t matter if it’s FaceTime, Zoom, or in-person — give them everything you’ve got.

Even if only for a minute, your full attention carries so much weight. By being present, you can feel the energy people put off, whether they mean it when they say things are well or if they need someone to see them and recognize them for a moment. When you hug, really embrace them. When they speak, really listen. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Just be completely there.

Ditch the phone, look them in the eye when they talk and be there for them. These are the kinds of things great conversations are made of. People appreciate it, and you’d be amazed at what they’ll say if they think someone is really listening.

In The Rearview: The Bigger the Curse, The Bigger the Blessing
Follow People of Different Backgrounds on Social

If you can’t stay off your phone, at least do something useful with the damn thing to better yourself. Don’t just surround yourself with good people when you’re out, make yourself aware of what other groups of people are up to, what excites them, in what ways they’re creative and which parts of their heritage they celebrate. Culture yourself, connect with people you may never otherwise have the chance to and see what it does to your view of the world, your creativity and your appreciation for where you are in your life.

Bill Burr said it best when he said every group of people has a little bit of information all the others don’t have, and we can all just get together, we’ve got it made. You’ve got to learn to embrace others, let them in and the more you understand where they’re at, the easier it is to step into their shoes.

The Challenge

Walk around in someone else’s shoes for once, even if just for a few minutes.

What do the insides of their shoes look like? Are they worn down because their parents can’t afford new ones? What’s the shirt on their back feel like? What struggles are they enduring on a daily basis? If they’re Black, do they have to be careful about how to dress in certain places? If they’re Indian, do people make fun of them for talking differently? If they’re a woman, do men stare them down without ever looking them in the eyes? Do you feel safe in those shoes?

The more we understand what each other are going through, the clearer the path is to empathy. And once we meet each other there, we can move on, and we can do it together.

Just don’t be afraid to ask for directions.

Cover: ivankmit (Envato Elements)

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Man Enough Movies: 10 Modern Films Accurately Addressing Toxic Masculinity

Whether it’s subtle like the casual racism of Get Out or the in-your-face obscenities of The Wolf of Wall Street, the halls of movie history are heavily peppered with toxic masculinity. As many classic films display unhealthy behavior that we’re now more aware of today, many modern films are going out of their way to address the phenomenon in a very open and honest way.

Big Man, Tiny Habits: Your Vote Is Bigger Than You Can Imagine

Within the last few years alone, these movies contribute to the bucking of the toxic trend, as a majority of them have been awarded for not only capturing the essence of modern manhood but doing so in a way that addresses its history and its absurdity while definitely offering a wide glimmer of hope that men have at changing its trajectory.

Marriage Story

An honest take on the flip side of marital bliss, Adam Driver gave one of his best performances as a man who is at first deep in love and before long deep in anxiety and bitterness. The film offers a genuine dialogue for the tumultuousness of marriage, as opposed to the usual love stories we get in cinema.

Ad Astra

Brad Pitt goes a long way — all the way to Neptune actually — to make things right with his long-lost father. The simplicity of a story about a man who was abandoned by his father and now has commitment issues of his own is something far more common than we realize, and yet the movie strikes a chord of originality.

The Irishman

Our most classic actors — Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci — gather one last time under classic director Martin Scorsese in an ode to old school Irish mobsters in yet another classic crime drama, dropping De Niro’s fictional character into the toxic history of Jimmy Hoffa and his Pennsylvania crime family, the epitome of toxic masculinity.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Men have long been persuaded by the allure of fame and fortune, and there is no better story than Leo’s Jordan Belfort, a mild-mannered hard worker who goes from entry-level broker to a money-hungry monster. Another Scorsese epic, the film shows the bottomless appetite that greed gives a man, and in the end when the jig is up, Belfort’s stubborn refusal to give up his empire is the end of him.


Todd Phillips gave comic book fans a different take on one of its most beloved villains. Separating itself from the origins we’re used to, Joaquin Phoenix showed us what treating someone poorly can do to a man’s fragile ego, the results of which can breed toxicity in ways we never imagined possible.


Although bizarre and disturbing, the very original overseas adventure takes us to the backwoods of Sweden for the fabled midsummer festival, but as the characters grow more tempted individually, the story grows more violent and strange. At the center is a young girl, whose boyfriend can’t help himself, a story as old as time.

Cruel Intentions

The most elite of high school dramas, this 20-year-old teen classic breathes modern into caste systems we sometimes choose to ignore. Ryan Phillippe plays Sebastian, the manipulative womanizer who wagers on the virginity of an innocent with his somewhat incestuous stepsister. The movie offers glimpses into what real love may be, only to squash it with toxic judgment for showing feelings.

Get Out

Boy meets girl, girl likes boy and boy meets girl’s quietly racist family. Essentially Father of the Bride with a few twists, Jordan Peele creates a horror experience for white men that Black men likely deal with routinely. A stark insight into what it’s like to have empathy for a race that has been historically treated as less than, the film is amazing at delivering horror in a casually subtle manner.

The Social Network

Before there were social media platforms running our lives, there were the bitter young men busy creating it. Jesse Eisenberg plays a young Mark Zuckerberg who shows off his charming sociopathic tendencies by creating a monster and cutting everyone out around him who helped. As far as entrepreneurial billionaires with no sense of decency for equality or privacy, well, let’s just say there’s plenty of room for a sequel.

How You Spend Your Time Is Who You Really Are (So Who Are You?)
Cover: Warner Bros.

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