No More Mr. Nice Guy: Chapter Analysis

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Are you looking for an analysis of the chapters from No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover? What can you learn from this book?

Dr. Robert Glover’s self-help book involves his step-by-step method that claims to increase confidence and reduce insecurity in men. Each chapter of No More Mr. Nice Guy contains Dr. Robert Glover’s advice for improving your life in many different areas, including your relationships, career, and mental health.

Here’s an analysis of all the No More Mr. Nice Guy chapters to help you better understand the book.

No More Mr. Nice Guy: Chapters

Our No More Mr. Nice Guy chapters list includes an analysis of each chapter from the book and the key ideas discussed:

Chapter 1: The Nice Guy Syndrome

In the face of struggle, dissatisfied men use the tactic they know best: Be nice. However, according to Glover, “being nice” rarely yields the desired outcome, and Nice Guys’ insecurities frequently emerge as passive-aggressive or dishonest behavior. Their repetitive, ineffective approach to life leads to unsatisfying intimate relationships, bitterness, and disappointment. We’ll explore the intricacies of Nice Guy behavior, and its consequences, later in this guide.

So, how can Nice Guys improve their lives? According to Glover, the key is to become an Ideal Man. The Ideal Man is—above all—self-accepting. Unlike the Nice Guy, he’s secure in his self-image, masculinity, and sexuality. This allows him to live the life he wants.

Glover stresses that in their frustration with life, Nice Guys are often far from nice. Their indirect and avoidant nature results in an angry cycle of self-victimization: 

Nice Guy does something to appear nice → He stews in silent resentment when things don’t go his way → Unable to contain his anger any longer, he lashes out 

Overall, this cycle of repression, self-pity, and fear brings out Nice Guys’ undesirable characteristics, such as dishonesty and manipulation.

According to Glover, the Nice Guy’s misguided actions are driven by the following mindset:

Conceal your true self → Be who others want you to be → Have a perfect, fulfilling life

Chapter 2: The Making Of a Nice Guy

Where does this inaccurate life approach come from? Glover says it stems from a boy learning—explicitly or implicitly from his parents—that he must be “good” to be loved. This belief is the result of a vicious sequence of abandonment, shame, and self-doubt:

Abandonment: Glover begins with the fact that a child is completely dependent on his parents. This—along with the childish belief that the world revolves around him—causes the boy to interpret all forms of inattention or neglect as abandonment, which he fears and blames himself for.

Shame: Glover continues by noting that if a boy feels he’s at fault for his abandonment, he’ll eventually believe there’s something wrong with him. From there, he’ll try to change himself to gain his parents’ attention. These self-loathing beliefs are called toxic shame

Self-Doubt: Finally, Glover discusses what happens when a child internalizes his toxic shame:  He experiences self-doubt and adopts defense strategies to ward it off. Glover says budding Nice Guys center their coping mechanisms around gaining approval.

Chapter 3: Learn to Please the Only Person Who Really Matters

Whether people-pleasing or caring for everyone but themselves, Nice Guys live their life for everyone but themselves.
They seek external validation: Glover says that Nice Guys use attachments, or external signifiers, to win others’ approval and become “good” in their eyes. Attachments are behaviors, traits, or things you “attach” to your personal value (like always being the first among your friends to own the newest iPhone). Nice Guys don’t value or do these things for themselves but for the sake of others.

Due to this skewed belief, Glover says Nice Guys lean on a form of manipulation called covert contracts to meet their needs. These are unspoken, unconscious agreements that, to Nice Guys, are implied understandings, but outside parties have no knowledge of their existence. The hope is that both parties will meet each other’s needs without ever acknowledging them: The Nice Guy will do something for someone, and get something back in return. A common example of a covert contract is giving a compliment just to hear one back. In this case, your kind words didn’t come from a genuine place but from a personal need for external validation.

Chapter 4: Make Your Needs a Priority

If Nice Guys are selfishly unselfish when prioritizing others, Ideal Men must be unselfishly selfish by putting themselves first. According to Glover, there’s only one way to become unselfishly selfish: Take responsibility for your needs. When you prioritize yourself, you assert new, more productive beliefs about yourself, your needs, and how to meet these needs. Everyone has needs and prioritizing yourself is the only mature, direct, and honest means of satisfying them. 

(Shortform note: Although Deida agrees that the Superior Man is responsible for himself, his interpretation of what this responsibility is differs from Glover’s. Deida believes that in his intimate relationships, the Superior Man is responsible not necessarily for his needs, but for knowing his purpose in life and using it to set goals to keep himself and his woman on track. As a man, Deida says it’s your responsibility to cut through female moods and emotions—as well as your own preoccupations with your duties—and provide you both with a clear direction.)

Glover suggests you start small: Try putting yourself first for a week. Let those in your life know about your experiment and what you hope to gain from it. At the end of the week, check in with yourself and your loved ones. What changed?

Men in Glover’s support group participated in the same weeklong challenge. In the end, he noticed his patients’ covert contracts and resentment-fueled outbursts began to disappear. They were finally in a position to genuinely care for their loved ones. No longer smothered, their partners were free to prioritize themselves in return.

Chapter 5: Reclaim Your Personal Power

As we discussed, Nice Guys tend to view themselves as helpless, isolated victims on life’s roller coaster. But know that if you can take responsibility for your self-worth and your needs, you can take responsibility for your power as well. 

To break the cycle of self-victimization, Glover says a Nice Guy must change his relationship with fear, uncertainty, and the general “un-smoothness” of life. In the face of unpredictability, he must cultivate his personal power. Glover defines personal power as the ability to handle life’s challenges with confidence. It’s not defined by a lack of fear, but a capacity to manage and grow from it.

Welcome fear: Glover asserts the only way to overcome vicious anxiety and fear is to acknowledge it and face what currently scares you. You create new beliefs each time you push through fear.

Set boundaries: It’s hard to embrace your personal power if you let others walk all over you. So, you must take responsibility for how others treat you. Glover stresses that others have no incentive to change if you reinforce their bad behavior by giving in. Once you realize this, you’ll find changing your own behavior (by setting firm boundaries) is a simpler, more rewarding path.

Develop integrity: Instead of defaulting to deceit out of fear, Glover says Nice Guys must develop integrity. According to Glover, the best way to live with integrity is to ask yourself, “What do I think is right?” Then do it. Honesty gives you the power to approach everything with clarity, direction, and sincerity. 

Chapter 6: Reclaim Your Masculinity

When Nice Guys repress their masculinity, they deny a core part of themselves and their potential power. Between their parental relationships and some major societal shifts in the 20th century, Glover says Nice Guys grew up believing masculinity was inherently bad.

To Glover, masculinity is self-sufficiency. Positive masculine traits support the survival of the individual, family, and community, such as determination, strength, bravery, honesty, and passion. However, he also believes masculinity includes harmful traits like aggression, ferocity, and cruelty.

If a Nice Guy wishes to feel empowered and get a handle on his relationships with men, women, and life in general, he must reclaim his masculinity. This reclamation means embracing your manhood and all its traits. To get back in touch with and draw on the power of your masculine self, Glover recommends you:

Glover stresses that when Nice Guys develop close male friendships, they reap the rewards and support of the community. 

How do you connect with other men? Glover says to make plans and hang out! You and the guys can do anything you want, such as:

  • Casual hangouts (movie or game nights, potlucks, bonfires, just relax)
  • Attending events (sports, concerts, discussion groups)
  • Being exercise buddies or starting a team
  • Spending time in nature (camping, hiking, fishing, road trips)
  • Volunteering together

Chapter 7: Get the Love You Want

When entering into new relationships, Glover has one strategy: Shake things up. Instead of falling back on bad habits (like not setting boundaries) or unproductive mindsets (that your needs don’t matter, for example), start from a place of integrity, self-confidence, and vulnerability from the get-go. This will save you from having to “fix” a relationship that’s gone south (or keep you from entering into a toxic one in the first place). 

Starting fresh gives you the unique opportunity to look for a different caliber of partner (one who embodies your values). Glover says if you accept yourself and embrace your power, you’re more likely to seek out (and be sought by) those who exude the same self-confidence and energy as you do.

Chapter 8: Get the Sex You Want

As we’ve discussed, overcoming feelings of fear and shame is integral to having a satisfying sex life. However, this isn’t the only way to improve your sexual experiences. Here are some additional sex-related strategies from Glover:

Don’t Accept Bad Sex

According to Glover, Nice Guys who settle for bad (incongruous, passionless) sex will likely keep having bad sex. If a Nice Guy continues to accept lazy, passive lovemaking, it will become the default.

Nice Guys won’t have good sex until they can say “no” to bad sex. But what does “good sex” look like to Glover?

  • Both partners are responsible for ensuring their own needs are met.
  • There are no prior expectations or objectives (no “She has to orgasm 3 times or I’ve failed”).
  • It’s a natural, intimate, and vulnerable expression of sexual energy with unpredictable potential—not a reenacted performance

To start having good sex, reset with a temporary freeze on sex. This may sound counterintuitive, but Glover challenges Nice Guys to stop seeking out sex for a set amount of time. This will allow you to learn how you use sex (as a distraction, ego-boost) and how you go about getting it from others so you can develop a healthier relationship with your sexuality.

Chapter 9: Be All You Can Be

(Shortform note: When you do leave a toxic work environment, try your best to have some time to recover before jumping into another job. Take this time to reflect—not only on yourself, your skills, and your worth, but also on the negative experiences you had in the toxic environment. Were your former boss or coworkers abusive? Or was your job toxic at a systemic level? Learning from bad experiences can help you better understand what industries or company cultures will support you in the way that you need.)

No one can do everything alone, so Glover stresses that Nice Guys learn to ask for help. Taking control of your life includes utilizing the people and resources at your disposal. First, you must recognize that others are there for you and want to help. Then, you must ask for help in a clear, direct manner.

Take a Different Approach

  • How can you change old habits and tap into your full potential?
  • Write down one goal you have for your career or life’s passion.
  • What are the self-sabotaging behaviors keeping you from pursuing or attaining this goal?
  • Consider how you might “do something different” to reach this goal—how will you change your approach? 

Rules to Live by

  • How can you start living like an Ideal Man today?
  • Pick one of the strategies for the Ideal Man throughout the book that resonated with you. 
  • How could you apply this rule to your life? Which of Glover’s other strategies might help you implement it?
  • What scares you about implementing this strategy? What excites you?

Our look at the above No More Mr. Nice Guy chapters will help you better understand the key ideas of the book, to improve your confidence and self-esteem.

No More Mr. Nice Guy: Chapter Analysis

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Robert Glover's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full No More Mr. Nice Guy summary:

  • Why being a "Nice Guy" isn't actually a good thing
  • Why Nice Guys miss out on a life of self-acceptance, empowerment, and satisfaction
  • How to know if you are a Nice Guy and how to become an "Ideal Man" instead

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in English Literature. Growing up, she enjoyed reading fairy tales, Beatrix Potter stories, and The Wind in the Willows. As of today, her all-time favorite book is Wuthering Heights, with Jane Eyre as a close second. Elizabeth has branched out to non-fiction since graduating and particularly enjoys books relating to mindfulness, self-improvement, history, and philosophy.

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