The Soul of a Hero: becoming the Man of Strength and Purpose You Were Created to Be

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Soul of a Hero: becoming the Man of Strength and Purpose You Were Created to Be


Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop


Tyndale Momentum (an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)

Publication Date:

June 8, 2021




224 pages


Everybody has some idea what men need to be better fathers, better husbands and just better engaged in life. Arguably, the most important thing is simple: men need to understand their inner hunger for heroism. David Stoop and Stephen Arterburn help men understand their need to find heroes that can be role models, and how to live the heroic life no matter what they do for a living. Along the way, they consider common male concerns and issues, showing how men can avoid pitfalls to live victoriously.

The writers carefully build their argument that men crave heroism, and find creative ways to frame male struggles in that context. They talk about men needing fathers, because all heroes start as apprentices with mentors who show them the way. They talk about marriage as an adventure that two people take together. They even have a chapter referencing modern-day mythological heroes (Marvel movie superheroes, etc.) to consider why men seek out role models from fiction as well as real life. This is all useful, but it’s all fairly standard. John Eldredge explored the “men want to be heroes” idea extensively in Wild At Heart, filled with rugged imagery and references to men’s movies from Good Will Hunting to Braveheart. Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace, who came back to talking about mythic male heroism in many other movies (most notably We Were Soldiers), gave his own take on male development in  Living the Braveheart Life. Arguably, even Wallace and Eldredge were latecomers to the party, building on ideas from Randall Bly’s Iron John and the mythopoetic men’s movement of the 1980s-1990s.

Despite good intentions, Arterburn and Stoop don’t come create a vision that is distinct from their predecessors. They give some interesting new tidbits and anecdotes, some insights from neuroscience about how anger affects men, and talk about the need in a post #MeToo society to pay even more attention than ever to how men treat women. However, none of these ideas become a central theme, so it’s like a trendy paint job on a nondescript old car. Much like Take It Back by Tim Clinton and Max Davis, there’s nothing here that customers can’t find elsewhere.

A decent, but only decent male development book.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

2.5 stars

Suggested audience

Christian men seeking to understand life as a journey, and helpful tips on handling common male concerns.

Christian impact

The authors argue that men have a particular design by God, and that life is not just something to muddle through but something to grasp, because we are designed by a Creator who has plans for us.

The Soul of a Hero: Becoming the Man of Strength and Purpose You Were Created to Be

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