Why do men strive so hard for success?

why men rule

Recently I read a book (“Why Men Rule”, by S. Goldberg) which attempts to explain why men always occupy most of the high status positions in society. The answer was simple – because men are more strongly motivated to achieve status and overt power than women are.

But why are they striving for that? In the ‘sphere, they say it’s because women are attracted to power, and men’s reproductive success always depended on this. It certainly makes sense, even if men are not aware of this ultimate purpose for their striving. Most men don’t say “I strive because it will get me chicks”, they say “I strive because it feels right to achieve and gain respect of everyone” or “I just like activity X that much”.

The book also had a very interesting philosophical (but not very scientific) discussion in the last chapter. I suppose it was included partially to dissolve accusations of misogyny (the author explained in detail how many stupid misconceptions he had to battle).  About men’s motivation for power:

“He can’t be the most important person in someone’s life for long, and must reassert superiority in enough areas often enough to justify nature allowing him to stay”

– “Why Men Rule”, Steven Goldberg

The idea seems to be that women find meaning easily (in babies) and men can’t do the same. They must compensate by doing all sorts of creative work, and striving for status. It’s a “surrogate meaning” to life. This makes it sound like men have it really rough and their life meaning is more subjected to failure, but I’m not sure they themselves think so.

I think I agree. What we find meaningful is partially based on our biology, so naturally we’d find meaning in babies, or whatever would lead to the best babies we can make. But men are less bound to their babies than women (I think in some tribes they still don’t understand that babies come from specific fathers), so they would evolve to find great meaning in other stuff too, because they have no other choice.

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25 Responses to Why do men strive so hard for success?

  1. Hi Emma. I can strongly recommend Steve Moxon’s ‘The Woman Racket’ (2008) to answer your question. The male dominance hierarchy is based on power, or its modern proxy, money. The female dominance hierarchy is based on youth and attractiveness. This explains 5′ billionaire Bernie Ecclestone and his much younger 6′ tall model ex-wife. Fortunately their daughters take their looks and height from their mother, not their father. The day 6′ tall rich women marry 5′ tall sewage workers on the minimum wage, I’ll think Steve’s analysis unsound.

    Mike Buchanan

    (and the women who love them)

    • Eric says:

      Moxon’s book is excellent; however, feminism has broken much of the power in actual femininity. For example, the ‘day 6′ tall rich women marry 5′ tall sewage workers on minimum wage’ is actually fairly close to what happens in modern America (except the sewer workers on minimum wage here are bypassed in favor of unemployed thugs on welfare). In other words, the female half of the dominance structure is still standing, while the masculine half has disappeared.

      • Eric, in one of my books I present the evidence that women become MORE selective with respect to the financial standing of partners, as they themselves become better-off, hence the huge number of well-off single women wondering where all the ‘good’ men have gone – ‘good’ meaning in part, ‘better-off than me’. Women are more risk-averse than men, and will seldom risk even a modest amount of wealth (property etc.) going to a markedly poorer partner upon divorce. Indeed, some women in Florida are campaigning against the alimony laws because a few women are starting to pay alimony rather than receive it!

        In the UK, the first recognition of a prenup agreement was a few years ago, by 5 male judges in the Supreme Court – I covered the case in ‘The Fraud of the Rings’. The judges accepted a prenup agreement to protect the wealth of a rich German woman, Katrin Radmacher, from her much poorer French ex-husband. As always, whether men or women are in charge, they bend over backwards to advantage women over men. Anyone who believes we live in a patriarchy – men collectively oppressing women for the advantage of men – must surely have mental health issues.

      • Liz says:

        “For example, the ‘day 6′ tall rich women marry 5′ tall sewage workers on minimum wage’ is actually fairly close to what happens in modern America (except the sewer workers on minimum wage here are bypassed in favor of unemployed thugs on welfare).”

        Hm. Not in my experience.
        Just last night my car battery gave out, at a restaurant we’d just frequented.
        There was only one couple we knew in the place, so we asked them to drive us home. My husband knew both of them well, but I was only acquainted briefly. I ascertained during the journey that she made far more money than he did, they had no children and weren’t married, though none of this information was actually revealed during the car ride. This by body language and my “spidey sixth senses”. Both are very high earning individuals (they have very expensive, matching cars).
        I was right on all counts (my husband informed me later).

      • Eric says:

        Buchanan & Liz:
        I think under normal social conditions, what you’re saying would be correct. But in a culture steeped in misandry, and where women are taught that they inherently superior to men, the tendency would be to gravitate to the lowest and least desirable males. Very few divorces or relationship break-ups I’ve ever seen reflected classic ‘hypergamy’— in nearly every case, the husband was cuckolded for an utter scumbag.

        The same BTW is true among single women today. According to the US CDC, 1/4 women contract an STD before they are 25; this could hardly be happening if they are pursuing males who even practice hygiene. From what I’ve observed, the worst and most violent men have little or no trouble accumulating harems of desirable women and spawning babies with them—while the ‘real men’ are usually INCEL or see their babies end up in an abortion mill!

  2. Men also outnumber women at the top of organisations because they’re far more likely to be ‘work-centred’:


  3. Pingback: Why do men strive so hard for success? | A Thought a Day Keeps Insanity Away

  4. Eric says:

    I’ve always believed that female sexuality and reproduction were much more closely connected than most realize. It’s noteworthy that feminists are huge supporters of both abortion and eugenics. When the reproductive element is taken out of sexuality, sex becomes meaningless.

  5. Liz says:

    Why do men strive so hard for success? Look at the animal kingdom…where social (equalizing) niceties are removed and nature is at its most primal. The answer is basically the same. To be the one in charge of the herd.

    Women, by contrast, want to be nesters. Even the toughest among us, at some point, wants dominion over a brood. I’m pretty tough, but last week when my husband came home to 12 boys (not all ours) running around our home pretending to be at war and it was loud and rambunctious and chaotic (and I’m a loner in general who hates chaos of any kind, and I keep a clean house) he said, “This is the life you always wanted, isn’t it? Male cubs fighting around that house in all this chaos?” And I had to admit, it was true. This is the life I always wanted. I like ducks and a nest, and I’ll pick up after them. I want them to run and fight and act like boys and make a mess. I’d rather have that than all the gold in the world, it’s far more valuable. I read somewhere that when the woman makes more money than her spouse, he is five times more likely to cheat. Doesn’t surprise me in the least. Men want to be the center and in charge, and women want them to be there.

    • Liz says:

      I should add the salary “thing” is only important in a system that views currency as the primary basis for merit. With other views, the paradigm shifts according to where the “power” lies, whatever the basis for that power.

      • Eric says:

        As Buchanan noted above, women are more risk-adverse than men; hence a relationship with a dysfunctional thug actually involves LESS risk. In such a relationship, the woman never really has to commit, holds all the power over a weak man, and can jettison him any time she feels like it, since she can rely on the State to support her ‘nest.’

        It’s not surprising to me either that a man who earns less than the woman is 5x more likely to cheat: although the fact that she would choose a man who makes less is probably indicative that she also chose a man who was likely to be unfaithful, as well.

      • Liz says:

        @ Eric: “As Buchanan noted above, women are more risk-adverse than men; hence a relationship with a dysfunctional thug actually involves LESS risk.”

        I think there’s a wide social class divide on that one. No woman who starts out in the middle to upper class income bracket will benefit by chucking her baby’s father to live on the government dole with a fatherless baby. Nor will they benefit monetarily from divorce (exception the very very top one percent of the population). A family living very well on 100,000 a month and a single home is not going to live as well when it’s divided and each side is living on half that and two homes. I’ve been in the role of primary provider and single mom once (husband was away obtaining some expensive training we believed would be a cost effective and smart career move in the longterm, which turned out to be right, but it was a tough year). My salary was higher than most, and it still sucked. A lot.
        I think there’s a fatalism in poverty that tends to favor short term interest over longterm. And that’s probably where (and why) perverse incentives tend to be most far reaching in those socio-economic groups.

      • Eric says:

        A lot of middle and upper class women I’ve noted who do this don’t go live on the government dole; but they take on a bad-boy deadbeat without a job and support him through their own resources. Sometimes that includes alimony payments from the cuckolded husband. Admittedly, a lot of girls in poverty will prefer the government handouts; although I’ve known plenty of them who’ve turned away much better opportunities in favor of low-status scum.

  6. AntiWomenOverACertainAge(25) :-p says:

    Why do men strive so hard for success?
    Succesfull men can easily impress 14 year old girls. Duh!
    It`s not rocket surgery.

  7. feministx says:

    The primary reason men rule is not because they are more focused in seeking excellence- it is because they must assign status to what they do, collectively. Male to male interaction will turn into something like a game where there is a winner and a loser and where there are leagues of status that produces clear alphas. Wars are like this, sports are like this and games are like this.

    Women do not have the need to rule anything external. Activities where there are no men (straight or gay) involved will not be considered high status and they will generally not be very hierarchical. They will be communal activities like knitting. A lot of women knit, and a lot of women knit very well. But women will not pay much attention to an elite knitting league where top knitters must get draft picked and paid 10 million dollars. They have no reason to assign that kind of mentality to it.

    • Feministx

      A Welsh footballer was today sold to Real Madrid for £85 million not because men ‘assign’ status to soccer stars, but because there’s a market to finance such sums. Sometimes women leech onto such realities which is why Wimbledon women’s champions earn the same as the men, despite working a great deal less. When you don’t have a mechanism for leeching – in rugby and soccer, for example – the top female players earn a fraction of what the top male players do. Supply and demand. Capitalism. It works.

      Men enjoy rules-based competition more than women. They’re also 4x more likely to be work-centred (Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory – 2000). Men will compete vigorously but fairly, for example, to get to the top of organisations – by virtue of delivering more value to the organisations – while women will take the easier road of manipulating men to give them top jobs. It’s the workplace equivalent of attractive women marrying rich men – even if all goes wrong, the women are set up for life. Which attractive woman ever worked hard for economic security, when she had the option of marrying a rich man instead?

      FTSE100 chairmen are appointing poorly-qualified women onto their boards, despite the clear evidence they’re damaging their companies by doing so:


      I’m shortly going to be interviewed for a British TV programme about the insanity of increasing the representation of women on boards. There’s no business case to do so.

      Mike Buchanan


      Author of ‘The Glass Ceiling Delusion: the REAL reasons more women don’t reach senior positions’ (2011)

    • Feminist x
      I don’t think anyone – men or women – can simply ‘assign’ status to anything. It would turn the world upside down, were it otherwise. But if it were possible, I like the idea of assigning status to an ‘elite knitting league’, Then women would be upset if and when a man came out on top – as they have in cooking, to take an obvious historical female-typical analogy – so there would then have to be a ‘women’s elite knitting league’, with everyone agreeing that women were as good as men at knitting. Would a single-gender league be high status? Only in those comforted by such delusions.

      • feministx says:

        You are quite wrong, and your sports example proves it. Sports are arbitrary and useless in the modern world to people who are not playing them. They confer no skill that is actually useful for our present civilization. Putting a ball in a basket or knocking it in this hole or that hole with a club is utter garbage, and it is quite silly that we obsess about the highest level of skill it could take to do such a truly pointless activity. There is supply and demand for it, but the demand itself comes from the male ego wanting to worship some form of competitive status- even an almost completely useless form of competitive status like sports (useless when someone else is playing it).

        Contrast this with knitting- in some parts of the world, people still have to knit to cloth their families. My grandmother learned to knit because she lived in the himalayas and that was her only way of keeping her family warm enough to live. She collected firewood too. But there is no status conferred to knitting, which has been vital for centuries and is still vital now in some places precisely because it is women’s work. The demand for this labor is far more pressing than the demand for top athletes, yet no one cares who is the knitting champion because women do not care who is champion.

        If there were status assigned to knitting, it is possible that men would try to knit and try to dominate at knitting. Still, I am not sure if men are actually the top 10% at all endeavors or if they only insist on being seen as the top 10% in all walks because they gain admiration from both men and women for being in the top 10% while women don’t gain anything outside of their own sense of satisfaction if they are that successful.

      • Liz says:

        @feministx: “But there is no status conferred to knitting, which has been vital for centuries and is still vital now in some places precisely because it is women’s work.”

        There’s no status conferred to knitting because it is a simple task that requires very little skill and machines have replaced it (much like lacemaking). Only a couple of generations ago, when the US still had looms, there were many males who worked those looms and they were called ‘knitters’. They were blue-collar, low skilled workers and those positions (the few that remained) were outsourced with the looms.

        There have been many, many studies on the gender paygap and when all variables are examined the consensus is that it does not exist to any meaningful degree. 95% of workplace deaths are men. Employees recognize that they’re a lot more likely to get seriously hurt or killed working construction than working a day care, and as a result they demand more money. “Women’s work” has traditionally demanded far less in the way of specialized skills, and if anything, that’s almost universally even more the case today. The biggest exception is nursing, where the skill level demanded has increased quite a bit and (uncoincidentally) so has the pay.

  8. Emma, a quick note to say I only realised a day or two ago your blog wasn’t included in the lists of ‘Recommended blogs and websites’ on my blogs. I’ve now put that right.

  9. Evolutionary psychology is very clear.

    In the EEA (the natural environment humans lived for hundreds of thousands of years) 60% of men never procreated.

    This is evolutionary death. The end of your genetic line.

    So men risk their life to be among the top 40% and compete fiercely with other men.

    Women are not that stupid to risk health, heart attack and life for success.

    Interestingly, even our genetic are the same: men have a larger variance in biological traits too. For example in intelligence.

    A larger variance, or Standard Deviation, means that at the very top, and at the very bottom, of any quality, men are overrepresented.

    So add the genetic variance to the competitiveness, as an additional reason for males being in all top positions. Except for quotas, token women, or women actually voted for out of sexism to get women into high political posts.

    Women can not even compete against men in cooking, almost all Michelin starred cooks are male.

  10. Pingback: Misogyny Behind the Keyboard, Part 2. | Emma the Emo's Emo Musings

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