Keys to the Kingdom by Alison Armstrong (all links are affiliate) is a book about the stages of every man’s development throughout his lifetime and how us women can support the men in our lives no matter the stage they are in.
I have read many books on relationships in my day, so I was pleased to see this book offering some fresh information on the subject. It is definitely quirky, though, and I did have to consciously take what was helpful and leave the rest.
The quirkiest of all this book’s quirks is that it has the content of a non-fiction book but was written as a fiction book. I get the author has her right to creative expression but I could have done without this part, honestly. The story was somewhat corny and mostly served to distract me from the valuable content underneath it.
That being said, the content about the stages of life for every man was extremely valuable. Of course, it is just one framework to describe the life stages of a man and does nothing to address the fluidity of gender and sexuality inherent in humans, but I think it is a valuable framework to learn nonetheless.
The stages of every man’s life, as taught by Alison Armstrong, is as follows:
- Men start out as Pages while they are children. They want to be helpful and admired and challenged.
- Then they transform into Knights in their teenage years to anywhere in their late twenties to early thirties (on average). Knights are all about adventure and exploration and fun.
- As they mature, men will then transition into a Prince. Princes become aware that they aren’t quite kings yet, and focus most all of their attention on building their kingdom. Men never really lose their thirst for adventure, but as they become Princes, they become more serious and focused, intent on building a name for themselves. There are three stages of Princes, and two types of Princes, but for that info I recommend you just read the book.
- Eventually, as men become satisfied with the kingdom they have built (usually decades later), they become a King. Kings are very solid in themselves and their opinions. They know what they want and don’t want and aren’t willing to budge on these matters. Kings have a lot to give and pride themselves on how much they can help and provide. All they are really looking for in return is appreciation for all the many gifts they have to offer.
- Sometimes Kings turn into Elders, which when they are primarily focused on giving back to their community and those they love. For more on this, definitely read the book.
Learning about these stages of a man’s life was super interesting, but the biggest takeaway I got from the book was how many women see men as adversaries instead of allies.
I mean, I get why — believe me — I’ve experienced my fair share of shitty dudes. But this book opened my eyes to another way of relating to men that is less about trying to get something out of them and more about supporting them in the stage they are at.
Men naturally want to provide and be helpful, especially to those they love, but this pure desire to give gets twisted when the people they care about use coercion, manipulation, stonewalling, and passive-aggressive tactics to take all they can from them.
Moral of the story for us who want to support the men in our lives: don’t try to get something from them that they can’t give in the stage they are at. Support them as they are, where they are, and speak your needs clearly and concisely.
No matter what stage they are in, men love meeting the needs of the people that matter to them. So speak your needs clearly and then make sure to appreciate them when they take care of you.
Overall, I give this book a 3.5/5.
I’m definitely glad I read it, but I’m also glad I listened to it on 1.5x speed because the fiction story the content was written around was not my cup of tea.
That being said, what I’ve learned in this book will definitely stick with me and has changed the way I view the men in my life for the better. If you’d like the same results, definitely give the book a read, it goes by pretty quick.
Order it here.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!