Best Barbering Books





I want to take a look at what are the best barbering books to buy. When I first started as a barber, way back in 1982 books about barbering were a very rare commodity.

Sure there was the odd technical manual or textbook, explaining about hair structure, the layers of the skin and the angles of your sections, but that was about it.

Luckily for us that has all changed and there are now many books, not only ones covering the technical side of barbering, but many which go into great detail in how to become the best barber you can be, how to set up and run a successful business, as well as many other aspects of this wonderful trade.

Below I have listed some of those books in no particular order. Hope you enjoy:-

The Barber Boom: Creating A Subculture by Tom Chapman

barber books

 Tom is one of my favourite people within the barbering industry, not only a successful barber in his own right, but a real ambassador for raising awareness of mental health (see below) and what we as an industry, can do to help.

In this book, Tom looks into the ‘Barber Boom’, which many of us have seen over the last few years. Tom travels around the world and interviews many of the key individuals within the barbering world and not only gets their perspective on the Boom, but also finds out a bit about how they ending up in this business. He also gets their thoughts on many barber related issues.

All the barbers were asked the same set of questions, so it is very interesting to hear how their responses vary.

And with twenty barbers contributing to this book, with many years of experience to draw upon, this book is one of the best barbering books out there and should be required reading for anyone who wants to succeed in this industry.

Available in paperback and Kindle

Barber Talk: Taking Pride in Men’s Mental Health by Tom Chapman

books about barbering

When one of Tom’s friends sadly took his own life, it spurred Tom into doing something to change the situation and the culture surrounding men’s mental health. And working as a barber he realized that we are in a very fortunate position in which to encourage men to talk to about their issues.

He soon realized that if he could just help men to open up about their feelings, then perhaps he could save lives.

And so the Lions Barber Collective was formed. An international group of top barbers who came together to encourage the conversation and to help raise awareness for the prevention of suicide, among men.

In this book Tom explains how his response to a very real personal tragedy helped him affect real social change and make a powerful impact on the lives of many.

An inspiring book and an inspiration to us all on how we should use our position and help in whatever way we can, to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness among men.

Available in paperback and Kindle

Anatomy of a Barber: The Hair Professionals Guide To Success by Al Reed

best barbering books

One of the most respected barbers in the US, Al Reid has given us one of the best barbering books, if you want to be successful in this industry. Better known as Alsmillions, he has a complete understanding of how to build up a successful barbering business.

Founder and CEO Of ABMAAM, Inc. (Average Barbers Making Above Average Money), Al has helped literally thousands of barbers turn their businesses around for the better.

‘Alsmillions’ has over 26 years barbering experience and he travels the country teaching and motivating barbers and stylists on how to reach their full potential in the hair industry. Al is an effective motivational speaker, a licensed master barber and a master educator.

He has an on-line YouTube following of thousands and is one of the most viewed barbers in the country with over 14 million views. Al has cut a host of sports and media personalities and has done stage work all over the country.

Available in paperback and Kindle

Barbershop Now! – How to Open A Barbershop: Volume 1 by Jeff Grissler

best barbering books

If you are contemplating opening up your own barber shop this is one of the best barbering books to help you achieve your goal. Although written for the US market, many of the principles and procedures contained within the book are very relative to the UK marketplace.

This book provides you with the tools and insights to avoid many of the costly mistakes that new barber shop owner make. And with advice, checklists and quotes from barber shop owners, it could stop you making those mistakes in your business too.

It holds your hand and guides you through the process and is packed full of ideas and information. If you follow the plans and procedures within this book, it will stop you feeling overwhelmed and bogged down, with all the things you have to think about as you set up your own shop.

It covers things such as design, picking the right furniture, signage, as well as advice for the day to day running of your business.

Bear in mind, many of the state laws and licensing information is not relevant here in the UK, but the vast majority of the content is easily adapted to the UK market, which makes this book worth its weight in gold.

Available in paperback and Kindle

Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom by Douglas W Bristol Jr

best barbering books

An historical look at the untold story of the black barbers of St Louis. Many of these men were freed slaves who enjoyed the privilege of free speech, due to their temporary power over the client as they cut and shaved them. Nothing like holding a razor to someone’s throat to get their attention.

In Knights of the Razor, the author explores the extraordinary relationship of the African American barbers and their customers, from the time of the American Revolution to the First World War.

In addition to a massive contribution to the modern day barber shops, theses barbers used their skill and privileged positions, to navigate the many pitfalls that racism created for ambitious black men, at that time. Helping many black men attain positions of authority and influence in their localities. 

A fascinating and highly enjoyable account of a period of history, that needs to be told. What the author has achieved is to give these pioneers a voice and a face.

This book will not only appeal to people who are interested in the history of our profession, but it is also an insight into racism and the resourcefulness of many black men who through their craft and determination, became successful businessmen and community leaders.

Available in paperback and Kindle

The Uncut Guide To An Amazingly Successful Career In Barbering by Hasheem Khaleed Whitmore

best barbering books

This book reads like a personal diary of a professional working barber. Not a technical guide, although there is a section at the end of the book, this covers every aspect of being a professional barber.

From equipment to managing your business, interacting with your customers so they become customers for life, to staying healthy as a barber, this book covers it all.

Again heavily US based, although many of the principles and practices are easily adaptable to the UK.

A great read and it’s nice to follow someone’s journey from barber school to successful businessman. Written to educate and inspire Hasheem has done a remarkable job.

And it shows the influence we have, as barbers, over our younger customers. In the book he gives thanks to the amazing barbers who inspired and guided him from a very young age. Well worth a read.

Paperback Only

Practice and Science of Standard Barbering: A Practical and Complete Course of Training in Basic barber services by Sidney Thorpe

best barbering books

Originally printed in 1953 this book is a very interesting guide from the past on the science and art of barbering. Covering such things as how you should dress, hygiene and information of diseases you should be aware of, this book is obviously a little dated now, but also full of some fascinating insights into barbering of years gone by.

Nice section on the history of barbering and although the whole thing sometimes reads like a history book, if you are interested in why we do certain things in our industry, then this book could give you a lot of those answers.

A lot of the information contained within this book is taken straight from some books, which I own, which date back to the early 1900’s. So recent it is not!

So you can probably tell, this probably won’t improve your barbering skills, or help you set up your own business, but other than that, it is a fascinating look in to the history of our profession.

Available in Hardcover and Paperback

The American Barbershop: A Closer Look at a Disappearing Place by Mic Hunter

best barbering books

This coffee table book is a light-hearted, affectionate look at a classic American place: the neighborhood barbershop.

Through its entertaining photos, author Mic Hunter explores this fondly-remembered world of familiar smells, strewn hair clippings, and good conversation – a place where those men could be just a “regular guy.”

For over a decade, Hunter, a widely-published psychologist, has pursued a commitment to document the life of small, gradually-disappearing traditional barbershops around the country.

The photos celebrate the wonders of ordinary places. The stories recall the soothing snip of scissors, the hum of the clippers, the idle talk and banter – all the pleasures of a visit to the neighborly barbershop.

Although the list price is a bit pricey, this is a fascinating look at a bygone era.

Available in Paperback Only

Cutting Along the Color Line: Black Barbers and Barber Shops in America by Quincy T Mills

history of barbershops

What the author has done with this book, is taken a very familiar institution, the barber shop and revealed a relatively unknown history, that totally transforms our understanding of what we thought we knew.

It is an unprecedented account of black barber shops of 19th and 20th Century America. In it, he vividly captures the culture and the traditions that pushed these men to succeed in the face of many racial obstacles. 

A truly inspirational and moving book that chronicles the hardships and the struggles that black barbers faced. And more than that, a fascinating account of how African Americans used barbering to battle racism and prejudice.  

Available in Hardback Paperback and Kindle

Big Busy Barbershop: Year 1, Weeks 1 through 52 by Ivan Zoot

running a shop
running a shop

I’ve included this one in the best barbering books list, because from a business point of view, it might have some value.

In this ‘business’ book Ivan Zoot shares some of his secrets that helped him build up and sell a very successful barber shop. This book provides you with 52 strategies, that’s one per week for a whole year.

He claims that if you do this and use this tricks and techniques, this time next year your barber shop will be ‘busy beyond your wildest dreams’

The strategies are simple and require very little monetary investment. All they require is a commitments and a wiliness to carry them out. Some of these are new things while others are old things done in a new way

I’m so curious I’ve just ordered a copy for myself. I’m guessing it may be sugar coated business speak with very little practical value, but we have to wait and see. Luckily, he has a follow up book to cover the second year, so you won’t be left high and dry.

Available in Paperback

The Best Barbering Books

So there you have it, a selection of what we consider to be the best barbering books available today. Some covering the technical aspects of the job, while other cover the business side. Happy reading.

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