As the co-author of a book on the best-dressed men in the world, I naturally have to maintain a high-standard of dressing, but this year I’ve also begun to consider the importance of what’s under my bespoke suits. So in an attempt to look as lovely without a shirt as I do with one, I’ve turned to two very different Japanese novelists for my inspiration. The calm and cosmopolitan Haruki Murakami’s short memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a clear and serene meditation on the importance of pacing, setting goals, and pushing one’s limits in both running and writing. His physical-intellectual connection is a meditative one: the act of running strengthens his mind.
My other physical mentor-in-absentia is everybody’s favorite bisexual fascist neo-samurai suicide Yukio Mishima. His essay on bodybuilding, Sun and Steel is a lean and taut manifesto, written with a violence always just under the surface, the prose itself as muscular and intense as its author. Unlike Murakami, Mishima’s physical-intellectual connection moves in the opposite direction: born with a weak physique, Mishima became a man entirely of intellect until, in his late thirties, he decided to transform himself into a physical creature – a man of action – leaving an Adonis-like corpse behind.
Nathaniel “Natty” Adams is a New York-based writer and the co-author, with photographer Rose Callahan, of “I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman.