10 men from fiction who we all could learn from

As role models go, literature make-believes are an aspirational bunch.

Neil Churchill January 14, 2015

Have you ever read a novel, or watched a film, and at the end of it were left feeling like you wanted to be that main character? Yep, we've been there too.

When male role models can be hard to come by in the real world, there's an awful lot to learn from names that have dominated literature for the past 50 years. Here are 10 men from fiction that we all could learn from:

Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird

He might not be your stereotypical poster boy pinup – although his three-piece suits wouldn’t be out of place in today’s sartorial society – but Atticus Finch could certainly teach us a thing or two about nobility and honour. Representing black defendants in inequality-ridden 1930s Alabama... Yep, we could all learn an awful lot from this character.

Don Draper - Mad Men Don Draper. In 2009, a UK-based men’s website named Don Draper as the most influential man in the world – that’s including real-life people. We think that might be a little too far, classifying him above men who actually exist. But, it shows what a phenomenal character ‘Don’ is, and when it comes to business, there’s a heck of a lot to be learnt from his management and creative style.

Edmond Dantes - The Count of Monte Cristo Edmond Dantes. Several of these characters endured a certain degree of hardship before showing traits any man would do well to embrace. That’s certainly true for Edmond Dantes, who spent years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, before escaping and taking revenge on his enemies and restoring his place amongst society. The quality to learn in this example? Bouncing back.

Jean Valjean - Les Miserables Jean Val Jean Guilty of stealing bread to feed his sister’s children (not the worst crime you could commit) and later of helping himself to somebody else’s silver, Jean Valjean isn’t the most upstanding character in the beginning of Les Miserables. But, his character shift midpoint in the film transforms him into a repentant and dignified man, demonstrating a tiger can indeed change his stripes, just as long as you're not too much like Javert to notice.

Walter White - Breaking Bad Walter White. We know what you’re thinking, and no, we couldn’t learn how to do what Walter White does exceptionally well in the hit TV show Breaking Bad… we prefer to cook food. However, Heisenberg does show a great ability to compartmentalise his life. He juggles being a teacher, supporting his family, dealing with cancer and yes, cooking the finest blend of blue crystal in all of New Mexico. Fair enough, in the final two series his compartmentalisation falls apart somewhat, but in the beginning he was a pro at managing his multiple lives.

Jay Gatsby - The Great Gatsby Jay Gatsby He threw massive parties at his epic mansion on North Shore that would attract hundreds of socialites. But it was always in the hope that his one love would one day make an appearance. Gatsby wasn’t the role model many believe him to be – he certainly had a shady past and even shadier connections – but his determination to make Daisy Buchanan fall for him shows us why you should never give up on the girl.

Gordon Gekko - Wall Street Gordon Gekko. It’s not just that the infamous Gordon Gekko taught us the important of money – I mean, he absolutely did demonstrate how great it is to be incredibly wealthy – but he also showed us the importance of how you earn it. Namely, he raised his bank balance through illegal means and went to jail for it. So, you know, don't do it that way.

Christian Gray - 50 Shades of Gray Christian Gray. While the story of Christian Gray was heavily publicised for his antics in the bedroom, what he really showed was the power of having absolute dominating control over every aspect of his life. A little OCD for sure, but as you’ll know if you've read the books, some women find that attractive.

Philip Marlowe - Private Eye Philip Marlowe. As epically cool, genre-defining characters go, Philip Marlowe was at the forefront of the film noir scene. A true 1920s gentleman, the wisecracking private eye enjoyed his drink as much as he did his poetry. What we could really learn from though, was his ability not to be fooled by the genre’s notorious femme fatales.

James Bond James Bond. 007 was always going to make this list. However, the multiple books, films and reincarnations of our favourite secret agent haven’t taught us just one thing, oh no. It’s taught us pretty much every step in the guidebook to being a simply awesome gentleman. Take your martini shaken, drive a nice car, wear tailored suits, always have your tux pressed and ready, and always get the girl - both the good and the bad one.