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The First Lessons cover

  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-918719-1
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 198 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-918720-7
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 198 pages
  • Keywords
    • Men and trauma,
    • Immigrant biography,
    • Healing journey,
    • Male loneliness,
    • Plant medicine,
    • Emotional repression,
    • Self-knowledge

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The First Lessons
Practices on How to Human
by Ish Hasan

Ish Hasan is pretty sure he started out adult life a few wrenches short of an emotional toolbox. He was raised in hiding from immigration police; he grew up telling stories to his classmates of a childhood he’d never lived in a country he’d never seen. His primary role model was his father, who once scribbled out his own face in all the family’s pictures and never spoke about why. Ish didn’t know how to make friends, and he fled the moment any connection got too close to the heart of him. He loathed himself but barely recognized it. He’s also pretty sure he’s not the only one. Everywhere he looks, Ish sees men who are desperately lonely and alienated from themselves, who lack the emotional tools to live authentically and forge real connections with other people. He sees a world full of people living out someone else’s bucket list instead of their own. And he’s spent years of his life trying to break out of that cage. He’s been climbing dangerous mountains, taking plant medicines, doing yoga, vowing silence, speaking truth, jumping off cliffs, and couch-surfing across countries in a mad dash for freedom from the man he couldn’t stand to be any more. Now, he wants to help other men do the same. The First Lessons is a workbook for breaking out of business-as-usual. Stories from Ish’s remarkable life, the lessons he’s learned, and his reflections—on everything from death to buying $20 juice at a shop in Vancouver—give you a starting point for your own personal journey to authenticity. These are the lessons your father didn’t know to teach you, but they’re the ones your sons will need.

Ish Hasan photo

Ish Hasan has—as he puts it—“lived a few lives.” Illegal immigrant. Military reservist. Dumpster diver. Tech developer. Contractor. Bartender. Men’s recovery support worker. This book is based on his experiences growing from a terrified and repressed young boy into a man who is learning to love himself and live a life of truth. Ish splits his time between Salt Spring Island, B.C., and the Sacred Valley in Peru. He documents his adventures and offers trainings for a full-bodied living at


Ish Hasan

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