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How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons [Kindle Edition]

Bob Mankoff
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $16.99
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Book Description

Memoir in cartoons by the longtime cartoon editor of The New Yorker
People tell Bob Mankoff that as the cartoon editor of The New Yorker he has the best job in the world. Never one to beat around the bush, he explains to us, in the opening of this singular, delightfully eccentric book, that because he is also a cartoonist at the magazine he actually has two of the best jobs in the world. With the help of myriad images and his funniest, most beloved cartoons, he traces his love of the craft all the way back to his childhood, when he started doing funny drawings at the age of eight. After meeting his mother, we follow his unlikely stints as a high-school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student. Though Mankoff abandoned the study of psychology in the seventies to become a cartoonist, he recently realized that the field he abandoned could help him better understand the field he was in, and here he takes up the psychology of cartooning, analyzing why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't. He allows us into the hallowed halls of The New Yorker to show us the soup-to-nuts process of cartoon creation, giving us a detailed look not only at his own work, but that of the other talented cartoonists who keep us laughing week after week. For desert, he reveals the secrets to winning the magazine's caption contest. Throughout How About Never--Is Never Good for You?, we see his commitment to the motto "Anything worth saying is worth saying funny."

Editorial Reviews Review

A Look Inside How About Never--Is Never Good Enough for You?

What Lemmings Believe
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From Booklist

Mankoff was close to earning a PhD in psychology when he finally admitted that cartooning was his true calling. He developed his distinctive “dot” style as a vehicle for his heady sense of humor, had his first cartoon published in the New Yorker in 1977, and has been serving as the magazine’s cartoon editor since 1997. In a witty mix of memoir and New Yorker cartoon history exuberantly illustrated with New Yorker cartoons past and present, Mankoff discusses his mother’s complicated influence (“Humor thrives on conflict”), how his psychology background helps him understand what makes cartoons funny or thought-provoking, and why he created the Cartoon Bank, which transformed the profession. He also unveils the magazine’s cartoon selection process under editors William Shawn, Tina Brown, and David Remnick and describes his own rigorous assessment of 1,000 cartoons a week. Other cartoonists describe their working methods, and Mankoff even offers inside information on the New Yorker’s devilishly difficult Cartoon Caption Contest, which the late great movie critic Roger Ebert won in 2011 “after 107 tries.” A cartoon lover’s feast. --Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 21047 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (March 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H0UT8T2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Cartoonist Bob Mankoff has a long and rich history of putting pen to paper and creating images that make readers smile. In fact, the title of this book, How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons has its origin in one of his most celebrated cartoons, one that comes from a famous Mankoff cartoon that illustrates a businessman on the phone, trying to duck out of a lunch appointment.

And there on the cover of the book is a self-depiction of the author with a wide grin on his face, complete with a lipstick kiss on his forehead. Get to page 6 within the introduction and you'll see the follow-up image: same "How about never--is never good for you?" quote, but with the black-cloaked Grim Reaper at the door. This is typical wittiness from the author as he approaches his 70th birthday
It's a splendid start to an excellent book, one that is about half illustrations and half anecdotes. The author explains that he had had submitted a multitude of cartoons to The New Yorker before selling the first one. We learn that he was a freelance cartoonist for the the magazine for twenty years before becoming the cartoon editor... and that was while the previous cartoon editor was still there.
Bob Mankoff founded the online Cartoon Bank in the early '90s, which is the agency that sells and licenses the cartoons from The New Yorker. He also edited a number of cartoon compilations, including two personal favorites:
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun March 26, 2014
By shiny
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bob Mankoff, the current Cartoon Editor for The New Yorker magazine, has written a delightful, funny memoir of how and why he became a cartoonist. The title is taken from the caption from his most well known New Yorker cartoon, a quip also now found on magnets and occasionally in general conversation, but that idea of "Never" also could apply to the likelihood of getting a cartoon published in one of the few remaining magazines valuing cartoons.

This book is not part of well-known series of collected cartoons from The New Yorker Magazine; however, it is an perfect complement to the series. And it would make an excellent gift for anyone who appreciates a New Yorker cartoon or who needs to be introduced to them.

Mr. Mankoff humorously zips through the twists of his life and career as a cartoonist, but along the way he also explores what creates the essence of the New Yorker magazine's cartoon, and he does so with a fine sense of humor and great cartoons.

Along the way, you find out what the job of being the Cartoon Editor for The New Yorker actually entails, and you discover that cartooning is harder work than we all fantasize. Mr. Mankoff explains the decisions about which cartoons are chosen for publication, demonstrates how that particularly intelligent form of humor at The New Yorker has evolved (due to changing times, humor, and editors), and shows how a mildly funny idea and drawing can be improved into a cartoon contender for the New Yorker. As a bonus, Mr. Mankoff does a great job of teaching you how to win the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest (or at least how to approach the challenge and to improve your chances).

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Some cartoons published in The New Yorker may puzzle those who do not get the artists' offbeat humor and obscure allusions. On the whole, however, loyal fans enjoy the whimsical drawings and captions that have long been a distinctive feature of this iconic publication. New Yorker cartoons stand out because of their amusing sight gags, puns, topical political references, and/or mockery of contemporary mores. A few of the cartoonists' favorite targets are yuppies, the arrogant rich, stuffy businessmen, married couples, and deceased men and women trying to gain admission to heaven.

Who decides what is funny and "New Yorkerish" enough to make the cut? One of the gatekeepers is Bronx-born Bob Mankoff, the magazine's cartoon editor since 1997. In his memoir, "How about Never? Is Never Good for You?" Mankoff provides an overview of his childhood, early influences, education, and career. In addition, he analyzes what goes into creating cartoons that will appeal to The New Yorker's audience. Finally, he tips his hat to the up-and-coming artists who, he hopes, will carry the torch for the foreseeable future.

Bob Mankoff is a self-proclaimed smart aleck who, like so many others aspiring cartoonists, papered his walls with rejection slips until he finally made the grade. Mankoff entertainingly talks about such creative geniuses as Sam Gross and the inimitable Roz Chast, and explains how and why he developed his "stippling" style. In addition, he points out that The New Yorker's standards and traditions have changed according to who has been at the helm. When Tina Brown was chief, she opened the door to risqué themes that her predecessor, William Shawn, would have firmly rejected. Now that David Remnick is the editor, the pendulum has swung more to the center.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
my daughter really enjoyesd it. she has a subscription to New Yoirker magazine.
Published 25 days ago by marge sommerville
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really fine read. Lots of laughs, lots of information. Recommend.
Published 1 month ago by GOLFER & READER
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse into the Cartooning World
Many "behind the scenes" references here. For anyone who's interested in the cartooning business in general, and the New Yorker's cartoon process in particular, this is a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr. K.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wacky World of Cartooning
This is a Mankoff’s memoir about how he was born to be a cartoonist and his unending attempts to be published by The New Yorker. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joe Da Rold
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
If you love the cartoons, you'll love the book. Lots of interesting stuff about the people and ideas behind the cartoons.
Published 2 months ago by Christopher Mayer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent, thanks.
Published 2 months ago by mroy
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob Mankoff is good for all of us laughter lovers!!
Bob Mankoff is great! I watch his segment on the internet where he talks about cartoons and the New Yorker.
Published 3 months ago by Jane T
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
Good account of the cartoon process and the challenge of getting into the New Yorker. Has samples of the artists work and Mankoff's own contributions. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kenneth B Carpenter
2.0 out of 5 stars 3 Stars for the Book; 1 Star for the Kindle version
The book has ample reviews so I am sure there is enough written to help you decide whether to read it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by 0101101
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny
I gave this to my dad for Christmas, and all he did Christmas day was sit, read it, and laugh.
Published 4 months ago by R. Morrison
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