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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 (45 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $32.50
Kindle Price: $14.44
You Save: $18.06 (56%)
Sold by: Macmillan


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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


"How About Never serves up not only a mini-collection of great cartoons but also a look at the shift in styles through the editorships of legendary William Shawn, Tina Brown, and current editor David Remnick. Mankoff also provides a very funny and insightful look at how to win The New Yorker caption contest. . . A must read for devotees of the magazine." –Publishers Weekly

"Fascinating . . . Mankoff offers a number of tips on the ‘intelligent humor’ that makes it into the New Yorker—and even how to better your odds in the weekly caption process . . . Those who aspire to a career drawing for the New Yorker will find this essential reading."—Kirkus

"Bob Mankoff’s fascinating, forthright, and funny book provides an inside look at the nuts and bolts of New Yorker cartoons: how the artists come up with ideas, how the cartoons are selected, the workings of the famous Caption Contest, and much more. Mankoff also writes with first-hand knowledge about the topic of laughter itself. He dares to ask the question, ‘What makes something funny?’, and answers it with intelligence, originality, and, of course, humor."—Roz Chast

"Is Bob Mankoff mad, a genius, or a mad genius? This book does not answer that question, but you'll love it."—Andy Borowitz

"More than anyone, Bob Mankoff has kept the New Yorker tradition in cartooning alive, while managing to oversee its renewal. He's also a very funny guy, with either a stipple-pen in his hand or a computer keyboard beneath his fingers. And, if that's not enough, he's one of the few funny guys around who actually has something sensible to say about what makes funny funny and he does so here." —Adam Gopnik

"Hilarious... a unique look at how the best cartoons in the world are created." —Christopher Guest

About the Author

Bob Mankoff is the cartoon editor for The New Yorker. Before he succeeded Lee Lorenz as editor, Mankoff was a cartoonist for the magazine for twenty years. He founded the online Cartoon Bank, which has every cartoon since the magazine's founding. He is the author of the book The Naked Cartoonist: A New Way to Enhance Your Creativity.

Product Details

  • File Size: 21046 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:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,043 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 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:
... Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Is So Very, Very Not Good for me! March 27, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Never is so very, very not good for me if by never it would have meant that I never got a chance to read this very unique memoir although it's not so much a memoir about the author, Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, as it is a memoir of the history of the New Yorker cartoons--and the only magazine left today that regularly features a bunch (17 according to this memoir) every week. I recall decades ago finding a copy in a friend's parents' home and not being able to put it down. And I've been a subscriber ever since.
And I have, for several years, been a devoted--yes, every week--contributor to the cartoon contest. And like Roger Ebert (well, no not really since he did get one published) I have yet to win. But I now expect to. And here's why. To quote the author (see page 3), "And for the icing on the cake, I'm going to tell you how to win our famous caption contest." So having made that statement, I suspect a lot of us "losers" are going to be very, very angry (well, probably not since we all probably have warped sense of humor) at "a certain" cartoon editor!
The book is filled with cartoons that are used to tell the story. You'll learn a lot more about the magazine itself, about how cartoons are selected, about the different types of cartoons. And you'll do so all from the point of view of a Jew! I love what Jewish people write--at least usually I do. And this is ripe with his Jewish sensibility. Mostly inherited from his mother.
You can't go wrong with this. But if you are buying it only for your coffee table, then don't bother. And here's why: it needs to be read!
And I now intend to win that cartoon caption contest! I'd better.
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2 of 2 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read.
I only read the New Yorker when I'm in a doctor's waiting room, but I generally like their cartoons. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Jos M. Hohmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Read About the Man Behind the Cartoons!
So much joy - if not always outright laughter - in the selection of cartoon which allows reflection on the vagaries of life. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Juanita Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book you'll ever read...and damned informative as well
You have to love New Yorker cartoons to love this book. I do and I did. Bob's writing style is what you'd expect of a cartoonist, it's spot-on, to the point, and (of course) you're... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Curtis C. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Insights to a Cartoonist's Universe
Mankoff's take on a cartoonist's art and life are provocative to anyone interested in the essence of humor... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Roger Ruggeri
2.0 out of 5 stars How About Never?
Hard to imagine a book about a "life in cartoons" on the whole as lacking humor and any resemblance to a memoir is light at best. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Byron Reimus
5.0 out of 5 stars good "lite" read
Read it in an evening-- fun and worth a few chuckles. Borrow it or get it on Kindle-- not one for the archives.
Published 15 days ago by Elizabeth Mornin
4.0 out of 5 stars Light
The subtitle, "My Life in Cartoons," is a bit misleading. Although one does learn some things about Mankoff's cartooning career, a subtitle such as "New Yorker... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Carl E. Johnson Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars New Yorker Cartoons
This book is GREAT. I will send this copy to my son in Canada (used books get thru customs unscathed), order another one sent to my other son and perhaps also a... Read more
Published 17 days ago by H. S. Vishniac
3.0 out of 5 stars truly a disappointment
Boring and self serving but mostly boring. I expected to enjoy this book having been a New Yorker reader for years but was truly disappointed
Published 19 days ago by A. E. Calek
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and interesting
I had a lot of fun with this book. Lots of funny New Yorker cartoons and insight into how they are produced, submitted and selected and edited! Who knew cartoons were edited?
Published 21 days ago by Mark Belmont
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More About the Author

The New Yorker is an award-winning weekly magazine featuring reporting, criticism, commentary, fiction, poetry, and renowned single-panel cartoons. It has won more National Magazine Awards, the magazine world's equivalent of the Oscars, than any other magazine. Its contributors have won numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. Robert Mankoff is the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, and a cartoonist in his own right. He is the editor of many collections of New Yorker cartoons, including The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker.

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