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How to Be a Man: (and other illusions) Hardcover – May 12, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Noisey, 5/8/15
“Offers life lessons and hard-won wisdom from the former hard-partying high-school dropout who found sobriety through martial arts, family, and—of all things—sports radio. In it, McKagan dishes priceless advice.”

My Big Honkin Blog, 5/10/15
“Writing with an easy and engaging style…an entertaining entry on my list of favorite reads thus far, this year.”

Esquire.com, 5/11/15
“Focuses…on issues surrounding masculinity, paternity, partnership and maintaining your integrity and footing in a dizzying world and culture.”

Seattle Times, 5/13/15
“Helpful advice on dealing with the work/family balancing act, financial planning and, yes, book suggestions.”

LA Weekly, 5/11/15
“Encapsulates [McKagan’s] life and what he's learned in a highly readable way that everyone—man or woman—can relate to.”

RealLifeHusband.com, 5/12
“The book that all men must read…An easy to swallow textbook of advice and guidance…Men! Go NOW and get this book. (Or women: get it FOR THEM)…Follow his lead, boys, and we can all slide headlong into our graves without regret screaming ‘Wow! What a ride!’”

Sonic Sound Magazine, 5/14/15
How To Be a Man, illustrates how Duff has balanced his career and home life, creating a happy medium that allows him to thrive; proving to us all that being a ‘rock star’ isn’t about debauchery.”

The Writer’s Journey blog, 5/12/15
“McKagan is an entertaining character…Fans of McKagan’s columns on ESPN.com and SeattleWeekly.com will enjoy the witty banter of How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions).”

Billboard.com, 5/19/15
“Lighthearted yet serious-minded.”

Alternative Nation, 5/19/15
“Chock full of advice and wisdom that [McKagan] has picked up along the way…There is a lot of first hand rock and roll experience talking in these pages, as well as a fiercely sharp business mind…The pages are devoid of ego and Duff manages to give himself a firm beating with his own fists in this verbal dojo. You will never read a book by a rocker quite like this one.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,“100 Books for Summer Reading,” 5/31/15

MediaMikes.com, 5/26/15
“Something about this book…pulled me back in page after page…All in all a fun and quick read that fans of Duff and his music will surely enjoy.”

EntertainmentRealm, 5/31/15
“[An] easy read…Don’t expect a tell-all filled with rock and roll debauchery…This is the calm family-man rocker advice book…This book isn’t for everyone but many will find something in it that appeals to them.”

NeuFutur.com, 5/20/15
“Enjoyable.”

Rolling Stone, 6/3/15
“A time-hopping memoir that chronicles [McKagan’s] life between a tour with a cover band featuring Slash to his temporary reunion with Axl Rose last year. Although the tome is not a self-help or advice book per se, it's littered with entertaining and hilarious aphorisms.”

Brave Words, 6/17/15
“Full of unbelievable revelations…Advice is plentiful throughout.”

Backstageaxxess.com, 7/1/15
“McKagan is a gifted writer and his stories are humorous and charming… If you're looking for a light and entertaining read with a peek into rock and roll, you'll enjoy this one. Or, if you need some advice on how to deal with your teenage daughter or perhaps some tips on home maintenance, you'll also want to add this book to your collection.”

Publishers Weekly, 6/29/15
“A hybrid memoir/self-help book that addresses a pressing issue for rock stars and those who party like them: how do you live after putting the bottle down?”

Praise for Duff McKagan's previous book, the New York Times bestseller It's So Easy (and other lies)

"You'll read this memoir from the former Guns N' Roses bass player for the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but you'll remember it for what comes after—recovery, family, and fulfillment."—Los Angeles Magazine

"In a book that mourns friendships and talent lost to drugs, McKagan's transformation is a relief and an inspiration. He writes with honesty and even humility, seemingly refreshingly devoid of rock star egomania."—Shelf Awareness

"Honest, well-written... McKagan is surprisingly self-aware and candid, and he doesn't let himself off the hook easily."—Publishers Weekly

"McKagan has a nice eye for details and a surprisingly good memory. He's proudly raw and harsh, refusing to hold back in terms of language and content.... Fans will be thrilled by this honest, detailed memoir."—Kirkus Reviews

"Fans will love the descriptions of the struggles and early triumphs of Guns N' Roses, but McKagan's descriptions of his equally driven efforts at self-transformation are just as compelling.... Rock fans—and would be rockers—will find much to savor here."—Library Journal

"McKagan recounts his [tale] with flamboyance and an engaging wit."—Booklist

Heavy Metal ICU, 8/29/15
“An extremely entertaining and oddly enough, an informative read.”

GeekNation.com, 8/31/15
“An absolutely astounding, brave, and gut-wrenching book…If you read one book this year, make it Dark Days.”

South China Morning Post, 9/5/15
“[A] moving book…Gritty and believable, the book reveals the life of a ‘budget rock star’ and what it's like to have a drink problem. It succeeds by sharing insights into common human suffering.”

RollingStone.com, “10 Best Music Books of 2015,” 12/21/15
“Engaging…Whether he's detailing the superfandom he shares for the Seattle Seahawks with Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell, rattling off a list of albums every man should own (Sabbath's Paranoid, Bowie's Diamond Dogs) or laying down the Number One rule of hotel cohabitation (don't poop in the room), McKagan is an unfailingly gracious—and entertaining—guide.”

About the Author

Duff McKagan is the cofounder of hard rock groups Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver and is the author of the New York Times bestseller It’s So Easy (and other lies). He lives with his family in Seattle and Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 12, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030682387X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306823879
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Let's get this out of the way: Duff McKagan is a true inspiration and I very much enjoyed his first book, "It's so easy (and other lies)".

"How to be a man (and other illusions)", however, is a medium enjoyable read. Why is this?
1) The book repeats a number of things that have been said before. If you have read the previous book, or even some of his columns in Seattle Weekly, you will tend to think, "Oh, that!" in a number of places. I suppose that this was to be expected - there's only so many things you can say about any one person's life. Putting out two books on yourself in a spell of a few years only is an ill-advised decision. If Duff had waited for another few years, it would have been more interesting to see how his perspective on certain things might have changed.
2) There are a lot of "fillers". There is, for instance, an epic list of albums that every man should know. They're in alphabetical order, so if you enjoy reading dictionaries, you will love this chapter. The pages and pages of recommended books are equally frustrating. I understand that Duff would want to include these things. But a list of 20 would have been quite sufficient, and would have made the individual recommendations more significant.
3) I am genuinely happy that Duff's life has turned out the way it has. Like I said, he is an inspiration in many ways. I am glad he loves his family. This is how it should be. Does this make for a good life? Yes. Does it make for an interesting read? I am not so sure.

Still, I enjoyed Duff's style. He is funny with more than a hint of irony. I also appreciate him taking an open stand on a number of important topics. I do hope that this is not his last book.

And after all - I'm a woman, so maybe I am just not the targeted reader! ;-)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy reading about musicians life's and their stories. This book was ok. Nothing special and certainly didn't teach me much about how to be a man. I guess I expected some more insight into His self help mindset. Oh and a little heavy on repeatedly mentioning how great his wife and kids are. I think we got it the first time....
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By Andy on January 10, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of Guns n' Roses since I was 5 years old... more than 20 years has passed and only now it's become interesting for me to know their history, understand them better. Previously I've been listening only to music... day by day..every day))
Decided to buy this one and can say that it is a good read. Very insightfull. Now want to buy Slash's book too.
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I really loved Duff's first book, It's So Easy, and couldn't wait to read this one. Unfortunately, it seems very disjointed and jumps randomly from topic to topic. It reads as if several of his independent magazine articles were slapped together with no thought to order or cohesion. It was lacking the endearing personal anecdotes that made his first book so fantastic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Duff's original memoir is hands down the best I have read from among the rock bio genre. As a follow-up, this one was good, but having taken on more of an advisory focus rather than a true memoir (which of course is not unexpected since his initial memoir was stellar), some of the content was less interesting than others. One thing I really appreciated were the "best" lists he included... I always find it so fascinating to see the bands that were so influential in the development of an artist.
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I originally heard Duff speak on the Jim Rome show back when he did his first interview. I bought his first book that same week. Loved it and just like his last one, this book is very well written, entertaining, and relate-able. Duff is an all around good guy and has a story worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read his other book, "It's So Easy and Other Lies," and grew up a GnR fan and have followed his career and music since the late 80's and he always delivers.
Just to see a drug and alcohol addict completely transform his life and now be a successful husband/father/business man and still be a rock star, you don't read a lot of those stories. They don't usually end well. But I think you can take the advise from someone who's done it, which is in this book.
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By Shannon on June 23, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Definitely not his best work. It was slow and took me quite a while to read. Unlike his last book, which was a fun roller-coaster, even though this is supposed to be a grown up book. I didn't see a ton of advice on "How to Be a Man", but I think paying the price of this book for his advice on the best books and records were definitely page fillers.

I do love the depth of love for his wife and family. But any man with a wife and family, especially over his forties, should feel this much love for their wife and family. (Let's not forget this is his third marriage). I feel as if most of the GNR crew, and ALL of the Crue, are getting these books out for last money or "don't forget my name" efforts.
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