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Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity
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Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity [Hardcover]

Joel Stein
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 15, 2012
The smudge looked suspiciously penis- like. The doctor confirmed: "That's the baby's penis!" which caused not celebration, but panic. Joel pictured having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing.

So begins his quest to confront his effete nature whether he likes it or not (he doesn't), by doing a twenty-four-hour shift with L.A. firefighters, going hunting, rebuilding a house, driving a Lamborghini, enduring three days of boot camp with the U.S. Army, day-trading with $100,000, and going into the ring with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. Seeking help from a panel of experts, including his manly father-in-law, Boy Scouts, former NFL star Warren Sapp, former MLB All-Star Shawn Green, Adam Carolla, and a pit bull named Hercules, he expects to learn that masculinity is defined not by the size of his muscles, but by the size of his heart (also, technically, a muscle). This is not at all what he learns.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When 38-year-old, self-confessed unmanly man Stein finds out he and his wife are having a baby boy, he is seized by the compulsion to learn how to do all that manly stuff he’s neglected. So he spends time with some firefighters (all the while hugely intimidated by their dazzling good looks); learns to love dogs (with the help of a former Playboy playmate); gets some lessons in the fundamentals of baseball (from a two-time MLB all-star); and spends a weekend as a Boy Scout (mentored by a 13-year-old named Wiggles). The author’s wife thinks his “manquest” is a stupid idea, but for Stein, it’s a necessary attempt to confront all of the things he’s spent his life avoiding and to learn some skills that will make him a better father to his little boy. It’s a very funny book, but it’s not really a comedy; it’s more like a cockeyed autobiography, an embarrassingly honest story of one man’s last-ditch effort to Become a Man. Most readers—and their female counterparts—will relate to the book in some way. --David Pitt


"This is much more than a funny book, though it is that too. Beneath the humor is a wonderfully poignant exploration of the role of manliness for the 21st century urban guy. It's also a Father's Day love letter disguised as a set of adventure tales. Joel looks lovingly at both his crusty old dad and trusting infant son to reflect deeply on the lessons that we pass along from generation to generation. It made me laugh, and think, a lot."
--Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs

"Many of us men in the Western world struggle with this "forced manliness"- there is a lot of pressure. For some, it is a real struggle. I have seen Joel try to chew tobacco in an attempt to prove that estrogen does not imprison his body. Looking down at his lap and bashfully wiping the remnants of spilled tobacco off his J. Crew slacks did not help his cause. The fact that he laughed at it, though, did. He caught himself trying to be manly and laughed. That is a true man." --Zach Galifianakis

"I am the father only of daughters, and so didn't suffer any existential midlife panic about discovering and demonstrating my latent manliness. But I am happy Joel did, because his infant son inspired him to report and write this rare and splendid thing: an open-minded, open-hearted, bracingly honest, laugh-out-loud-funny memoir that takes life just seriously enough."
--Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Heyday

"Despite his best efforts, I'm not sure if Joel Stein will ever be a man, but he made me laugh out loud trying in Man Made." --Andy Borowitz, New York Times bestselling author and humorist

"Joel Stein is one of the funniest writers I've read. An incredible, hilarious saga of one man's transformation from really wimpy to just kind of wimpy." -Neil Strauss, New York Times bestselling author of The Game and Emergency

"Joel Stein's book will make you act in a very unmanly way-you will spend hours giggling like a 5th grade girl. He writes about fatherhood and son-hood with great insight, humor and, yes, even poignancy. It made me proud to share the same basic gender with him" -AJ Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

"If Joel Stein can learn to be a man, a man in the old and rugged sense of the word, then anyone can. And that's what gives me hope. What gave me profound and dizzy pleasure, though, was reading this wild account of how he did it. I dare you to follow him on his dangerous quest and I double dare you not to laugh." -Walter Kirn, New York Times bestselling author of Up in the Air

"This entertaining and irreverent memoir will make you laugh out loud, teach you a surprising amount about various bastions of American masculinity, and leave you feeling glad that you're not married to Joel Stein." -Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife

"To man up, Stein goes all Plimpton . . . MAN MADE reminds us of his wonderful ability to find surprise within a cliché . . . hilarious."-New York Times Book Review

"Stein proves himself to be a champion humorist by probing the serious side of his subject while peppering the paragraphs with numerous fresh and funny notions."
-Publisher's Weekly

"A consistently hilarious and surprisingly profound crash course in manliness... Charming, funny and life affirming" -Kirkus

"Feels like what might've happened if you'd sent Woody Allen to write George Plimpton's Paper Lion...In between all the comedy, the book is often a perceptive account of how men relate to each other and a surprisingly tender story about the love that exists between fathers and sons." -San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446573124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446573122
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mano-A-Mano So So September 5, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read many of Mr. Stein's funny but pretty useless columns in TIME magazine, I was curious if I could tolerate a book's worth of his humor. His writing style is mostly aimed at self-deprecation and the metaphors usually allude to pop-culture references. Though the focus of the book is him trying to become more "manly" for his son's sake, I wondered throughout the thing if it was just a contrived excuse to set himself up in uncommon situations. No matter. Mr. Stein did a wonderful job covering his experiences in camping with a Boy Scouts' troop; spending a few days being sort of a Los Angeles firefighter; practicing baseball with a former-pro-Dodger; spends a Sunday hanging with some ex-pro-football players watching games; learns to drink whiskey; day trades; drives a Lamborghini; babysits a dog for a few weeks; helps his father-in-law repair an old house; goes turkey hunting in Vermont; spends some days at both a marine and army boot camps as well as the climax of the story is Mr. Stein spending five minutes sparring with mixed-martial-arts UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.

It's certainly a random lot of "manly" venues. Though it does have its moments of serious introspection and the book is somewhat educational (I'm now ready for a Jeopardy category entitled 'Horny Turkeys",) the work is ultimately just a light read of a nerdy, sarcastic guy's misadventures. The authors, Mr. Stein, Jon Ronson and A.J. Jacobs must have been separated at birth. All three guys are the first to come to mind when I need a light, hilarious pick-me-up. Heck, even the author's acknowledgements at the end of the work made me smile. I do hope Mr. Stein writes another one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This guy is hysterical August 13, 2013
I just read this book and I can relate to a lot of the stories in this book. I am the other side of the coin, I have done carpentry, shot guns, and gone camping. Joel Stein has hit a lot of the right buttons on his take on many of these issues. I have a cousin who was a firefighter for a while and have had friends in that business and he is right on the money. I also know someone who pissed away a ton of money in the stock market in the area where Joel had his experience, at least the cash Joel was spending was not his own. I read his column in TIME magazine every week and that is what led me to his book. Keep up the good work Joel.
I am the author of the following book so I can relate to his short tales, I really did enjoy his book. Paul Pugliese Author of "Bedtime Horror Stories for Homeowners"
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Star Funny! May 16, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a subscriber to Time magazine, I always read Joel Stein's article as it always makes me laugh. In the latest issue (you know, the cover with the woman breast-feeding the 30 year old) he was at the top of his game with his over the top self-promotion of this book. I had to buy it from Amazon.

I finished it tonight. It is the funniest book I have read since the early works of Dave Barry and the late Lewis Grizzard. Every page from the introduction to the ending author's note is hilarious. Laugh out loud (LOL) funny! As an added bonus, it is one of the most honest books I have read. Only Richard Pryor's "Pryor Convictions" comes close to its candor.

The theme of the book is that upon learning that he is going to be the father of a SON, Joel panics and decides he must learn more about being a man. Each chapter takes us through a journey of self-discovery as Joel does "manly" things with day traders, firefighters, boy scouts, major league professionals, etc. His observations and reactions to various situations are all slices of comic gold.

The chapters are:

1. Surviving Outdoors
2. Rescuing the Helpless
3. Engaging in Competition
4. Bonding with Men
5. Making Money
6. Using Machines
7. Taming Animals
8. Building Shelter
9. Providing Food
10. Defending My Country
11. Protecting My Family

I would guess that every man that reads this book will find himself in at least some of these chapters. I know I did. I would also surmise that every woman that reads this book, will find her husband or boyfriend. I would also advise you shouldn't point it out to him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Manly Man Journey April 25, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joel Stein is one of us, pressured by manly stereotypes and expectations to be the right example to our children. Unlike most of us he is a fantastic writer who delivers truth wrapped in a blanket of humor. While trying to acquire manly-man skills and experiences he has great experiences but it is the people who guide him on his journey that are the real story. In the end he learns that he already knew. Make a safe world,as much as you can, for your children and be there to support them. This a a very funny book that allows the reader to enjoy the journey while seeing our own reflection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read even if you don't have sons December 2, 2013
By Sabbies
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My mother recommended this book to me, and I'm so glad she did--it's completely delightful. I don't even have a son (or brothers!) but the book was so entertaining and funny that I have read it twice now, and highlighted all the parts that cracked me (my mother will sometimes call me and just read parts out loud). It's introspective without being mushy, and his humor is so deliciously dry at times that you don't even realize he's made a joke until you process the whole sentence. Love this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny with a deeper meaning
In his book Man Made Joel Stein describes his journey to discover and define masculinity. In order to do this, Stein faces activities that he believes separate men from women. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Andrew S.
4.0 out of 5 stars His personal journey to becoming a better man and ultimately a father...
If you are looking for an entertaining story about someone coming to terms with themselves then Man Made by Joel Stein is the book to read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars my enjoyment was derived from the varied individuals he meets
Joel Stein’s Man Made, is a novel detailing one father’s need to be a man for his newborn son and the journey he set upon to accomplish it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars and having a love of making stained-glass window ornaments

In search of finding that inner man he thinks he doesn’t have Joel stein in the book Man Made goes too far ends to investigate his manly half to relate to his... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing enough, but could have been more.
Joel Stein’s Man Made, a novel about his pursuits of manliness, tackles gender stereotypes in ways that are only partially successful. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very entertaining and humorous read.
Published 6 months ago by Dave D
5.0 out of 5 stars So many fun experiences shared
Joel Stein never fails to deliver clever and witty prose. So many fun experiences shared.
Published 7 months ago by Lash Fary
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading for Women with Children and Without
hilarious version, somewhat embellished for humor sake, of a man's journey into parenthood. didn't know wimps were so carefully designed in childhood by overprotective... Read more
Published 8 months ago by rebecca delgadillo
1.0 out of 5 stars Gets repetitive and unbearable after a chapter or two
The first chapter or two were fine.. but then you realize every chapter is following the same script [insert new activity]
I wish I could get my money back.
Published 8 months ago by Jonathon Osterman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Man's World
He is a trooper. This is my favorite non-fiction book. The humor is in each story and we learn a good bit from each adventure. I loved the boot camp and baseball trials. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Keith A. Carey
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