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Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World Hardcover – September 10, 2013


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Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World + Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World + Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads: Dealing with the Difficult Parents in Your Child's Life
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307986659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307986658
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q&A with Rosalind Wiseman

Rosalind Wiseman

Q. Why turn your attention to boys? Haven’t they always been in an advantageous position? What has changed?

A. While in some ways it seems indisputable that boys have an advantage over girls, it depends on how you define “advantage.” Yes, some boys have social status and power that enables them to silence others—boys and girls alike. Some boys can use their advantage to hurt others and not be held accountable. But I don’t think of it as advantage per se because it’s impossible to have meaningful connections and relationships with other people when you feel entitled to use those people. And in regards to many boys in middle and high school who’ve barely started puberty, if you asked them who has more advantage, them or the ninth-grade girl who looks like she’s eighteen, they’d laugh at you. To them it seems as if girls have all the power.

Q. I know you wrote this book with boy editors from every walk of life—were you surprised by what the guys revealed to you?

A. Yes! I knew that boys had complex emotional lives, but there was a lot I didn’t know. For example, it’s funny, but boys hate it when their parents pick them up from school or practice and ask a million questions. Other things I learned are more serious. I didn’t realize how often adults dismiss boys’ feelings, or that boys regularly have experiences where people assume they’re either hormone-crazed jerks or lazy slackers—or both. I also didn’t realize how complicated lying is in “Boy World.” Boys lie for many different reasons and our (adult) responses when we catch boys doing it need to reflect an understanding of the reason they lied in the first place. If we don’t understand it, we can’t impart whatever values we want to teach boys.

It also surprised me that so many boys and young men volunteered to help me with this project. Within six months I had more than 150 boys, aged eight to twenty-four, signed on as editors. They came from all over the country and every walk of life: private East Coast boarding schools, New Orleans’s 7th and 9th ward public schools, working-class communities in the Midwest, Southern California suburbs, and every other type of educational environment imaginable. These boys assisted me throughout the writing process to make sure the book was accurate and relevant and captured the lives they really lead.

Q. How do you think this book will help parents to assist boys in navigating the middle and high school years?

A. I am hoping it will make parents realize that behind a boy’s silence or glib assurance that “I’m fine” is a person with deep emotional needs—one who wants meaningful relationships with adults whom he can believe in. Parents can support the emotional lives of their sons without making them soft or unable to handle life’s challenges and hardships. Giving boys the skills to be socially competent when they’re in conflict or upset with someone is the way for them to be truly secure. The boys want and need this support. I hope this book will help move the conversation forward.

Q. What can teachers, coaches, and school administrators get from this book?

A. First and foremost, they’ll gain an appreciation of how critical they are in helping boys to believe what honorable, courageous men they truly can be. Boys often see how hypocritical adults can be, and that disillusionment can make a boy not follow his passions. It can make him disengage from the things and people he values most. Every day, educators have the opportunity to be role models of what it looks like to be just, fair, and honorable. They also have the opportunity to be bullies, abusers of power, and cowards. I want educators to read Masterminds and really hear what the boys are saying about the two kinds of men that exist in their lives, and having heard it, to strive to do their best for the boys in their charge.

Review

“Rosalind Wiseman, who so insightfully explained the world of girls in Queen Bees and Wannabes, has done it again. This book is a powerful exploration of the inner life of boys, which is far more complex than many parents and educators may realize.  Wiseman reveals the unwritten rules boys must both abide by and try to overcome, and she helps parents understand boys’ reactions, as well as their own.  This is an essential guide – not just for parents but anyone who wants to better understand their own childhood and its impact.”
--Anderson Cooper
 
“This book is a gem. Rosalind Wiseman offers readers deep, nuanced, up-to-the-minute insight into today's boy. She explains how and why boys, in so many areas, make it easy for parents and educators to miss out on their suffering and their strength. Most important, she shows how to reach out and lift boys up without getting on their nerves.”
--Wendy Mogel, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
 
"Rosalind Wiseman, the well-known ‘girl expert,’ has a real feel for the inner life of boys, and for the way they interact with their parents. Her new book, Masterminds and Wingmen, contains some of the best advice for communicating with boys that I’ve ever read: wise, clear and tough. The brilliant chapter on why boys lies to their parents is alone worth the price of the book.”
--Michael Thompson, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys

 “Trying to communicate with boys – teenage boys especially -- can sometimes feel like cracking the world’s most complicated secret code. What makes Masterminds and Wingmen so remarkable is how thoroughly it decrypts boy-world language.  It allows us to really connect with boys.  If you want to understand what’s in your son’s head, read this book!
 --Michael Gurian, New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys
 
“Rosalind Wiseman is perhaps America's foremost guide through the complex social hierarchies and cruel logics that govern adolescents' lives.  And Masterminds and Wingmen maps the foreign territory of boys’ social and interior emotional lives as deftly and compassionately as Wiseman’s earlier book on girls.  With clear analysis and down-to-earth practical advice, this book will guide many many conversations between parents and their sons.”
 --Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
 
"Rosalind Wiseman brings a distinctive perspective and voice to whatever issue she takes up. She did it in Queen Bees and Wannabes. Now she's done it again, revealing the inner workings of 'Boy World.' I found the book insightful and useful, as both a father to sons and as a professional working with violent youth who must deal with the most serious life issues facing other people's sons."
--James Garbarino, PhD, author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them
 
“Don't even try parenting, teaching or coaching a boy without reading Wiseman's book -- a field manual that you’ll absolutely need if you wish to enter the strange and wondrous world of guys.”
--Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind
 
“The world bombards boys with confusing and destructive messages – the net result is the creation of characters instead of young men with character.  Masterminds and Wingmen will help parents, teachers, and coaches understand young boys and make a difference in their lives.  An intriguing read.”
--Dr. Kevin Leman, author of Have a New Kid by Friday


More About the Author

Rosalind Wiseman has had only one job since graduating from college--to help communities shift the way we think about children and teens' emotional and physical wellbeing. As a teacher, thought leader, author, and media spokesperson on bullying, ethical leadership, the use of social media, and media literacy, she is in constant dialogue and collaboration with educators, parents, children, and teens.

She is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World--the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. Her latest books, Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World was published in September 2013. In addition, she wrote a free companion e-book for high school boys, entitled The Guide: Managing Douchebags, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want and a school edition entitled, The Guide: Managing Jerks, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want

Wiseman's other publications include Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, that address the social hierarchies and conflicts among parents, and the young adult novel Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials. She is the author of the Owning Up Curriculum, a comprehensive social justice program for grades 6-12. She also writes the monthly "Ask Rosalind" column inFamily Circle magazine, and is a regular contributor to several blogs and websites.

Each year Wiseman works with tens of thousands of students, educators, parents, counselors, coaches, and administrators to create communities based on the belief that each person has a responsibility to treat themselves and others with dignity. She was one of the principal speakers at the White House Summit on Bullying. Other audiences have included the American School Counselors Association, International Chiefs of Police, American Association of School Administrators, and countless schools throughout the US and abroad. She is a consultant for Cartoon Network's Speak Up, Stop Bullying Campaign and an advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

National media regularly depends on Wiseman. She is a consultant for Cartoon Network's Speak Up, Stop Bullying Campaign and has been profiled in The New York Times, People, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Wiseman is a frequent guest on The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, Good Morning America, Al Jazeera, and NPR affiliates throughout the country. A sought-after speaker, Wiseman's presentations transcend cultural and economic boundaries in her appeal to ensure children's and teenagers' well being. Her engaging and forthright delivery promises to capture audiences and inspire them to build positive relationships among each other.

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Customer Reviews

I really appreciate this book and am recommending it to every parent of boys that I know.
ChristineMM
Author Rosalind Wiseman, who has a natural way of explaining the behavior of boys and men, offers many examples in this book in dealing with boys.
CGScammell
She includes their thoughts and very specific examples from them all throughout the book.
Living it up

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ohio Mom VINE VOICE on August 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you have sons, work with boys, or have any connection with boys in the 5th Grade and up...this book is a MUST read. Oh, and the great thing about it is you don't have to read the whole thing. Got a problem with a boy about:

Friends
Body Image
Communication (guess what - that shrug and clipped "fine" can actually mean something)
Lying
Helping boys handle anger
Social Networking
Video Games
Bullying/Teasing (not just about the victim - also what to do if you see it or are part of it)
Taking responsibility for actions
Empathy
Sports
Sexuality
Girls
And more issues interwoven in the above topics

This book has a section devoted to each topic. You can read each section as you find time (or as you encounter an issue and want some quick insight). There's also a section on the effects of different parenting types.

This book is written with the input of over 160 boys. It's not an instruction manual on how to raise boys. Rather, it gives you a glimpse on how boys think, what their perceptions are, what they are feeling and the problems they face in today's world.

The author offers advice on how to deal with these issues given the input from the boys. She also includes "LANDMINES" or what not to do because it will backfire. Along with the landmines, she acknowledges you will probably find yourself in a landmine situation, then come to the book looking for advice. Don't worry, parenting usually offers you the ability to experience a situation more than once (smile), so you can refer to the book and have a better idea of how to handle yourself the next time.

Here's an example of some of the insight provided.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Becky Rose on September 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a mom of two boys, one who is entering jr. high, I was looking for something to help me navigate as he grows into a man. I read this book cover to cover, but you can pick specific chapters and focus on what you need to at the time. The chapters are listed in boy terms, so sometimes they're hard to decipher - such as Six-packing, no man's land, outward bound, and a section on things like Laxbros (boys who play Lacrosse) so you don't know what the chapters are about until you're reading them.

I learned a ton from this book. And being open minded, a lot of what I was doing wrong. Rosalind and her crew of boys reveal the do's and don't of boy world and how us as parents can help guide, or be shut out of their lives. She breaks it down for you listing Landmines - things parents say and do that should be avoided (or perhaps reworded). She asks parents to "Check Their Baggage" making you think about your past experiences and how those are creeping into your current parenting style. And there are many quotes directly from BOYS themselves which are insightful and honest. It's eye opening. For example, I didn't know that boys lie so much or more importantly WHY!!?! I thought it was only my son, and now I have a new insight to the boy mind.

Wiseman dives deep into how our society has shaped where our boys are now and how society has shaped our parenting. There are many ah-ha moments throughout the book on how negative we as a collective have made it for our boys. From unrealistic, unfeeling superheroes, emasculating coaches, fathers who expect son's to obey, and the constant ridicule from each other. It was depressing for me to really soak in just how difficult boy world is.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have two sons aged 16 and 13 and have been a very hands on parent having homeschooled them from birth, but dealing with teen boy behavior that started two years ago has been a trial and a challenge to say the least. I had searched for wisdom about parenting teens and boys but the pickings were slim and not too helpful or were already outdated and irrelevant (from pre-Internet and pre-mobile phone times).

Wiseman delivers a fairly thorough book that has helped me see things in a new light or reaffirmed what I already do, with quotes from boys underscoring and giving credibility to her opinions and advice. Wiseman included the input of boys throughout the writing process and I love that she used their quotes.

Wiseman covers a wide range of topics, everything from social circles in boys with labels for different types to different parenting profiles and the pitfalls of each to how to deal with breaking down the wall they put up yet giving them space to become independent young men. She discusses issues with anger, reasonable limits on video games, girls, homosexuality, and sports. The chapter on lying is brilliant and should be read by every parent.

I love the book and rate it 5 stars. I really appreciate this book and am recommending it to every parent of boys that I know.

My only criticism, which is not big enough to downgrade the book's star rating or to take away from my loving it is that she is light on empathy or sympathy for parents. She seems to have a heart for the boys more than for the parents. I know we are the adults but please give us some kudos for doing the right thing most of the time! Her discussion of gray areas is light (moral dilemmas) as is her advice on drug and alcohol use.
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