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The Hipster Handbook Paperback – February 4, 2003


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The Hipster Handbook + So You Think You're a Hipster + Stuff Hipsters Hate: A Field Guide to the Passionate Opinions of the Indifferent
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400032016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400032013
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Just as The Official Preppy Handbook exposed wearers of Lacoste polos and drinkers of Bloody Marys, Lanham’s new book delves into the lives of those who deem themselves too cool for school. Hipsters, he says, are the ones you see around town smoking European cigarettes, wearing platform shoes and reading biographies of Che Guevara. Lanham, editor of the site FreeWilliamsburg.com (Williamsburg being a favorite New York City hipster enclave), does his best to dissect the personality types, the hangouts, the colleges and even the facial hair of the modern-day Hipster. There’s no main narrative per se, rather a prolonged pastiche of sarcastic observances and witty asides. And in a clever marketing gimmick, Lanham compiles a raft of lists detailing crucial Hipster music (including the Beastie Boys record Paul’s Boutique) and literature (Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity), which are sure to spark debate. Topping it off is a questionnaire, to suss out whether or not you could qualify for Hipsterdom (e.g., if you subscribe to Wallpaper, you’re in; if Maxim’s more your speed, you’re out). The truly hip wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole, of course, but they aren’t really Lanham’s target.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The Hipster Handbook. . .proves that behind every goatee, shaggy hairdo and baggy blouse, there's still a lot of preening."
-- The New York Times

"The Hipster Handbook is your official guide to the language, culture and style of hipsters young and old…. There's even a dating guide for various hipster combinations." –Los Angeles Times

"Describes everything cool–the slang, the dress code, the career path, greetings and (of course) taste in music kids from the Inner Mission to Williamsburg ascribe to--in pitch-perfect detail…. [T]his guy clearly has some insider information himself. Gently teasing and hilarious." –Philadelphia Weekly

"The Hipster Handbook is The Official Preppy Handbook for people who wear Atari T-shirts." –Esquire

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Customer Reviews

A very funny book exposing the varieties of hipsters.
Menelaus
My favorite parts of the handbook are the lists and charts Lanham has interspersed throughout with comparisons and constrasts. ...
Jason M. Tyson
I bought this book for my boyfriend and decided to read it before I gave it to him.
Alisa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jeff MH on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
(Short answer: Ironically)
If you are reading this book in hopes of becoming a 'hipster', give up, for this book like 'hipster culture' oozes irony and laughs at those who take it at face value. Instead you would become what laymen may term a 'poseur', analogous to the 'fashion punks' who brought punk to the near mainstream in the 80s, and would quickly be revealed by such gaffes as the use of a term like 'deck' with any seriousness or lack of irony.
However, 'real' hipsters need not despair. This book can still be read by them without shame and be prominently displayed on their thrift store used coffee table in their small apartment as long as it is done with an excess of irony. Doing so is in fact essential in some ways to remaining a 'real hipster' in the face of the subculture's sudden commodification.
With the sudden entrance of this book into mainstream consciousness, as once once 'hip' statements of 'hipsterdom' such as the trucker hat and the messenger bag are paraded around on mass media (MTV and NBC respectively--although any self respecting 'hipster' would only ever be caught watching Queer Eye on Bravo), the essential exclusivity and irony of hipsterdom has come under attack.
'Hipsters' of course must defend themselves the only way they can, with further layers of irony. They must show that they get the joke, that they are not the sheeplike wannabe 'hipsters' trying to be like them by copying their fashions and terminologies a day too late, that they can still tell the 'real thing' and keep their 'club' exclusive in the face of scrutiny by the dumb masses. This book can become another obscure reference by those in the know, not to be talked about overtly, but to be subtly slipped into conversation.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Menelaus on February 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
A very funny book exposing the varieties of hipsters. A tongue in cheek guide which proves what existed all along: hipsters are merely sheep following others' trends, much like the mainstream schlubs the hipsters themselves loathe. Hillarious but also strangely informative.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Margot T. Ellis on June 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Only recently, through a series of 'revealing' literary works, has the greater American public been made aware of the well-dressed, foppish, socially progressive, and supremely emasculated urban crowd known as metrosexuals. The existance of men who would rather spend a day at the beauty parlor than the ball field has come as a shock to every beer-guzzling frat boy who could not, for all the gold in fort knox, envision a world in which fashion savvy and unparalleled narcissism are more useful masculine traits than a strong physique and the ability to consume mass quantites of alcohol.
Treading similar ground, Robert Lanham's Hipster Handbook attempts to sate the masses by allowing a fleeting glimpse into an ever changing subculture indigenous to the metropolises of America. Lanham's opus manages to act simultaneously as both a (relatively) accurate satire of progressive urban life, as well as a guide by which one could, conceivably, become a hipster him(or her) self.
It is because of the janus-faced nature of the Handbook that nobody in America could actually take it seriously. On the one hand, Lanham would have us buy into his view that what he sees reflects the true nature of the hipster, while at the same time, he relentlessly parodies such a lifestyle, making it clear to the reader that very few Americans indeed could ever come close to living it. Proof: Lanham makes perfectly lucid the notion that, while a 9-5 job is considered utterly 'fin,' hipsters should possess the wealth necessary for the fast-paced, fashionable, trendy world of hipsterdom. The occasional waitressing shift at your local hipster bar will not pay for your Wicker Park loft, nor will it buy your Manhattan Portage messenger bag, your collection of Kraftwerks and Built To Spill CDs, or your Structure jeans.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Lanham's tome of cool is more than a mere handbook.... it is the most well-written and hilarious bit of social commentary to be published in recent memory. He nails the paradoxes and nuances of today's trendsetters and allows their absurdity to speak for itself. This book is a real treat.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Parties filled with youthful, slender, and carelessly tousled hipsters used to make me feel like a hairy, balding, four-corned frado that tracked dog-doo across their flocati rugs. Well, The HIPSTER HANDBOOK has changed all that! Now, friendly nods and phone numbers from lovely chippers flow my way. And the hipsters at the coffee bar put extra fudge in my mocha now that I'm part of the tribe.
Go from Huey Lewis to Julian Casablancas in 140-some pages, and if reading's not your bucket of chicken, there are over 100 fly illustrations that'll get you going down the road to carefree hipsterdom. If it worked for me, it can work for you. BUY THIS BOOK.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
So what if this doesn't appeal to everyone? Not everyone has the good taste and the inflated ego to be a hipster!
The best thing about this book and the reason it succeeds so well, I think, lies in the fact that Lanham understands how silly this project is, which makes it absolutely fun to read.
And if you are a hipster like me, you'll really appreciate the Hipster Hairdos for Men and Women, which include such common styles as the Emo Combover and the Wet Banana.
Also great are the lists that examine Hipster Music. There really is a logic to them: David Bowie's "Hunky Dory," for instance. Lanham wouldn't pick "Ziggy Stardust" for the simple fact that it's too well-known...Hipster's always seek the obscure stuff.
So if you enjoy poking fun at yourself and your lame friends, I recommend this one.
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