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How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons Hardcover – March 25, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 227 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mankoff was close to earning a PhD in psychology when he finally admitted that cartooning was his true calling. He developed his distinctive “dot” style as a vehicle for his heady sense of humor, had his first cartoon published in the New Yorker in 1977, and has been serving as the magazine’s cartoon editor since 1997. In a witty mix of memoir and New Yorker cartoon history exuberantly illustrated with New Yorker cartoons past and present, Mankoff discusses his mother’s complicated influence (“Humor thrives on conflict”), how his psychology background helps him understand what makes cartoons funny or thought-provoking, and why he created the Cartoon Bank, which transformed the profession. He also unveils the magazine’s cartoon selection process under editors William Shawn, Tina Brown, and David Remnick and describes his own rigorous assessment of 1,000 cartoons a week. Other cartoonists describe their working methods, and Mankoff even offers inside information on the New Yorker’s devilishly difficult Cartoon Caption Contest, which the late great movie critic Roger Ebert won in 2011 “after 107 tries.” A cartoon lover’s feast. --Donna Seaman


“Lucid, illuminating, and encouraging . . . How About Never – Is Never Good for You? is not just a charming memoir but also a charming grab bag of cartoon history, cartoon theory (nothing too woolly) and shoptalk.” ―New York Times Book Review

“Mankoff's deep understanding of humor, both its power and its practice, is the live wire that crackles through his new book . . .
How About Never is more than a memoir . . . it's also an enormous window into the mystery and alchemy behind the creation and selection of New Yorker cartoons.” ―The Washington Post

“Evidence that the
New Yorker's cartoons can still unerringly reflect the texture of our times.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“This is a generous book, giving abundant credit to both the older generation of cartoonists whom the young Mr. Mankoff hero-worshiped to the new blood he has brought to the magazine during his tenure.” ―
Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“By mixing his snappy-banter writing with actual
New Yorker cartoons, Mankoff offers fascinating insight into the professional trials and artistic struggles of a cartoonist--and his own method of defining what, precisely, makes a New Yorker cartoon.” ―Entertainment Weekly

“Hilarious and insightful.” ―

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

“[Mankoff] delivers a witty and informative behind-the-scenes look at contemporary America media's most prominent home for great cartooning. Anyone who turns to the cartoons as soon as they get a new issue will devour this delightful book with relish.” ―
Shelf Awareness

“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

Always the perfect gift

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (March 25, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 080509590X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0805095906
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.42 x 1.18 x 10.26 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 227 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
227 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

J Lange
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on May 4, 2014
Dr. William E. Hanley
5.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable read about the creative process of cartooning and why cartoons are selected for print.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on October 28, 2022
Compulsive Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars My Dad loved it. Full of lots of funny New Yorker ...
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on July 22, 2014
Rodrigo Borges
5.0 out of 5 stars Bom livro
Reviewed in Brazil 🇧🇷 on April 11, 2016