- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Rizzoli; 1St Edition edition (April 26, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0847835472
- ISBN-13: 978-0847835478
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 26, 2011
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“He’s been telling GQ readers how to dress and behave for eleven years. But Style Guy Glenn O’Brien’s true expertise may be the art of social navigation. So take it from the man who has always made sure he’s in the right circle. (Hell, he had a new-wave talk show! His boss was Andy Warhol!)” ~GQ
“Rather than a list of do’s and don’ts, How to Be a Man is part philosophy treatise, part sartorial self-help manual and part call to arms for the Renaissance man. It’s a clever collection of essays on topics ranging from grooming (‘Man is a Fur-Bearing Mammal’) and accessorizing (‘Jewels and the Man’) to behavior (‘How to Fight Like a Man’) and death (‘How to Exit’), all in prose that’s entertaining and fun to parse.” ~LA Times Magazine
“There are the requisite chapters on how to dress with panache for the occasion, as well as nuggets of humor and wisdom related to socializing, travel, dealing with doctors, dealing with religious people and even getting into fights. ‘Using the appropriate epithet is crucial,’ point out O’Brien.” ~WWD
“But Mr. O’Brien id also versed in design and fashion, the author of the long-running GQ advice column, The Style Guide, as well as a new book, How to Be a Man.” ~New York Times
“How to Be a Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior For the Modern Gentleman is possible the best title for a book I’ve ever seen!” ~Slamxhype
“…I think I’m going to start leaving copies of [it] at bars and restaurants in LA so that locals can get some tips…” ~Champagne and Heels
About the Author
Glenn O’Brien is a famous author, essayist, and bon vivant. His world-syndicated column "The Style Guy" has been the style bible for several generations of men. Jean-Philippe Delhomme is the author of The Cultivated Life (Rizzoli, 2009).
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I was a little bit worried about the book after GQ published a teaser for it which distilled some of O'Brien's tips on social politics into a single, awkward article that, stripped of the context of the book, came across as a bit bitchy and shallow. I bought the book anyway and my worries were unfounded. Most of this book should be canonized. As someone discovering for the first time O'Brien's writing beyond the pages of GQ, I was surprised at what a powerful prose stylist he is. Some of the passages are more effusive than others and when he really gets going there's a huge, poetic lift. This is not a superficial book. He really lays out a clear philosophy of living that, at the risk of oversimplifying it, treats manners as a form of deference to the beauty of life - by paying attention to details and expressing ourselves in a thoughtful manner, we are telling the world and its people that we love it enough to take it seriously.
If I had a gripe it would be the numerous redundancies - for instance the fifth time O'Brien tells us who Beau Brummell is, or the seventh time he makes the point that casual dress codes in the workplace have served to blur social status. I couldn't tell if these were editing errors or just O'Brien having a senior moment but as an attentive reader it did feel a bit like having my intelligence insulted to be re-told the same things so many times, sometimes even on the same page. [Edit: Some have said this book is a compilation of previously existing articles. I'm not sure if that's the case but it still seems like those redundancies should be addressed in this compilation for readability.]
Some of the chapters, such as the ones on dealing with air travel and doctors, are marred by a grouchiness that, as a man in my early 30s, I just couldn't relate to. But then again, this is O'Brien at his most explicit and not his most polite. And the candor is exhilarating elsewhere, like in the rants on drug use, taste as a matter of survival and a particularly inspired chapter on the vital powers of old age vs. the emptiness of youth worship.
I could have used a chapter on fatherhood and it seems that a section called How to Compete would have been a no-brainer for a book on manhood. But maybe they'll tack that on to future editions - I definitely had the sense when reading this that I was encountering the first edition of something that would last (and regretted spilling so much food on its pages).
Buy this book. For my sake. I need compatriots.
some parts of the book are hilarious, but mostly it's the vast information what makes this a fantastic book. Not just on when and how to wear suits, ties, tuxedos, etc. But also why they were created, who design them and the whole history behind them.
One of the many chapters that I've found interesting was "On the snob". Which enlighted me with the revelation that the word snob is in fact an abbreviation of Sine Nobilitate or Without Nobility.
Other chapters include "How to drink", How to be individual", "How to be an animal", "How to fight like a man", etc
It's a fascinating book, one that I'm sure you won't get tired of reading over and over.
The book is divided into 5 different sections each dealing with a different aspect of life/manhood. Each of these different sections is then filled with chapters that deal with a specific subject. Examples might be Socks, Swimwear, How to Ail, etc. (sorry I don't have my Kindle handy as a reference for the exact names of the titles). For the most part the author seems to espouse his belief system on the subjects. At times he is a little long winded, but for the most part his writing style is intellectual and fresh, with some good humor sprinkled in.
The book is good at dealing with general ideals for each chapter, but I would have preferred some less abstract advice. Yes I know a man's swim suit should be classic and stylish, but what are some good brands to shop for? Even though the book lacks actually advice, it is a great read and I am glad I have purchased it and will undoubtedly skim through it again.
O'Brien, a resplendent post-punk bon vivant and former host of NY public access T.V. Party show (Google that kids...) shows you how to take your nominal human existence and become not "The Man", but "A MAN".
This should be required reading for all approaching adulthood, and the legions of today's dude douche-bags who are experiencing difficulty in attaining needed life skills.