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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

4.0 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, April 26, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


“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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Product Details

  • 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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Daniel Johnson on May 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a big fan of Glenn O'Brien's tone and perspective for a long time. As GQ's style guy and a further contributor to the magazine and its now-defunct podcast, it would be easy and perhaps predictable for him to take a dismissive or snobby stance while dealing out the dos and don'ts of taste, the way that other style and advice tsars seem to traffic in snarkiness while resenting their readers (thinking of Esquire's sex columnist here). But O'Brien the writer is always unfailingly polite, empathetic and seems generally concerned with being of service in his column, in an almost Buddhist sense.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
You remember Glenn O'Brien. As music columnist for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, G.O'B. was the periscope on the submarine that was underground, punk rock during its landmark decade in the 80's. He later expanded his sphere of influence into fashion and art through his "Style Guy" column at GQ magazine and a stint with the publisher of magazines like "Antiques" and "Art in America.". In fact, when it comes to fashion, style and the arts, the O'Brien arsenal is tough to beat.

It is then with both great anticipation and curiosity that we watch as he turns his gaze to the subject of manhood in the newly released volume "How to Be a Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior for the Modern Gentleman." (Rizzoli)

So what is a man in the modern day sense and what does it take to become one?

In O'Brien's view, a man is a person who employs the utmost of style and care when it comes to everything from wardrobe to behavior to the way he exudes his sexuality. O'Brien is a taskmaster when it comes to natty dress, manners and even where a man fits along the hetero, homo and metro-sexual continuum. In fashion, O'Brien's purview runs head-to-toe covering every detail from haircuts to underwear, collar-stays to ascots. There is even an ample discussion of the so-called `dandies.' (He likes hetros and dandies, though he chastises some gays for not being "gay enough.")

No one can fault O'Brien for his erudite musings. His range of knowledge is exemplary - covering cultures from the ancient Greeks to the Taliban, philosophers from Socrates to Chuck D. (Only O'Brien would cover the range of beards from ZZ Top to Rutherford B. Hayes.) His writing style is about as punchy as it gets, with each sentence delivering like the cutting remarks of a professorial stand-up comic.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These days, there are any number of men who consider themselves ultra stylish and therefore highly qualified to dispense sartorial advice. Look no further than the internet, and its endless guides to style, masculinity and so on. If you can buy The Right Look at Urban Outfitters, and spend an hour a day curating the ripped-off photos on your Tumblr blog, you're practically a style icon. O'Brien actually earned his status as a purveyor of style through years of toil at Interview, GQ, Vanity Fair, et al.

I've long been a fan of Glenn O'Brien. As much as he gives sage advice, he's funny and irreverent, too (if sardonic wit is your cup of tea). There are more important things going on in the world, and O'Brien knows it. I am of the camp that believes you can have your well-fitting pants and work for peace on earth, too.

How To Be A Man is smart and funny, and sure: some of his proclamations are ludicrous; saying someone like Armani looks good with his deep-fried glow is preposterous. As is the suggestion that type-o blood types need to eat meat. Insanity!

But good manners are a lost art; and I would argue that the importance of never wearing flip flops in public can't be over-stated. O'Brien has plenty of important things to say that both mock and embrace convention, simultaneously.

How To Be A Man is really about how to be a certain kind of man. But the world could certainly stand more of a certain kind of man. And if you're the kind of man, like myself, who occasionally needs some words of wisdom on waxing...: this book is indispensable.
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