Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity
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Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  631 ratings  ·  116 reviews
The smudge looked suspiciously penis- like. The doctor confirmed: "That's the baby's penis!" which caused not celebration, but panic. Joel pictured having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing.

So begins his quest to conf...more
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Published May 15th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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Sarah
Man Made is an awesome audio book. Joel Stein not only wrote this book, he also narrates it. I love how his inflection mimics the way a friend would talk to me about his various misadventures. I am familiar with Stein's writing and his sense of humor from his "Awesome Column" in Time magazine, which is what drew me to this book.

The premise of the book is that Stein is about to have a son and he panics at his lack of manlihood. How will he teach his son to be a man when Stein spent his college ye...more
J.v. Petretta
I knew well in advance that I would enjoy this book, mostly because I, in my younger years, had sought my own quest for masculinity.

I will not give any spoilers, because this book needs to be read, but I will encourage readers my own way:

First, women, if your man has confidence issues, suggest he read this. It will help. If he doesn't, but has something I would call "tough-man syndrome", suggest he read this; it may make him re-think what being a man is all about. Read it yourself first, and t...more
Ed Bernard
I generally have mixed feelings about the current crop of experiential reporting books – like AJ Jacobs living bibilically, inspired by the George Plimpton classics. Sometimes, they just take the conceit so literally that it’s no fun any more. I felt like this one was going to end up that way as well, but a funny thing happened – the author discovered that his premise was flawed and discovered many new things about being a man. Some of the chapters were real stunners too – having a catch with Sh...more
Mark
"These are precisely the conversatoins I wanted to have as a man. Ones in which my wife cowers in fear and I lean over, put my arms around her, and taunt her for her fears."

Full of rape jokes, reinforcing gender stereotypes, and painfully stupid content. Offensive and not worth your time. I was hoping this would be a book humorously poking fun at stereotypes and expectations of masculinity, but instead it was a book written by a man who aspires to fit into every one of those stupid stereotypes p...more
Kristine
Joel Stein's book is a humorous recounting of his quest to become a masculine man by taking on in small trials boy-scouting, hunting, mixed martial arts, and the Army and Marines among other adventures. In a book like this it either works or it doesn't depending on how funny you find it. It's not going to be about the writing or the style. Maybe about how interesting you find the subject matter too, but basically it's successful only if you find it funny. It's completely subjective. Well I found...more
Brad Wojak
I have long been a fan of "immersion journalism", and as the father of a newborn boy I understand the fear of not being "man enough"; So, I am a little surprised that I did not love this more. Mr. Stein's attempts to experience more of the manly art- Fast cars, fighting, soldiering, fighting fires, mixed martial arts.. are all good reads. But, it just does not sustain itself. The book felt long, and in some parts the jokes did not work. I would recommend this, but go to your local library, or wa...more
Mark
Joel Stein has accomplished a rare feat: hilariously skewering almost every tired trope, every caricaturish trait, every predictably macho activity — and coming away from his experiences with a profound, humbled appreciation for every honorable aspect of being a man, a husband, and a father. Self-deprecatingly playing down the courage it took to do everything he did to prove himself "masculine", he comes to find a peaceful harmony between stereotypes and individualism. He even comes to renewed l...more
Michael
What a funny, poignant and well-written tale. Recommended.
Amy
Exponentially better--funnier and more touching--than I expected. Stein undermines stereotypes about American men as he rides with L.A. firefighters, goes turkey hunting in Vermont, joins a Chicago day-trading firm, drives a Lamborghini around Beverly Hills, helps his father-in-law take the roof off a house, etc.

"Real men" aren't the obnoxious, hyper-competitive loudmouths I'd expected him to be spending time with. Over and over Stein meets "real men" who have a calm self-confidence, a comfort...more
Stewart
Joel Stein took on the quest that I have contemplated myself since my son was born 6 years ago. There were actually times when I felt like he had somehow gotten inside my head and found all of my insecurities and decided to go test them. I don't know if this is a challenge that all new fathers face but the lack of confidence in our manliness is definitely something that both Joel and I have in common.

From the moment I read the first paragraph, I knew I was going to love this book. I laughed, cr...more
Jr Forasteros
Fans of A. J. Jacobs and Matt Mikalatos, rejoice! When journalist Joel Stein (Los Angeles Times, TIME) found out he and his wife were having a boy, he had a massive panic attack. Joe, it turns out, didn’t consider himself much of a man. The thought of trying to raise a boy terrified him. So he set out on a quest to become more masculine… whatever that means.

I have no idea how women keep score of who is doing best, but I get the feeling it’s complicated and involves shoes and delivering complimen...more
Jonathan Lu
The brilliance that I have come to expect from Joel Stein having been a follower of his �The Awesome Column� in TIME Magazine for years. To develop a more masculine framework after a life of passiveness in order to instill such behaviors on his toddler son, Stein embarks on a quest to undergo numerous �manly� adventures akin to the spirit of his fellow just as brilliantly humorous self-deprecating white Jewish guy author friend AJ Jacobs. Here in this story, he pursues all of the manly activitie...more
Heather
I have long been a sort of casual fan of Joel Stein, as in whenever I would come across his articles/visage I would be reminded that I thought he was both funny and cute. But I never went on a proper Joel Stein search in a way where I would reliably realize, oh he writes a weekly column for X and then follow that, or find him on fB or twitter or whatever. But you get the point.

Anyhow, heard/saw somewhere he had a book out, so I put it on my list and finally just downloaded the audio and was remi...more
Lee Ann
They say expectations are premeditated resentment. I expect funny from Joel Stein. But I don't resent him for writing, Man Made: a Stupid Quest for Masculinity.

He had me from the introduction. And he kept my attention all the way until the end. Basically, Joel freaks out when he finds out that he and his wife are expecting a boy. He has no idea what to do with a boy. Joel doesn't like sports, but he likes musicals...hence the quest for masculinity. The quest takes him on a camping trip with Boys...more
Jesse Downs
Great book. I heard a book program on Wisconsin Public Radio with the author, Joel Stein. Based on the interview and Mr. Stein's speaking/personality, I made sure to pick this up.

This isn't a deep, research-driven exploration of what it means to "be a man." Instead, it is a deeply personal account of one man's soul-searching as he prepares for (and learns from) the birth of his first child, a son. It really struck a chord within me, as I am a relatively new father. I, too, have contemplated what...more
Maureen
Pretty entertaining book about Joel's quest to become less wimpy and more manly. This is spurred on by the birth of his son - the second coming. It captures this generation's pretentious self-absorption perfectly. I listened to this as an audio book, with Stein reading his own work. Listening to the author read such a personal story was illuminating. His trials and tribulations about identifying manhood were funny and often poignant. All in all, it was entertaining. Listening as a woman, however...more
Jack
I had a lot of laugh while reading this book. It's hilarious and funny. Joel is really good at self-depreciating in a funny and meaningful way. I appreciate his honesty and bravery about how he thinks about and deals with mainlines. His observations and opinions in this book give me deep thoughts about many aspects of life. And his interpretation of mainlines, to me, is more fair and comprehensive.
John-Ruben Piirainen
I found this book amusing as I could relate to the author's sense of being out of touch with traditional masculine pursuits like hunting, camping, fixing things around the house, coveting fast muscle cars, etc. Along the way he attempts to discover how to be a man at age 40 by joining the boy scouts, training with the Marines and Army, and hanging out with other manly types like firemen.

His prose is candid, self-deprecating, and often very funny. I highlighted many more passages in this book tha...more
Meri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
dirt
Joel Stein's Awesome Column is the only part of Time Magazine I read. I was very excited to find out he had a book out. A splendid and honest book about what being a man really means. Joel meets some really great, sensitive, and insightful guys. One of the people Joel encounters is Buzz Smith, who says, "Not to dismiss your entire premise, but none of the activities or skills you plan on doing define a man. A man is honest, kind, and courageous, protects women, is humble, bold, moral, seeks trut...more
Marina
At times insightful and thought-provoking this book was also hilarious and contained some interesting "man" situations. While I am not a man I enjoyed listening to Stein's journey to manhood for the sake of his young son and was entertained and enlightened by the different ways that men can be seen and though of as MEN. I was pleased that the author read his own book to give the inflection and significance behind all of this trials and tribulations on his journey to becoming a "man." Between lea...more
Megan
FUNNY! 4.5 stars. I have been a fan of Joel Stein's since he wrote for Entertainment Weekly and now Time. He is a definite metro-sexual. When he finds out he and his wife are having a son, he decides he needs to "man up." So he tries man things he's never done before; camping, home repairs, driving fast cars, fire fighting, hunting, joining the military, owning a dog, and finally his ultimate fear - getting punched in the face. Most interesting was that each of the men he met told him being a ma...more
Gina Boyd
Joel Stein spent a year or so trying to figure out something that seems to have come naturally to generations before ours (he's my contemporary): He's trying to figure out what it means to be a man, and how to go about becoming one. I can relate, because although I'm 41-years-old, a mother, and an ex-wife, I'm still not sure what it means to be an adult American woman. I'm also not sure of what I need to teach my son so he'll grow up to be an effective man.

Is manhood about what you are? What you...more
Matthew Progen
What every beta male needs to read!

I'll loved his ability to tell a story, and the honest self-evaluation. If more people could open themselves to understand the people around them like this, political and social divisions would shrink.
Anika Rothingham
Love his style. Laughed out loud a lot. It takes me awhile to read books like this, though. Each chapter is its own story. It'd make a good read-aloud.
Emily
I really liked Joel Stein's quest for masculinity. I'm not sure many men would go on this journey or even think it important for them to be 'more manly'. My favorite chapters are when he went camping with the boy scouts (and the argument about brushing one's teeth), him learning to be a firefighter and of course his few days at boot camp. It gave me an insight not just in to Joel's personality and how he really didn't know a lot about these 'manly' ventures, but it gave me an insight into them a...more
Erin
Listened to the audio book in summer 2012. Enjoyable - gave me a few laughs.
Erin
I read this awhile back but saw it on my list (I need to be better about updating) and thought this was endearing, funny and well-written. It would be a nice little gift to an expecting father, I think.
Jack
This is a very humorous look at how different men define masculinity. The author decided to go on a masculinity quest in order to be a better father for his son. Without giving anything away, he basically found different strokes for different folks.

The book is worth reading, but since it took me over a year to finish it, well, it just didn't grab me fiercely. There were several piquant observations throughout, though, that I really enjoyed. if possible, I would have rated this 3.5 stars (roughly...more
Stephanie
I've been crushing hard on memoirs lately. And I'm not sure why I've been reading books written by funny, sharp,self-deprecating men, but I have. Here's another one...
p.s. I chose this book because Andy Borowitz is somehow connected to Joel Klein, and I'd read anything for/because of Andy Borowitz. I crush hard on him, too.
If you want to really laugh out loud (as opposed to that fake LOL stuff), read Klein's chapter on gets in the ring for an eternal 5 minutes with UFC master Randy Couture. Perf...more
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Joel Stein grew up in Edison, N.J., went to Stanford, and in 1997, became a staff writer for Time magazine. In 1998, he began writing his sophomoric humor column which now appears on the back page of the magazine every week. He also writes many other articles for Time, and has contributed to the New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Details, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Wired, Real Simple, Sunset, Pl...more
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“To defend my fear of sudden change, I chose to believe that life was incremental, that the tiny decisions you make every day determine your fate, that your job is to captain an enormous ship subtly into ever-clearer waters. But that’s not how it works at all. Life occurs in moments. You get into college. You propose. You get the job. You get cancer. You get fired. She leaves you...Because I was born in a stable country at a stable time, I falsely extrapolated that change is incremental. But if you zoom out just a little bit, you see that life is soccer, not basketball. It’s revolution, invention, war. It’s big bangs, exploding stars, asteroids killing the dinosaurs. Which means that all the action is in the risk taking, whether I want it to be or not.” 4 likes
“Firefighter is one of the few jobs kind enough to warn me away by containing two words I'm not interested in, unlike the deceptive bookkeeper.” 2 likes
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