Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity” as Want to Read:
Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  884 Ratings  ·  144 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
Published May 15th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Man Made, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Man Made

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,051)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 12, 2013 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Aug 26, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Man Made, Stein decides to try traditionally masculine things like camping and fire fighting so that he can be a better father, husband, and man.

Because the book is so episodic in nature, readers are likely to find at least some of the book interesting. My favorite sequences may have been the discussions of fire fighting and drinking scotch. I haven't taken up drinking scotch, but I guess I'll put it on my to-do list. And I also like the idea of joining a volunteer fire department. Oh -- I al
Shawn  Stone
Jan 03, 2015 Shawn Stone rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: masculinity
Anyone who’s read Peter McCallister’s Manthropology would be well acquainted with the science behind the physical degeneration of the modern male. For those with lingering doubts, they need only look at the depiction of males in contemporary pop culture to truly see how far the bar has been lowered as to what it means to be male. That or read this book.

Joel Stein is the personification and a walking, self deprecating punch line for the joke that western men have devolved to. Stein, learning tha
Петър Стойков
Описанието на тая тънка книжица прозвуча интересно и затова я прочетох, но тя самата не е нищо особено.

Концепцията е, че едно изнежено журналистче решава (правилно), че не е достатъчно мъжествен и как ще възпита сина си и какъв баща ще му бъде като не може един пирон да забие, затова по-добре да пробва някакви мъжествени дейности, които не му идват много отръки, но все пак по-добре от нищо.

Самия автор е еманацията на бета-мъжа - майка му била огнена феминистка и не му давала да спортува защото с
Jul 25, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
J.v. Petretta
Aug 20, 2015 J.v. Petretta rated it really liked it
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
Ed Bernard
Feb 13, 2013 Ed Bernard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Read for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, Task #6 - a book by a person whose gender is different from your own

For this task, I really wanted to pick a book that was about the idea of its author being a different gender than me. On the one hand, this book was funny and engaging and even moving at times, and Joel Stein's performance on the audiobook was great - I loved hearing his voice saying his words. On the other hand, the book ultimately let masculinity be complex and multi-faceted, while
May 16, 2012 Kristine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 14, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a funny, poignant and well-written tale. Recommended.
Dec 04, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty fun. Stein set out to deconstruct the component of traditional masculinity and develop these in himself. Along the way he discovered the fallacy of traditional masculinity as it is popularly perceived, as well as his own shortcomings in this pursuit and his strengths despite imagined societal demands of him. This was a very witty, rollicking adventure in self-improvement, poignant at times and self-deprecating throughout, but still breezy enough to unconsciously lose lots of time ...more
Malin Friess
Nov 24, 2014 Malin Friess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After Joel Stein (humor columnist for Time Magazine) finds out he is having a son he goes through a crisis of gender identity. How can I raise a son? How am I going to teach him how to throw a football, put up a tent, catch a fish, fix a car, roof a house.

Joel begins his quest to become a man by spending a weekend camping with Boy Scouts, renting a Lamborghini, trading 100,000 dollars on the stock market, roofing a house with his father-in law, going through boot camp with the US army, doing a 2
Jul 09, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
May 04, 2013 Stewart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favs
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
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
Jonathan Lu
Jul 31, 2013 Jonathan Lu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 activities th ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lee Ann
Mar 07, 2013 Lee Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jesse Downs
Feb 10, 2013 Jesse Downs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Introspection via exploration spirals into narcissism. While an interesting idea, Joel Stein fails in his execution by equating being a prototypical 'man' with being a good father. Also, based on the frequency with which they are mentioned, Stein appears to have issues with homosexuality, pornography, and Michael Vick. And the last quarter of the book is nothing but an apology for negative comments made about the American military in Stein's column for Time Magazine. Not anywhere near as good as ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has ever read one of Stein's columns in Time knows what to expect out of Man Made. This book is much longer and more in-depth, but it reads like a collection of his often humorous, always absurd essays about learning something he knows nothing about from someone who's nothing like him. In this case, the essays are all about learning how to become an alpha male from a series of MMA fighters, boy scouts and drill sergeants.
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
Jun 19, 2014 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2016 Neal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! It kept me laughing from start to finish. Where other reviews accuse the book of being sexist and childish, I thought Stein did a great job of simultaneously poking fun of and recognizing the positive qualities of masculinity. At the same time, his self deprecating style keeps the book from becoming a pretentious critique from on high. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Amir Ab Rahman
The premise of the book is that the author is expecting a son and worried that he's not man enough to be a father. He came up with a list of things that are manly and set on to do them, which includes camping, fire fighting, day trading, joining the military and fighting Randy Couture.

While most of his experiences seemed watered down, they are still fun to read about. The book is funny, chronologically entertaining and most importantly, honest.

A quote from the book that summarises it pretty we
Jun 28, 2013 Meri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2013 dirt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Buffalo Gay Men's...: August 20, 2015 1 9 Jul 31, 2015 12:28PM  
  • Dumbfounded: Big Money. Big Hair. Big Problems. Or Why Having It All Isn't for Sissies.
  • A Mormon Mother
  • I Still Have It . . . I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It: Confessions of a Fiftysomething
  • Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power
  • Lizz Free Or Die
  • Finally Free: An Autobiography
  • Leading With My Chin
  • Cat People
  • The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of An American Icon
  • If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails: And Other Lessons I Learned from My Mom
  • Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • How to Cook Like a Man: A Memoir of Cookbook Obsession
  • Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster
  • Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn
  • Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A Memoir
  • The Peter Potential: Discover the Life You Were Meant to Live
  • The Lost Scrolls: Fire
  • Pigeon in a Crosswalk: Tales of Anxiety and Accidental Glamour
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
More about Joel Stein...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…