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Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,654 Ratings  ·  710 Reviews
On the runway of life, Tim Gunn is the perfect life coach.

You've watched him mentor talented designers on the hit television show Project Runway. Now the inimitable Tim Gunn shares his personal secrets for "making it work"—in your career, relationships, and life. Filled with delightfully dishy stories of fashion's greatest divas, behind-the-scenes glimpses of Runway's bigg
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Gallery Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 09, 2012 Traci rated it really liked it
So the secret is out. No, not about Gunn being gay. No, not the one about him not having had sex for decades after a bad breakup/AIDS scare. Nope, the biggest secret that I think Gunn has been keeping is this...

Tim Gunn is a genuinely nice guy. Really!

While reading this book, his tips for life, that's the one thing that keeps coming through again and again. After all, we've got chapters here like "Take the high road" and "Niceties are nice". Gunn is never the snarky queen that most would expect
Dec 23, 2010 Doug rated it liked it
I'm probably waaay over thinking my reaction to Gunn's Golden Rules. I was entertained and amused, even a little bit edified. But it still strikes me as an odd, even inconsistent book.

Presumably the draw for most fans of Project Runway's congenial but incisive mentor figure Tim Gunn (certainly for me) is the promise of some juicy insider chat, which Gunn delivers a good bit of. You might hope for Gunn to dish about fashion world figures like Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley (yes), assorted Pro
Mar 10, 2013 Clara rated it liked it
OK, I admit it. I'm a Project Runway fan, and the main reason is Tim Gunn. This book was an impulse buy, and has been sitting on the shelf for a while. I'm glad I finally picked it up. Great literature it's not (but then, you didn't expect that, did you?); what it is is a fun, straightforward narrative that tells us exactly the kinds of things we would expect Tim Gunn to tell us--that working hard, being nice, and having good manners are important, and that laziness, meanness, and lying are to b ...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Apr 11, 2012 Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Yo, I totally forgot to review this. Oops. Well, I'll attempt to do so now.

So, first of all, Tim Gunn is the man. He's just adorable and awesome, and I love him. I've been a Project Runway addict since I was 13 or so ... so, for like six years or something like that. Tim is one of my absolute favorite parts of the show. I love his comments ... I love the way he gets all red in the face when he's about to tell someone he hates their design. It's just hilarious. But seriously, he seems like such a
Nov 07, 2010 IrenesBookReviews rated it it was amazing
I got this book not knowing what it would be about. I wasn't sure if it would only be about designing or the industry. I found this book to be very helpful, a fun read and easy to understand. I enjoyed learning about Tim Gunn's life along with the lessons he passes on to the reader. I found him likable, entertaining, thoughtful, smart and someone I would love to have over for dinner. Although after reading his book you will find that he would probably not want to come for dinner and would just s ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing
A lot of reviews I have read on various sites for this book mention that Tim Gunn rambles on and on and jumps from one this to another. Yes he does, but I love it. I love it because I feel that he and I are meeting for lunch and he is sharing with me all these interesting things that have happened to him or around him. He is very open and genuine in this book and I didn't get the feeling at all that he was making any of this up or needed to punch up the excitement so embellished things, like oth ...more
Sep 25, 2010 Megan rated it liked it
I love Tim Gunn, but he proves himself to be a bit of an old fogey with this book. "Uncle Nag" is right! I mean, a woman over thirty shouldn't have hair well past her shoulders? O rly, Tim? I did enjoy the insight into his life and his family and the gossip bits were great. Buuuut if you were truly taking the high road wouldn't you not gossip? Like, at all?
V. Briceland
Nov 13, 2010 V. Briceland rated it liked it
Gunn's Golden Rules perfectly distills the essence of Project Runway's breakout star, Tim Gunn, within its instructive pages. It's impossible to read a single paragraph without hearing Gunn's distinctive voice in every arch phrase.

Unfortunately, entertaining as Gunn's anecdotes can be, his ghost writer and collaborator has done absolutely nothing to give shape or even the illusion of structure to what's supposed to be a light-hearted biography-cum-book of modern etiquette. Gunn's stream-of-thoug
Sep 22, 2010 Schmacko rated it really liked it
Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn seems to be a great paradox. As a TV personality, he’s both persnickety and charming; he’s particular about things and yet very accommodating in making others feel comfortable with social interaction. This little book is filled with his witticisms, celebrity gossip, show insight and social etiquette. There’s not much else to this book but Tim (and his ghostwriter Ada Calhoun, who gets graciously thanked in a very thorough Afterward). Tim just sits and rattles off s ...more
Cheryl Klein
I adore Tim Gunn on PROJECT RUNWAY, so I gladly took up the chance to get a free copy of his book and get it signed by him at Fashion Night Out last week.

This is a rather wacky book.

It's structured as an advice or etiquette guide, complete with life rules like "Make it work" and "Carry on." And it's written in Mr. Gunn's crisp, considerate voice, instantly recognizable from PR and all his other appearances. (He had a ghostwriter, whom he thanks generously, but it was obviously put together from
Feb 26, 2012 Margot rated it really liked it
I'd actually give this book 3-1/2 stars but I just rounded up.

Cons: The writing was all over the place. Most frustrating for me was that I often had to go back and reread paragraphs to trace his thought development. And despite several rereads of particular sections, sentence structure at times seemed confusing at best, or self-negating at worst.

Pros: The book reflects his public image as a mild-mannered cultural savant who is also an approachable and personable gentleman. His anecdotes were la
Aug 30, 2010 Toni rated it it was amazing
If you are watching Project Runway this season and especially the team challenge* recently, you know that there is another side to Tim Gunn. His admonishment to the losing team about letting a team member control and bully them may have seemed harsh to some people, but when you read this book you will realize that Gunn has a brutally honest side and isn't afraid to show it.

In essence, this is a modern day etiquette/life coaching book that has 18 principles you can apply to any situation in your
Dec 27, 2010 Zelda rated it liked it
I enjoyed Tim's first book even more than I thought I would so I had high hopes for this one. I find Tim's gentle, mannerly civility very appealing. A book on how to get me some of that seemed to be the perfect antidote to a world that feels decidedly rude and sub-casual.

And it would have been but this was not that book. While Tim talks a great deal about a kinder, gentler, more thoughtful approach to our interactions with others he frequently tells unflattering tales about his famous friends a
Nov 09, 2010 Ciara rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
pleasing to read, & actually full of good advice. people who know me would not necessarily describe me as "nice"...well, there's no "not necessarily" about it, actually. no one has ever described me as nice in my entire life, whether they knew me or not. much of tim's advice is about generally being polite, which many people mistake for nice, but i think there is an important distinction, & it is well-drawn here. i am very polite. i don't point out mistakes that people can't change, i am ...more
Oct 26, 2013 Tori rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What a fun treat it was to read this book! A friend was reading it, but it wouldn't fit back in her suitcase, so she left it for me. I love Project Runway, and have gotten to appreciate Tim Gunn more thru reading this. There's actually not a lot about PR in here - it's more or less a compilation of lots of good practical advice for a happy, productive life, "making it work." For Tim, that means using what you have on hand to transform a difficult situation.

He talks a bit about Runway. Each seaso
Dec 30, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
I like Tim Gunn (having loosely followed "Project Runway" through the years), but I didn't set out to read this book because I needed lessons in manners or wanted to read his autobiography. I think I just stumbled on it because A)I was killing time at Green Apple Books and B) it was face out on a shelf. The cover's not even that great or inviting (Tim looks a little too smug, in my opinion). Still, this book won me over completely because the man has a great voice (captured perfectly on paper) a ...more
Oct 01, 2010 Monica rated it liked it
Reading this book is much like having a long lunch with an older uncle. The conversation jumps from subject to subject with connecting threads that aren't always easy to see but ultimately have some kind of life lesson to communicate. This lesson is usually along the lines of don't do anything your mother would be embarrassed to hear about, be polite even when people don't always deserve it, and be a good guest--but also know your boundaries. It isn't anything we haven't heard before, but it's a ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Kassa rated it really liked it
I’m a fan of Project Runway and who doesn’t adore Tim Gunn? He’s the uptight yet charming and adorable mentor who has definite rules about what he likes and doesn’t like. However he delivers those criticisms with such an engaging manner that you can’t help but love him even as he so charmingly tells the designer it’s all crap. That kind of dichotomy is on full display in his Guide to Making it Work.

Though this is technically an etiquette book and filled with rules on manners, the main take away
Sep 12, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This is an instance where my Kindle is the best thing ever. I pre-ordered Gunn's book and boom! there is was on the day it came out. Love that.

This book is subtitled Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work. Naturally. As an avid fan of Project Runway, I often wish I had a Tim Gunn in my life. With this book, I kind of do. Gunn is a huge advocate of manners and I'm a somewhat less huge advocate of manners. We both agree that technology is getting in the way of people interacting with each other.
Aug 20, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it
Tim Gunn is a cross between the Dalai Lama and RuPaul. Reading the chapter names, I expected some serious wisdom. But in the chapter "Take the High Road", he dishes on Project Runway contestants, his mom, and an unnamed charity president. High road, indeed! But it is so Tim Gunn, which is to say wise, funny, and charming. And the dish! Anna Wintour being carried down the stairs like Cleopatra instead of riding the elevator! Martha Stewart publicly calling out Tim Gunn for drinking Diet Coke! Lot ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Liza rated it really liked it
In full disclosure, I love Project Runway and have adored Tim Gunn as the designers’ mentor. His famous line “Make it work!” is often quoted in my house. Gunn’s Golden Rules includes his lessons for life (part manners, part inspiration) with plenty of his personal stories that kept me hooked and laughing out loud. Tim dishes on some PR designers along with some of the divas of fashion (for example, he suggests the devil really does wear Prada). Some of the personal stories don’t necessarily rela ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
I love Tim Gunn - I just want to hug him and have him tell me what to wear. I liked his first book (which was more fully focused on fashion/style) so much, so I was really excited for this one, which is meant to be a more general etiquette book. There were lots of parts I loved about it, mostly Tim's anecdotes about his life and the other fashion-industry personalities he's met and worked with, and certainly a lot of his etiquette tips made sense (be nice, take the high road, know when it's appr ...more
Noah Soudrette
Sep 20, 2010 Noah Soudrette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Let's get this over with. I love Project Runway. I always have. I've also always loved Tim Gunn, both as an entertainer and as a teacher. Now, normally I don't read a lot of nonfiction and I never read self-help or advice books. I believe in independence. Still, as time goes on I find that there's nothing wrong with getting a little help when you need it. Tim's book, thankfully, reads more as an analysis of why we're so grumpy as Americans, than it goes some turn-your-life-around guidebook. It a ...more
Carolee Wheeler
Jan 18, 2011 Carolee Wheeler rated it liked it
While I agree with nearly every one of Gunn's major points and assertions, and have no doubt he'd be a delightful colleague or dinner guest, this book seemed like it was sutured together. Some of the content is carefully written advice, beautifully worded and well thought-out. The rest is casually worded gossip and harangues that seems more like something told to a reporter over coffee (or a few drinks).

If you're a fan of the man, this won't disappoint (I've never seen the show). And if you love
Edie Leffingwell
Sep 26, 2010 Edie Leffingwell rated it really liked it
I have long been an admirer of Tim Gunn, especially his participation on Project Runway. This book is the opportunity to hear about his life on and off the show. He has a few "catch phrases" often used. One is: "Make it Work". When a garment is unacceptable to one of the designers and they want to start over Tim encourages them to make the one they have work and gives them suggestions about doing so. He also gives examples of that phrase regarding other life situations where one might be incline ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction

It's Tim Gunn! I saw this book at Ollies and had to have it. I've loved Tim Gunn from the moment he graced my tv on Project Runway. In this book Tim delivers his life lesson that he considers essential to being a better human being and having a happy life. I have to say this is one of the best motivational books i have ever read. I was literally applying it to life as i read it. Things like when to hold you tongue and when to speak up, learning to see the other side of things, and of course "m
Jul 23, 2012 John rated it really liked it
I had never heard of the author before reading this book, and have no interest at all in fashion. But that's okay as he pretty much uses any fashion-related incidents to make larger points.
Overall, I'm so impressed I could go on gushing about what a nice guy he is, though I'm sure his detractors (he mentions "falling out" with various people) have some points as well. His points about how to present one's self and treat others seemed like common sense to me, but there are jerks out there who beh
Sharon Falk
Sep 12, 2010 Sharon Falk rated it liked it
I love Tim Gunn. I think he is insightful, witty and charming. His ideas for people are right on the money. His willingness to share some deeply personal aspects of his life are very moving. All that being said, this book is a big hot mess in many places.

The person who "helped" him write this book did a terrible job of making the stories blend with the message. There were times that I had to reread a paragraph or two just to make sense of it with all the jumping around. What is really needed was
Mar 03, 2011 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: celeb-memoirs, how-to
I love Tim Gunn. Who doesn't love Tim Gunn? And his narrative voice shines loud and clear in this cute little memoir/self-help/advice book. He shares some delightful Gunn-y secrets about his past (but nothing too shocking) as well as useful tips for how to make it through life with your self-respect, dignity and humor intact. The Gunn you know and love from Project Runway--snappy suit-wearing, awesome vocabulary-sharing, respectful, delightful, suave and charming but never rude--is the one you s ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Cheri rated it it was ok
Recommended to Cheri by: Danya Parr
Shelves: read-in-2013

I love Tim Gunn, I do. I find his quirkiness endearing and enjoy his exchanges with the contestants on Project Runway. I expected to see more of that Tim Gunn in this book. I was mildly disappointed.

His talent, obviously, is in his styling and sewing skills, and less in his writing, what seemed off to me was his "voice" seemed so unlike his real voice. It was as though someone else had edited him away. There are still stories that may or may not appeal to you, and as an author he is an improvem
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Timothy M. Gunn is an American fashion consultant and television personality. He was chair of fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design from August 2000 to March 2007 and is well-known as on-air mentor to designers on the Bravo reality television program Project Runway. Gunn's popularity on Project Runway led to his spin-off show, Bravo's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, as well as his book A ...more
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“I have heard women complain about men holding doors for them,, as if it is inherently offensive and implies that they are weak. ... I would hold a door for anyone. ... It has to do with noticing our fellow human beings and saying, "I recognize that you're on this planet, and I don't want a door hitting you in the face.” 77 likes
“I believe that treating other people well is a lost art.” 64 likes
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