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Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World
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Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,882 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Books for a Better Life Award Winner

Here is a landmark book that reveals the way boys think and that shows parents, educators and coaches how to reach out and help boys overcome their most common yet difficult challenges -- by the bestselling author who changed our conception of adolescent girls.
Do you constantly struggle to pull information from your son, student, or ath
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Harmony (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  1,882 ratings  ·  272 reviews

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Start your review of Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World
Aniruddh Bharadwaj
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-excerpts
First of all, let me preface this review by saying that I'm a 17 (soon to be 18) year old high school student (male) studying out of Cupertino. Keyword Cupertino, the land of lore and liberalism, which in itself is a huge indication as to the direction that this review will be moving in.

This book is the holy grail of "guy" problems - a majority of this book accurately and beautifully describes the struggles of teenage boy-ism in the context of a modern high-school, where the backstabbing, lying,
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you have boys you need to read this book. I have two boys, 15 and 7, and I learned so much from this book. The most important thing I learned was that just because boys are more quiet and do not talk to you about their problems does not mean that do not have things going on in their lives that they need help with. Wiseman gives some great advice on how to talk to your sons and get them to open up to you without pushing them.

Another part of the book that I really appreciated was the section on
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Rosalind Wiseman wrote the well known book Queen Bees and Wannabes, a book that I haven’t read but have heard about. When I saw this at my library and read that its purpose was to inform parents about the new rules and realities of Boy World, like her Queen Bee book did for girls, I checked it out.

Then, I missed two nights of sleep due to anxiety. Seriously.

I’m sure the many boys she refers to as her “editors” and whose opinions and experiences she used as proof for what boys’ lives are like t
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I found this book terribly frustrating, especially for the first half. It is, essentially, a series of cherry-picked anecdotes masquerading as science. The author begins with an unbelievably stereotypical view of boys. While I believe she did genuinely conduct interviews with a cross-section of boys (at least 150 or so), she cherry-picks quotes from one or two of these interviews to bolster her own stereotypes of how boys behave. I (the mother of two boys) found these sections disheartening at b ...more
Rebekah Sheppard
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
The main points of interest in the book are:

1) What the boys groups look like:

10% fit the ALMB (Acts Like a Man Box with characteristics of having money, confident, funny, good at comebacks, tall, detached, tough, strong, good with girls, always relaxed, independent, good at the right sports, slacker attitude even if he does well in school.)

75% make up the general population - different groups of about 5 to 10 kids each

10% hang out at the bottom but have a strong group - know their social positi
Camelia Rose
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
"You know how parents say to their kids, "Life's not fair"? Well, let's apply that here. Parenting boys isn't fair. When your son is upset or angry, it can feel like you are given one chance with very limited information to say exactly the right thing. If you don't get it right, his expression says, 'This is why I never tell you anything. And now I will never tell you anything again.'"

Masterminds and Wingmen is the best parenting book for boys I've read. It's eye-opening. As a mother of boys and
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
12/31/13: I've finished reading it, but now I need to go back and work through some parts that seem more appropriate to where my oldest son is. Since I want to take this seriously, I think this requires perhaps taking notes, and some serious thought.

My overall impression is of good work, researching the centrality of video games, the importance of parents and other adult role-models, and the harm that adults who aren't role models can have.

I went into it after reading an excerpt in Time, hoping
Trudy Ludwig
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Masterminds and Wingmen by Rosalind Wiseman is a great resource for parents and any adult working with kids who want to better understand what is going on in the minds of boys and how they communicate. There are sections that you can read with boys, which I have done with my 15-year-old, but I think it's best for parents and educators to read.

What I love about this book is that Rosalind Wiseman shares the opinions and viewpoints of many teenage boys (middle schoolers and high schoolers) she's c
Leslie Wilkins
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting and informative. An insightful and, at times, frightening look at how pre-teen and teen boys think and behave. I like that the author had a panel of "editors" that were boys weighing in with real-world experiences. I didn't agree with everything, but will definitely use some of the strategies she suggests. (I probably would have liked it more if the author didn't keep reminding us of her other similar book about girls.) ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
All I can think, as I read this book, is can I go back to What to expect when your expecting?!? I am dragging my feet to enter the middle school years.
Allen Levine
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The following is a bit of an odd review. It has been lifted from my blog, Running Conversations. I think people who like Masterminds and Wingmen will enjoy how the book is described and used to create a context in which to view other works - in this case, my novel, RUN.

As I mentioned in my blog a couple of weeks ago, I was in Boulder, CO last month. A book group had invited me to attend their monthly meeting where they planned to discuss my novel, RUN - which had been the club's book choice for
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A sequel of sorts to the author's Queen Bees and Wannabes. Organized by topic (e.g., homophobia, playing team sports [listen up, parents; know the rules of the game and don't yell at the refs in a way that shows you don't know what you're talking about, or your boy will be mortified], coping with aggressive girls, violent video games.....).

Good advice -- hard to boil it down, as there isn't one particular disciplinary technique being pushed or what have you, but I guess I'd say she comes across
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I (very excitedly) received an ARC of this title from Goodreads and the publisher.

I have never read Queen Bees and Wannabees (nor seen Mean Girls), but I'm familiar with the buzz around the author's 'girl' book and was beginning to hear a lot about Masterminds. Given that I have an 8 year old boy, this one seemed important for me to read.

The author's tone is very conversational, which makes this easy to read. Her text is peppered with quotes from guys (preteen and up), as well as girls, parent
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Much of this book was excruciatingly difficult to digest, either because I disagreed with parenting methods used by the author in her own family, or because it addressed issues facing older teens I would rather not imagine. Yet, I listened to the whole book because I know better than to hide my head in the sand. Cod liver oil is good for us, even if we don't enjoy the taste.

My biggest bone of contention stems from the title of the book, which the author probably had little in the way of control
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Even though I don't have sons, I picked this book up because I absolutely loved Queen Bees and Wannabes. Wiseman used a similar research style for this book and gives similarly helpful insights into boy world. I especially liked her "act like a man box" activity as it revealed just how narrow worldly ideas of manhood really are. I read enough of this book to get the most important parts out of it: boys do in fact have emotional lives that are surprisingly complex, which is shown by the alarmingl ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Having one son at the beginning of teenage years and another son who will eventually be a teenager - I thought maybe I should learn what to do with them. This was not the book. A lot of examples of scenarios - some seemed to end with nothing substantial said, or were very random. Others I completely disagreed with the author or thought, 'what kind of clueless idiot does she think I am?' The few times I thought 'interesting' are completely lost in the fact I really did not like the author and did ...more
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I borrowed this book from the library, didn't get it as a promotion. It was written with the help of some 200+ boys, which I like. It gets stars for talking about race, disability, and being gay, but looses a star for being pretty slanted towards middle class and richer families (doesn't talk about poverty or the realities of violence in poor communities, etc but does talk about lacrosse?!) also it stops short of saying tell your son to get consent before you have sex. That said, it's really got ...more
Misty Ray
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Informative and easy to follow; "Masterminds and Wingmen" breaks down the varying levels of power and cultural roles that appear in a young man's life over time. There are no real, concrete tips here on how to deal with and approach a boy from a parenting perspective, but plenty of ways to better understand what he goes through in a day.

Useful for those who want to better understand their child, and a good stepping stone for those who want to find their own path of openness with him.

Received as
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you have boys, I think every parent should read this book to benefit from the insights from the 160 boys interviewed. Some items were common sense but great reminders and other items opened my eyes to parenting my son in a new way. Like another reviewer stated, this book could be read multiple times and I'm sure I will get something from it each time. I plan to read the author's other book "Queenbees and Wannabees" next even though I don't have a girl. Can't recommend enough! ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I read about 2/3 of this and stopped - some interesting thoughts in here about how to engage with boys - particularly older boys - but not much that really related to where I am with my sons right now. Maybe I'll pick this up again when my kids are older. But then again, maybe not - being a parent is scary enough, why freak myself out about what else could be going wrong that I don't even know about? ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great resource for anyone dealing with boys. Very relevant and truthful information without having to "shame" anyone into feeling that their parenting or authority decisions may not be the best. This book will be a staple on my book shelf so I can reference it when needed. I'm also going to suggest to my husband that he reads it so we can better figure out our "parenting plan" together. ...more
Fastener Gal
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
I have read, both Queen Bees and Wannabes and Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads so FINALLY, the woman wrote a book about BOYS! As a mom of three sons I like that she uses the kids' vernacular and calls, us, parents out with her "landmines" of parenting. I would recommend any of her books to any parent. Just be prepared to check your own baggage. ...more
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you're a parent of a younger boy, this book will certainly hit home. Great insight into what is going on in your childs life, what he is dealing with and how you can help along the way. Covering a wide array of topics from bullying to sports to video games, this book is a must read for any parent wanting a better tool for raising a young son ...more
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Parents of boys, this is worth your time. Wish I'd read it 8 years ago. Too bad it wasn't written then. The author has also written a book called "Queen Bees and Wannabes" which is also worth reading if you are a parent of or spend much time with preteen or teen girls. ...more
Marjorie Fox
Jun 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Superficial and obvious. What a disappointment!
Angela Risner
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Even though I'm not a parent, I read Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes and loved it. If adults are honest with ourselves, we will see that many times our adult relationships share many features with those of our younger selves. How often have you seen someone post on Facebook regarding their workplace, "I thought I was out of high school!" ? So while these books may have been written to address the issues of adolescents, they are just as applicable to those of us who are long past that ...more
Charlene Good
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I found this book to be full of great information and very thought provoking. I feel most,if not all, parents of middle school and high school boys would find value in reading it.
Sunny Duvvuru
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
As I was reading the excerpts from the packet, I slowly started to realize how much of the content applies to my life. The section about groups and archetypes found in groups really hit home, because the were so similar to ones my group had. Thinking about it I realized that we have a Punching Bag, a Conscience, an Entertainer, a Fly, and a Champion. The description of the archetypes were strikingly similar to qualities my friends have.

Cupertino High School, I believe, fits a few of the things i
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
K I just got this book a few days ago, and I was very excited to read it. I have no children (Still very young for that XD lol) but I'm planning within a few years. The read was interesting, and I often found myself disapproving on some of the author's advice. Like my mother told me, everyone have different parental views and that doesn't make them a bad parent. I would like to get into the book much more now, about a part. If you don't want to see any spoilers then stop reading forward lol. The ...more
I didn't rate this book as I decided not to finish it, but I didn't stop reading because I thought it was a bad book, so I didn't think it was fair to rate. First of all, my boy is 5, so I'm clearly not the target audience here. A parenting group of friends with boys was reading this book together, all younger, but most 2-3 years older than mine, and I was invited to participate. While I knew this book was aimed at parents of middle and high school aged boys, I thought perhaps it would be intere ...more
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Rosalind Wiseman is an internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership.

Wiseman is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence. Twice a New York Times Bestseller, Queen Bees & Wannabes was the basis for the 2004 movie Mean Girls. Her follow‐up bo

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“THE POWER OF THE GROUP We all want to feel a sense of belonging. This isn’t a character flaw. It’s fundamental to the human experience. Our finest achievements are possible when people come together to work for a common cause. School spirit, the rightful pride we feel in our community, our heritage, our religion, and our families, all come from the value we place on belonging to a group.” 1 likes
“It isn’t enough to say “Be honest” or “Do the right thing,” because in moments of conflict many of us lack the skills to move through the fear and put our values into action. The context of the situation really matters more than a catchphrase. What’s way more useful for boys is to talk to them about what integrity looks like to you under duress.” 0 likes
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