Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Be a Man: (and other illusions)” as Want to Read:
How to Be a Man: (and other illusions)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Be a Man: (and other illusions)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  72 reviews
The cofounder of Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, and Walking Papers shares what the hard-knock rock life has taught him about how to be a good dude (in spite of it all).

One wouldn't usually turn to a veteran of Guns N' Roses for advice on how to live, but Duff McKagan is not a typical rock musician. As chronicled in the New York Times bestseller It's So Easy (and other
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Da Capo Press
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 How to Be a Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Be a Man

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  601 ratings  ·  72 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How to Be a Man: (and other illusions)
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
My favorite part was his statistical analysis of Bon Jovi's claim that he had "seen a million faces" and had "rocked them all." Duff validated that the amount of faces seen by Bon Jovi could potentially be one million, but there was a low probability that 100% of those faces were rocked. For example, if a parent begrudgingly took their child to a concert, they were probably not rocked. Duff estimates that 80-90% were rocked.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My all time favorite groups are Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, NIN and Guns N' Roses (not necessarily in that order because there is no order...I love all four pretty equally) and I read anything and everything that I can about these groups and the musicians who have taken me higher throughout the years. Duff McKagan is the original bassist of Guns N' Roses.

What an interesting guy and book! In his opinion of how to be a man, I have to say that I agree with him 99% of the time (which totally shocked me
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is just as fun as Duff's last book.

The stories of him and his daughters are hilarious. He could fill a book with just that: A Rockstar Daddy who gets ignored by his Teenage Princesses because he isn't cool enough. I know the feeling.

A great book - basically him touring the world TODAY, and trying to fix his back deck at the same time. Lots of fun advice and wisdom for aspiring Dad's and Husbands to overcome their pathetic insecurities and vanities. And how to have a roadworthy sense of
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic collection of life lessons with a unique perspective.

Lots of serious advice on things like how to treat your woman (or man) to silly things like poo etiquette when sharing a hotel room to chapters full of albums to own and books to read. Coupled with a great sense of humor and rock and roll royalty, Duff's book shines a light on info that should be considered common sense, but definitely bears repeating.

All in all, fun and quick read.

**Huge thanks to DeCapo Press and
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
The highlights of this book are the anecdotes. Funny, bittersweet, sometimes painful, a man on the cusp of 50 looks back on his life and has plenty of stories to tell. Not as engaging or engrossing as It's So Easy, and some of his chivalric advice is too old-fashioned for my taste. Duff has come a long way in his life, and there are words of wisdom in his raconteur's shtick, but I wouldn't recommend this to boys or men who are seeking a model of modern masculinity.
Brent Ecenbarger
I originally read Duff's first book, "It's So Easy and Other Lies" shortly after reading Slash's autobiography. Between the two, I preferred Duff's book for several reasons: it was obviously written more by the musician than a ghost writer; the book had more humor in it; and the story extended to the Velvet Revolver era. I'm happy to pick up another book by McKagan based on that one, although where "It's So Easy..." was a great biography for any music fan "How to Be a Man (And Other Illusions)" ...more
Whilst this wasn't a very long book or high literature, I felt it was a great uplifting read. The few pages he wrote about depression were worth the 5 stars ! Seems a very down to earth guy and he seems grateful to have gotten a second chance at life. Plus my copy is signed... so that's a bonus :)
Jamie Lyon
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Very random, some parts were interesting and others, not so much. It is nice to see a rock n roll survivor gushing about being a Dad and a husband, and I applaud his continuing sobriety. I just didn't care for this one as much as "It's So Easy (and other lies)".
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a very entertaining book but I was a little disappointed because I thought It's So Easy was so well done.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've found as I've grown older I'm a sucker for a Auto/Biography - hell, half the time they don't even have to be that good for me to enjoy them. It's all about the journey, y'know? Duff kinda extolls this same kinda mindset throughout his second book. Perspective and gratitude seep from its pages.

I bought "Welcome to the Jungle" on 7" vinyl back in 1987 before its re-release and as searing as that slice of Rock was, I must have worn out it's B-side: a live recording of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Trigger warnings for this book: Light discussion of sex, drugs and rock n roll, but not as much as in Duff's first book "It's So Easy", also there is talk of at least one suicide(by drugs)

I highlighted 4 stars, but really I would give this 4.5. I am a HUGE Duff McKagan and Guns and Roses fan. I loved Duff's book "It's So Easy(and other lies), so I had high expectations for this book. I was not disappointed! Duff continues to have a very laid back writing style, informative but not inaccessible.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been eight days since I finished this book. For about a week I was left with a huge hangover of the bookish variety (the only kind I ever experience, and it's enough on my poor brain so it's not like I'm complaining anyways).

As it happened with McKagan's first book It's So Easy: And Other Lies I was hit,emotionally, from a variety of angles during this reading experience. I certainly had already nursed a considerable amount of respect for him as an artist as well as a person, but even I
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Many of the rules of behaviour given by Duff in the book were downright hilarious considering they were coming from a former/current member of the "most dangerous band in the world". Don't forget to put the deodorant on BEFORE you go to the gym; when you share a hotel room with somebody else, never poo in the bathroom without the other person's consent, etc. (But if you rather went to the toilet in the lobby like our favourite bass commander advises, wouldn't you just remove the problem of odour ...more
Alasdair Martin
I get it. I do. His life was a mess, he was eating his own vomit for the sake of a drink but he ultimately turned it around and is in a good place now, which is great; unfortunately former addicts often run the risk of coming of a bit preachy when they talk about they turned their lives around and to be honest it makes the rest of us feel somewhat inadequate!

McKagan does a reasonable job of recounting how he turned things around and where he is now but I found the constant name-dropping and
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting stories from the bass player of one of the biggest rock bands in the world Guns N' Roses. He talks about the period of 2012 - 2014 in his life, period where he is sober for many years and has a family. It is interesting to see how he is adjusting to this period after the years spend as a rock star filled with drugs, alcohol and women. He is finding new challenges to keep his mind occupied and away from drugs and alcohol and maintaining the spark for music in same time. But most ...more
Byron Wright
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
An enjoyable book for me, but I think you need to be the right demographic. As a mid-40s Gun 'n Roses fan, I think I am that demographic.

This book provides a lot of advice in the context of his memoirs. Mostly about how he's grown up since he got a family and dropped the substance abuse. There's nothing earth shattering here but it's interesting to hear someone who's had a very different path in life come to similar conclusions about what's important in life. Mostly it boils down to being a
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really rivetting memoir filled with great advice, wisdom, and amusing anecdotes. Duff has really ahown himself to be a smart, respectable man who was able to pull himself up from hia darkest days and he shows the value of health, happiness, and family over fame.
The lists of his favorite books and albums were a bit tough to get through in an audio format, but I think they would be cool to go back and refer to in print or ebook.
The best part of this book is that it really made me feel
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Duff's first book is a gem, its one of my favorite memoirs, one of those books that really catch you by surprise. This is the sort of a follow up, great attempt, but it really lacks in content. I enjoyed it nevertheless because of the first book, I am becoming the biggest fan of his and his music, and really hope he continues to write and play.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Duff never disappoints! His mix of humor, intellect, and self-reflection are inspiring. I hope Duff writes another book! His perspective and PNW pride and humility are fun to read!
Andre Eisele
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fun and relatable memoir with knee-slapping humor and beautifully written scenes that make you feel as if you are with Duff the entire time. There's a lot to learn from it, and it's definitely a keeper on my shelf.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Duff McKagan has secured the top spot on my favorite author list. The way he interweaves his life experiences is raw, honest, and uplifting. I can only give How To Be A Man four stars because McKagan's first book is the greatest rock and roll memoir ever penned.
Canadian Reader Reviews
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A really great read fan of Guns and Roses or Velvet Revolver or just looking for something fun and enjoyable to read that isn't fantasy. Overall this has to be one of the better "Biographies" I have read in some time.

It made me want to seek out and read Its so easy and other lies by Duff Mckagan
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of GnR, the backstories of the band are interesting. As a fan of another band that is currently on hiatus and not speaking, it gives hope that bands can come back together.
Andrew Gold
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid read from the most chill member of Guns lol. Good life tips I will most certainly try to use. Thanks duff
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Huge fan of Duff, but I didn't like this as much as his first autobiography. It's a great concept--I love the idea of one of my heroes sharing an informal list of life lessons for being a better person and leading a more fulfilling life. I have a few qualms, though. Firstly, the title is misleading--there is nothing about the content that gears more towards men than women, so ladies, please don't be discouraged. The advice is universal! The book did feel a little unstructured, however, and at ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had gotten this a couple of Halloween's ago and I have to say that it was amazing right off the bat. Each chapter was new rule or guideline that should a young boy become a man will go through once in his life or to make it even better. Duff certainly knew what was what yet it would be nice to maybe talk about a few Gun N' Roses adventures yet he says that he was either too high or too drunk remember anything, so I guess he gets a pass.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Absolutely awful! I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by, what I can only describe as, a ‘smiling, raspy’ voice which just added to the feeling of being patronised by the words in this book.
I found the narration to be like fingernails on a chalkboard and the content was an ‘idiots' guide to common sense & life’. This is just a series of ramblings and unrelated anecdotes that had no substance to it and no connection between them.
I would like to read his first book to see some of
Laura Beth
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I read "It's So Easy" and rank that as one of the best rock memoirs ever written and a great book overall. Mad respect for McKagan and am a lifelong Guns fan. That all being said, I found this book a bit tedious to get through. Some of the "lessons" felt disingenuous and some "lessons" could have been conveyed better. It also felt patronizing in some places. And finally I just disagreed with some of his "lessons". It was presented in a way that makes it easy to read and takes you on tour with ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't become a man until I read this book (or am I just seeing things?)
Paulina (aspiringliterati)
I love Duff McKagan and this statement possesses none of the exaggerative qualities that it usually does whenever directed at an idol. I just do. It is the truth. I admire him, his life choices and accomplishments on top of his incredible transformation and integrity. I am in awe of his everything.

Me, who had never had an idol in her life and had always been kind of apprehensive over that fact because EVERYONE seems to have one, usually a parent, or both. I had never. Not that I don't love my
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Slash
  • My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N' Roses
  • The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
  • Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction: Author Autographed Edition!
  • Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath
  • Tommyland
  • Dancing With Myself
  • 18 and Life on Skid Row
  • The Yankee Years
  • Crazy from the Heat
  • Journals
  • The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star
  • Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury
  • Stillness Is the Key
  • A Little Thing Called Life: From Elvis's Graceland to Bruce Jenner's Caitlyn & Songs in Between
  • Pop. 1280
  • Savage Night
  • Being There
See similar books…
In 1984, at the age of twenty, Duff left his native Seattle—partly to pursue music but mainly to get away from a host of heroin overdoses then decimating his closest group of friends in the local punk scene. In L.A. only a few weeks and still living in his car, he answered a want ad for a bass player placed by someone who identified himself only as “Slash.” Soon after, the most dangerous band in ...more
“One of my favorite “deep thoughts” on the topic occurred when one of my other bands, Loaded, was opening for Alice Cooper a number of years back. After one particularly successful show, we got to talking about Bon Jovi. In the song “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” the claim is made that “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.” All? Let’s ponder.

I have no doubt that Bon Jovi had played to a million people by the time “Dead or Alive” was released on Slippery When Wet in 1986. But did they rock them all? Couldn’t it be that some dudes brought their girlfriends to the show and weren’t necessarily into their music? What about some parents? Or maybe some people just didn’t get rocked? Hey, it’s happened to me. I’ve gone to gigs properly prepared to get rocked and it just didn’t happen.”
“forge ahead. try harder. do the thing that is directly in front of you, and don't think beyond that. head down. ears pinned back. move in a direct line.” 1 likes
More quotes…