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The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man
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The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,830 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Man Up!

While it's definitely more than just monster trucks, grilling and six-pack abs, true manliness is hard to define. The words macho and manly are not synonymous.

Taking lessons from classic gentlemen such as Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, authors Brett and Kate McKay have created a collection of the most useful advice every man needs to know to live life to
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by HOW Books (first published September 17th 2009)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  2,830 ratings  ·  203 reviews


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Seamus
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review is a supplement to the excellent review which V_Shaft has posted.

This book, like Brett and Kate McKay's blog, is useful for what you choose to take from it. No, this book will not magically transform you into manly man or a Victorian gentleman or whatever kind of man you aspire to be. The title of the book is The Art of Manliness, not The Philosophy of Manliness. The subtitle is Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man. But for the guy who wants to learns some classical skills o
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Teo
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
From the founders of the popular website of the same name, comes a book about the (lost) art of manliness. I was a casual reader of the said site, and I found some of the advices there useful, but to say it'll really bring you from a wuss to a manly man would be an overstatement. And, just like the site, this book is a mixed bag.

First of all, I thought it would focus on the notion, or ideal of manliness. As it turns out, it's more of a how-to guide for doing things the authors deems as manly. Th
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Jim
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Teen males
I'm always moaning over the generally boorish behaviour of your average North American male, so every once in a while I like to read a little something to refresh those parts of my memory that deal with culture and etiquette. This book seemed ideal as it promised to deal with classic skills and manners for the modern man.

The book lives up to its promise, sort of, as it does touch lightly on manners, dress and propriety, but most of the book is nonsense. Well, not nonsense, exactly, but a bunch o
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Tom Metge
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Being married for 10 years to the most wonderful woman I have ever met has taught me something that we all tend to admit only intellectually: men and women are different, even radically different at times. The American society tends to devalue that difference in the name of seeking equality. This goal is admirable, but the approach is wrong-footed. This is why I love this book: it asserts that there is value to this difference, that there is worth to being a man. What is wonderful about this adm ...more
Josiah
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Manliness" has found itself sequestered to either the macho realm of false bravado or the neutered face of too many sitcom dads. This book finds a more measured approach to the topic. General etiquette need not be lost with the rise of Facebook, there's nothing wrong with uphoding basic etiquette towards women while simultaneously championing gender equality and there's nothing "gay" about having close male friends that--only in recent generations--have been frowned upon if the connection goes ...more
Geoffrey Morris
Sep 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot of bullshit in this book. For one, it denigrates individual therapy with a very broad brush, which is 1) crap because most of us emerge from our initial family life in an immature state, and no amount of walking in the woods will fix that and 2) it tells people like me, who have literally been saved from death by their own hand because of therapy, that they're wasting their time in therapy. So fuck you, Brett McKay. I'm sure that you would have given my mother a really convincing a ...more
Khanh Cao
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help, manliness
All in all, quite a book on how to practice the Art of Manliness.

I should have given it a 3, but for the enjoyable last chapters, I give it a 4.

Most of the book involves in doing a set of particular things, to meet "a man's standard", but it does not answer the question "how do those things trigger a man's masculinity?", "what is the underlying psychology mechanism?", etc.. Just like when you give someone great examples to follow but you forgot to tell them what are the underlying meanings of th
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Adil
Oct 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Art of Manliness is a guide to becoming a better man by focusing on one's mannerisms, dress, and intelligence. The book posits that modern men have become stuck in 'permanent adolescence' and are not up to task on the necessary virtues and strengths which belonged to the men of the past.

Leaning upon past paragons like Theodore Roosevelt and Benjamin Franklin, this book covers different aspects of becoming a better man in today's society by eliminating time-wasters, maintaining cleanliness, a
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Eric Moote
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Overall: a great source of essential to random qualities every man should have or strive for.

I have been a fan of the website for years and I was excited when this book and the Manvationals came out. The book, at times, felt like a summary of all of the website's articles, but for the not-so-fanatical, the book is a perfect balance of sage wisdom, inspirational advice and kick-in-the-pants motivation that every man needs from time to time.

I would and have recommended the books and the website to
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Keenan Johnston
Jul 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Obvious and Banal. Only good as a coffee table book
Simon
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh, learnt I was polishing my shoes wrong all my life but I doubt I'd remember how to tie a strong knot after reading it in this book. Good idea for the book though but probably wouldn't recommend it. ...more
Pvw
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
A truly remarkable book! At first I feared it might contain a lot of drabble about etiquette rules, but that fortunately wasn't so. Although that subject is mentioned, there are many things more, one of which is sound advice on how to be likeable to other people. Many of the behavioral principles resemble those found in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, and justly so.

"The Art of Manliness" contains interesting tips on how to dress well, descriptions of different kinds of h
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AJ
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Pros: If you always wanted to be a boy scout and have a strong male role model and never got the chance, this will help fill some of that gap. Except that role model will take the form of a well-meaning but out-of-touch grandfather. That said, I learned some great life skills, and it motivated me to want to try some new things I haven't done before. It also made Victorian-esque Gentlemen seem really cool. I appreciated the effort in putting this book together and the careful consideration of wha ...more
Risa
Jan 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I am adding this to my read because i read it for free in Border's, which took 2.5 minutes and reviewing it because half of the motherfuckers who put this on their "to-read" list have faces that look like they shave with a lawn mower blade strapped to a broom handle and wielded by a blind monkey-- so I am telling you now that you do not need to put off reading this for long; you will need hardly forfeit an entire afternoon and you might actually take an interest in your appearance and its affect ...more
J.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I loved this book. I wish I could force every single beibertard I pass to read it. Excellent advice throughout, I hope my daughters use this measurement of a "real man" to pick their future husbands.

Books that interest me in a topic enough to cause me to look that topic up always get bonus points and I found myself jotting more that one "look this up" reminder.

The narrator did an excellent job.

If I have any problem with the book it's in the chapter suggesting civic duty and encouraging men to gi
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Jeremy
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


True to the subtitle, this book does deliver advice on skills and manners. It covers a wide range of topics from clothes to communication, dating to friendship, and work to play. It’s pretty much what you would expect if the title were “The Art of Gentlemanliness.”

Some of the skills covered don’t seem to me to deserve the label “something every man should know,” like how to make a kite out of black trash bags and sticks, but I could be wrong. I also found it curious that they stressed the impor
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Billie Pritchett
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
In The Art of Manliness, Brett McKay sets out some of his and his wife's ideas regarding how a man should think and behave in the 21st century. I personally enjoyed the many different approaches McKay took in addressing manhood. For instance, McKay argues that in addition to so-called traditional manly tasks like changing a tire, chopping wood, and so on, a man ought to cultivate his mind through books, absorb some philosophy, and adapt his character to fit the different roles he occupies as a s ...more
MariLee
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Brett and Kate McKay have found a niche in writing about the art of being a gentleman--a man's man--as defined by character traits in days gone by. Their theory (which I believe to be true) is that we have lost something in our modern, technology-driven society regarding the development of self-reliance, character, practical skills, fitness, and manners. They often refer to men such as Jack London, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, and others who can serve as models of what ...more
Omar
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
To be frankly honest the title is quite misleading, there is no in-depth articulation in what makes a man through either skills or manner, it was never gender exclusive except of course when describing multiple ways to tie a tie. But the other part of the title that the book is focused on is the classic part of manliness, the attitude to life and the skills needed to perform them.
Of course these skills and manners can be argued to be gender neutral but many parts focused on the common traits of
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Nick Rossi
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a few tips on how to man up, and become a modern gentleman, this book provides several good insights. Written, along with help from his wife, by the founder of a popular website for men that bears the same name, this book contains well-rounded information. The author, Brett McKay, recognizes that the roles have changed in society for men and women. This has led to some confusion and helped served as an impetus for this book, with the goal to help men refine their identity ...more
Jason
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is chock full of bits and pieces of advice and guidance on various aspects of what the author believes contribute to manliness. They range from high level to detailed, very useful to what I consider straight up bad advice (I thought his encouragement to dress like a 1930’s mobster with fedora and all was frankly laughable and terrible advice). Some you can use every day (building character) and some you’ll almost certainly never use (how to land a plane). Overall though, there’s some g ...more
Dimitar
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it
A good self-help book for men, also adding perspective on life to them, but not great. Some of the advice in it is old-fashioned (sometimes in a bad way), inaccurate or impractical. On a couple of occasions the authors also contradict themselves - for example, if they don't like something and their solution is cheaper, they will add the cheapness as another reason why you should follow it, but if their advice is more expensive, they will throw out a rhetoric of the likes of "yeah, it's more expe ...more
Rish Fernando
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Where do I start? This book is the must-read of all must-reads on the internet for men of all ages. Teenagers who are growing up and men who have grown up can benefit from this book that breaks down and dives deep into the core of a Classic Gentlemen. Not only the outward appearance of a well-mannered individual but the inner core of a chivalrous, courageous, and humble man. This book ranges from the gentlemen's martial arts to presenting flowers like a Victorian Gentlemen and Setting up camp. I ...more
Jim Razinha
Quaint idea...at once mawkish, pretentious, humorous, pseudo-proper...the discerning reader needs to filter the foppish silliness for the sagacity that is secreted within the product of two very full of themselves writers.

Rephrasing: there actually are good concepts hidden among the authors' perceptions/notions of "manliness"...and there is a lot of affectation, whether innocently conveyed or deliberately crafted I neither know or care to find out. Pick from the parts that make sense. And try to
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Vinícius Landvoigt
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-others
Interesting book with a noble purpose: to resurrect the concept of manliness that is quickly dying in post modernity.
It covers a broad set of skill, behaviors and principles every man should attain to, organizing the content according to every man role: the gentlemen, the lover, the father , the outdoorsy man etc.
Sadly the book was too superficial (consequently small) and pragmatic, it did not cover the subjective meaning of "what is to be a man", which I believe to be approached on Manvotionals
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Doug
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not bad, but not as funny as it thinks it is. A palpable lack of visual aids (why would you think prose is sufficient to teach different necktie knots?) and a sense of arbitrariness about topics chosen make this seem like an incomplete survey of the topic. IOW, the intended scope was not made clear at the beginning, nor is it clear by the end, and the granularity varies widely throughout ("how to start a fire" is given about as much detail as "how to be a moral person"). All of these are due to ...more
Kiran
May 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
A book with interesting tidbits but nothing more. There are splices of dressing tips, flower ideas and medieval insults. But there in lies the issue, most of the book lies in medieval ideas.

Upfront, there are some excellent manners like being kind to your fellow person and opening the door. However, the "act of courting" or the sort is very different and even patronizing in this book.

I recommend this book with a mountain of Himalayan pink salt and a sangria. Yes, a sangria can be manly. Deal w
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SWAROOP CHOUGULE
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a comprehensive collection of skills and manners in almost everything and every field, ranging from dressing to fishing, from asking a woman on date to raising children. At several stages, it challenges the conventional thinking and shows a more gentle manly way to handle circumstances. I think I'll read this one again as per situations arise. And the best part of this book: It lists a collection of 100 books every man should read, so much efforts saved to find a great next read. ...more
Jason Porter
I got this book as a gift and I started reading it thinking it would be joke. Though the author does make it a humorous read, I found it had some rather good advice for guys in today's age of technology. Though I don't plan on landing a plane anytime soon and I hope I don't need to ever deliver any babies, I thought the advice on developing moral character and becoming a positive role model was actually well addressed. ...more
Bill
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Learn what it means to be a man

great guide on how to be a "man". some of this stuff is pretty basic. Any half competent person would no this stuff like dressing well or table ettiqute. But there also a lot of things that one would find useful. Overall, it will be a great guidebook for any man wanting to fully embrace their gender and its traditional responsibilities as handed down from the long line of truly great men.
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