Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work” as Want to Read:
Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  4,693 Ratings  ·  758 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 bi
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Gallery Books
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 Gunn's Golden Rules, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gunn's Golden Rules

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Delicious!! Organized around 18 rules for living life, this is full of wise nuggets and tv and fashion industry dishing of the highest order (my favorite part!). Organized may not be exactly the right word, because this was completely stream-of-conscience, as if he was across the table telling me about himself, his life and his philosophy in no particular order. Often I asked myself "what rule are we on?", but who cares?! I just kept moving forward. I already love Tim Gunn from being a die-hard ...more
Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
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
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
Heidi The Hippie Reader
I really enjoyed this. Reading this book was like having a long afternoon chat with a very good friend.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
V. Briceland
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
Noah Soudrette
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I love Project Runway and Tim Gunn's catch phrase: "Make it work."

This has some nuggets of minding your manners as well as some nice stories involving some of the industry's elite.

A quick and enjoyable read.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
An enjoyable and charming read

I adore Tim Gunn and really enjoyed reading this. This book is partly a memoir and partly an anecdotal guide to manners and decency.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“You can be too rich and too thin, but you can never be too well read or too curious about the world.”

“I am a stickler for good manners, and I believe that treating other people well is a lost art. In the workplace, at the dinner table, and walking down the street--we are confronted with choices on how to tre
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I can't review this book...

I completely totally love Tim Gunn. He's awesome. He knows fashion. He genuinely seems like a great person. He writes well.

I mistakenly purchased this book thinking that it was an autobiography. Part of it was...the rest read like a self help / manners book. I like how-to books (quilting, quilling, origami, etc. ) I just don't particularly care for the self helps...

It's very well written. Quite an easy read. He has a lot to say, I just wish it was all autobiography.

Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction, queer
Non-Fiction. Tim Gunn is adorable, and for the most part so is this book. A mix of fashion industry gossip, life advice, and biography, it can ramble at times and the segues from one subject to another feel like unexpectedly stepping off a high curb, but it's both sweet-tempered and impassioned and sounds just like the Tim Gunn we know from Project Runway.

I don't always agree with what he says or the way he says it (there's an unfortunate Asians Eat Weird Things!! anecdote, also, did you know,
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carolee Wheeler
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
Sep 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Edie Leffingwell
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self
  • Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances
  • A Wild Life: The Authorized Biography
  • The Sinatra Files: The Secret FBI Dossier
  • Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America
  • How to Build a Fire: And Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew
  • Starting Your Best Life Now: A Guide for New Adventures and Stages on Your Journey
  • Niubi!: The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught in School
  • In Fashion: From Runway to Retail, Everything You Need to Know to Break Into the Fashion Industry
  • How to Have Style
  • mental floss presents Instant Knowledge (Collins Gem)
  • Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song and the Power of Perseverance
  • Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush
  • Think!: Before It's Too Late
  • Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive
  • The Truth About Style
  • The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own
  • Style on a Shoestring: Develop Your Cents of Style and Look Like a Million Without Spending a Fortune
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
More about Tim Gunn

Nonfiction Deals

  • Rumi: The Big Red Book: The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love and Friendship
    $10.74 $1.99
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich
    $13.95 $1.99
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
    $11.74 $2.99
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'm Just a Person
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Professor & the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity & the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
    $9.74 $2.99
  • The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Public Library: A Photographic Essay
    $27.99 $4.99
  • The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman
    $12.99 $1.99
  • A Man Without a Country
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Murphy's Boy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Meditation: Discovering Innermost Awareness
    $12.99 $1.99
  • History of God
    $5.99 $1.99
  • My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir
    $9.49 $1.99
  • The Essential Rumi
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Name of God Is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War
    $13.99 $1.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece
    $8.24 $1.99
  • How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays (A Harvest Book)
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
    $6.99 $2.99
  • No Limits: Blow the CAP Off Your Capacity
    $9.99 $2.99
“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.” 82 likes
“I believe that treating other people well is a lost art.” 73 likes
More quotes…