Our guest reviewer decided to take a look at one of today’s most popular subjects – manuals for the man, or guides for the guy. These are titles aimed, supposedly, at making men more manly or maybe they intend to help men be more like men. Look at any bookstore and you will see countless titles aimed at women, purportedly to help them be better women. Nothing wrong with that – we all want to be our best selves. With the New Year upon us, many will indulge in that annual tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. Here is a light-hearted review of one such title, one specifically for men, Mark Dawidziak’s Mark Twain’s Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness. This review was submitted by Taylor Birkey who began innocently enough by looking for mustache trimming tips and fell into the land of Self Help. Here is what he learned:


Is it odd how popular “Real Men’s Guide to…” this and that have popped up over the years on the internet? I was just reading an article the other day on how to properly trim a mustache. It was not only complete with numerous step by step instructions, but included full hand-drawn pictures from top to bottom as well. Does anyone know why we have such a sudden burst of masculinity rule books and guides? We men these days take to fishing in the river that men of older days regularly used to bathe in.

I am all for aspiring to be like Lincoln. If you do, you can keep that mustache-less jaw warmer of a beard, and any other classic icon of not just manhood, but humanity. Now, imagine if Lincoln was a whiskey guzzling, celestial progeny, rarefied highbrow sidesplitter of a social commentator and still managed to fend off the entire Confederate Army (except for that one guy): that would be a man to aspire to. Truthfully most of us could settle without the whole uniting a country deal. Let there be no mistaking that this book, Mark Dawidziak’s Mark Twain’s Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness is in fact a sorcerers concoction of the gentleman’s basic field survival guide to fashion, politics, God, and smoking and drinking among other major things. Any Twain historian could introduce you to any two-tone codex on the man’s life, and it would be worth it’s weight in gold but for us common fishermen, we could only hope for a beacon of insight such as this.

Just as the purists who insist only of curing the red printed meat of Jesus’ own words over the rest of the filler of the Bible, I could only insist of this 205 page packed meat locker full of quotes straight from the mans mouth himself and nothing more. With genuine intellectual swiftness and a type of humor that is only cultivated be chance alignment with the stars (or an infamous comet) and years of choreographed storytelling, you could hardly imagine you weren’t reading Plato…as a Merry Prankster. For the real layman, at least you’ll be able to get away with smoking cigars, not exercising, and drinking (whiskey’s your only option) all day while sounding damn intelligent explaining your sudden life style change.

A famous conman said that “any crime done with a touch of class is dealt with by a much softer hand.” It’s very agreeable to have a little class or at least a little understanding if you want to get ahead or get away with anything in this world. For those who decide against such an investment and find Twain a scholar to only those of his time…”Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please” -Mark Twain.

Check out our humor section for many other hilarious guides to being a man. We also recommend Beta Male by Iain Hollingshead; subtitled: four friends, three assumed identities, two weddings and one very dangerous bet. Also Brocabulary by Daniel Maurer is the new man-i-festo of Dude Talk or What would Rob Do? by Rob Sachs. Sachs’ ‘irreverent guide to surviving life’s daily indignities’ is taken from his popular podcasts. All of these and more titles are available, with trade credit, at your local Bookmans.