Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Canon: Guidebooks for Bachelors

There are many books that help lay out the road map. These are just a few of them.

The Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach - What do I know about being preppy? Not much really, coming from Honolulu, Hawaii. Being educated at an Episcopalian prep school here made no difference, especially once I got out to the East Coast. And certainly, this book, like many of its ilk, is more tongue in cheek than anything else. But it does set standards: eat, drink, be merry, accumulate only fine things and don't discard them, make friends for life. Like any guidebook, humorous or not, some advice can be ignored. It's always best to dress properly, but pink and green is no longer the solution.

The Modern Man's Guide to Life by Various Contributors - I found this book in an Urban Outfitters store on M Street in Georgetown in 1988, and despite containing some dated material now, I'm glad I made the impulse purchase. In fact, this book, coupled with Adm. William Stearman's 1989 farewell address to his seminar class on National Security Decision Making (a subject for future entry here, for sure) certainly informed my young adult life. This book contains everything from how to skin a squirrel, how to grease a maitre'd for a prime table, metric conversion tables, you name it, it's in there. Some knowledge I still use, such as the quick recipe for pasta carbonara.

The Dangerous Book for Boys by The Brothers Iggulden - I just bought this book really, and I've only thumbed through it. Costco had stacks and stacks of them and I couldn't resist it's heft and the urgent tomato red cover. It promises afternoons with my son filled with scheming over toy soldiers, building periscopes, and classifying dead insects. We'll see if it delivers, and if not, it's out of the Canon.

1 comment:

The Duck said...


Take a look at the "The Modern Gentleman". It is a book that truly lays out the modern path for bachelors.

Take care, great blog.