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Friday, May 16, 2014

"The Manual to Manhood" (Jonathan Catherman)

TITLE: Manual to Manhood, The: How to Cook the Perfect Steak, Change a Tire, Impress a Girl & 97 Other Skills You Need to Survive
AUTHOR: Jonathan Catherman
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2014, (288 pages).

What does it mean to be a man? What is manhood? What does it take to be a gentlemen? What about the path from boys to men? This book addresses all of these through 100 tips that range from developing skills within the house and outside. Call it survival skills or common knowledge, the author Jonathan Catherman believes that moral character needs to be supplemented by basic skills of fixing stuff, appropriate behaviour, personal grooming, financial management, relating to people, dating, and any conceivable things that a young man needs to learn. In doing so, the hope is that there would be more gentlemen who exudes confidence and cultivates a character that is consistent with the nature of manhood that God has created man to be. There are ten categories described.

  1. Women and Dating
  2. Social Skills and Manners
  3. Work and Ethics
  4. Wealth and Money Management
  5. Grooming and Personal Hygiene
  6. Clothes and Style
  7. Sports and Recreation
  8. Cars and Driving
  9. Food and Cooking
  10. Tools and Fix-It

The range of coverage is pretty wide. Take the section on women and dating for instance. It not only describes the way to date a girl, it even gives tips about how to respectfully break up with a girl when things do not work out! The section on social skills and manners is sorely needed. I have seen too many boys and young males make fun of girls inappropriately or exhibit childish behaviour. I appreciate the section about tipping but I am not so sure about how useful it is to order from a menu in a step by step manner. In a multicultural society, different restaurants will have their particular menu choices. I laugh and nod my head when I read about cleaning the toilet and making the bed. Spot on! The section on grooming and hygiene is a necessary one. As a guy, taking care of one's appearances can seem to be a chore. Catherman shows the way through his meticulous eye for details, telling us subconsciously that we are essentially taking good care of our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

On sports, I find it quite amusing as many of these steps are better taught in practice. Just like learning to ride a bicycle, we can only play sports well not by reading about them but playing them. I suppose Catherman is trying to reach those who are either too shy or unwilling about playing sports in the first place. The chapters on in-house fixing are most useful in my opinion. Not only can one learn essential survival skills in the house, it can lead to great savings too. Labour after all is not cheap. The world needs more gentlemen. Such gentlemen are not born but made. That is the essence of this book. Growing one skill at a time is not a bad thing. This is a great book to give to boys in high school to be the man they are called to be. That said, even adult males can polish up or learn some fundamentals that they may have missed. It will make every mother, every wife, and every lady in the house proud to have a man in the house who can do or learn to do any of the skills in this book.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Revell and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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