Books for Blokes #1: Review on Male Order by Psychologist Colin Longworth
By way of introduction, I’ve recently started reading (and in the case of one re-reading) three books that could broadly be described as relating to guys. The “Big Daddy” of them is Steve Biddulph’s classic, “Manhood: An action plan for changing men’s lives”. As well as “Man (Dis)connected – How the digital age is changing Men forever” by Phillip Zimbardo and Nikita Coulombe (as suggested to me by a colleague in my monthly professional supervision). Then there is “Male Order” as reviewed below.
I’ll admit I only stumbled across “Male Order– Manning Up in the Modern World” by accident. It was being “spruiked” on the Morning Show, on TV the other day, while waiting to see my GP. But from what I saw it seemed interesting and amusing.
So, having tracked it down at a bookshop I started to read it over a coffee at a nearby café. (It’s not particularly “heavy” or Academic and could be read in a few hours.)
While it is to some extent a light-hearted look at life for a “modern male” it covers in a light hearted or jocular way a lot of serious and not so serious subjects like; Drive Like a Man; Winning at Work; Romance like a Man; A Man’s Guide to Being a Feminist; Don’t be That Guy (A guide to not being a dick); How to be a New Dad (And a f***ing good one). The use of asterisks (*) like this is a common part of the text as a way of using what would otherwise be colourful language to get a point across.
Although rather “blokey” and light-hearted in the way it seeks to convey its messages, I would recommend it to those wanting a bit of guidance and “food for thought” on a wide range of aspects of modern life, particularly for those not normally in the habit of reading a more “serious” or “academic” book. It could also be a useful prompt for discussion in a therapeutic setting. Some examples of the subjects covered, include;
- Drive like a Man– About being able to drive a manual car and whether to use other forms of transport;
- Winning at Work– A look at attitudes (e.g. accept constructive criticism), demeanour, behaviour (plan ahead) and Achieving on a Hangover;
- How to Be a New Dad– Writing about the changes new fatherhood will have on a guy’s life as well as his partner, along with observations on naming the child, a (clothing) “Style Guide”, observations on what to do and expect during the nine months of the pregnancy;
- Being Content– About accepting that you probably won’t have George Clooney’s number on your mobile as a “close friend” or be a multi-millionaire but can still have a worthwhile life. He also includes observations about Social Media and a “Guide to Being a Man Child” about doing “childlike” things from time to time;
- Things a Man Should do and Say by 30– A collection of experiences and utterances ahead of this milestone.
This is not a book filled with academic references, but one by an author who has a bit of life experience (he’s apparently “…reaching 40”) as well as being an Associate Editor at GQ Australia, and I would imagine has a bit of experience with office politics apart from his more general life experiences alluded to in the book.
This book could, I feel be directed, to guys like “Jack” I wrote about for the APS Believe in Change Campaign who “… worked in the tough environment of the building trade. In the workplace, there was a culture of not whingeing, ignoring whatever was troubling you and putting on a tough front….Realising he was spitting the dummy too often, particularly at home, he went looking for a psychologist who was right for him…”He finds assistance via a Psychologist who “…seemed to have a bit of life experience so they wouldn’t be shocked by the occasional colourful language.
”Where“…Jack and the psychologist he’d chosen looked at what steps he could take to get a better work-life balance”
As noted above, I’d recommend this to a wide range of guys. It could be those that feel they are in some sort of “crisis of masculinity”, i.e. being unsure how to behave as a “real man” (whatever that is) in a world quite different to that of their fathers and forefathers. Particularly those who don’t have access to positive male role models; Those who are willing to think about and potentially modify their attitudes, beliefs and or behaviours, (possibly with the assistance of a counsellor or Psychologist) in a rapidly changing world, where pervasive social media is both a positive and negative influence and changing roles and expectations for men abound.
Related Information and Viewing
Man Up – ONE BLOKE’S MISSION TO SAVE AUSSIE MEN
(Three Part ABC TV series – website www.manup.org.au)
Episode 1 – Suicide is the #1 killer of Aussie men under 45. Triple M’s Gus Worland is on a mission to find out why;
Episode 2 – Gus travels Australia in search of solutions and discovers some organisations that give him hope;
Episode 3 – Gus creates a campaign to show how suicide is not a solution. And he’s singing his message for all to hear.
Men’s Group (Movie)
Six strangers meet up every week to talk, finding they are not alone with their issues. Secrets are revealed as their friendships grow but when tragedy strikes, they realize that it is up to them to take responsibility for their own lives. [Source: IMDB.COM]
“The films centre around a group of 17 year olds, each character facing their own demons with themes ranging from self-esteem to crime and drink driving. The stories depict a way out for young men in despair while encouraging help-seeking behaviour.”