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Publisher's Summary

The smudge looked suspicious. The doctor confirmed: "That's the baby's penis!" Joel's reaction? Pure panic. "I pictured having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing." And so begins Joel's quest to confront his effete nature whether he likes it or not (he doesn't), by doing a 24-hour shift with LA firefighters, going hunting, rebuilding a house, enduring three days of basic training with the Marine Corps, and going into the ring with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.

Seeking help from a panel of experts, including his manly father-in-law, a racecar driver, Boy Scouts, former NFL star Warren Sapp, and some celebrities, he expects to learn that masculinity is not defined by the size of his muscles but by the size of his heart. This is not at all what he learns.

©2012 Joel Stein (P)2012 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This is much more than a funny book, though it is that too. Beneath the humor is a wonderfully poignant exploration of the role of manliness for the 21st century urban guy. It's also a Father's Day love letter disguised as a set of adventure tales. Joel looks lovingly at both his crusty old dad and trusting infant son to reflect deeply on the lessons that we pass along from generation to generation. It made me laugh, and think, a lot." (Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs)
"Many of us men in the Western world struggle with this "forced manliness"- there is a lot of pressure. For some, it is a real struggle. I have seen Joel try to chew tobacco in an attempt to prove that estrogen does not imprison his body. Looking down at his lap and bashfully wiping the remnants of spilled tobacco off his J. Crew slacks did not help his cause. The fact that he laughed at it, though, did. He caught himself trying to be manly and laughed. That is a true man." (Zach Galifianakis)
"I am the father only of daughters, and so didn't suffer any existential midlife panic about discovering and demonstrating my latent manliness. But I am happy Joel did, because his infant son inspired him to report and write this rare and splendid thing: an open-minded, open-hearted, bracingly honest, laugh-out-loud-funny memoir that takes life just seriously enough." (Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Heyday)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Lurene
  • Chemainus, BC, Canada
  • 09-04-12

A Hilarious Journey to "Manhood"

What made the experience of listening to Man Made the most enjoyable?

The wry humor combined with the authors own narration.

What other book might you compare Man Made to and why?

Anything by A.J. Jacobs - they share an interest in expanding their horizons while limited by their own foibles.

What about Joel Stein’s performance did you like?

The resolved intonation of his delivery and the admiration I felt at his willingness to poke fun at himself.

Any additional comments?

Joel: For man's sake, give dogs another chance!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nina
  • Arlington Heights, IL, United States
  • 06-12-12

Terrific read for the car!

What did you love best about Man Made?

I am always looking for something to listen to in the car when driving my teenage son around (because then we don't argue about the music playing on the radio) and this book certainly kept the peace for a good many days. I think it was also helpful for my son to hear about someone who is a dad who is even goofier than his own dad. The story certainly had us laughing out loud and it was terrific to hear the book read by the author. We stopped the recording more than a few times to have discussions about the different things he tried in order to "find his manliness." Other than the "blue" language, I would recommend this book for anyone with a male in their household. After the book was done, my son recommended that his dad hear it next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good story, ruined by UPTALK narration

Would you try another book from Joel Stein and/or Joel Stein?

I'd read another of his books in print. I certainly won't listen to him narrate again.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I know this is a generational thing, but the narrator's uptalk style of speaking drove me up the wall -- to the point where I stopped listening to a book I'm sure I would have enjoyed reading very much. I can't believe the director/producer or whatever didn't stop the narration and tell the author to try speaking without the uptalk.<br/><br/>NOTE TO AUDIBLE NARRATORS AND PRODUCERS: A COMMA IS NOT A @#$%ING QUESTION MARK! The author reads like a Valley Girl talks. If I were writing out his narration and punctuating exactly as he speaks, we'd have sentences like these:<br/><br/>I know dogs go for walks?, but I thought that was a euphemism for going to the bathroom.<br/><br/>Soon after Joe got out of high school?, he spent ten years in prison for armed robbery.<br/><br/>He doesn't talk either?, but I think that's just what all super white men are like.<br/><br/>Though Ian will wear buttons on his shirt?, he mostly wears gear.<br/><br/>This is on every friggin' sentence that opens with a dependent clause. When a real, actual question comes along, my brain interprets it as another opening clause until I realize the sentence has ended. Oh, I see ... his voice rose in pitch there because it really and truly was a question this time. Well, too bad I can't distinguish questions from opening clauses just by listening to the narrator's voice.<br/><br/>Funny topic, well written. But the uptalk killed it for me. I finally couldn't stand it anymore and moved on to another book.

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Funny and uplifting

It took me a while to warm up to this but as I kept listening to it, it home, it was funny, inspiring, and very informative

  • Overall
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Pretty hilarious

Enjoyable in its ridiculousness. I learned a few things too. Joel is well-spoken and his hint of a lisp is complementary.

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OK, I never write a review, but I loved it!

Would you listen to Man Made again? Why?

It is laugh out loud hilarious. I can't wait to have a passenger in my car to introduce them to Joel! Loved it! Am going on a trip and can't wait to play it again.

  • Overall
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I wanted to like it more

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I think the author has a delivery which is better read than spoken. He knows he's funny, so he rushes through the funny lines .. they would be more effective in print than voice, or perhaps narrated by someone else.

Would you be willing to try another book from Joel Stein? Why or why not?

Yes - I enjoyed the topic and the story.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Joel Stein?

Not terrible, so if his material was only available read by the author, I would consider it.

Did Man Made inspire you to do anything?

no

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the book on the whole. I was a little disappointed with some of the lewd points of view of the author, but then again, that's real, that's him, so ... I wasn't offended just wasn't anticipating that type of commentary. (I suppose there was an assumption on my part that sex-talk wasn't going to enter into a book about what the author wanted to impart to his pre-born son). Anyway, decent "read".