Book Review: The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

“The Dude’s Guide to Manhood” – Darrin Patrick

Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits

With a foreword written by none other than Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, this trumpet call for true masculinity amidst a culture of paternal weaklings starts off with a bang and never really lets up. Although Patrick’s overhaul of the current American male status does not quite qualify as being Eldredge-esque, it does however serve as the perfect men’s small group supplement, with plenty of time-tested truths that all men should hear and heed.

The Dude’s Guide to Manhood comes complete with a lot of high praise, including endorsements from Rick Warren, John Piper, Craig Groeschel, and St. Louis Cardinals’ all stars Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday. If that lineup doesn’t motivate you to read this book (in the manliest way you know how) I’m not sure what would. Author Darrin Patrick touches on all of the right points that men tend to struggle with like humility, devotion, and discipline, and yet is astute enough to offer sound insight for those men suffering from identity crisis in the face of a counter-masculine American culture.

Grade – B

Manly by Association

In the chapter titled “The Connected Man,” Patrick cuts to the chase about something that men are generally very reluctant or even fearful to embrace: openness and accountability. The connected man, according to Patrick, is one that cultivates true friendships and says ‘yes’ to transparency for their own benefit and growth, as well as their buddy’s. These genuine friendships, as opposed to cliques or ‘nominal’ friendships, are more inclined to dig deeper than surface conversation topics. This is connectivity in its purest form and allows friends to speak freely and sometimes uncomfortably into one another’s lives, for the sake of truth and well-being.

The author describes the friendship relationship this way:

“To be a friend, we must be willing to risk the friendship by speaking the hard truths and by living a life of service, even when those aren’t initially welcomed. Unless we are willing to risk everything for the sake of others’ good and well-being, we are not really their friends.” pg. 106 – The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

Another valuable lesson for men in this very chapter is what the author calls the ‘Practices of Friendship,’ with an emphasis on the letter “P.” Any solid male friendship will involve presence, actually being present with one another by gathering routinely, productivity, cultivating some type of positive output to go along with regular meetings, and perseverance, showing the ability to withstand busyness, disagreements and failures as you journey together. For these reasons men are edified and accountable to become who they were designed to be.

Remaining Coachable

Being “coachable” is a trait that we love to work with here at Live with Purpose Coaching, but it’s not necessarily that common, especially among men. In the chapter, ‘Become a Coachable Man,’ Patrick makes an obvious but undoubtably overlooked observation: that men don’t achieve manhood overnight nor do they become men without first learning what a man looks like.

“True manhood isn’t unearthed by accident. It doesn’t simply happen as we get older or as our circumstances change. We don’t wake up as men one day, and we don’t stumble into it.” pg. 18 – The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

Just as obvious as the statement the author presents here is a subset of the statement: if we have a surplus of trainees then we too need plenty of quality, experienced and Godly coaches to do the training. To this point, the author asks the question – Who will teach men to be men? The short answer is – fathers. No one can bring a boy up in the art of manhood better than his dad and no one can help define a developing man’s identity more than his dad. But what do we do when we have a lack of dads, either physically vacant or spiritually so? How do we combat a culture with a lot of fatherless sons? According to Patrick, the answer rests with coachability, and this applies to men of all ages and backgrounds. Understanding that we all have much to learn and that a lot of people can contribute to life’s learning curve, becoming coachable (humble, teachable, impressionable) is vital. If we as men usher a male culture of coaches and humble students, we’ll tread nearer and nearer to collective manliness.

But the Manliest of these is Love…

“Too many men have been caught settling for cheap, distorted versions of love rather than seeking the real thing.” pg. 74 – The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

In chapters six and seven the author addresses perhaps the greatest of manly qualities: love. Love for one’s wife, which he characterizes as ‘the devoted man’ and love for one’s children, characterized by the ‘family man.’ On both fronts there is much for men to improve upon but first the author identifies genuine love, not the non-committed, carnal, and self-serving variety of love. In the marriage relationship specifically the author encourages husbands and husbands-to-be to venture into deeper motives for devotion, not merely focusing on devotion to his wife’s physical beauty. Emotional devotion and spiritual devotion have an equally important role for the husband who endeavors to be devoted to his wife completely.

In terms of the family man specifically, Patrick calls on dads everywhere to assume the position of leader. As the lead example and the lead confessor, sacrificer, and encourager, dads so realize that their sons absorb their every move, so why not actively lead with every step? The training process, the author argues, is very much about the youthful ‘apprentice’ repeatedly seeing a manly example and thus being groomed to one day put on manhood for himself.

Darrin Patrick’s book scores a solid “B” on our scale but among our complaints are a lack of scriptural application and the book as a whole reading like something we’ve read before, making it seem a touch aimless and on many accounts cliche. However, the Dude’s Guide to Manhood is easy enough to read and quite valuable in its own right for men in any situation looking to develop true manliness.

S 61 - Copy Joe D’Orsie & Joe Sharp