The rite of passage, the transition from boy to man-a Spartan would be torn from his mother and forced to make his way in the wilderness. The bravest Cheyenne warriors would rouse a sleeping grizzly and then outrun the bear, or be mauled to death. Today this transition is subtler, more often marked by ages than feats.
You can smoke and gamble at eighteen. You can drink at twenty-one. Alcohol, tobacco, and playing blackjack are considered manly things, but it won’t turn a boy into a man. How do we become men when there’s no test to pass? Despite the lack of rite of passage, every male strives to be a man.
There’s more to being a man than fighting, drinking, and fornication. There’s being a father, a husband, a good friend, and a citizen. It’s keeping your own counsel and knowing when to seek advice. It’s knowing when to keep your mouth shut, but not being afraid to speak. It means standing your ground and finding your path even if there is no guide.
Luckily, there is a guide and that guide is The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide written by Frank Minter. It’s a must-have guide on how to hunt, fish, shoot, survive in the wild, and everything else a man should know. Including the riddle that befuddles the most manly of men, “What do women want?”
Frank Sinatra, who had a Ph.D. on the subject of women, didn’t know, and the man who invented psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, never was able to answer it, but Minter knows. His chapter 6 titled “Romantic” is loaded with advice from women and the time-tested skills of ultimate romantics-such as Lord Byron and the Bard.
Minter divides his book into different parts labeled for modern archetypes*. In “Survivor,” there’s everything from fighting off a bear to meeting your water needs. In “Provider”, you’ll learn something about guns, shooting, and hunting, and in “Athlete,” you’ll learn how to throw the perfect pass and why a jab is better than a roundhouse.
A modern hero needs to be able to hold, feed, and change a baby, and to respond to a car accident. With this book, you can also learn how to buy and smoke a cigar. You can run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and be able to live to talk about it over a properly mixed drink. A drink slowly savored and not gulped, because a drink among friends should be a bonding experience, not drunken debauchery.
According to Frank Minter every male must learn to be a man as best he can. This knowledge isn’t written in our genetic codes. Being a man is not just courage, intellect, and brawn. Training shapes a soldier, a poet, and a boxer. Knowledge instills confidence. Understanding breeds self-reliance, and The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide packs a whole lot of assuredness between the covers of a book. Chances are you’ll learn something you didn’t know. So pick one up for yourself, your son, your nephew and your niece…
*An archetype is a universally understood symbol or pattern of behavior and is often used in myths and storytelling telling across different cultures.
Speak softly? Carry a big stick? Or Both? Comment and let me know!