Vincent, Phil, A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man, Berkley Books, 2006.

Vincent, familiar to HBO subscribers as the character Phil Leotardo, New York mob capo, in The Sopranos, is a veteran of an impressive list of tough guy films. His prescription for "guys" seeking to become men? Learn to be a man by emulating men. Vincent was fortunate that he had an excellent example in his own father. For guys seeking guidance in becoming men, Vincent offers for quadrivium of

  • loyalty,
  • integrity,
  • honor, and
  • respect (especially toward women).
With a breezy style, Vincent takes us jauntily through an early twenty-first century man's guide to dating, the talkies, cigar smoking, food and wine, popular music, and gambling in Las Vegas. He even throws in a guide to New York restaurants --Frank Sinatra's favorite, Patsy's on West 56th, takes first honors. One can't eat out all the time, so Vincent gives us some of his mother's recipes. As he says, "Your mother's always the best cook."

A man's man must, of course, look the part, and Vincent offers practical advice on how to buy and wear a properly tailored suit and how to chose the shop at which to get your regular haircut and manicure (and in beach season a pedicure).

Vincent offers a light, and easy to read take on his subject. His examples come from popular, most Hollywood, culture of the past fifty years. But his casual quoting from such thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Albert Einstein is a clue that he is on to something here that goes way beyond knowing which Scotch whisky to order and which of the films in the Godfather series is best. While this popular book may treat largely of a man's style, Vincent is using style as a way to reveal the substance of character.

As Vincent writes: "Do you feel you're capable of more in your own life? If you follow my man's code, your dreams can come true." Ditching the dungarees and baseball cap in favor of formal dress and impeccable grooming is not just a fashion statement; it's a step from being a guy, a sort of super-annuated boy, to being a man.