The Perfect Gift for a Man: Reinventing Manhood (Book)

perfect giftDec. 9, 2009 And now for the GOOD news! Yesterday for I wrote about ‘boys being turned into monsters’ with toxic marketing proliferation about what it means to be masculine, rolling out narrowcast perceptions and gender roles thinner than a crepe.

Today, meet 30 men who donated their stories, time and talent to author The Perfect Gift for a Man: 30 stories about reinventing manhood which I’m personally buying, gifting, reading, and sharing this holiday season!

These gents are the antithesis of the ‘monster’ dynamic pop culture is using for Packaging Boyhood…as they use social media as their conduit for inspiring young people and flinging forth the doors to fresh horizons with honesty, candor, hope and promise to mend some of the damaging limitations and expectations placed on males to help them make the journey from boys to men without losing their way.

The eBook version is FREE, but I want the whole enchilada produced at Blurb, since all proceeds are donated to the Inspire Foundation (every penny, just like we did authoring the Age of Conversation collaborative blogger book effort to benefit Variety, the Children’s Charity) …plus, I must say, the lovely design, visuals and tangibility add a certain je ne sais quoi.

inspireThis ‘help me write a book’ collaborative model is a favorite of mine, as an AOC 1, AOC2, and soon to be AOC3 author,  contributor, social media worldchanger…So it should come as no surprise that Aussie Gavin Heaton, stellar social media guru and head honcho and co-editor of Age of Conversation with Drew McClellan is one of the men sharing his story with the world and driving this force of change.

Gavin writes at The Servant of Chaos, twitting around the blogosphere with digerati pals  and leading edge thought leaders doing well by doing good…

Gavin Heaton is a bit of a hero of mine for using his talents  not only to challenge but actively shift the pop culture zeitgeist using his immeasurable influence, while still ‘keeping his day job.’ (I dove into the deep end to launch Shaping Youth as a nonprofit full-time whereas Gavin seems to be fiscally wiser by shaking trees from within as an agent of change and still making a difference on a global scale within the marcom industry!)

So where did the book idea come from, giving males the pathways to shape the men they wish to be?

perfect authors

It all started as part of ManWeekin Australia (see hashtag #Manweek in the Twittersphere) where it was noted that young men commit suicide at more than three times the rate of women of the same age and mental illness and drug and alcohol dependency is severely affecting men aged 16-24.

In mid-2009, The Inspire Foundation launched the #Manweek campaign to raise awareness of these issues and as the ‘about the book’ section describes, a number of Australian bloggers supported the campaign, shared their thoughts, challenges and experiences with their readers:

“Each of these stories was a gift – sometimes painful to write, always astounding to read. They got under our skin, and as the campaign ended, we felt that the campaign had only just scratched the surface.

We wanted to take these stories and share them with others – with our brothers, fathers and uncles. With our friends and families. This book is the result. Please buy it for the men in your life. All proceeds go to The Inspire Foundation. We think it is the perfect gift.”

Gavin et al give further voice to this men on a mission poignant undertaking, which seems to have taken shape in a similar manner to The Age of Conversation,

“We wanted to ensure that each brave, bare bones contribution stood on its own merit – but we also needed to provide some structure to the overall collection…”

“This book, The Perfect Gift for a Man, is written about men, for men. And as such, we wanted to reflect the life of a man – the good, the difficult, the challenging and the astounding.

The amazing thing is, that without any particular orchestration on our part, the topics chosen by our authors fell into the various stages that we experience as we grow and age – Becoming a Man, Respect (gaining and giving), Fragility, Fatherhood and Loss.

Here are a few ManWeek examples:

More on The Perfect Gift for a Man site, all about gender identity from boys to men…their grassroots outreach and promotion, as well as a meaningful peek into the Inspire Foundation in this great guest post here, which opens, “Inspire Foundation and our program users from Reach Out and ActNow are very thankful and honoured to be a part of “The Perfect Gift for a Man”...(to give you a feel for the youth effort)

Their work inspires on so many levels and gives me hope that we CAN take back the role defining gender with toxicity and shift the media power toward meaningful messaging that’s a dialog not a monolog for profit dictating ‘what sells’ to define masculinity.

Wanna copy? Download it here (114pp pdf!)

Better yet, purchase it

Or help promote it by joining their Facebook fan page, voting it up on Digg, sharing the book on StumbleUpon and all of those other social media musts that I never have time to do with my own work! (yes, it’s true, I don’t even have time to put up a ‘fan page’ for Shaping Youth yet, where are those interns, eh?)

The Perfect Gift for a Man book – interview on Mornings With Kerri-Anne from Tony Hollingsworth on Vimeo.

Durell_091208_GoodMen_924For more inspiring messages on the manhood front, Ron Mattocks of Clark Kent’s Lunchbox is running a holiday series on positive picks which is fabulous, including his reviews of Packaging Boyhood, and “real stories from the front lines of modern manhood” via The Good Men Project, today’s review of Michael Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs and more…

(Here are the guys from The Good Men Project on tour in L.A. at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood at the west coast premiere of their film yesterday; that’s co-founder Tom Matlack in the foreground)

Meanwhile, Derrick Kikuchi of Reach and where I’m buying the bulk of my meager but meaningful gifts this year, (blog post coming soon!) just wrote a great post about MY monster post on Tikkun Daily (Tikkun means to mend, repair, and transform the world…see how social media works, folks?) where he addressed male stereotypes from the peace vs. warrior perspective.

packaging boyhoodDerrick’s post is an insightful read for men and those who love them worldwide… almost as if it could spring from the pages of all that research in ‘Packaging Boyhood’ as it echoes so many of the authors points about the GI Joe warrior/combat persona. 

Yep, those ‘monsters’ aren’t so mighty after all…

The truly courageous are those working to shift the marketing machine into healthier worldviews, for men, for women, for kids…for humanity.

Thanks, Gavin, Ron, Derrick, and all of you wonderful guys who are leading the way towards a massive mindshift.

p.s. Since I missed the mark on last Tuesday’s Packaging Boyhood post, this one counts for comments, retweets and conversational entries toward the Packaging Boyhood TRIO OF BOOKS GIVEAWAY.

Don’t forget to stop by and leave a note or a tweet to automatically enter! We’ll announce the winners of the Packaging Boyhood books by year’s end, so good luck! 🙂



  1. The Good Men Project sounds fantastic. Will check it out. Thanks for bringing this all together!

  2. Thanks for the mention Amy. These are fabulous books the smash the false paradigms we have for men. Thanks for not only the mention but for also all you do in helping to change these perceptions at Shaping Youth.
    .-= Ron Mattocks´s last blog ..One At-Home-Dad Answers Questions About His Vagina =-.

  3. I’ll check these out! I’m so glad to hear about this organization.
    .-= Margo´s last blog ..On Her Last White Christmas, She Probably Complained About It =-.

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