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GUYS' GUY'S GUIDES
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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

When You Are NOT a Guy's Guy

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 19, 2017


People ask me all the time, “Hey, what is a Guy’s Guy anyway? Is that like a man’s man?” Nope. A Guy’s Guy is not a man’s man.

He is, however, an updated, more open and contemporary version of the old adage. A Guy’s Guy is comfortable in his own skin. He has a casual confidence about him as well as unassuming strength, seductive integrity, emotional intelligence, and a timeless style. He’s fun, too. But most of all, a Guy’s Guy celebrates women and the well-earned recognition they are finally receiving for their many achievements. So we have a pretty clear idea about Guy’s Guys and how they roll. But with the recent news about the bad behavior of so many men, now is a good time to explore what a Guy’s Guy is not. Let’s begin by stating that not all men are bad and creepy and only seek get laid at any cost. Yes, men, including Guy’s Guys like sex, but Guy’s Guys don’t abuse their power as leverage on women.

I’ve written about Anti-Guy’s Guys men previously, but unfortunately male behavior continues to disappoint, so here we are again. With this in mind I offer you, in no particular order, my list of men, and maybe a few women, who are not Guy’s Guys. Let’s call them The Not So Guy’s Guys. I hope this helps clarifies the Guy’s Guy movement, its importance to our culture, and our mantra- When men and women can be at their best, everyone wins. There are a lot of Guy’s Guys who will cross your path every day that deserve recognition, but for now let’s out a handful of bad eggs who need to clean up their act.

1. Harvey Weinstein – This is pretty obvious. With all the headlines about his alleged abuse of power and sexual predatory behavior, he does not fit our definition of a Guy’s Guy. After all, Guy’s Guys know that “No” means no and they never take advantage of their position to get sex. They don’t have to. Guy’s Guys are cool customers who engage women respectfully, are present, and actively listen to them.

2. Men Who Don’t Respect “Me too” – I’ve been reading way too much push back from males who have a problem with the millions of women coming out as one and letting the world know that they are not going to remain silent about the abuse they’ve received from men any longer. I say, good for them, and any guy who fails to understand the truth in what women are surfacing are in denial, guilty, or in need of a wake up call to women’s being treated horribly for centuries. Guys, please shut up if you have nothing positive to add the “me too’s” pouring out. Imagine how you’ll feel if you notice family members or your girlfriends posting these words. Maybe that will remind you that men still have a long way to go in respecting women in love, business, and treating them as our equals.

3. Donald Trump – Like him or loathe him, you’ve got to admit this guy has a problem in how he treats women. Besides his “locker room talk” with Billy Bush, how you noticed the dynamic between DT and his wife? She usually looks as miserable as half the country is right now and every time we are forced to witness his bewilderingly disrespectful statements and criticisms of virtually anyone who crosses his path. A true disruptor, but not a Guy’s Guy.

4. Trump’s sons – I give them a tiny pass because they grew up in a bubble and might not know how creepy and crass they are, but in particular, Jr. —or should we call him Beavis—needs help. First, he rants that women who can’t handle harassment in the workplace should not be working. Then, in his spare time he and brother, Butthead, get their jollies shooting and killing defenseless, majestic, and often endangered animals. Come on, fellas. Wake up. Not Guy’s Guys.

5. Floyd Mayweather – I mentioned him in my original post about anti-Guy’s Guys when he was running around the ring to avoid Manny Pacquaio. Now, after that travesty and rip off of the paying public, he felt the need to top himself for his final fight by taking on another brash big mouth from the MMA who had never stepped into a boxing ring. And, the suckers bought it. Afterwards Floyd thought he could ride off into the sunset with piles of money thinking he was boxing’s GOAT. But although he’s made more cash than any boxer in history, he will never be the GOAT of the sport. This is in part because he’s not a Guy’s Guy. He selected his opponents at their worst— either when they were too young, too old, and in the case of MMA star, Conor McGregor, a fighter not in the same sport. Floyd topped this off by setting a great example for all of the up and coming young men and fighters by investing in a massive strip club because, “Tits and ass and booze never go out of style.” I can’t argue with him on that point, but do you really have to go there?

6. Conor McGregor – Complicit in Mayweather’s “boxing match” was his MMA opponent, Conor McGregor, who after month’s of trash talk, borderline derogatory racial comments, and promises to walk right through Mayweather in one short round, came out pawing before being carried by Mayweather into the tenth round so the paying public would not feel cheated. He eventually got his ass knocked out the moment Floyd decided that enough was enough for the suckers who shelled out $100 for this glorified exhibition. As soon as the fight was over it was all hugs between these two. They had your money, McGregor launched a new whiskey, and so all was good. Not a Guy’s Guy.

7. Sarah Huckabee Sanders / Jeff Sessions – Ever wonder why Sarah Huckabee’s face always looks twisted and contorted? I think it’s from her inner turmoil and awareness that her job is to stand at a podium and lie for a living. Jeff Sessions is the old guy who looks like Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies and who is also is our country’s leading attorney, the Attorney General. But if you’ve ever watched in squirm and spout nonsensically evasive answers to very direct questions from the Congress investigating him and his misleading statements about his possible involvement in “Russiagate”, you’d be hard pressed to think that this guy represents honesty, integrity, and the American way. Not a Guy’s Guy.

8. Rick Pitino – I attended Villanova University. We always had great basketball teams.  Our coaches drew up plays on a wipe board with a felt tip pen, concocted game strategies, and made players run sprints when they missed lay ups. Unlike the notorious Rick Pitino, they were never accused of raping women in bars after hours or paying families through third parties for recruiting. To be fair, although the university has fired him, Pitino denies the latter charges. But it doesn’t matter. Ex-Louisville coach Pitino; you ain’t no Guy’s Guy.

9. Anthony Weiner - What was his Twitter handle? Carlos Danger? Too bad, but this really smart guy had a real political future until Little Tony started running the show from down below with some very young ladies. Of course Weiner was married while sending naked torso selfies to his squad of online lady friends.

10. Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) – I give him points for all the beautiful women he’s dated, but I wince whenever I watch him on Fox Sports talking about baseball. He has no insights into the game he played his whole life and he does not understand human nature. I also have a problem with Fox for hiring and making a star out of a PED user and cheater busted not once, but twice while also lying about it repeatedly. As a studio expert, he is a master of stating the obvious through a pasted on smile and his perfect veneers. You can feel the other studio guys, who unlike A-Rod are Hall of Famers, cringe at his banal statements and when he takes his World Series championship ring off and thrusts it in front of the camera. It’s says something about his shame when he needs to take his ring off to display it rather than simply holding up a fist and brandishing the ring he won before being suspended for PED’s. He’s not getting into the Hall of Fame and he’s no Guy’s Guy.

11. Christopher Columbus – I’m an Italian–American, but I’m not big fan of Columbus. Columbus showed a lot of balls sailing across an uncharted sea in search of a short cut to Asia. But after landing in the Caribbean, he returned to Europe before returning and being responsible for the systematic mass murdering of thousands of indigenous peoples. Hey, people whose name ends with a vowel, like Manni, let’s not celebrate this guy. Change the name of the holiday to Italian American Heritage Day and let’s push for a federal holiday dedicated to the real Native Americans who were here before the Europeans conquered, corrupted and infected their land.

I can keep going and going, but I think it’s best we hit pause here for now. There is too much bad male behavior taking place these days. But thankfully, on the flip side there are also lots of Guy’s Guys doing great things. But unfortunately, the jerks keep getting too much money, power, and respect from the sheep that lap up the mush our media feeds us each and every day. Don’t fall for the hype, amigos, and always be a Guys Guy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are all the real Guy’s Guys in the world that celebrate women. Remember, there has never been a better time to be a guy than right now. Be present. Be respectful. Be Guy’s Guy and the world will be yours.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Longevity

Robert Manni - Friday, October 06, 2017


I met up with an old friend last night for a couple of beers. We spent half the time watching the Yankees game and the other half discussing our surgeries. This is what happens when boomers age.

We’re all aging and in the toxic environment we live in, shit can happen to us at any time. That’s why we need to be mindful of our choices while we’re aging. Sometimes random bad things happen, like getting hit by a bus, but uncontrollable events aside, we can get a firm grip on how we live and our destiny. Think about the folks you know who are approaching, or are already over fifty. Some look amazing and some look like your parents. Part of this is due to genes, but a lot of it has to do with their lifestyle choices and how they relate to their mind, body and spirit.

I married at fifty and become a father a few years later. As a result I quickly became increasingly mindful about how I was taking care of myself. I want to enjoy as many years as possible with my wife, who is sixteen years younger than me, and my son. And, I have no doubt that I can accomplish this if I do my research and adjust my lifestyle choices going forward. But it’s never that simple. Shit happens. Since I married and became a dad, I’ve had two robotic surgeries on my kidneys and contracted pneumonia. The good news is I have been deemed all clear on the kidney front, and through a deep Ayurvedic medical protocol I also reduced my body’s toxicity by one hundred percent. That means the chances of a recurrence are now even more miniscule than what my western doctors told me. Because of my research and introduction to eastern Ayurvedic medicine I made some changes. Among other things, I take lots of supplements, and overall I’ve gotten into better alignment with my mind, body, spirit, and my truth. Of course I’ll need to stay consistent and remain on this positive lifestyle path, but the benefits so far have been substantial and I feel great. Regardless of my chronological age, I’m a happy, healthy guy.

So what have I learned about aging better that can I share with the world of Guy’s Guys to help them live their very best life? I’ve done my homework, experienced a lot, and even stared into the abyss, so I’m confident I can add value to you if you consider some of the tips in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Longevity. Here they are in no particular order. Drum roll please…

1. Manage your anger – This is a tough one, especially for me. I’m not the kind of Guy’s Guy who suffers fools lightly. The advertising industry where I worked for decades is filled with very intelligent and creative people, but it can also be a snake pit filled unnecessarily selfish, ego-driven behavior. Many people who work in advertising spend way too much of their time plotting to get ahead at any expense. On the creative side, you’ve got lots of brilliant people who come up with some incredible ideas, and most of them are fun to work with. But as in any business, you’ve also got to work with some major asswipes who, due to their fear-based behavior, act like they are far more talented than they really are. And because the entire industry is predicated on the production and sale of actual products, it’s all too easy for people to fly off the handle when they get frustrated or angry. There’s a lot of stress, and over time it takes its toll. All of the uncertainty about losing an account, which always happens, makes it a highly stressful industry that can chew people up and spit them out quickly. That’s one of the reasons that advertising remains a young-skewing business.

I’ve always believed in focusing on helping clients position and sell their products. That’s it. I become president of one agency and my motto was that as long as the work gets done, there was no reason to sweat. If it sells it sells. If not, we all get canned. So fortunately I didn’t let the business age me too quickly. As my mother says, “this too shall pass” and no truer words were ever stated about the ad business. People come and go all the time so there is no reason to get too pissed off. When someone you work with or a client becomes impossible to deal with, remember that the worm can turn very quickly in this industry.

Taking the issue of anger beyond just work and the ad business, there are still constant challenges that quickly fill our daily anger quotient. In a city like New York, we experience the very best and worst of people almost every day. Since it’s such a fast-paced city, it’s easy to let our emotions get away from us. So when we’re stuck in a crowded subway car filled with manspreading, loud music, dancing kids doing Showtime, or simply rude behavior. It’s important not to let it get to you. If we snap, we may find ourselves in a conflict with a stranger that can turn out badly.

All of the stress from work and simply living in a big city accelerates our aging. So when the going gets shitty and people behave badly, we need to do our best to shake it off and keep moving. But, we can’t keep all our negative emotions bottled up inside. That’s just one more thing that shortens our lifespan. So we have to find ways of letting off steam.

I don’t like carrying around bitterness and anger. I am authentic, honest, and possess keen bullshit radar detection abilities. So people who know me usually pause before bullshitting or lying to me—they know I will call them on it. Is this the right technique for you? You have to find your own way of dealing with the nonsense so you don’t burn up inside. I know I have a temper, so I remain mindful of it at all times. Although I call bullshit, I fly off the hook less and less these days because I know that stress kills.

2. Get your rest – As we get older, we need more rest. Duh. But that’s cool because rest is a good thing, amigos. Over the past decade when possible, I’ve added naps to my daily routine and I’ve found them to be tremendously refreshing. I also try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. It’s not that hard to do. If you hit the sack at midnight and get up at seven you’ve got your seven hours. Who needs to watch James Corden anyway? Yoga, tai chi, meditation, hypnosis, and reiki are also good practices that allow us to go inside and slow down our thinking, internal monkey chatter, and breathing. All these practices help to support longevity.

3. Hydrate - Ever wonder why many old people look so wrinkly? Studies have shown that eighty percent of Americans are dehydrated. Then compound that with an aging process that also dries us out when our internal liquids evaporate without proper replenishment. I keep a sixty-four ounce container of water on my table every day and make it my goal to finish it. When I do that, I feel great. I also filter the water with a Zero Water jug, take two to four Dr. Patrick Flanagan’s Mega Hydrate capsules, and add Crystal Energy drops for longevity. The capsules hydrate the cells and release hydrogen ions that chase down the millions of free radicals roaming in our bodies. The drops add to the PH level of the water, making it wetter, healthier, and more hydrating. Google Dr. Patrick Flanagan and you’ll get a real eye-opener of information on his under-the-radar anti-aging technology. The bottom line is hydration grows in importance as we age. Stay lubricated, amigos.

4. Reconfigure your diet – I know it’s not easy to become a vegan or go totally organic, but you will surely reap the benefits if you can align your diet to these tenants as much as possible. I’m a long-term pescatarian, but I consume less and less fish as the years go by and my body craves it less and less as a result. I also no longer eat sushi due to a concern about parasites. I’ve eliminated meat and as much dairy, fried foods, caffeine, and sugar as possible and have a lot more energy now. Dropping meat was the big one. I cut out beef, lamb, and pork while weaning myself off of poultry over two years. My body thanks me and I’ve never looked back. After years of eating fake bacon, sausage, etc., I’ve totally dismissed the possibility of consuming meat ever again. I know that does not work for everyone, but if you can eliminate meat and as much sugar and dairy as possible, you’ll feel a major difference within a few short weeks and will probably add a few years to a healthy life.

5. Don’t smoke, cut back on alcohol – I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go into why smoking is not conducive to aging in general. If you still feel a need to smoke weed for recreational purposes, source the cleanest product available if it’s legal in your state, and use a vape or a bong. And, imbibe in moderation. I still enjoy the occasional glass of wine, a craft beer, or a few sips of high-end tequila, but I know drinking alcohol is not a great habit and it certainly does nothing for your longevity. Yeah, yeah, we’ve all read the claims about some study claiming that a glass of red wine every day is great for you or about that crusty one hundred year old guy who claims drinking whiskey has been his key to longevity. But do you believe it? Your best path is to arm yourself with scientific facts and make your choices base on what feels right for you. Cheers.

6. Keep moving – Over the years, life takes its toll on our bodies and many of us break down from overuse or abuse. How many people do you know who are over fifty years old that are still pounding the pavement on long runs, or take classes at Barry’s Boot Camp? I’ve found that being consistent with my fitness, which means never really falling out of shape, has allowed me to continue enjoying some rigorous workouts and long runs into my fifties and beyond. Am I lucky? Yes. But I’ve also made some of my own luck by taking care of my body, mind and spirit over all these decades. I began doing push-ups every morning during my teens and I still pound out between fifty and seventy-five almost day. Am I bragging? Maybe a little bit, but so what? The point is that with a little luck we can keep rolling with the same fitness routines if we take care of our bodies during our twenties, thirties and forties.

7. Keep on the sunny side of life – You’ve got your anger under control, you’re eating well, getting your rest, meditating, hydrating, exercising, and not smoking, drinking or eating meat. Congratulations! I’m sure you’re feeling pretty darn good. But, the true catalyst to enhance and maximize the wellness factor in the aging process is maintaining a positive attitude. Of course this isn’t always easy in our highly dysfunctional culture. But it’s possible. And you can do it if you put in the effort. Start by adding meditation to your daily routine and periodically unplug from the Internet, the media, and the waves of toxic negativity that permeate our collective consciousness. Remember this. The only thing that truly matters is right now. You are alive. You are reading this post. You are doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Relax, amigo. It’s going to be okay. Play your cards right and you can live a long healthy life. Salud!

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is yogi Kazim Gurbuz who is 95 years old now and looks like a fifty-year old. He claims through proper nutrition and yoga practices we can live to 130. Maybe he’s right.  Would you settle for 100? I’ll see you there. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Being

Robert Manni - Saturday, September 30, 2017


Modern life is so stressful that it often feels like there are not enough hours in the day to deal with all our responsibilities. But is that how you want to live your life?

When you remain busy, busy, busy multitasking and toiling away without finding time to simply be, you’ll wake up one day and realize that half of your life is over. And you’ll ask yourself what you have to show for it beyond the completion of a lot of tasks, duties and busy work. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that’s what our Creator had in mind when mankind was conceived. But, so many people in our western society have a real need to always be doing something. Being busy is necessary, to a point. But when it transcends your ability to slow things down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, it can be a rigid state of mind that precludes you from enjoying anything except when you are doing something. By being, and not always doing, I mean taking a break from tasks, work, planning ahead, social media, texting, and incessantly checking email. Modern man is programmed for doing, and the sad truth is that for most Americans, it’s hard to do nothing and simply be.

If you take the time to learn how to shut down all the noise, I assure you that you can live a much saner and fulfilling existence. But, it’s up to you, because so many of us just have to be doing something or multitasking to feel they are alive, empowered, and important. Make no mistake about it; doing things is good. It’s part of taking on our challenging lives. But learning to simply be every so is a very healthy practice also. In the spirit of learning how to live quietly and peacefully, even in a crazy metropolis like New York, I offer you my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO BEING. And guess what? You don’t have to do anything but sit back and read.

If you are asking yourself how can I simply be when I have so much going on? Amigo, being is a learned skill, but anyone can do it if they take the time to step back and relax. It’s that easy, yet that difficult for many of us type A personalities. So let’s explore my insights and tips for slowing down and simply being, no matter where we are and what the circumstances we’re dealing with.

1. Unplug – If you are serious about wanting to decompress and live a less stressful lifestyle, the first step may turn out to be the most difficult. Putting down your iPhone, iPad, turning off the television, and taking a break from your desktop are real challenges for a society programmed to react to life by continually check emails and social media feeds and working on their computers for their jobs. Unless you take charge and shut it down now it then, you will be caught up in this vicious cycle and most likely become another victim of the grind who gets old before their time.

2. Rest and recharge – Last month I contracted a random case of walking pneumonia. I had to shut down. I had no choice. So I put everything in my life that was not mission critical on hold for a month so I could heal. I was so sick that nothing else mattered, and it turned out to be a blessing because I learned how to shut down and I am now fully recharged. During my illness I did the work that was necessary to live, I paid my bills and I tended to my family as best I could. But that was it. I was too sick to enjoy reading, listening to music, writing, or tackling the projects I lined up for this fall. I was too sick to do anything but rest and recuperate. I slept a lot, suspended my workouts, and made sure not to make any major decisions while I was taking antibiotics.

Since I had not been aware of my prognosis, I attended my annual fantasy football draft. I made crazy decisions that went against my intuition. My team is sketchy at best now because I now realize that I was mentally wonky during the draft. I was diagnosed two days later and decided to take a month to focus on rest, recuperation and healing. And, I’m glad I did. I used the down time to heal physically and mentally, look for the spiritual lesson from my ailment, communicate with my higher self, and align with my truth. I recognized and thanked my ailment and asked it to leave my body, and it did. The experience forced me to slow down and take the time I needed to re-evaluate my life and some major decisions I need to make. But, for a month, I did my best to simply be.

3. Stop your internal monkey chatter – Our third-dimensional lives are predominantly driven by ego. Add technology, smart phones and the relentless media presence in our lives and it becomes difficult to shut down our internal mental dialogue. It’s not impossible, but it’s a tough challenge because we are inundated with new stimuli virtually all day that places us in a reactive mode.  It’s important to our health to learn how to discipline our minds and no think for fifteen to thirty minutes every day. I’ve made positive strides through meditation, deep breathing, visualization and going for long runs where the endorphins kick in and help me zone out. It doesn’t matter what method you prefer for managing your internal dialogue as long as it works for you. The time to get started is now.

4. Consider the bigger picture – Another way to transcend your ego and the details in our conscious lives is to step back and look at our lives from a broader perspective. And by broader perspective, I mean a detached view of your life. My mother always says, “this too shall pass”, and she’s right. Most of the crap you are dealing with right now will not matter very much next year, in five years or when you get sick. Seeing the big picture depends on the expansiveness of your thinking and if you believe in differentiating timelines, past lives and various incarnations. Can you step way, way back and see this life as but a blink in the eye in an endless journey? What’s happening right now in your small self is only a blip on a seemingly endless path to ascension. If you believe that right now is all there is, then enjoy the stress and fear propagated on us by the media. You can live a reactive life if you choose, but regardless of how busy you are, I doubt it will make you happy. 

5. Let go and trust – Letting go is no easy task, but it’s paramount if you want to enjoy a more fulfilling life. Letting go, and even surrendering, does not mean you are giving up or losing anything. In fact letting go is an expression of trusting in your power and the universe. In fact this is very empowering. Holding on to attachments that have exhausted their usefulness holds us back from living the life we signed up for prior to our physical birth. Many times I’ve held myself back by keeping a bad relationship going, holding on to a job that had served its purpose, and becoming too emotionally attached to things like to where I lived. In every case, the moment I let go felt so much better and I was immediately free explore new chapters of my life.

All these actions (or non-actions) discussed can help you slow down, chill out, and simply “be”. If you can master this skill you’ll no longer feel as frazzled, stressed, or manic about dealing with all the day-to-day aspects of your life. You will be free to more fully enjoy your time in this human form and experience the beauty of our world. Just be, amigos.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Dr. Amit Goswami, quantum physicist and author. Dr Goswami co-opted the term “do-be-do-be-do” from the Sinatra song as a signpost for how we can live more fulfilling lives through blending, balancing, and knowing when we need to do or simply be.    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love and Money

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 21, 2017


Once upon a time, guys paid for everything. And women were not your bosses. And jobs were not downsized and replaced by robots.

Life was so simple. Or was it? All the changes that have occurred over the past thirty years have reconfigured our lives and how men and women relate to one another. But throughout it all one thing has not changed. Money can still have a major effect on a relationship. So you better get on the same page with your partner when it comes to managing the cash. I’ve lived, loved, and learned a lot about money and relationships throughout these past three decades. Now I’m taking this opportunity to share a few secrets about how to make your relationship thrive when it comes to dealing with financial issues.

Surprisingly, the key to success isn’t necessarily tied to how much money the man or a woman earns. It’s more about the ways a couple share certain values about money. If they do, they can turn their love into a true partnership where everyone wins. But there’s no one size fits all solution. The world is a different place now, so if you are a guy, your partner may now earn more than you. And that’s one reason that couples need to be flexible about how they view cash. So, here are my insights in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love and Money. To help clarify some of the issues and nuances I’ll segment my tips into three categories:

1. Dating – The best time to set the tone for dealing with money in a relationship is at the beginning. Although for the most part men still earn more than women and unfairly still get paid more to do the same work, many things have changed over the past thirty years. Back in the day, a guy would ask a woman out and pay for the date. It was accepted and expected. Nowadays, people meet online or through apps for a meet up, a coffee, or even a quickie. So things are more fluid.

And there’s more. Today’s young women are entering the workplace more educated than the guys, and are making more money than ever before. They don’t need a guy to take care of them financially like their parents’ generation rolled. But, that still does not mean women want to pay their equal share.  I’m not judging, but because of this perceptual selectivity, things can get off on the wrong foot and pretty sticky if a few ground rules are not put in place.

To make things work right from the start, I suggest that when a guy asks a woman out for drinks, coffee, or dinner that he pays for it. It makes sense, and who wants to end a first date on an awkward moment when the check arrives? Guys, suck it up and pay for that first date. After that, if you want to get together again, set up another date and when the bill arrives, don’t flinch. Reach for the check again. One of three things will happen—she’ll either let you pay, she’ll offer to split the tab, or she’ll pay for it herself. At this stage of the game, it still doesn’t matter. You can easily pay for a second date, so pick up the check and don’t sweat it. After that, you hope she comes up with a plan to treat you right, by maybe offering to take you out or inviting you over to her place for dinner. Any of those options is a good thing because what you want is a natural, comfortable flow where mature adults deal with money like champs and money is not an issue. Based on who earns more money and other factors, a pattern usually surfaces that suits both of you. However, if she never picks up a tab or makes you dinner or comes up with something to contribute on her own, it’s a potential red flag. The truth is that some women, regardless of how much money they earn, still feel that the guy is responsible for all of the cash outlays in a relationship. If that turns out to be the case, then you have to decide if that works for you. If you run a hedge fund and she’s a teacher, it should not be an issue. But if you are both earning about the same amount and she expects you to pay for everything, you’ve got to determine if it’s a workable situation. In my experience, all the cool women I’ve dated were chill when it came to doling out the cash. I’ve dated a few women who never reached for the check or never even baked me a cupcake. Over time, it didn’t feel right so I moved on. But, that’s just me. You have to find a happy place based on your income and what feels right for you, and for her also. If you like her, but she never, ever picks up the tab, there is nothing wrong with bringing up the subject, although it can be a touchy area that could become a deal breaker. But that’s better than avoiding a potential sore point.

2. Committed or co-habituating - In all likelihood, if you’ve gotten to the point in a relationship where you are committed or living together, you probably have a grip on the financial aspects of your relationship. Most likely, you have fallen into a groove where and you pay for different things. Maybe you pay the rent and she pays for groceries and cable. Or you pay for dinners out and she buys the groceries. Or, she moved into your pad so you handle the rent and she pays for utilities and meals. Whatever. The point is, by this time if you are in a real partnership you most likely have sorted out the money issues.

But, maybe not. There are many variables to consider. What if you bought a condo and she moves in? You pay the mortgage, what does she pay for? Does she expect to share the equity built into your place because she is living with you? Do you charge her rent? Will she be resentful if she pays you? Every situation is different, but one thing is for sure. You need to work out what feels right and consider any and all potential scenarios if you are living together or preparing to take that big step in a relationship. Like most things in life, it’s all about anticipation and expectations, so put on your thinking cap and make sure you have a fair-minded system that works for both of you. The last thing you want is for your partner to latch on to feelings of unspoken bitterness. That is often a silent but deadly relationship killer. Trust me. I’ve been there. Get your perspectives out in the open and be willing to discuss what you feel. Whatever you do, come to terms with a mutually agreeable solution before shacking up.

3. Married – Marriage comes with a whole new set of financial considerations. Many couples these days have at least one partner who has been previously married. They may have kids, or have a very specific set of financial issues they are dealing with. So when you marry, it’s good business to get full disclosure about their fiscal obligations, especially if you’re planning on pooling your assets.

There are a number of ways to make things work. Because life gets so complicated many older couples sign pre-nuptials before marrying a second or even a first time. You’ll need to determine if pooling your assets or maintaining separate bank accounts is the way to go. There are benefits to both paths. Couples usually save money when they jointly file their taxes, but that does not preclude their maintaining their personal investments, bank accounts, and credit cards.

And it’s only fair to consider these options, especially if one person has been very diligent about his or her credit score and savings while the other may play things a bit more fast and loose when it comes to managing debt and doling out cash and managing their lifestyle. There are huge discrepancies in how we spend money for what some consider everyday purchases where others consider those same things as unnecessary. Take coffee as an example. If you buy a good brand of coffee, brew it at home, and fill up your thermos each day you can save at least twenty bucks a week. That may be a drop in the bucket for some, but now add in the savings from making your lunch at home versus paying twelve bucks for a chopped up salad in a plastic container every day. You’ll probably save close to another fifty bucks a week just by schlepping your lunch to work.

The point is, the little things add up so make sure you and your partner are singing off of the same song sheet when it comes to how you two spend your cash. You don’t want to quibble about take out food, but if you are not paying attention, you may see your pile of dough sink a lot faster than you anticipated, mainly because you are no longer solely in control of it. The older I get, the more sense it makes for couples to maintain separate checking, savings accounts, and credit cards. This way you don’t have to totally freak out by having to see your partner’s purchases, although in reality you are probably sharing the costs of everything. You just don’t have to have the your partner’s purchases rubbed in your face all the time.

I’m a good saver so keeping some things separate has proven to be protective of the partnership. I do my best to maintain a cushion of savings for when things go haywire, which they often do. These days, people lose their jobs and change careers in a flash. That means couples need to be in synch when it comes to managing their money, and even more so when kids come into the picture. So think things through and talk about financial issues with your partner. You don’t want surprises. I promise you if you keep the lines of communication open it will eliminate most of the stress when things get random.

When it comes to money, whether dating, living together or married, couples need to find out what works best for them. We live in a capitalistic society driven by consumerism. There is no escaping our needing to face down various financial situations almost every day, including those inevitable rainy days, too. Think about money, talk about it with your partner, and get on the same page. When it comes to love and money, communication is the only way to make things work. Good luck.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are all the couples who have found a system, a formula, and a way to co-exist in a financial partnership built on their love. It’s never easy, but it can be done. 

What I've Learned Walking with Pneumonia

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 14, 2017


I was working on post about losing ten pounds in ten days naturally when I realized there was a problem.

I was finishing up my weekly eight-mile run when I tripped and fell headfirst on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. This was unlike me. I rarely lose my balance, but it was the second time in a month that I fell down at the end of my run. I thought about it as I walked along the beach towards my cooling off dip in the ocean. For some reason today the water and breeze was cold. After my swim I did a little energy work while standing on the shoreline. I breathed slowly as I ran energy into my left hand, throughout my body and finally out my right hand into my crown. I felt chilled as I walked to my beach house, now recalling how my runs had been shorter than usual over the past month and how rare it was for me to trip and fall twice during that time. Something was wrong.

That afternoon the cough I had been experiencing over the past week became more persistent. And that night I felt cold as I hacked while propped up in bed like Doc Holliday. I woke up in the middle of the night cold, yet drenched in sweat and feeling awful. Yep, something was wrong. We stayed at the beach for one more day, but I felt like crap, experiencing more coughs, a hot forehead and loss of appetite. Over the past few weeks I’d begun cleaning up my diet and stopped drinking alcohol. I was steadily losing weight and assumed my body was going through machinations of a detoxification program. But, this was something more. I paid close attention to my body. It told me to get back to New York. So I did, but I was still not well. No matter how much I took it easy I maintained a fever, a now brutal and persistent cough that gave a vicious headache. It was so severe I felt like I was in the NFL concussion protocol. Whatever was happening to me was far more than a few side effects from a detox. I was sick and now I unsure if I could work my way through whatever it was that had taken hold of me.

When we returned to the city I spent the next few days climbing in and out of bed with the same, now escalating, symptoms. I foolishly maintained hope that I could regain my health this way, but my symptoms continued getting worse. Finally I contacted my doctor, but had to wait two endless days for an appointment. The afternoon I headed off to the doctor’s office I was a mess. I stumbled along the streets of Manhattan, couching and wheezing uncontrollably. After discussing the situation with my doctor, he checked me out, took my temperature (I had a fever) and ordered a chest x-ray. A few hours later to my surprise I found out that I had a case of walking pneumonia. WTF!

Thankfully, now I knew what I was facing. Armed with prescriptions for two antibiotics, I began taking the meds immediately. Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs. It’s not something that your body can easily seek and destroy. In this case meds were necessary. It’s been close to a week now since I was diagnosed and started the meds and each day I have experienced a major improvement. I did not stay in bed all day. I cut back on my schedule and did a modified version of my usual routine and activities at a slower pace. Nothing matters when you are really sick except getting well. It really puts your priorities in order. So, I had no booze, no exercise, no big meals, etc. I began sleeping better and after five days stopped waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat on cool damp sheets. I dialed things down and kept it simple and as a result am slowly, but steadily getting better. I’ll finish the meds in another few days and go for a follow up x-ray next month. Things are looking good so I thought I would share what I have learned from the experience, Guy’s Guy style.

1. Don’t be a hero - If you are like me and live a holistic lifestyle, you make good choices in your diet, and for your mental and spiritual well being. That keeps me healthy naturally and aids life extension. But, random things happen and you can get sick at any time. My surprise bout with walking pneumonia is a prime example of how no matter how well we take care of ourselves, shit can still happen. I live in a big dirty city and I take the filthy subway almost every day. Maybe some random person coughed in my direction or sneezed on the subway car handle I was holding. Airborne bacteria is everywhere in this dirty town. I was very healthy yet I contracted pneumonia.

While I was feeling like death that week I asked my guides for help and I got it. I realized I needed to see a doctor and get some good old western medicine and drugs. I waited too long, but eventually I came around and got checked out before thing got worse. Now I am on the mend. Regardless of my steadfast belief in prevention as the best defense against illness, I made the right decision to see the doctor and take the meds. There’s a reason that people died at thirty-five a hundred years ago.

 

2. Take time to heal – After I fell on the boardwalk for the second time I knew something was wrong. Upon circumspection it registered in my mind that my daily ritual of 75 push-ups, my runs and my cardio workouts had been tougher than usual during August. I chalked it up to age, but now I know it was something else. Once that reality kicked in, I shut down all physical activities until I get back to my usual robust health. I have been working out consistently for decades so the break will do me good. When I return to them hard work I will be recharged and I’ll take it slow until I reach my usual peak level of boomer fitness. One step at a time. amigo.

 

3. Consider the spiritual meaning of your illness - Believe it or not, there is a strong connection between your spiritual and emotional states and your health. The root of sickness transcends the physical body. Each time I’ve contracted a serious illness I’ve checked out a few websites and books that explain the connection between specific issues and their manifestations in the physical body.  Apparently pneumonia is a result of unresolved emotional issues and some underlying feelings of desperation. I have been working diligently to raise my frequency, and it is no easy task in our crazy world, especially since I’ve taken the leap and pointed my career in an entirely new direction after decades on the corporate track with well-paying jobs. I have a wife and a kid now too, so at times the pressure feels stifling. Nevertheless, I will persevere and create the life of service that I have chosen to experience.

 

4. Use your down time to make changes – I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I’m not that hungry. My usual daily intake consists of homemade soups and lots of water and organic tea. After a week of this diet, I hopped on the scale and had lost five pounds. Yay! I cut out junk, booze, pizza and ice cream and am sticking with fresh fruits, organic smoothies and maybe some fish or a light snack for dinner. Pretty soon I had lost twelve unwanted pounds. So, instead sitting back and taking it on the chin all day and night, I found a way to be creative and get something out of being sick. It’s not always easy when you fell like shit, but it can be done.

 

5. Ask for help. Show gratitude – The day after my diagnosis, I knew I had to acknowledge, thank and love my pneumonia before asking it to leave me. It might sound crazy, but love works better than engaging in battling an illness. Illnesses are signals from your body and spirit that something is wrong and it needs to be addressed.  I’m not suggesting that you allow an autoimmune illness eat away your body. What I am suggesting is to recognize that something is wrong, showing love for the illness (yes, I now it sounds crazy but it works), and then thank it and ask it to leave.

This is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned about health and it has always worked for me. And it’s a practice that ninety-nine percent of people ignore. We are trained to “fight” our enemies instead of loving and learning from them before releasing them. If you consider yourself spiritual or a follower of a major religion, love is a core component of their foundation, and that includes love for your enemy. It does not mean that you don’t defend yourself. No, it means you recognize the divinity in every person and everything your encounter in this life. Only then you can release it from your realm and send it back to God or the Universe or whatever you believe is out there. Love your sickness, look for the teaching, and ask it to leave.

Am I one hundred percent better now? Not yet, but I’m on a steady path back to health. I no longer have a fever, night sweats, chills, and that ceaseless hacking cough. And I am breathing a lot better. Who gets the opportunity to appreciate something as easy to overlook as breathing? I did, and now I’m more thankful than ever for each and every breath I take.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is yours truly. Looking beyond the fevers, chills, unbearable bouts of coughing, intense headaches, and shortness of breath, I’ve learned so much from my bout with walking pneumonia. I learned about my body, my faith and spiritual developmental needs, and how to blend an eastern-based preventive lifestyle with the technology of western medicine as necessary. I am on the fast track to recovery and thankfully my family has been supportive and thankfully they have remained healthy. Who would have thought I could learn so much from a random bout of pneumonia?

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Shifting Into Fall

Robert Manni - Monday, September 04, 2017


Who doesn’t love summer? If you live in the Northeast, you get three or four months of killer weather before the nights grow longer and the rain starts pouring down.

That can be downright depressing if you’re not on top of your game and ready to slide into your autumn mode. The good news is that it’s easy. Just invest a bit of psychic energy into your current purview of life while we turn the seasonal corner and make a beeline towards Thanksgiving. It comes quickly.

Here are a few ways to get your ducks in a row for the cold weather months even while you’re still tan, fat, and parading around in flip-flops.

I call this one THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO SHIFTING INTO FALL. Drum roll, please…

1. Make the most of the beach during September – I visit my beach house on the Jersey Shore almost every week throughout the summer. The beach and the boardwalk are teeming with sunbathers, surfers and tourists, who we refer to as “bennies” at the shore. Over the years my little town has become a destination, and as a result it’s gotten more and more crowded. By late Friday afternoon, if you haven’t scored a parking space yet, you may be in for a lengthy treasure hunt. After securing a spot, my family and I travel on foot, bicycle, or scooter for the bulk of the weekend. After awhile that kind of sucks. Once we pass Labor Day though, the beaches and streets become relatively empty. Kids are back in school and college and those weeklong family vacations are over. And this is exactly what makes it the perfect time to visit the shore. September weather features clear blue skies, a less intense sun, and warmer ocean temperatures. And, there are no annoying tourists getting in the way and forcing you to stand in a long line for ice cream or drinks. It’s flat-out great.

2. Freshen up your wardrobe – When it comes to clothing, you know the old 80/20 rule. With all those clothes, hats, and sneakers clogging up your closet, if you are like me you end up wearing the same stuff over and over again. Why? It doesn’t matter why. It’s what you do. So what do you do when you have a closet overflowing with clothes you don’t wear? I make it habit to scour through my stuff before and after summer. It opens up much needed space and also releases dense energy. I fill a couple of big bags with my duds and lug them to a church where I donate my gear to needy folks. I toss the undies, socks and real beat up stuff, but I make sure I include a few goodies that I don’t wear into the pile. Play it forward, amigo.

3. Join a fantasy football league – No longer is fantasy football a protected bastion of manliness. Today’s leagues are stocked with lots of cool ladies who love to play this game.  Fantasy leagues are omnipresent and are great for office bonding. I’ve played in the same league for 26 years and it’s been a great way to make a few bucks (because I play to win) and stay in touch with former colleagues, a handful that are now long-time friends. Fantasy leagues are also good for networking. And let’s face it. The NFL rules the airwaves and social media during the fall and early winter months. You can’t escape it, so might as well join in for the fun. Don’t draft any New York Jets though.

4. Set realistic goals for the remainder of the year – In my mind I’ve identified half a dozen accomplishments I’m going to pursue over the final four months of 2017.  That may be a tad ambitious, but I let to set the bar high. The deeper we move into the fall though, the tougher it is to stay the course, with all the holidays and more intense work schedules that become necessary as we charge to the end of the year. That’s why I identify and prioritize my goals by the end of August. This way I can hit the ground running come September 1st. The idea behind this is not to set yourself up for failure, so do you best to write down achievable goals. Did I say write them down? I did.

5. Go on a diet – If you are like me, you get tan, fat, and happy over the course of the summer. No matter how much I work out or how many miles I run, I always seem to put on about ten unwanted pounds during May, June, July, and August. Why? Because I don’t give a shit during the summer. The sun is shining, the days are long, and skirts are short. What’s not to like? So every time I find myself tipping the scales well past my fighting weight I tell myself that I can easily peel those pounds off with a few long runs. So I run a lot. But then I get hungry. And then I make excuses and eat pizza and tacos. And pretty soon I’m gaining too much weight. This vicious cycle continues until late August when I finally get serious again. Like right now. Today I took the bottle of vodka out of my freezer and placed it high up in a cabinet that’s almost out of my reach. Out of sight, out of mind. The battle of the bulge has begun.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’re still in summer so make the most out of this final month of summer. After all, it’s summer until September 23rd and the weather will support this. Keep playing golf, swimming, surfing, and taking long walks on the beach and runs along the boards. But while you are at it, think and them lock down your game plan for the remainder of 2017.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Laird Hamilton, considered by many to be the greatest big wave surfer of all time. He surfs all over the world and truly lives in an endless summer.

Six Hacks to Beat the Heat

Robert Manni - Friday, August 25, 2017


It was ninety degrees in New York City as I sat naked at my writing station. And it felt great.

But here’s the catch—even when it’s hot as hell outside I stay cool the old school way by just keeping the windows open. No AC, not even a ceiling fan humming. Yes, I sweat, amigos, but I feel alive. As you can tell, I dig the heat, but I also like staying cool. I also believe thinking out of the box and using contrarian techniques when fighting those dog days of summer. With that in mind, here are your Guys’ Guy’s hacks to beating the heat.  Some may seem obvious, while others may make you scratch your head. But these have been deployed with success by yours truly so let’s get to them right now before I need to take another shower.

1. Hydrate – Studies show that almost 80% of Americans are dehydrated. And, aging is directly connected to dehydration. So if you want to get older even faster than you will, don’t hydrate. You’ll get old and wrinkly before your time. There is an easy solution though. Drink lots and lots of liquids, and especially water during the summer months. I know it can be a pain in the ass, but carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Water provides a critical component of your body’s cooling system. Instead of drinking tap water, which in the vast majority of communities has been proven to hold too many carcinogens, my wife and I use a Zero filter at home. We also make “living water” by placing a pitcher of filtered H2O on a bed of ancient crystals that are billions of years old. We purchase these mini stones online and they activate the water. We also take Mega Hydrate capsules. These little capsules provide the body with negatively charged ions, they may slow aging, while increasing the absorption of hydration elements in the body. Check them out online. Hydration is rule number one in maintaining your cool and health during these hot, sticky months. Stay away from sugary drinks, soda, and even alcohol as much as possible. You don’t need the sugar and alcohol speeds up dehydration. I like a margarita or a cold beer, but it’s got to be in moderation.

2. Dress to chill – Dressing appropriately during a heat wave seems like a smart idea, but in a city like New York people have trouble switching from their black outfits to lighter colors no matter what the temperatures are outside. I still marvel at folks wearing all black, long sleeves, and heavyweight jeans when its 95 degrees outside.  It never changes. But this obsession with black is not for me in the summer. As soon as the temps pass seventy-five degrees, I ditch my dark clothes, my underwear depending on the situation, long sleeves, and long pants also depending on the situation. I remember my early days in the city in the eighties when people in advertising still wore suits every damn day. I can still feel my body dripping with sweat while I’d stand on the subway platform in my suit and tie. It was horrible, and I was drenched before I got to the agency. I’m so glad we’ve made some progress there. But guys in the banking, insurance or legal professions still have to suit up. It looks good, but what a drag. And who came up with the idea of wearing a necktie? What a douche. If you’re still wearing a jacket and tie to work, at least buy tropical weight suits. Me? Whenever I can get away with it, you’ll find me in a short-sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, and lightweight sneakers or sandals. Since I keep my hair close cropped, I also bring along a hat to protect my noggin from the searing sun.

3. Ditch the AC – This may sound crazy, but I firmly believe in the body’s ability to adjust its internal thermostat. Sure, there are times when the temps are unbearable and you need that AC cranking. I’ve found that if I am outdoors I adjust pretty easily to the heat and when I’m indoors I feel better when I’m being cooled by a ceiling fan versus an air conditioner. When I’m home alone, even when it is really steamy outside, I forego the AC and simply go full commando in my crib, like right now. Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. The main point is that, for me at least, the AC plays games with my body’s thermostat. I find that I come down with random summer colds that I’m sure are related to going from an environment with blasting AC into the heat and then back again. It feels unnatural to me and my body never seems to properly adjust quickly enough to those changes in temperature. I do better when I put my body in charge of cooling itself.

4. Get a haircut – I realize that hipsters rule these days, but those big bushy haircuts and wooly beards look real hot to me. I keep my facial trimmer at level two and make sure I shave down to that point at least once a week throughout the summer.  And bacteria builds up in those hairier parts if we don’t keep ourselves cool and clean.

5. Think cooling thoughts – Don’t dismiss this one. The incidence of violent crimes escalates during the hot months. It’s because people get heated up mentally as well as physically. The mind is very powerful. There’s a reason behind the terms, “blowing your stack” or “things getting heated up.” It’s because our minds play a role in how we feel. So if your thoughts are pleasurable and chill, you’ll feel the difference in how you handle the heat and humidity. I begin each day with a series of affirmations and I do my best to meditate for thirty minutes each day and journal any spiritual thoughts and feeling that may bubble up throughout the day. This practice helps me to keep things in perspective, when the temps are soaring. Another way to cool your mind is to read a book, preferably while sitting in the shade of a tall oak tree.

6. Sweat - Here is another contrarian concept. It’s baking hot outside you go for a long run to cool down. Sounds nuts? It’s not as long as the weather is not too, too hot for any kind of physical activity, sweating is very healthy and it will keep you cooler. When it’s too hot outdoors, hit the gym and work up a good sweat. Your body has a natural way of cooling down. It’s called perspiration and it works very well. During the summer months one of my favorite activities is to get up early, before it gets too hot, and go for a long slow run around Central park or along the boardwalk if I am near the beach. After my run I’ll go for a swim in the ocean, hit the chilled waters of Lasker Pool, or head home and take a long shower to cool down. During the day, when I get hot, I drink water and jump in the shower every few hours.

These are but a few ways to stay cool when the weather heats up and the summer gets long, hot, and humid. Like right now.  What’s important to beat the heat is staying hydrated, maintaining your cool under pressure, and thinking contrarian when seeking ways to perspire and cool down. The summers in New York City are long, and hot, and sticky, but we get through it every year. In a few months we’ll be griping about the rain and the cold while counting the days until next summer. So enjoy the hot weather while you can, amigos. The summer goes by quickly.

This week’s GUYS’ GUYS OF THE WEEK are people like me who thrive in the heat and when under pressure. Some, like your Guy’s Guy, like it hot while others are shade-seeking creatures. It’s all good, so let’s give it up to all of the hot shots that are actually really cool. Peace out until next time.  

10 Guy's Guy-Approved Books with Life Lessons (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Monday, August 21, 2017


Great books find a permanent place in our consciousness. Their wisdom and teachings can be tapped at any time we need them.

Last week I took you on a tour of five books that rocked my world and gifted me with important life lessons. This week your Guy’s Guy presents the next five on the list, and they are equally important in their quality and teachings. So, let’s get right to part two of The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Ten Books with Ten Life Lessons.

6. CARIBBEAN – James Michener – I read this entire 882-page book years ago during a vacation to Anguilla. It spans the history of one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse areas of our planet. The book details the back-stories of all the lands and peoples bordering the Caribbean Sea, including Mexico and parts of South America. Michener is a master at “historical fiction”. In this massive tome he retells the stories about the beginnings and journeys of the indigenous peoples and their treatment by the Europeans. The tales are fascinating and horrifying. It all began with two tribes, the Caribs and the Arawaks. The Caribs were cannibals who viciously conquered and over time, wiped out the Arawaks and their way of life. The heat really gets turned up when the French, English and Spanish sailed to these lands and committed atrocities against the locals. The Europeans treated the peoples of these conquered lands unmercifully and with cruelty beyond comprehension. They were pure evil incarnate. Imagine French soldiers pulling a guillotine by cart from town to town, picking out random villagers to “test” out their killing machines as a way of maintaining fear and terror to hold sway over territories that often switched ownership between their European conquerors. And you wonder why at times the locals can seem a bit testy when you vacation to the islands. They have good reason, amigos.

What I learned: This fascinating book taught me that there is duality and often an unseemly underbelly to even the most beautiful places on Earth. And the levels of cruelty men foster upon their fellow humans are often unfathomable.

7. LIFE – Keith Richards – The man, the legend and the symbol of the rock n ‘roll lifestyle, wrote a lengthy and surprisingly well-written autobiography spanning his early years growing up poor in post-WWII London to his ascendance as the rock god we know and love. First and foremost, this is a story about a man’s love of music. We get insights into Keith’s open G tuning and the behind the scenes tales of his writing process and how he came to create the songs that Stones fans know and love. After reading the book I listened to the audio version that featured three separate narrators including Johnny Depp and finally Keith himself taking us through the final chapters of the book. It’s well done and it added another dimension to his life story. This is the best book on rock and roll to date, bar none.

What I learned: Keith Richards puts his pants on the same way you and I do. He’s got a unique personality and way about him, but ultimately he is a consummate professional and a very self-aware guy. He’s more layered than the drugged out image we have of him. And, he knows how to manipulate that to his advantage without selling out. He also taught me that artistic ideas can be picked out of the air if you are aligned and open to the right frequencies.  Richards takes who he is in stride and is a real Guy’s Guy. I had the opportunity to meet him by chance during the intermission to a Broadway show and found him to be friendly and very much himself. He taught me that it is possible to maintain who you are even when blessed with global success.

8. SIDDHARTHA – Herman Hesse – This short book might be the best book I have ever read. I find myself pulling it off my shelf for another read every 5-10 years and it never disappoints. It only takes a day or so to finish it and each time I’ve read this book it held a different meaning that coincided with what was going on in my life at the time.

What I learned – This book taught me that life is a journey with many twists and turns. We will be up and down, but we are always in the now and learning what we need to know whether or not we know it at the time.

9. SIDEWAYS – Rex Pickett – I picked this book up after watching the very entertaining feature film adaptation starring Paul Giamatti. The story is about a struggling novelist who grows as a man while learning about life, love, and friendship during a weeklong bachelor buddy trip through the wine country of Santa Barbara. It’s beautifully written. The book takes a few different turns from the movie and I think the screenplay puts a tighter focus on the tale. But, let’s give credit to Pickett for a very fresh idea and a well-crafted story that holds up well.

What I learned: This book and the film inspired me to write my second book and first published novel. Like many writers and the book’s protagonist, Miles, I experienced my share of rejection. But my belief in crafting stories about modern men in relatable situations about relationships and life in general provided the catalyst to write a second novel and get published.

10. THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE – Robert Manni – You probably knew this was coming, but how could I not include my first published novel. Since its publication I have never sat down and read my book cover to cover, although I will read a chapter now and then to my amusement. It’s a really fun story and about something dear to my heart. Since its publication I’ve launched the various components of my Guy’s Guy brand platform in an effort to bridge the communications chasm between the sexes and make the world a better place for men and the women who love them. I’ve got a popular website and blog, my podcast Guy’s Guy Radio, and lots more on the way.

I think you’ll agree that reading is one of the best tools for self-education. Beyond the mental muscles utilized while reading, books can take you to places you may never visit except in your mind.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are all the readers and writers who contribute to our world through embracing the power of story.

10 Guy's Guy-Approved Books with Life Lessons (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, August 11, 2017


Books can be powerful teachers. The special ones are just as influential as the most important people in our lives. I have been a voracious reader my entire life and cannot think of a time when I wasn’t in the process of devouring another book. Every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way, but a few stand out for their lessons and how they impacted my life. Some of them are funny, some are sad, but each one shares key insights and lessons on how to face this thing we call life. With this I mind, I’d like to share ten books that made a mark on my thinking, my knowing, and my life. I hope you will check a few of them out and see if you connect with them the way they connected with me. Here goes, in no particular order, the first five books in what I am calling – The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Ten Books with Ten Life Lessons.

1. I AM THE WORD – Paul Selig – Sometimes you enter a bookstore to seek out a book you’ve heard about or have been looking for. Other times the book finds you. This book, by channel and empath, Paul Selig, caught my eye while I was biding time, waiting for my wife to buy crystals at a new age store off Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in New York. I Am The Word is the first in a series of five channeled texts (more are on the way) from a group of Guides that work through Paul. Selig describes himself as a radio frequency that picks up communications from the Guides that focus on man’s vibrational frequency and ascension. I had to read this book a few times before the message took root in my consciousness.

What did I learn? Simple. After reading Selig’s books, I now recognize every person who crosses my path as an aspect of the Divine Source. When you start there, amazing things happen.

2. POST OFFICE – Charles Bukowski – Many people who’ve seen the movie Barfly think that Bukowski was simply a humorous drunk. But he was much more. Bukowski grew up in an abusive household where he survived regular beatings from his father. When he was of age to leave, he wandered around California and then all of America, working sporadically in odd jobs like in a pickle factory before returning home to make his mark as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is an amazing poet, as well as a talented essayist and novelist. Post Office is a novel. It’s a fictional depiction of his years toiling as a mail clerk before finally quitting his job at age 49 to write full-time on the advice of the publisher of Black Sparrow Press. All of Bukowski’s books are truthful, funny, and sad at the same time.

What did I learn? As an aspiring writer and a fellow human being who deals with pain and rejection like we all do, Bukowski’s works and writing skills both fascinated and inspired me to never stop following my dream no matter what obstacles confronted me.

3. MANCHILD IN THE PROMOISED LAND – Claude Brown – My older brother is a big reader also, so there were always books bursting from the small set of wooden shelves in the bedroom where we grew up. I was not even ten years old when I picked up his copy of Claude Brown’s tome about growing up in the very rough edges of Harlem in the fifties. This was the first serious book that I’d come across and I still recall it to this day. Junkies, pimps, whores, beatings and death splatter the pages of this incredible personal story of loss and redemption and triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. Brown describes a world that I knew nothing about.

What did I learn? I began to see the world from beyond my cushy suburban perspective and wanted to learn more about what too many people have to go through to survive and grow. And who knew? Now I live in Harlem.

4. STORY – Robert McKee – If you want to write, you need to find your voice and learn the craft. McKee’s book is considered the bible of screenwriting and of the art of crafting a story. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and penchant for creating characters and conflict, but until I read Story and attended a few of McKee’s seminars I’d never fully grasped the components that make up the engine of a good story.

What did I learn? I learned a lot from McKee, but the key takeaway was that a successful story consists of a main character that really wants something and faces an escalating set of obstacles to overcome before he can get it. Sounds simple? Try it sometime.

5. BALL FOUR – Jim Bouton – When I was sixteen I wrote a novella called, Off The Bench about our high school baseball team. I’d always been a good athlete and ballplayer, but by the time I reached my junior year I found myself riding the pines more often than I preferred. I used this time to observe my coaches and teammates, and the state of our team in a time following our coach’s death from a fishing accident and having the school’s legendary football coach taking over. Bouton’s book about the New York Yankees had come out the previous year, and it made a mark on me. He wrote the first behind the scenes tell-all about a professional sports team. And he made headlines when he aired out the behind the scenes shenanigans during the rise and fall of the Yankees teams of the sixties. It was a fun, rollicking, and eye-opening romp.

What did I learn?  After devouring this well-written book, I wanted to write more than ever. Bouton inspired me to write what I knew, to tell the truth, and make it fun.

Those are my first five books that taught me real life lessons. I think you can figure out why I enjoy reading so much and what it has meant to me over the years. I’ll be back in a week and I’ll reveal five more great books that provided some lasting lessons. Until then, enjoy the weather and bring a book along wherever you go.

Do I Stay or Do I Go? (5 Reasons to Leave NYC, 5 Reasons to Stay)

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 03, 2017


Although more and more people are moving out of New York, it feels like the city gets more crowded every day.

The first few years of living in New York is a love affair. But over time it can turn into a love-hate affair. When I was a kid, my dad worked in the Empire State Building. New York was a beacon to me. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I knew I would live and work there when I grew up. After graduating college I knocked around suburbia for a few years before landing a job in the city. Whoot! I was a young buck working at global corporation in huge skyscraper in midtown traveling the globe selling bubble gum. Since then, I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else but New York. That is, until now. After a few decades of city living and finally settling down and having a child, city life has changed. These days, my wife and I are discussing our future and we’re not sure if New York City is going to be part of it. We’ve done so much here, but there is so much more out there for our son and us. So soon, we may be saying adios to NYC.

I don’t want to move and find myself bored with the pace of a So Cal beach town, freezing my ass off in New Hampshire, or feeling like I’m much too far way in New Zealand. I also don’t want to be so jaded to think that there is no other place to live besides NYC. And although I grew up in New Jersey, sorry Chris Christie, but I do not want to return to my roots in the Garden State. I’ve had enough of the tri-sate area.

So, I’ve mapped a handful of the pros and cons of living in the big city and whether or not it is time to move out. To stay or leave NYC is a big decision, so let’s explore the criteria.

REASONS TO STAY IN NYC

1. NYC is a 24/7 playground - There is always something to do in New York. Unless you want some quiet time, being bored is virtually impossible in a city that never sleeps. If you dig people, they are out and about at all hours of the day and night. If you don’t believe me, hop on a subway at midnight and chances are it will be overflowing with people coming home or going out. If you’re the type of person that often gets that late night itch to find some action or some great food, there is no better city in the world than NYC. Once you become accustomed to the lifestyle and having all the resources at your fingertips, it’s hard to fathom living anywhere else in the world.

2. The people, the energy, the culture - New Yorkers are a high-energy, purposeful, intelligent, and cultured group. People with that purpose-driven mindset come here from every other country to follow their dreams and become part of the fabric of this amazing city. We’ve got some crazies here, but that’s understandable when you jam eight million people together and expect them to fall into some semblance of order and organization. Over the years I’ve had neighbors from every continent on Earth all drawn to New York like flies to honey. And there is no other city in the world with the cultural diversity of New York. Open any issue of Time Out New York and hands down you’ll find more things to do and places to go for the arts, music, theater, and film than anywhere else.  You get four real seasons and you can hit the beach, the slopes, or a golf course relatively easily from midtown.

3. The food, the drink – Not only does New York offer indigenous foods and drinks from every culture on Earth, it’s also a leader in inventing and fusing new foods and cocktails, whether it’s Korean tacos, cronuts, or alcohol-infused ice cream. If it’s new and it tastes good, it usually starts here. And, you can get it delivered at any hour of the day or night. Check plus, plus.

4. If you can make it there… - Deep down, I think every New Yorker carries pride knowing they are making their mark in arguably the toughest arena in the world. Unlike life in other areas of the country, many New Yorkers live to work and take pride in being the best in their jobs. Of course all work and no play gets old, so most careerists know how to cut loose in their down time, often in extreme ways. If you don’t believe me, check out the action at the clubs and after-hours dens of diversions in sex, gambling, and other extreme activities. If you’ve got an itch for something edgy, yeah, you’ll find it here.

5. It’s constantly changing – If someone asked me what’s the one thing that I’ve learned that stands out about living close to three decades in New York, I’d have to say that New York City never stops moving, evolving and changing its shape. Nobody can keep up with the city, even if a lot of New Yorkers roll 24/7/365. No one person has the time, stamina or resources to harness the pulse of this ever-changing magical city. Hot new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards and Gowanus pop up like weeds all over the city.

There. I’ve laid out a strong case for living in and never, ever leaving New York. If only life was so simple. There is a big wide world out there, amigos and it’s important to know when it’s time to pack up the caravan and move on.

REASONS TO LEAVE NYC

1. The rent, and every thing else is too damn high – Can you really afford to pay $3,000 a month for a studio in midtown or would you rather live with four random roommates in a two bedroom walk up in Bed Stuy? That’s just the tip of the financial iceberg that impacts your quality of life in New York City. New Yorkers can handle it, but after awhile living like you did in college gets old. New Yorkers like convenience so they eat out for most of their meals. That along with cocktails, the daily Starbucks, and a trip to Whole Foods on the way home gets expensive. Unless you are a savvy New Yorker who has been here long enough to stay ahead of the housing trends, it’s tough to keep yourself out of debt when you are renting, raving, and rolling in the clubs until dawn and all the while working a backbreaking entry-level job. Over the past few decades the situation has gotten worse. Unless you got a break on a Wall Street job, most kids fresh out of college to wheel and deal and improvise just to find a place to live, and that sucks. Back in the day, you might have to live uptown or on the west side, but at least you could plant some roots and live relatively comfortably with some privacy when starting out. That’s tough now. Almost a deal breaker if you ask me. I would not want to have to commute from the depths of Brooklyn or the Bronx for an entry-level position. I always managed to live near my office and relatively close to the nighttime action. I’m not sure that’s possible these days. And it’s very expensive raising a child in this town. Swimming lessons go for $50 a half hour. That’s just the beginning, folks.

2. Mass transit is worse than purgatory – Unless you have a trust fund to draw on or a corporate Uber card, you are probably using the subway. Over the past few decades the subways have gotten way more crowded, and much less reliable. And now we’re in the mass transit “summer from hell”. Very simply, riding the subway sucks more than ever. The cars are dirty, unreliable, and overcrowded, even in the dead of night. New Yorkers, and human beings in general, deserve better. Did I mention subway service on the weekends? Hahahaha. For a long-time New Yorker, traveling by mass transit has become a sore point and an actual embarrassment that is below the standards of a quality of life that New Yorkers deserve. And I don’t see the situation improving.

3. The noise, the lights, the crowds – After three decades you’d think I’d be used to the sounds of pounding jackhammers and blaring sirens at all day and night. Nope. Where I live uptown, we are also treated to churn of motorbikes plowing down the streets at all hours. All the lights from the streets and businesses that stay open all night make it challenging for us New Yorkers to get a proper night’s rest. By now I’ve learned to sleep through anything but why should I have to shut my windows to dull the roar from the crowds outside the bars at 3 am? Did I mention the lines New Yorkers stand in for a cool movie, event, or a bargain? I now pass on anything requiring me to stand in line, unless they are giving out free money or sex.

4. City living can be toxic – New York City living is a stress-inducing experience. Don’t discount the effects of living in a cramped metropolis filled with all types of Wi-Fi, radiation, and radio waves bouncing around and throughout the entire city. Humans soak this stuff into our bodies and over time it collects in our systems and causes havoc to our health. Recent studies show that our once-thought-as-wonderful city drinking water is filled with carcinogens and heavy metals. Get a water filter and walk in the park whenever possible. And even though New York has come a long way since 9/11, it is still number one target for terror.

5. Been there, done that – Black outs, 9/11, hurricanes, massive snowstorms, a garbage strike, the AIDS crisis, sweltering heat waves, and blinding rain and floods have all been part of my life in New York City. Like Mick Jagger sang, “I’m in tatters”, after surviving these tumultuous years. After decades of running wild and finally settling, there comes a point of diminishing returns for living in the big city. It’s that, “do I really want to put up with this shit?” feeling when you’re dealing with the cable company, mass transit delays, broken elevators at the train station, “show time” on a crowded subway, or witnessing general bad behavior on the street in front of your kids. This stuff gives even the most ardent New Yorker pause about continuing to live in this crazy town. Admit it. You’ve thought about living elsewhere.

So where does this leave me? I’ve put myself on a two-year plan before making a final decision about leaving New York. After working for major corporations, ad agencies, start ups, I’m not sure if I want another nine to five gig in the city. Nowadays businesses no longer require employees to come into the office every day. More and more jobs are done virtually, so it doesn’t matter where you live. I’ve done or tried just about everything I’ve wanted to in this city. So I ask myself, why not cash in and check out of New York to start a more peaceful life with my wife and kid somewhere less interesting, but saner? It’s a decision I will be considering over the next twenty-four months. Until then, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. Now I’ve got to go back into the bowels of the sweltering subway and get on that filthy C train to take my kid to his expensive swimming lesson.

This week’s Guys’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the folks who have taken the leap and lived in the New York City. Some like it hot and some do not, but everyone here adds a bit of spice to this human zoo. I’ll see you in the crowded streets, amigos!


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