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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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.

10 Great Books from 10 Great Guests on Guy's Guy Radio

Robert Manni - Monday, January 12, 2015

Being a featured host of a growing Blog Talk Radio podcast has its advantages. I get to meet an array of very smart, cool and nice people from all walks of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. And I get to read many wonderful, spiritual books.

We’ve produced over 115 shows now and they are available for free on iTunes. Just click on bit.ly/guysguyradio and you’re set. There is a new show every Wednesday at 7pm ET. Okay, enough of promoting me.  Let’s call attention to the written works from some of the terrific people that I’ve interviewed. There are many more, but this is a good starter list of very helpful books that are available from Amazon or your favorite e-tailers.  And you can find most of them at your local bookstore. Of course all the authors have websites, if you are interested in learning more. So, in no particular order, here is your Guys’ Guy’s sampling of books that can help raise your frequency:

1. LIQUID LUCK by Dr. Joseph Gallenberger

I recently read this helpful guide for manifesting personal good fortune and I eagerly await delivery of the companion CD with the meditation. The book stands alone as a constructive guide for grounding and putting yourself in position to receive all the positive manifestations that you deserve. The writing is straightforward, clear and the book provides a great way to clear the negative mental monkey-chatter and doubts that can hold us back.

2. GOD WITHIN by Patti Conklin

Patti is one of the world’s foremost medical intuitives and vibrational healers. I participated in a cellular cleanse with her and Patti has been very kind and helpful when I faced some health challenges last year. She is also an awesome person.  Her book is clear, concise and confident. I’ve read it twice and I frequently perform her ColorWorks and Healing Pool meditations.

3. I AM THE WORD by Paul Selig

Since I stumbled upon this book a few years ago, Paul has gone on to become a leading empath and channel for his spiritual guides. He’s gone on to “transcribe” two more books that were also gifted by his guides. He travels extensively leading seminars and sessions with the guides. I’ve read his three books and can vouch for their transformational qualities. I’ve felt a real change in my being and knowing since the concepts took root in my consciousness.

4. MY LIFE CONTRACT by Joel Fotinos

This gem of a book helps set you on a path to accomplishments in ninety-day chunks. Straightforward, practical and honest, Joel helps the readers set themselves up for success by laying out a workbook plan that keeps them on track with their goals. Highly recommended.

5. THE EARTHKEEPER by Adam C. Hall

What a story! Adam achieved the American dream in all its glory and then woke up to the nightmare of his own life condition. He takes us on his journey to knowledge while opening his heart and displaying his wounds along the way. Adam’s Earthkeeper foundation is doing great things to sustain and maintain our natural resources and environment.

6. THE DIVINE MOTHER SPEAKS by Rashmi Khilnani

Rashmi has written three books that share her channeled journeys and conversations with Gaia, Babaji and Buddha. Poignant, illuminating and energetically charged, these books put the reader in touch with the universal consciousness. Rashmi is also co-producer of the new documentary film, iGod

7. ONENESS by Rasha

This is a charged text that takes the reader on a deep-dive into the meaning of our existence and how we can find more joyfulness in our personal journey. The text is channeled and gives the reader a deep experience while reading. The book blows open previous notions of truth that we thought we knew about the meaning of life. Incredible.

8. QUANTUM CREATIVITY by Amit Goswani

A retired professor from the theoretical physics department tackles the concept of creativity through the lens of quantum physics and offers up a new way to harness it. But, don’t be afraid. It’s reader-friendly as it combines art with science. Amazing.

9. DREAMS 1-2-3 by J.M. DeBORD

This fresh, contemporary work takes the reader through a step-by-step process for learning the language of your dreams. It isn’t your “hot dogs chasing donuts through the Lincoln Tunnel” take on symbolism either. The book helps you use dreams to reconcile your past and present issues and set you on a steady course for the future.

10. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE DEAD by Sondra Sneed

Magic happens when a former atheist interviews the source of infinite being. Sneed is a Godscriber who shares her dialogue between herself and the creator of the universe. It’s more an awakening and warning about man’s penchant for self-destruction than a touchy-feel-good  spiritual guide. Unique, to say the least.

There are many more authors and books I can recommend from my guests, but this list provides a good start to help you on a path to awakening. This week’s Guys’ Guys of the week are all of my wonderful guests that have visited me on GUY’S GUY RADIO. Thank you all!    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Things That Are Better Now

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 10, 2013


There are so many things wrong today—government shut downs, GMO’s, NSA snooping and Miley’s coated tongue.

It’s too easy to add to the list and bemoan our plight. Instead, let’s go back thirty years to 1983 and compare notes. That was the year Michael Jackson dominated the charts, the Swatch was launched, McNuggets came out and Lotus 1-2-3 was our preferred software.  Here is my Guy’s Guy Guide to Things That Are Better Now. One caveat—technology is more advanced than in 1983, so we’ll put the tech-related items into context. Enjoy!

10. Central Park – From its lush greenery to the calming energy that permeates the sprawling fifty-block area to the expanded running paths and new playgrounds, Central Park keeps getting better. Central Park was, for the most part, a scrubby dump in the seventies and eighties that you could not venture into after dark. With the commitment from the city and the hard work of the Central Park Conservatory, it has been transformed again into the wonderful oasis as it was imagined.

9. Beer – No longer are we limited to old standbys like Bud and Miller. The beer industry has exploded with creativity, craft brews and innumerable fine selections available in bars, taverns and delis. You can even brew your own beer. This is very good news for beer lovers whose idea of excitement in the past was waiting for that shipment of Coors in a refrigerated container to show up on the East Coast.

8. Cooking – I thought about calling this, “Food”, but with the advent of GMO’s and factory farming, food has not gotten better. That said, the world of gastronomy has expanded and in many cities you can sample any kind of cuisine at any hour of the day. The “foodie” movement has given us an education on preparation and matching flavors. If you want more proof, check the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket. The section that once offered a merger selection of TV diners and frozen pizza has now become a smorgasbord of global offerings.

7. Clothing – Let’s face it, people can showcase their personal style a heck of a lot better now than in 1983. Men’s suits are more flattering, mixing and matching of patterns has become an art form and women have an endless selection of shoes, bags and hairstyles to embrace and call their own. Of course there's a down side: we’ve seen the casual movement turn air travel into a parade of tracksuits and ladies, those yoga pants are a bit too ubiquitous now. That said, it’s hard to argue with being comfortable.

6. Publishing – Instead of following the music industry's demise until it embraced digital offerings and sent more bands out on tour, the publishing industry was taken by surprise when self and hybrid and independent offerings created stars. Before they knew it, sales of eBooks were in line with physical book sales. This is great news for both readers and writers. Meanwhile, the publishing industry is busy peddling celebrity books because they don’t require “breaking” a new name or building a brand. Snooki had brand awareness before her novels launched.

5. Social Media – Okay; we didn’t have social media in 1983, and you may not care for those pithy, inspirational sayings from your Facebook friends, being on the receiving end of a poke, reading political rants or seeing photos of someone’s sushi lunch, but keeping in touch with long lost acquaintances can be fun. And if you’re not interested, you can turn it off at any time. Period.

4. Weed – We’re moving from draconian Rockefeller laws to medicinal use, and that’s only the beginning. Pot is going to become legal at some point during the next decade. Why? Follow the money. Marijuana is the next cash crop and it’s ripe for reaping tax revenues.

3. Gay Rights – Who would have conceived of legislation legalizing gay and lesbian marriage back in 1983? We’ve come a long way in accepting and protecting the rights of everyone regardless of their sexual preference. There isn't enough love in the world so let’s hope this will soon become a non-issue.

2. Coffee and Tea - Similar to beer, we’ve moved from a handful of mass brands to a plethora of exotic, great-tasting blends from around the world that are featured in small independent stores on every corner of the city. The same goes for tea. Once there were two big, boring brands on the shelves. Now we have dozens and even yerba mate comes in an array of flavors. That’s a good thing.

1. Broadcast Media – Cable grew from a handful of new channels to the thousands of selections we have today in a short period of time. We can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want, with or without commercials on a multitude of devices. That's cool. Okay, I don’t like those housewives shows either, but you know what I mean.

This is just a first pass. There’s also been advances in traditional medicine, an increased awareness of holistic healing and yoga, cell phones with cameras that capture so much more good and bad behavior, and of course Duck Dynasty.

Now that doesn’t necessarily make this a better world than thirty years ago, but it’s too easy to fall into a malaise and cry about once what was. Hey people: things change and they will keep changing faster than they did over the past thirty years. Guy’s Guys look on the bright side. How about you?

Do you appreciate the many changes in our culture since 1983?

 

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Frederick Law Olmsted who won the Central Park design competition in 1857. Nice work, amigo.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Spiritual Books

Robert Manni - Friday, May 24, 2013


Being a Guy’s Guy is not all sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Reading keeps us in touch with our inner selves and reminds us of our collective connection to the universal consciousness. I’ve read hundreds of books in all genres, but I’m called back by great stories about regular people finding their paths and enlightenment and books about energy and spirituality.  Life speeds by in a flash, and it’s important to take a breather now and then and ask ourselves why the hell we're here, what really matters and how we can enjoy the ride. There are many well-deserving books that are not included, but the following features a handful of practical, thought provoking and well-written tomes with deep insights and positive messages. I hope you will find an opportunity to read a few of them. You will not be disappointed.  In no particular order I humbly offer, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Spiritual Books.

1. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. This is one of my all-time favorite books of any genre.  I was walking through a bookstore about ten years ago and this little book literally stopped me in my tracks. I picked it up, began reading and purchased it. I’ve read it several times and it convinced me to study hypnosis. I am now an advanced clinical Master Hypnotist. It’s fast, practical, easy to read and chock full of advice about self-hypnosis, staying positive and trusting your inner self. Sounds like bullshit? It’s not.

2. Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.  A classic New Age helper in seeing, believing and making it happen. Another easy to digest book that packs a punch and a reminder about how we choose our paths and determine our outcomes. Inspirational.

3. The Healing Energy of Your Hands by Michael Bradford. If you want to learn how to manipulate energy for healing, this is the one book to read. Filled with easy exercises and demonstrations, you can learn how to work with the flow of energy to heal and stay healthy. This book inspired me to study Reiki. I am now a Reiki Master/Teacher. It’s that good.

4. The Book of Love and Creation by Paul Selig. This is the second of what will be three contributions about tapping into universal love through the, “I Am” presence. Guides channeled these texts through Paul. The passages are uplifting, powerful, and filled with love. I highly recommend these books to anyone interested in raising their frequency.

5. The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hahn. This one takes compassion and mindfulness into our everyday practical lives and into the halls of government and business. The mindfulness trainings alone are worth the price of admission. Great reading, especially if you have a foolish boss.

6. Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, Ph.D. This pioneer in energy medicine expert explores how energy is encoded in our physical vessels and how we can read the signals and take positive steps in managing our spiritual and physical health.

7. Three Magic Words by Uell S. Anderson. If you read or watched the video of “The Secret” you will want to read this book. It strips out the pizzazz and gets down to how our conscious and subconscious minds determine our course of actions and outcomes. You will learn how to eliminate negativity and stay the course in practical terms and through a series of meditative exercises.

8. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss, MD. If you have ever wondered what past life regression is and how it works, this is the book for you. As a hypnotist, I’ve explored past life regression and found that it to be an interesting way to learn more about who we are and what’s inside. Very easy reading as it follows one case from beginning to end. A page-turner.

9. Your Sacred Self by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Yes you’ve seen him on PBS and might think he’s merely a curator of other people’s findings. That said, he makes a lot of sense and he’s taken his game to another level over the past few years. I found this early book to be an excellent primer for learning how to tap into the power of our higher selves and others for self-improvement.

10. The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard. Touted by Dr. Dyer, this little gem dives into the power of the “I Am” with forays into consciousness, creation, acceptance, and righteousness. Another book devoted to teaching us how we are all connected via a universal consciousness. In other yours, we all are God.

While buzzing along with your career, are you taking time to read and reflect on what’s really important in life?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Brad Pitt for his support of his partner Angelina Jolie, one of the world’s most beautiful and boldest women. We wish her good health and love.


Interview with Linda Strasburg on KTalk Radio

Robert Manni - Monday, April 29, 2013

What Is A Guy's Guy And Why Does It Matter Now?

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Over the past thirty years the paths of women and men have changed dramatically. While women have been on straight trajectory of achievement, accomplishment, and long overdue recognition, men now find themselves in a tough spot. This comes at a time when men have never been freer to be who they want, but it's also never been less clear who they are. My novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, tackles this issue through the power of story that gives women a peek behind the curtains into the world of modern men. It’s a story about men, written for women. The male characters are flawed, yet likable, and hopefully I provided some insights into the lives of today’s men with a nod to how they hunt, feed and of course, mate. The time is now to generate awareness for what today’s men can be and address the growing need to bridge the gap between the sexes. And isn’t it ironic that with all of the technology that connects us, communication between the sexes has never been in such a dire state? We’re heading in different directions. Enter Guy’s Guys.

So What Is A Guy’s Guy?

Simply stated, a Guy’s Guy is a contemporary Man’s Man, with a nod to a return to the casual confidence and seductive integrity of the classic male, but updated to reflect the belief that everybody wins when men and women can be at their best. In other words, a Guy’s Guy welcomes the rise of women while competing with them for love, sex, power and money in a time where everyone’s playing for keeps. Guy’s Guys exude unassuming strength, timeless style, and emotional intelligence while enjoying healthy relationships and joyful, open living. Drop back twenty-five years or so ago and the new man back then had just transcended the attitude that relegated women to the kitchen and the bedroom. Of course, today’s Guy’s Guy is way, way beyond that. He sees women as equal across the board and treats them respectfully without resorting to the predictable patronization just to get them into the sack. And as far as business goes, it’s game on and no glass ceilings. You might be rolling your eyes, but it can be done and Guy’s Guys can help make it happen.

Is There A Guy’s Guy Code?

This is not about Guy’s Guy rulebooks, lists, or tricks and pick up lines that will get them laid. Today’s Guy’s Guys are out there, finding their way in a tough environment while maintaining their own values. It can be a difficult line to walk when you’re a young man caught in a culture that places them somewhere between the mixed messages of MMA and manscaping. A lot of young dudes are getting conflicting signals about who they are because there are no realistic role models for young men. It’s all about preening power studs, metrosexuals, geeks, or superheroes and what can men really learn from them? Women can help by paying attention and helping men shape their values and perspectives.

So What’s Next?

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing some of my Guy’s Guy stories and insights about men… and relationships with GalTime’s wonderful audience. I hope I can occasionally make you smile and rethink some of your ideas about modern men and what makes them tick. After all, the truth is not so bad. Or is it?

You can decide for yourselves.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is Bradley Cooper, for entering a dance contest to win the girl in "Silver Linings Playbook".

Is Your Man a Guy’s Guy?

Get Your Story Told – A Roadmap To Publishing Your Book

Robert Manni - Wednesday, October 03, 2012

            

So you think you’ve got what it takes to write a novel?

Good for you, that’s a great start. I’ll bet you have a story in you that people would be interested in. The trick is finding the right story, finding your voice, weaving them together, and then learning how to sell your work. Easier said than done.  Whenever I am asked about why I decided to write a novel I offer the same response. It has to be more than something you want to do. It has to be something that you have to do. The good news is that there are more opportunities than ever to get your message to consumers. It’s up to you to come up with the content that readers can relate to in an emotional way.

Where does one begin the journey?

It all begins with having a burning desire to share your story and message with the world. That does not mean your story has to be about your fascinating life. In fact, I’d strongly suggest that unless something extraordinary has happened to you like chewing off your arm to stay alive in the wilderness or swimming the English Channel backwards with a blind kitten strapped to your chest that you consider creating a story that is not about you per se, but something that is written symbolically that provides the reader with your view of our world. Thich Nhat Hahn said that everyone should write a book about himself or herself and I agree. It is a cathartic experience that provides many benefits to the writer. There is a sense of accomplishment and a great therapeutic release upon the completion of one’s personal story. That does not mean that it is meant for mass consumption.

Writing a novel requires developing a story that is crafted with the universal storytelling techniques that have been twisted, turned and stretched, but have never gone out of style. It’s all about what the main character wants and what is preventing him or her from achieving their goal. Sounds pretty simple, but try integrating that notion with a host of characters, scenes and subplots and you may find that things get complicated fairly quickly.

It took me exactly two years of writing and submitting what I now consider my “practice novel” before I felt that I had learned enough to really give it my best shot with another book that was not about me. In fact I found that using archetypes and writing in the third person freed me up to make my points about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. So much material deluges the publishing industry that it is trained to say, “No” to almost every manuscript that comes across their desk almost by instinct. But since the industry was late to embrace the power of digital publishing, writers who truly have great stories to tell are now being given an opportunity to reach an audience. Independent and hybrid publishing are not options for writers who can’t make it in the ‘real world of traditional publishing’. They are liberating models that actually make sense in a radically changed publishing landscape.

Okay, so what’s the best game plan?

For me, step one was having a fresh story that I was uniquely qualified to craft. I saw the rapid ascent of women in today’s world as a very good thing. Go for it, ladies. This is quite different to the mixed signals being sent out to men. There has never been a time where men have been freer to be whoever they want and at the same time less clear about who they are.  I decided to weave that notion into a modern love story about men that both women and men could relate to. So, I wrote, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE. Over and over and over and over again. I’m sure I submitted earlier versions of the work too soon and I paid the price with numerous rejections before landing a literary agent. After a year, I realized that although I had a good story and against all odds had landed a top agent, my agent was not right for my book. Grrrr. So I cut ties and submitted my novel to just one small publishing house. They liked the book and I was on my way. That said, I have had to do almost all of the marketing, promoting, etc., but the upside is huge as I build my platform and I control the process and own the material. Nice. Now it is up to me to hone my voice and grow my brand.

What else do I need to know?

You need three things to succeed once you put the book out. Belief in yourself and your message, relentless attention to manifesting your goal, and a team of individuals who believe in you and your work. Oh, yeah. You need to keep writing - fiction, non-fiction, blog posts, Tweets, and whatever it takes to get people to know you, what makes you tick and how your work relates to their lives.  It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Guy’s Guy of The Week: Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, inventors of the world wide web who made it possible for everyone to share their voice in new ways.

So, what’s stopping you from writing your own story?

How A Guy's Guy Found His Center Through Energy Work

Robert Manni - Wednesday, June 13, 2012





The Wake-Up Call

Over the last twelve years every single aspect of my life has changed. Way back in early 2000 I recall looking out the window of my corner office at the global advertising conglomerate where I worked. I had recently been promoted to Executive Vice President and received a whopping pay raise. Outside my office sat my beautiful assistant. On the surface life seemed great, but something was gnawing at me inside, telling me that this was not my path. I listened and asked the Universe to do what was necessary to set me on the right trail for this life. As they say, be careful of what you ask for. Six months later my world turned upside down. I was out of work for a brief time and went from sitting behind a big desk to sitting on the floor screwing my desk together at a start up. I was learning the digital side of business on the run and it was a challenge. At home my relationship was falling apart and it finally ended. I was by myself in a house with a leaky roof and peeling paint. I was alone, angry, and confused, but I remembered my asking to be placed on the right path. 

Everything is energy, but how can we harness it? 

Science shows us that everything is made up of energy and it is the building block of all matter.  I soon discovered how this was relevant in my life.  A few months after my new low point I stopped at a kiosk at a street fair where a diminutive man was doing what he called “sensei” on a runner’s strained calf. I asked about it and the man told me how he could transmute energy through his hands. He showed me how it worked. I signed up for his mailing list and soon began receiving flyers about various forms of holistic energy practices. I read the flyers about Reiki and considered it as a way to give back. A Reiki practitioner transmutes energy through his palms to another individual in an effort to break down blockages and allow the energy meridians to flow. Sounds like a mouthful, but it’s quite simple if you are open-minded to the concept. And I was. Within a year I was certified in Reiki One and over the next eight years I became a Reiki Master Teacher. I also studied hypnosis and received certification as an Advanced Clinical master Hypnotist. I love both practices. They are fun and they help other people and myself. You can do self-hypnosis and self-Reiki and they really work. My energy has never been higher and I feel great. I pursued my day job in marketing and advertising and over time reached the highest heights along with some lows also, but the energy work has always given me a firm foundation. The combination of Reiki and hypnosis has forever changed my perception of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness and I am forever thankful for these gifts. 

So what’s the point? 

Working with energy studying, reading, practicing, and meditating taught me about light and darkness. We live in a world that celebrates darkness just a bit too much. But light is more powerful than darkness and if your intentions are to learn and share and spread kindness, you will receive guidance. I guarantee it. 

I ran three marathons in five years, wrote two novels, and worked my way back into advertising after a series of challenging jobs and an eight-year layoff from the core business. I became President of an agency within two years of being hired as a part-time consultant. My first novel was rejected for three years, so I wrote another one. Two years later ninety agents rejected my second novel. Then suddenly I landed one. But, it was not my time and let’s just say that my agent was not right for me. I kept plugging along and had a great group of supporters.   

Finally, on my own I found a publisher for my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE. Even then, we had problems with the first printing. Nothing was easy, even with a great team pushing me onward. Then, a couple months ago the book received a glowing review from Publishers Weekly and the phone began to ring. Let’s just say that it’s happening. The point yes, there is a point. Be patient, believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot accomplish. I do not think I would have been able to continue through so many challenges without having learned to quiet my mind and be open to inner guidance. That’s really what energy practices like Reiki and hypnosis really do. They help you get the answers you are seeking. But you have to believe and always see yourself as part of everything. Oh, and be open to receiving, you’ll be surprised at what life can bring your way. 

Have you done any energy work?  What sort and how did it impact your life? 

Interview with Robert Manni (Part Two) – by Matthew (The Bibliofreak)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 14, 2012



It’s hard to place The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love in a particular genre – how do you describe it to people?

Great question. At first agents told me that since I was a guy, I should write a thriller. No, thanks. Then it was, why don’t you write the book with a female protagonist? No, thanks. Then they told me, the title sounds like the book is a non-fiction guide to getting laid. Why don’t you change the name to Shark Tank or something like that? No, thanks.

Maybe this book will help guys connect with women better. I don’t know, but I write what I’m passionate about and the story is universal. Most readers can relate to Max, Roger, or Cassidy, so I don’t see why the book must be squeezed into a specific genre beyond general fiction. Once you start chasing the market, you’ll end up writing about a stripper-turned vampire detective. If you write what’s hot - like young adult or Harry Potter - they’ve already seen it. If you write something new, they don’t know where to slot your work. The market keeps evolving, but good stories about human nature with conflicts and choices characters face never go out of style.

Do you have any plans to write further novels set in the world of advertising, or even to revisit the characters in The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

Definitely. I have a fresh concept for the sequel in the works. I can’t wait to jump into it head first. I’m not done with the world of advertising yet, either. There are other issues and subjects I plan to tackle, though I’m just getting warmed up.

How long did it take you to write The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

The initial draft took about six months. The editing of this novel took over two years to get right.

Describe your life during the writing process.

I wrote GGG2Love during a period of career and personal transition. From working in a high-powered executive position, I went free - lance. I was single for the first time in many years and I was also introduced to energy work. Everything was open - ended. I did not know where the process would lead, but I had faith. This period of time tested me.

I learned that writing is psychically draining and cathartic and exhilarating all at the same time. I ran many, many miles and used that time to mentally sort out and sculpt a muscular plot for the book. I was spending a lot of time at my beach house. I was so deep into the writing process that on some days I would begin my work in the early morning. Then after what seemed like only a few hours later I’d find myself looking out at the ocean noticing that the sun was going down. It was a special time for me.

And when you’re not writing?

I’m president of a boutique ad agency in Manhattan so that keeps me hopping. I also read, write, play and rest. Of course, I spent a lot of time dating or chasing women in an effort to find the right partner.Thankfully, I finally swam into her net. It was a gentle capture. I was ready.

What first inspired you to start writing?

Once I realized that I would not be playing centerfield for the New York Yankees, at a young age writing became my primary passion…that is until I discovered girls. Although I spent my childhood playing outdoors, I read constantly - early mornings, evenings, and quiet afternoons sitting on the front steps.

I wrote a short memoir about our school baseball team when I was sixteen. My teacher, Cosmo Ferraro, read passages from my short book to his students and they loved hearing about their classmates. And that was it. I was all in - hook, line and sinker.

I majored in English Literature, but like my father I was interested in business and world travel. After graduation I worked my way into a marketing position at a corporation and took classes for my MBA. During this time I travelled extensively for business - across the U.S. and globally during a time when the world didn’t feel so connected by technology. I recall how alienated I felt having dinner in a colleague’s backyard in a suburb in Kuala Lumpur when three weeks prior I had never uttered the name of this wonderful city. I think that all the travelling I did early on provided a strong foundation to better understand the human condition with all of its ticks.

What do you hope readers will get from The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

I hope they have fun and are reminded that by giving give people a chance, you open yourself up to surprises. Or not. It keeps life interesting, and of course I hope they become aware of Reiki, too.

Which authors, if any, do you compare yourself to, or aspire to emulate?

I admire so many authors -  Mailer, Hesse, Camus, Carlos Castaneda, Hemingway, William Hjortsberg, Dan Wakefield, John Fante, Lawrence Block, Sogyal Rinpoche, even Harold Robbins, but I don’t attempt to emulate them. It’s challenging enough for a writer to find his own voice.

The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love is your first novel; did you attempt any other full length works or short stories before you started writing it?

I wrote a “practice” novel like many other writers and shopped it around a bit to learn the ropes of the marketplace and how the business worked.

How successful were they / What did you learn?

The entire process was an education so I consider it a major success. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about the wonderful experience of writing a book about one’s life and he was right. I had a powerful emotional release after completing that project. It taught me about possibilities. It also reminded me that story is paramount and my life was not necessarily as interesting to others as it is to me.

What aspects of writing do you find most challenging?

An editor who read both my first project and GGG2Love told me that I had a unique voice that the publishing industry might try to change. He urged me to stay true to my personal style.

I find the publishing industry challenging. The agents and publishers are inundated with material that is not ready for prime time. So some agents begin their process from a negative perspective. Reading takes time and time is money, so you can’t really blame them or take their feedback personally. Your writing needs to follow the rules, yet stand out. It’s tricky.

What advice would you give to people wanting to write?

Writing is not a matter of wanting. That takes no effort. To succeed at it, it must be something you have to do almost a compulsion or an addiction of sorts. Otherwise, it’s too easy to give up. A writer must be driven, passionate, and relentless like a sled dog mushing his way through a blizzard. Onward!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m now blogging regularly at robertmanni.com while prepping the sequel to The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Love. I like the spontaneity of posting things that I’m experiencing, noticing, and feeling while hopefully adding value to the readers’ passions about life, love and their pursuit of happiness.

What are your long-term writing ambitions?

Do you mean beyond selling enough books to buy my own Caribbean island and building an amazing writing hideaway? There has been already interest in the TV treatment and film rights so we’ll see where this takes us.

What sort of books do you enjoy / Favourite authors or titles?

My all-time favorite book is Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I read it every few years or so. The message remains constant, but the story touches my heart in a different way every time.

Are there any new writers you’ve read recently who you are particularly excited about?

I’m not sure if they are considered new, but I really enjoyed Rex Pickett’s Sideways and I think Michael Lewis is brilliant. I also loved Keith Richards’ autobiography.

What, if anything, would you change about writing and publication of The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

Like most writers, every time I go back and read the book I see things that I’d like to play with. But I’ve made the tweaks after the first short run, so the story is set and I have to let it go.

Favourite word, and why?

Om. It is the last word in Siddhartha and it means everything.


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