Book reviews

Hold onto your N.U.T.S.
by Wayne M. Levine

Review by Eric Dormer, 08-Apr-05.

This 210 book is a quick 2 hour read. Its subtitle is “The Relationship Manual for Men”. It is targeted at men who feel emasculated in their relationships with women. The goal is to empower men to be strong and consistent, and to take ownership for their own decisions and behaviours, while not taking ownership for their romantic partners feelings. In this way the destructive energy that fuels an argument can be channelled into constructive growth and intimacy.

It contains 8 basic rules: Avoid letting childhood trauma drive adult behaviour. Express but don’t defend your feelings. Cooperate but don’t compromise. Take initiative on romance and sex. Be stable and strong emotionally. Don’t argue. Listen. Develop trusting relationships with other men.

The basic message is self-consistent, although some experts would disagree with some of the rules. A man who followed these rules blindly might appear arbitrary, authoritarian, and not very willing to find accommodation with his partner on important issues.

My criticism is that the book is filled with commercial trademarked words which are repeated endlessly and distract from the message. “N.U.T.s” which is trademarked by the author to mean “Non-negotiable Unalterable Truths” is repeated about a hundred times and the novelty wears off after the first page. Similarly the incessant repetition of trademarked phrases like “BetterMen”, and “BetterMen Tools” is a distraction from a useful theme. This book promotes the authors coaching business and retreats and seminars. He is building awareness of his brand by repeating these trademarked words, but it gets in the way of the useful advice.

First Edition 2007
ISBN 978-0-9790544-0-2

Courts From Hell: Family Injustices in Canada
by Frank Simons

Since the introduction of “no fault divorce” in Canada, the divorce industry has evidenced unprecendented growth estimated at $6 billion per year. The solution is to update divorce laws to reflect parental equality and get families out of court, eliminating significant grief and expense. An alternative to courts is identified in the book.
First Edition 2007
ISBN 978-1-4303-2731-8

Lawyers Gone Bad: Eye-opener will rouse overdue debate
reviewed by Stephen Traviss, Financial Post

The public has always been curious when lawyers get into trouble and jeopardize their careers. Philip Slayton, a former law professor, private practitioner and law dean, is the latest author to canvass this topic with his book Lawyers Gone Bad. It’s an interesting look at a mix of lawyers who are at the centre of a legal storm. The stories include lawyers who have illegally sustained expensive lifestyles, been convicted of crimes or had sex with vulnerable clients.

Mr. Slayton brings impressive credentials to this exercise and what he says should be of interest to both lawyers and the public.

The cases considered cover lawyers from across Canada in all walks of legal practice, including some who worked in large, corporate-commercial law firms and some who were sole practitioners or in small firms. While the stories provide useful insights into how lawyers go bad, the book still leaves many unanswered questions about why it happens.

The author submits that the environment in which lawyers practise — for example, big downtown, corporate firms — creates a setting where they may pretend to be more successful than is the case. What better way to show off their achievements to colleagues than through their billings? This can result in excessive or inflated legal bills being sent to clients.

I agree with his assessment in part, but I am also of the opinion that this difficulty is not exclusively one of a lawyer’s own making. Lawyers can easily succumb to the public perception that they enjoy a very high standard of living. However, this is not always the case. So this incorrect impression pressures lawyers to create the illusion they are more financially successful than they really are, and encourages criminal behavior.

This need to show they are successful also leads some to get into business ventures — sometimes with their clients. It allows lawyers to supplement their income and enhance their professional reputation. Often, however, it is these ventures that cause their downfall and prompt them to behave badly, which leads to professional disgrace and clients losing money.

The book also addresses the contentious issue of lawyer oversight. Currently, the power to discipline lawyers lies with lawyer-controlled entities, known as law societies. Mr. Slayton asks how can we ensure that these bodies guarantee fairness and objectivity?

What he overlooks is that since 1974, there has been nonlawyer involvement, albeit in a minority position, in the disciplinary process. This has helped address the concerns of those who view professions as — to borrow the words of George Bernard Shaw — a conspiracy against the public.

Moreover, the law societies are cognizant of the criticism. Take the case involving litigation against the Barreau du Quebec and Christina Finney, who sued arguing that the Barreau was negligent for not protecting her against a lawyer that it eventually disbarred. She won and that case has caused other Canadian law societies to review their own procedures.

In Britain, the picture is different. The author devotes a few pages to a proposal made by a commission chaired by Sir David Clementi, a former deputy-governor of the Bank of England, which calls for exclusive control over lawyer self-regulation to be removed from the Law Society of England and Wales and given to an independent commission controlled by laypersons. There is legislation in the U.K. parliament to implement such a change and it will likely become law by the end of the year. It will be interesting to see what ramifications, if any, this initiative will have in Canada.

Another matter the book touches upon is the task of advising clients. Subject to a small number of exceptions, lawyers are legally required to maintain absolute confidentiality when advising clients. This can put them at odds with what the public generally thinks a lawyer should disclose about their clients, especially if questionable conduct is involved.

To use a current example, this requirement has brought the federal government into possible confrontation with lawyers in its efforts to grapple with money laundering.

The author recognizes the delicacy of this dilemma and is indeed sympathetic to his profession as it seeks to do the right thing for its clients.

Overall, Lawyers Gone Bad is a well-organized, well-written and manageable text that is a welcome addition to the limited literature on lawyer self-regulation. This book will cause more examination and discussion about the issue and that’s a positive thing.

*Stephen Traviss is a Toronto lawyer who spent 26 years at the Law Society of Upper Canada as senior counsel. His duties included advising the profession on matters of professional conduct. His current practice includes defending lawyers facing discipline matters.

Legalizing Misandry
From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men
Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young

This follow-up to the bestselling Spreading Misandry critiques the impact of ideological feminism on law and government.

Lurid and sensationalized events such as the public response to Lorena Bobbitt after she cut off her abusive husband’s penis, prurient fascination provoked by Anita Hill’s allegations about Clarence Thomas, and the exploitation of the mass murder of fourteen women in Montreal have been processed through popular culture since the 1990s to produce pervasive misandry – contempt for men, the counterpart of misogyny.

Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young believe that this reveals a shift in the United States and Canada to a worldview based on ideological feminism, which presents all issues from the point of view of women and, in the process, explicitly or implicitly attacks men as a class. They argue that ideological feminism is silently reshaping law, public policy, education, and journalism.

Legalizing Misandry offers lively and compelling evidence to demonstrate the pervasiveness of this new thinking – from the courts, classrooms, government committees, and corporate bureaucracies to laws and policies affecting employment, marriage, divorce, custody, sexual harassment, violence, and human rights.

Paul Nathanson is a researcher, religious studies, McGill University, and author of Over the Rainbow: The Wizard of Oz as a Secular Myth of America.
Katherine K. Young is James McGill Professor, religious studies, McGill University. She has published extensively on women’s issues and ethics.
http://www.mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=1966

 

Short Reviews

The Myth of Male Power
by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

“The definitive statement of men’s issues” – David Shackleton
“A bombshell . . .  It attacks the unexamined assumption of feminist discourse with shocking candour” – Camille Paglia
“ Warren Farrell has single-handedly resurrected my hope for relationships.” – Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite.

 

Sacred Manhood, Sacred Earth
by Joseph Jastrab

“This is a book for men in search of their souls.  Joseph Jastrab leads men through the wilderness of nature into the wilderness of their own fears to a vision of their authentic selves.”  Matthew Fox
Men at Work: An action guide to masculine healing
by Chris Frey, M.S.W.

“About men learning to live richly instead of trying to die rich, about men building their
self-worth with the same energy that they build their net worth.” – Joseph Laur,
Training Leader

 

The Choices of Men: a novel of male power and sexuality in a feminist age
by T.S. Tyrone (pseudonym)

“Entertaining, hopeful, dramatic and inspiring.  An excellent novel.”  – David Shackleton

 

Men, Meaning and Prayer
by Jeffrey Duval

“There is no formula here – just stories.  I like all these tales very much.” – Robert Bly
“Clear, heartfelt and honest.” – John Lee

 

The Stronger Sex
by Richard Driscoll, Ph.D.

“Balanced and insightful.  A triumph over illusion and misunderstanding” – Warren
Farrell, Ph.d.

 

Why Men Are The Way They Are
by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

“The book that started it all!”  David Shackleton
“The most important book ever written about love, sex and intimacy.” – New York Post
“ This is one terrific book!” – Oprah Winfrey

 

Father and Child Reunion
by Warren Farrell, Ph. D

“The book of the decade for fathers” – David Shackleton
“The most important book a father could every read” – Larry Hellman, President, NCFC.

 

Heart’s Calling: A Novel
by Michael DiBenedetto (

“A competent, mature and compassionate look at men and the process of male recovery.  The best novel on men’s issues I have ever read.” – David Shackleton

 

A Million Little Pieces
by James Frey. Published by Nan A. Talese (an imprint of Doubleday)
2003, 385 pages.

 

Big sister: How Extreme Feminism Has Betrayed the Fight for Sexual Equality
by Neil Boyd. Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, 2004.  216 pages
www.greystonebooks.com

 

From Regret to Rape: The Reality is Some W omen Do Lie about Being Raped. Here is how it devastated My Life,
by Kumbe Ginnane. IUniverse, Lincoln, Nebraska: 2005 245 pages.

 

Somewhere Fast: a novel
by Bob Beltz. NavPess, Colorado Springs, CO, USA, 2005. ISBN 1-57683-625-8. Trade Paperback, 240 pages.

(‘This is a worthy novel, well written,  engaging, and with very useful take home wisdom. It looks deep into the inner life of men in a way that few books have done. I recommend it without reservation.’ David Shackleton)

 

Love in the Present Tense; How to have a High-Intimacy, Low-Maintenance Marriage,
by Morrie and Arleah Shechtman. Bull Publishing, Boulder, CO, 2004. www.bullpub,com. ISBN: 0-923521-81-X

(‘In approximately 200, easy to read, double spaced, large font pages,  illustrated with creative and sometimes humorous accounts from their case files, names changed of course, the Shechtman’s offer good, well-written advice on what works and what does not in a committed relationship. An outstanding addition to the typically feminine offerings in the field.’  Donna Dillman)

 

Channeling Biker Bob; Heart of a Warrior
by Nik C. Colyer. Henrioulle Publishing Grroup, Nevada City, CA, 2001 ISBN: 0-9708163-8, 270 pages trade paperback.

(‘My only criticism of the book is that its plot resolution is a feel-good fantasy. Despite that
criticism, I strongly recommend this book. It is fully worth acquiring for several reasons: as a moving story of personal recovery, as an entertaining adventure novel, and as an enlightened,  coherent philosophy of masculine redemption and emancipation.’ David Shackleton.)

 

Something Lost, a novel
by Pat Duffy Hutcheon. Xlibris Corporation, USA, 2004 ISBN: 1-4134-4073-8, 358 pages, softcover. Orders: 1-888-795-4274, www.Xlibris.com.

(‘I am pleased to recommend this novel to readers for its powerful insights into both academic feminist politics and into the character of a very human woman. Something Lost is definitely worth the money and the time you will invest to acquire and to read it.’ David Shackleton)

 

Challenge, A Journal of Male Perspectives
edited and published by Dan Racicot.
Mountaintop Press, Sudbury, ON, Volume 1, 2004, 143 pp.   www.mountaintop.ca.

 

The Whole Man Program: Reinvigorating Your Body, Mind and Spirit after 40
by Jed Diamond. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2002, www.wiley.com. 278 pages

Author’s website: www.menalive.com (‘Truly, this is a book that keeps on giving even beyond its last humorous, insightful, instructive page.’ J. Steven Svoboda)

 

Six Battles Every Man Must Win … and the Ancient Secrets You’ll Need to Succeed
by Bill Perkins.
Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 2004. ISBN 0 -8423-8287-9 (hard cover), 141 pages. (‘Forming community and supporting and nourishing men in community are second nature to Bill Perkins, and his ministry and publications are dedicated to these ends.’)

 

Courting A Woman’s soul: Going Deeper into Loving and being Loved
by John Lee; Monarch Publishing Associates, Woodstock, Georgia, 2003. 134 pp.  www.jlcsonline.com

(This is a short book that I read cover to cover during one day’s morning and evening commute, an hour altogether. Highly recommended. J.Steven Svoboda)

 

Keys to he Kingdom
by Alison A. Armstrong.

PAX Programs, Inc., Sherman Oaks, CA, 2003. 208 pages. www.celebratingmen.com.

(‘Keys to the kingdom is likely to bring tears to your eyes, joy to your heart, and fascinating new thoughts to your brain. Don’t miss it!’ Steven Svoboda)

 

Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash with a Corrupt Culture
by Ilana Mercer. Toad Tomes Publishers, Washington, USA, 2003 257 pages, soft cover, ISBN 0-9741039-0-X.
www.ilanamercer.com

(‘Given the current cultural overvaluing of the ideas of the left, however,  it is a witty, thoughtful, and very important antidote to leftist one-sided arrogance. I heartily recommend it to readers of Everyman. David Shackleton’)

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