Book Review – The Dude’s Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick

You have seen them. They like to congregate around weight benches and mirrors. They wear their cutoffs so you can see their ink. They have their hair gelled even when they work out. They always have a can of Monster or Redbull with them. And they drive a lifted truck. They are “men.” Or shells of men to be a bit more accurate. Society around us has taught us that these guys are “men.” When in reality they are kids who stayed in adolescence a bit too long, maybe even perpetually. In The Dude’s Guide to Manhood Darrin Patrick tries to show us what real masculinity is all about. He provides a roadmap, so to speak, for those who have not been instructed in the ways of men.


The Dude's Guide to Manhood

We have a problem. “Men are simply unprepared to face the journey of manhood, in part because they have never been prepared in the first place…. We are on our own, and we don’t know where we are going” (XVI). Darrin is brutally honest with us, he is one of those guys, he didn’t have a great roadmap, thankfully though we won’t have to deal with that same problem since we have this book to help guide us.

Each of the chapters of this book deal with one aspect of what it means to be a man. Men are determined. Men are coachable. Men are disciplined. Men work. Men are content. Men are devoted to their woman. Men love their family. Men are connected in meaningful ways to other men. Men display the right emotions at the right time. Men fight. Men are heroic. And most importantly, men live in light of God’s grace.

Each chapter treats one of the topics I just mentioned. In each chapter you will probably find some personal anecdote, some movie quotes, some sociology, and maybe even a little bit of biblical material. Each chapter shows us how men have failed in one of those particular areas then it provides encouragement to step it up in that area.


  • He Knows His Pop Culture – Without a doubt, Darrin knows his pop culture. Which is great because he can illustrate his points well. At no point was I bored reading his description of books, movies, current events, etc.  You can tell he is a pastor and he has honed the craft of coming up with illustrations.
  • The Chapter About Jesus – I don’t mean to be snarky. Well maybe just a little bit, but the one chapter about Jesus was fantastic. He shows us how Jesus is the one true, perfect man. Jesus was perfectly determined, coachable, disciplined, hard working, content, concerned for his family, devoted, relationally connected, emotional, and strong. As Darrin walked through each of these areas I felt how “awe”-some Jesus really was. Unfortunately this part of the book was limited to only a few pages. Regardless of that fact, this chapter is a wonderful primer on how to shape and preach gospel centered, Christ exalting topical messages.


I will be honest with you. This book just didn’t do it for me. At worst I felt like I was reading a self-help book the whole time.

At best I felt like I had picked up one of those “Christian” self-help books that Family Christian stocks its shelves with.

Everything that Darrin says in the first 10 chapters could have been said by somebody who isn’t even a Christian. Yes, he sprinkles some scripture here and there, but none of those chapters felt as though they were rooted in the bible. I expected way more from Darrin. But maybe I missed the point of the book. On the back cover John Piper endorses this book and says “Buy a bundle, read one, and give the rest to believing and unbelieving guys you know.” Piper might be on to something, this book might actually be written for nominal Christians or people are not-yet Christians but are seeking. I could see myself handing this book to some friends I know who go to church every once in a while. They would really profit from it. But I can’t see myself giving this book to a mature, or growing for that matter, Christian guy. The chapter on Jesus and grace confirms my belief that this book isn’t really for Christians. Its almost as though Darrin ends the book with an altar call. Essentially the book is one long sermon on manhood: Here is what it is to be a man, you don’t live up, Jesus does live up so put your faith in Jesus.


This book was probably written for non-Christians or nominal Christians. If that is true I give it a 8/10. I would even recommend it to some people I know. However if you are a Christian guy, this book really isn’t for you. If this book is for Christians I give it a 5/10. It was well written, but it felt like a pseudo-Christian self-help book with a gospel message tacked on at the end because Darrin Patrick (the vice-president of Acts 29) needs to be “gospel-centered.”

Note:  I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive/negative review.

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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