The Art of Manliness- is a blog dedicated to uncovering the lost art of being a man. The Art of Manliness is authored by husband and wife team, Brett and Kate McKay. It features articles on helping men be better husbands, better fathers, and better men.
Tell us about The Art of Manliness.
The Art of Manliness is a 100,000+ subscriber blog started in 2008. The blog is dedicated to “reviving the lost art of manliness” and publishes articles on things like self-improvement, relationships, dressing and grooming, etiquette, health, finance, and manly skills. The goal of the site is to help men better themselves in all areas of their lives.
How did you build your blog to the stature it is today?
First, identifying an untapped niche was probably the most important thing.
There wasn’t a men’s magazine/website out there that appealed to the thousands of men who weren’t interested in the stuff other men’s magazines covered (hot babes, six pack abs, expensive cars) and earnestly wanted to learn how to improve their lives and become better men. Men who were interested in good old fashioned, wholesome manliness. We found success by filling that void.
Second, and I know it’s cliché, but writing interesting, unique, helpful, top-quality content was a major key. Almost all the content on the blog is “evergreen,” stuff that will be just as useful to people five years from now. We set ourselves apart from other sites in that we don’t just look at other blogs to get ideas and regurgitate what is already going around the web.
And we don’t just spout off some rambling thoughts or talk about what’s going on in our personal lives. Instead we do a ton of research for each article–we check out lots of books from the library and spend hours pouring through them. My wife and I each work 40-50 hours a week on the site.
I believe you have to really hustle to be successful.
Why have most men lost their manliness?
I don’t know if most men have, but a lot of men are struggling.
Several sociological and economic factors have contributed to the decline of manliness. First, while the feminist movement made great and needed strides in advancing the rights of women, it also had some unintended consequences. Men no longer knew what their role in life was supposed to be. And while women were being celebrated and empowered, men became stereotyped as macho brutes or boyish nincompoops.
Secondly, many Gen Y and Gen X men grew up with fathers who weren’t around due to divorce or demanding jobs. These young men lack male mentors, and all they see in the media as examples of manliness are the bumbling dads of television sitcoms and commercials, the violent meatheads of action movies, and the sex-obsessed lotharios of men’s magazines. Thus, in a culture where the typical rites of passage have disappeared and adolescence has been extended, a generation of men have been left without guideposts on their journey from boy to man.
Finally, ancient philosophers and our Founding Fathers warned that the biggest threat to a hardy and robust manliness was luxury. They argued that luxury and great wealth made men weak and soft. The past 40 years has seen an unprecedented growth of wealth and luxury in the history of the world. Consumer goods like electronics and food are cheaper than ever and accessible to most Americans. This is tremendously beneficial to society, but it also leaves men craving real challenge and looking for opportunities to create instead of just consume.
Men today have just as much potential as their grandfathers–they’re just saddled with low expectations and a lack of role models and mentors to help them find direction.
Tell us about your new book!
Our first book, The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man concentrated on the how-to’s of manliness; it was a handbook on things like how to tie a tie, give a speech, be a good friend and father, start a fire without matches, and so on.
The new book, Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues is about cultivating the inner man and bringing back the definition of manliness as a life filled with virtue, excellence, and honor. The book is an anthology of the best advice ever written down for men–quotes and excerpts from the letters, speeches, and writings of great men on what it means to be a man. The book is designed to give men some inspiration, direction, and purpose in their lives.
What are some of your passions?
I love helping men become better men, reading, spending time in the great outdoors, and most of all, being a husband and a father.
Favorite book? Movie?
Favorite book: The Great Gatsby.
Favorite Movie: It’s a tie between Back to the Future and Shawshank Redemption
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt