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Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal (so they can look up your skirt)

A Dad's Advice for Daughters

     Life can be pretty tricky when you’re a teen girl.  New things matter: Clothes. Parties.  Boys.  Suddenly being liked and being popular don’t mean the same thing.  Your parents get completely bizarre when the subject of dating comes up.  A friend you’ve had forever stabs you in the back for no good reason.  Everybody you know seems to feel free to comment on your constantly changing body.  Drugs and alcohol go from being what you see “bad” kids doing on television shows to what you see your friends doing when no adults are around.  How are you supposed to deal?

     Since life doesn’t come with a set of instructions, it helps to turn to people who have been through the stuff that you’re facing.  Even parents can help.  (Really!)  In Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt), former teenaged boy – and current dad of two daughters – Philip Van Munching helps guide you through some of life’s most confusing topics.  From Beauty to Grief, from Sex to Fate, Van Munching covers the things you most want to know about, and in his wise, warm and funny way, offers advise on how you can become the young woman you most want to be.  

Actually, It IS Your Parents' Fault

Why Your Romantic Relationship Isn't Working, and How to Fix It.

     Well, you’ve accepted that Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  You’ve come to understand that there are times when He’s Just Not That Into You.  You’ve even learned The Rules.  So how come you’re still baffled by the twists and turns of your romantic relationship, regardless of whether you’ve been dating someone for weeks or married to them for years?  How is that, even though you’ve visited the flourishing “Relationship” section of your local Barnes & Noble with alarming regularity, you still seem to find yourself asking:

  •  Why, at the beginning of our relationship, was I so powerfully attracted to the person I’m with?

  •  Why don’t those intensely positive feelings we had for each other early on stick around?

  •  Why does my lover/spouse do so many things that annoy me…and why does he or she seem so annoyed by me?

  •  Why do we argue about the silliest things, and how come can’t we resolve those arguments?


  •  Considering all of these questions, why am I still with this person?

     Maybe it’s hard to understand relationship woes because the books you’ve read (and the television shrinks you’ve seen) have encouraged you to search for answers in the wrong places.  Instead of trying to get a handle on gender differences, or learning strategies for “catching” the right person, or even struggling to figure out the person that you’re with, maybe it’s time you looked for clues somewhere else.  Somewhere a little closer to home.

      Somewhere like the mirror.

      In Actually, It Is Your Parents’ Fault:  Why Your Romantic Relationship Isn’t Working, and How to Fix It, psychotherapist Dr. Bernie Katz and I have teamed up for what we think you’ll find a fascinating and tremendously useful look at the psychological forces within each of us that shape our relationships.  You’ll learn how even our earliest childhood experiences eventually dictate our love choices, and how the unconscious elements of our personalities both attract and repel the people we become romantically involved with (often at the same time!) throughout the course of those relationships.                 Finally, by picking up Actually, It Is Your Parents’ Fault, you’ll find out why relationships in conflict seem to go on and on…in other words, why breaking up is hard to do.

     You’ll also learn how to use that new knowledge.  With over a quarter of a century of experience as a couples therapist, Bernie has developed tools that can help anyone evaluate his or her relationship, recognize the signs – and origins – of almost any relationship road block, take steps to repair the damage done by conflicting personalities, and even figure out when a relationship needs outside help…or is simply beyond help.

     Of course, terrific information and helpful tools don’t mean much if you have a hard time wading through shrink-speak, dry prose, and a mountain of dull case studies. That’s where I come in. In my bestselling Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal (so they can look up your skirt): A Dad’s Advice for Daughters, I showed that advice is best given supportively, conversationally, and with a solid dose of humor. In Actually, It Is Your Parents’ Fault, I’ve tried to take complicated theory and information and make them easy to understand. Acting as translator for Bernie and enthusiastic peer for you, I’ve woven in my own anecdotes and experiences to create a relationship book that Bernie and I think you’ll find funny, warm, fascinating and readable.

Beer Blast

The Inside Story of the Beer Industry's Bizarre Battles for Your Money

     Watch even an hour of sports on television, and you’ll be bombarded with beer advertising.  And it’s usually pretty wacky stuff:  dogs who fetch cold ones from the fridge, men who will do anything for that last bottle of Bud Light, talking animals…you name it, and America’s biggest brewers will use it in an attempt to get your attention.

     As someone who spent some time in the beer biz, myself – first as the kid sitting across the breakfast table from America’s most successful beer importer and later as that beer importer’s director of advertising – I had a front row seat for the Beer Wars.  I watched as the big domestics (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors) raced to outspend each other.  I got burned as the microbrewers made their names by slogging those of us who sold imported beer.  I marveled at the breathtaking speed with which new products – like Ice Beer and Dry Beer and almost beer (Zima!) – were introduced, rose to unexpected heights, and crashed.

     Beer Blast: The Inside Story of the Brewing Industry’s Bizarre Battles for Your Money is a business book for people who couldn’t care less about business books.  It’s a fun, breezy look at what happens to an industry when it’s taken over by marketers: people who’ve learned all they know about sales from a textbook, and not from experience in the real world.  In Beer Blast, you’ll learn how we got all those iconic beer pitchmen (and animals), from retired jocks to Spuds Mackenzie, and how – on top of the lights, ices and dry beers – we very nearly had something called clear beer.

     Mostly, though, you’ll learn what happens to a straightforward, family-owned company when it’s invaded by foreigners, soda-pop marketers and pipsqueaks.  It isn’t pretty.  In fact, you might just need a beer.

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Book no. 4

How to Remember Jokes

And 101 Drop Dead Jokes to Get You Started

     If I hadn’t had such a great time on the author tour – telling (mostly racy) jokes on radio shows and TV stations from coast-to-coast – I’d almost feel guilty about this book.  An excuse to collect my 101 favorite long-form jokes, How to Remember Jokes is the perfect present for your humor-challenged friends. 

     Here’s the thing: we’ve all been at parties where someone uncorks a great joke, and we’ve felt the pressure to have something to come back with.  And we’ve all said to ourselves, at just such a moment, “Dammit!  I know that I heard a killer joke just a few days ago, but I can’t remember it!”  Because that’s such a universal experience, I spent some time researching how memory works, and I’ve come up with a few foolproof strategies that will help anyone to remember (and re-tell) even the most involved jokes. 

      And then I’ve provided plenty in the way of material.  From “The Proctologist’s Discovery” to “The Snakebitten Golfer,” from “The Pig Farmer’s Dilemma” to “The Three Stages of Sex” (that last one is my Irish Catholic mother’s favorite), I’ve got your joke needs covered.  Though this isn’t a book for the kiddies – there are plenty of wonderfully dirty jokes contained herein – it’s all politically correct, generously annotated with hints to retain each joke, and (most importantly) hysterically funny.  

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