The Manvotionals Recitation Contest

by Brett & Kate McKay on January 29, 2012 · 37 comments

in Blog

Last November we published our second book: The Art of Manliness Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues. The book is a collection of the best advice ever written down for men. From the philosophy of Aristotle to the success books of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the speeches and essays of leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, Manvotionals contains the manly wisdom of the ages–a myriad of poems, quotes, and essays designed to inspire men to live life to the fullest and realize their complete potential as men.

While some of the selections in Manvotionals are best read silently, many are better enjoyed and experienced audibly. They were meant to be spoken aloud and were written in a time when people enjoyed nothing more than to sit around with friends and family, listening to each other take turns reciting their favorite poems and bits of literature.

Nothing stirs the soul like lines of epic poetry or a great speech being read manfully and with real vigor. And this is where you come in, dear reader.

We’re calling on YOU to help us bring to life the words in Manvotionals. 

The Manvotionals Recitation Contest

On AoM, we’ve talked a lot about the art of rhetoric and the importance of oratory. It’s one of those classic skills great men from history devoted themselves to developing. And now here’s your chance to work on and display your prowess in the rhetorical canon of delivery.

We want you to upload a video to YouTube of yourself reciting your favorite selection from our book, The Art of Manliness Manvotionals. 

Want an example of what we’re looking for? Here’s Dennis Hopper reciting If by Rudyard Kipling (found on page 37 in Manvotionals) on “The Johnny Cash Show” back in 1970:

Slow clap. My mustache just grew another 2 inches.

We want you to do something similar, but you can pick whichever selection you like best from Manvotionals. Get as creative as you want with your recitation. If you’re reciting Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena,” dress up like Teddy and ride a moose. If that’s not your style, sit in your worn leather chair by the fire drinking a glass of scotch while the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow roll off your lips. Or just simply sit in front of your computer’s webcam without any props or special effects and bellow out the philosophy of Seneca in your manliest voice.

The Prizes

Yeah. You really have to put yourself out there for this contest. For some of you, the thought of uploading a video of yourself reciting a famous speech to YouTube already has you shaking in your long johns. But fortune favors the brave, my friend.

The winner of the Manvotionals recitation contest will be walking away with this epic prize package:

$50 Amazon Gift Card

To assist you in your quest to acquire the manly wisdom of the ages, we will provide the winner of the contest with a $50 gift card to Amazon. Use it fill your library with books from our AoM approved book lists or other edifying books. Or you can buy this sledgehammer. We don’t care. You’re a grown man. Spend your gift card however you want.

Col. Littleton No. 9 Journal

A man needs a place to write down the deep, manful thoughts that come to him while reading Manvotionals. A run-of-the-mill spiral notebook simply isn’t worthy of such prose. You risk that your immortal writings will be confused for common ephemera and thrown out with yesterday’s junk mail.

You need something with distinction, gravitas, and the ruggedness to be passed down to your progeny. The Col. Littleton No. 9 Journal fits the bill. Wrapped up in rugged steer hide, the No. 9 Journal is the perfect place to record your life happenings and philosophical ponderings.

Value: $145

Large Saddleback Leather Briefcase

The bag that needs no introduction. Manvotionals can help you carve out a path in life. The Saddleback leather briefcase can hold the supplies you’ll need for your adventures along the way.

Value: $555

How to Enter

Here’s how to get your hands on this awesome prize package. Follow these rules carefully lest you be struck down.

1. The source material of your recitation must come from The Art of Manliness Manvotionals. Your selection must come from The Art of Manliness Manvotionals. You can recite the whole selection found in the book, or an excerpt from a selection found in the book. If you don’t have a copy of Manvotionals, buy one or borrow it from a friend or from your library.

2. Upload a video of yourself reciting your Manvotional to YouTube. Once you’ve picked what you want to recite, have your wife, friend, or pet honey badger record you reciting your Manvotional and then upload it to YouTube.

3. Title your video “Manvotionals:” followed by your subtitle. Example: Manvotionals: The Village Blacksmith

4. Tag your video with “Manvotionals” and email us a link to your video. After you’ve uploaded your video, let us know! First, tag your YouTube video with “Manvotionals.” Then email us a link to your video using our contact form. If you don’t do this step, you’re not entered in the contest.

5. Only one submission per person! You only get one shot at this, so pick your best recitation. If you submit more than one submission, you’ll automatically be disqualified altogether. Only one!

Deadline to Enter

The deadline to enter is February 19, 2012 at 12 AM CST. That gives you three, count ‘em three, weeks to create your masterpiece.

Selecting a Winner

Entries will be judged both on the quality of the recitation and on the creativity of the video. After we receive the videos, we will pick our favorite entries and post them on the site. Starting February 20, 2012 and running until February 27, 2012 voting will be open to the public at The Art of Manliness website. The recitation video with the most votes by February 27 at 10:00 pm CST will be named the winner.

What are you waiting for? Start your reciting and recording today!


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mtn Jim Fisher January 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm

now this looks like fun! count me in…

Mountain Jim

2 Tyler January 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I would, but I’m 17. That disappoints me greatly. I love public speaking and reciting great literature.

3 Charlie January 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Totally gonna rock this!

4 Cleveland N. January 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm

“Vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!”

5 Geoff January 30, 2012 at 1:07 am

It’s a pity this is only open to residents of the US. What about your dedicated followers overseas?

6 Brian U January 30, 2012 at 3:06 am

Game on >:D

7 James January 30, 2012 at 6:21 am

This sounds great! I’m in! Thanks Brett.

8 Martin January 30, 2012 at 7:12 am

Echoing Geoff’s comment, i’ve missed out on a few fine manly competitions due to not being in the USA.
Are there too many legal restrictions for having contestants overseas?

9 anthonyciofani January 30, 2012 at 7:50 am

sweetttttttttttttttttttttttt Im in to

10 Alberto Oliveira January 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

I’m with the other non-US citizens. You should find a way to open up the contests, I’m sure us fans outside the US are more than a few.

11 curt chierici January 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

Sweet! Way to make it interesting.

12 curt chierici January 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

Sweet! Way to make it interesting.

13 curt chierici January 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

Sweet! What a great way to make it interesting.

14 curt chierici January 30, 2012 at 9:18 am


15 Will January 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

The crucial question: must it be from memory? That separates the men from the boys.

16 Chris January 30, 2012 at 9:39 am

United States Naval Academy Plebes memorized the Man in the Arena this summer, among other great works. Watch out for USNA ’15!

17 Abraham Limpo Martinez January 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

Although I won’t be able to participate, as I live outside USA and english is not my native language (so it could call it “botchery) I may submit an “honorary” entry, just for fun, and to show that manly men also live outside the mythical frontiers of USA

18 Guy January 30, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hey Brett,

Nice find on the Dennis Hopper clip! Good stuff.

19 Charlie January 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

Awesome Contest. Nice find on the Hopper clip, I did not know that existed. The funny part is I just read Kipling’s poem to a friend the other day over the phone and that is almost exactly how I read it.

20 Frank January 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Love the book & love this contest.

21 Brett McKay January 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

A quarter of AoM’s readers are from outside the US and they are dearly beloved by us. However, every country in the world has a different set of complicated laws for contests, and some require that you pay a fee to hold a contest. Even big corporations typically limit their contests to US residents for this reason, so you can imagine the difficulty in opening a contest worldwide for a mom and pop operation. My sincere apologies to our loyal brethren overseas and you are certainly welcome to upload a video just for fun, to show us Yanks how it’s done.

22 Trevor January 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Dammit living in Canada has screwed me over again!

23 Henrique January 30, 2012 at 8:29 pm

You know something wrong in AoM? Your contests aren’t open to Brazilian people. C’mon! What’s stoping us from opening a branch here in Brazil? (I’m in, gentlemen)

But anyways, another great initiative of AoM. And great prizes, by the way.

Stay Manly!

24 Brew January 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Hopper missed line three: “If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…” That’s one of the most relevant points of “If” for society today.

25 lester2k1 January 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

can residents outside the US qualify for this contest? :) avid reader from The Philippines here.


26 Robert James Kobus January 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Awesome contest!

27 Wolf February 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm

This sounds like great fun. I’m in!

28 Gustavo February 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Brett! You have to start making these contests for non-US residents! I live in Chile and would have killed to participate. Loved the book by the way. It was a Christmas gift from my dad.

29 Ross February 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

Got mine recorded and uploaded and submitted, but will we get any sort of confirmation the entry was received?

GREAT contest by the way-had a lot of fun planning then going out to record my entry!

30 Twyla Lapointe February 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Also, complaints from a Canadian. My husband is a great orator, I’d have asked him to enter but the State-only rules are very UNMANLY. =)

31 Aaron February 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Maybe when Fed-Ex becomes a sponsor of a competition they will open it up to the 93% of the world’s population that don’t live in the States.

32 Angel February 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

…and hopefully Taiwan is included in the ” the 93% of the world’s population that don’t live in the States”…interesting competition, though!

33 Chandler February 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

Tyler I agree with you, I am 16 and am very disappointed you must be 18. I am wondering if we had a parental consent form if we could enter?

34 Tobias February 16, 2012 at 4:35 am

I wish to add my voice in praising the AoM site, the prices and gentlemen everywhere. But I do agree this US-only policy is getting a tad tragic. Surely it can’t be that hard?

At least give us a compelling reason why we, the world (Sweden in my case), can’t partake.

35 William Hoover February 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I have to say – this is an epic prize package! My video is uploaded. …here’s to hoping…

36 Jason J Fedelem February 19, 2012 at 12:37 am

Men: review any set of rules where any contest is placed, and I’ll gurantee you that two of the first restrictions are US only, 18 years of age. Legal stuff. Not Brett’s fault, but rather the fault of the highly litigious and regulated society we live in

37 Joseph Kraft February 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Here is my entry, if anyone is interested. I choose Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena.”

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