The Best of Art of Manliness 2012

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 22, 2012 · 40 comments

in Blog

Merry Christmas! The crew here at Art of Manliness will be taking a break until January 7 so that we can enjoy the holidays with family and friends, as well as reboot for 2013. Yes, we’re taking two weeks off. Whenever we’ve taken a week off in the past, it’s just been a break from posting new articles, but not from researching and writing….because you have to have something to come back with the next Monday! We haven’t had a full-on break from all things blog-related for ages, and after finishing our two most epic series of all time — Heading Out on Your Own and Manly Honor, we’re pretty much totally fried. So thanks for your patience as we get ready to make 2013 the best AoM year yet.

But before we knock off, here’s a look back at the good stuff from 2012 and some appreciation for those folks that make AoM possible.

The Most Popular Posts of 2012

How to Whistle With Your Fingers

Yes, That’s a Tampon in My Mouth: The Swiss Army Survival Tampon – 10 Survival Uses

50 Stocking Stuffers for Men

How to use a [BUSTED] Cell Phone to Meet 5 Basic Survival Needs

A Man’s Guide to the Scarf

6 Forgotten Drugstore Colognes and Aftershaves

The Desk Jockey Workout: 8 Ways to Stay in Shape at the Office

How to Roll Your Shirt Sleeves

Bosom Buddies: A Photo History of Male Affection

16 Manly Last Words

Editors’ Picks

Of course traffic isn’t the only measure of the worth of a post. Here are some of our personal favorites from this year:

The Generations of Men: How the Cycles of History Shape Your Values, Your Idea of Manhood, and Your Future [If you only read one article from this list, maybe even the site, make it this one. I think it's the most interesting and possibly important we've done. I've personally thought about it nearly every day since writing it, and you'll certainly never watch the news the same way again.]

Hold Fast: How Forgetfulness Torpedoes Your Journey to Becoming the Man You Want to Be, and Remembrance Is the Antidote

The Woodsman Workout

Understanding and Building Your Willpower (series)

Can’t Have the Sweet Without the Bitter

The Importance of Roughhousing With Your Kids

Freedom From…Freedom To

8 Personal Finance Lessons from Benjamin Franklin

History of the American Bachelor (series)

A Timeless Tradition: A Man’s Treasure Box

Want to Feel Like a Man? Then Act Like One

Manly Honor (series)

Heading Out on Your Own: 31 Basic Life Skills in 31 Days (series)

The AoM Archives

If the above posts aren’t enough to satiate your AoM appetite, I highly recommend browsing through our archives. We have over 1,600 articles in there waiting to be discovered.

A Thank You to Art of Manliness’ Contributors

The Art of Manliness has some of the best contributors in the world — gents that produce top-notch content and are a joy to work with.

Thank you to Creek Stewart from Willow Haven Outdoor, and Antonio Centeno of Real Men Real Style who combined to give us 4 of the 10 most popular posts this year. Where would we be without you guys, and your ability to share your knowledge of your areas of expertise in such an accessible and enriching way.

Thank you to Matt Moore of Have Her Over for Dinner and our newest contributing writer, Marcus Brotherton of Men Who Lead Well, for your excellent articles that add so much to the site.

Thank you to Darren Bush of Rutabaga, who doesn’t submit articles nearly enough, but always gives us gems when he does. And who also provided one of the best SYWMJ interviews of all time this year. He’s got a book in the works, and has promised us several excerpts, so I’m pretty pumped about that.

Thank you to the unmatchable Ted Slampyak of Storyteller’s Workshop for his illustrations and visual guides that are a delight to behold. I seriously get kind of giddy when Ted sends me what he’s cooked up for an article.

And thank you to Jeremy Anderberg, who’s been helping us edit articles as they’ve become meatier and the workload for the site has gone up.

Thank you men for helping keep the Art of Manliness going and making it excellent.

A Thank You to Art of Manliness Readers

We’re coming up on our fifth birthday this January, and what a long, awesome trip it’s been. The Art of Manliness had another great year of growth in 2012, going from 118,000 subscribers to 154,000, from 7 million pageviews a month to 15 million, from 80k fans on Facebook to 154k, and from 27k followers on Twitter to almost almost 50k.

Thank you to everyone who visited the site this last year, and definitely to our fans who have been around since way back in 2008. Thanks to those who left an insightful comment on one of our articles that added to the discussion and our own knowledge base. The discussions on AoM are definitely a cut above the rest. A big thanks to those who simply took the time to say they enjoyed an article. We put an insane amount of pressure on ourselves to only put out the best stuff, and you’ll never know how much your words of appreciation mean to us. It really keeps us going.

Thank you to everyone who shared our posts with other people via email, Facebook, Twitter or word of mouth. We aim both to entertain and to edify, and have no grand illusions about our importance, but our truest desire is to at the very least get more people thinking about society, their lives, the meaning of manliness, and the infinite worth of honorable men. We hope we can add, even in the smallest way, to starting some conversations, giving people direction, and spurring a healthier appreciation for manliness specifically, and the virtuous life generally.

We’ll be working hard in 2013 to keep bringing you top quality, totally free content that informs, entertains, and inspires. See you then!

Semper Virilis!

What are your favorite Art of Manliness articles from the past year? (Or of all time?) Your feedback is always welcome and helps us improve the site.


{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Oscar December 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Found your blog this year and have been a fan ever since. My personal favorite was the Eisenhower series on leadership.

Happy holidays to the AoM crew!

2 Daniel December 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

The Manly Honor series does not make it for an Editor’s Pick? I thought that this was one of the best series of articles that you guys have ever done and that it certainly deserves a nod.

3 Dave December 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm

2 weeks! I’m going to be in withdrawal — AoM is an important part of my morning ritual! Somehow I will make it through.

Thank you for all you do — there’s nothing else like AoM on the internet.

My favorite article this year? This one:

4 Brett McKay December 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm


Since we just finished it up, and linked to it in the intro, I figured it would be repetitive to add it to the Editor’s picks, which are mostly there to let folks who have joined us more recently know about them. But I definitely, humbly agree that the honor series was top of the deck this year and perhaps one of the best since we started.

5 Brett McKay December 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

…Of course, now I have the thought that maybe someone will be looking at this list next year, and will miss it without a specific shout out, so I decided to add it!

6 Andrew December 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm

It’s been a great year of learning new skills and thinking in new manly ways. Enjoy your break, I look forward to seeing your new articles in the coming year.

7 Sander December 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I discovered the website earlier this year, around May. I don’t remember how, but I’m very grateful for doing. I won’t say it “changed my life” ( ;-) ), but it certainly altered some of my views, and most of all I found a place where I could (almost) continually nod while reading things, as the feeling and values of this website were sort of lingering inside me for a longer period of time (next to other “worries” considering this world we live in).

Best wishes to the both of you, and also to the other contributors. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Belgium!

8 Dean December 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I just found this site a month ago and I regret not finding it sooner. I will celebrate your “time off” by catching up on all the articles posted on AoM.

I would like to add that AoM is great for the middle-aged man looking to recapture the “manliness”, we remember growing up.

Merry Christmas!

9 sugapablo December 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Thanks for the warning that you’re going dark for a bit. Big fan. I’ve purchased both books and RSS subscribe to the blog. Great stuff!

10 Benjamin December 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Man, you all did some great work this year! Thanks for the recap. I even caught a few articles that slipped through the cracks on me.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the 31 Life Skills series. Although I’m several years past my “moving out on your own” phase, I thought that was extremely well done and still found several helpful tips. I forced my 20 year old brother to read them all.

Keep up the good work. I’ll definitely be reading.

11 Shaun December 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Found this site a couple of months ago during one of my lows. And I agree with another user here that I regret not having found AoM sooner. I just wanted to let you know that your message isn’t only being heard by an older audience. This 16 year old is learning a lot and has still a lot to learn. So keep it up and Happy Holidays to you and your fam!

12 Daniel December 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Wow, how did I miss that link in the intro?

Thank you for all of the hard work that you do. My year was made much richer by all of the insights that you gave me to reflect on and put into practice.

13 Chris December 23, 2012 at 4:52 am

Merry Christmas to you and Kate. I am a huge fan of the site, and look forward to more great articles in 2013.

14 Filip December 23, 2012 at 5:27 am

Thank you for a whole year of inspiration!
I’m definitely a better man since I started reading AoM.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

15 Talvin Lee December 23, 2012 at 6:21 am

This is by far the best website in the world! Great job!!!

16 David Y December 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

Thanks for another great yeat at AoM.

I hope all the McKay’s have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

17 Rex Alfred December 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

My favorite was probably “The Generations of Men: How the Cycles of History Shape Your Values, Your Idea of Manhood, and Your Future.” I think about that one a lot. Great job, guys (and Kate!). If nothing else, my bedroom is cleaner this year thanks to the “A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place” article :) Merry Christmas, and have a good break!

18 Antonio Centeno December 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Brett & Kate,

Thank you for the mention and I am very proud to be a part of your mission of helping men be better fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons.

Here is to your continued success in 2013!

19 Johnny Perez December 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Brett and Kate Mckay, I want to give you my deepest gratitude for giving me inspiration and ideas in what I consider the most influential time for me regarding my manliness. I started reading this blog when I was 18, back when you were just starting. Now I am 22 and I believe that this site has influenced me for the better. It has taken the place of absent fathers or father figures in my life and I am glad I found it. Amazing what one google search on a boring workday could do for me and the rest of my life. You all change more lives than you know. You are shaping the young and older minds of this country. In fact, the world. Again, you have my thanks.

20 Mark V December 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Thanks for the work you do. I hope you and the family have a fantastic break, happy holidays!

There are so many gems throughout AOM’s first quadrennium that it’s hard to pick favorites.

Having said that, a definite favorite of mine was:

I found this article extremely incisive and I believe it would really strike a chord with many men, especially those in the “millennial” generation like myself.

With the deluge of information we’ve become accustomed to consuming, I think this is a topic worth reviving in 2013.

21 Terry December 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Thanks to AOM I re-learned the “art of shaving” about 3 years ago and have never looked back. I look forward to every new post! Have a safe, manly and very Merry Christmas and New Year.

22 Jacob H December 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

I stumbled across this blog early in the year and have visited it a few times a day ever since. I’ve told all my men friends, father in-law, brother in-law and other family men to check it out. What a pleasure to have a site so full of “Man” content without any of the smut or garbage normally associated with a “Man” site. Thanks AoM and all the best in 2013.

23 Joe DeGiorgio December 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I’ve been reading your content for several years now, and it’s always getting better.

Loved the Eisenhower series as well as the Train Like A Fighter articles.

24 Bryce December 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Thanks, and tidings of comfort and joy to you and yours!

25 Adam December 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm

There are a lot of great posts here. Looking forward to what you are going to write in 2013.

26 Andria December 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I discovered your blog about a month ago and it’s wonderful. My dad was a manly man who served in the Air Force and could fix or build anything.

He taught me how a man is suppose to treat a woman by how he treated my mom.

Even though he passed away a long time ago, I’m glad I got a chance to know him and learn from him for 12 years of my life.

Thanks for bringing the sexy back to manliness. Enjoy your holiday and I’ll be reading next year.

27 Nate December 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Thanks as always for the great content. Catching up on all the articles I skimmed or passed by today while hanging out at my in-laws. Merry Christmas!

28 Chris December 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm

We hope you have a wonderful and much deserved break! Thanks.

29 Philip December 26, 2012 at 12:19 am

Thanks for this. I’ve fallen behind with a move and a new job and I need to get back into the reading habit. This winter break I’ll catch up to the series and best of the last year.

30 Jim S ( Glasgow) December 26, 2012 at 5:59 am

Hi Brett, Kate,& Gus.

I truly want to thank you so very much for your love and concern people in the world today.
Until I stumbled upon your website I certainly thought that nobody cared about manliness and the importance of reaching it, but the manly virtue residing in you has come forth so as to help others, and for this I am so very appreciative.

31 Jimmy December 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

Great work thus far! I’d like more articles for the young married man starting out in life – buying a new house, getting the financial house in order/started, etc.

32 Creek Stewart December 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

Brett & Kate: It is I who is thankful! Thank you both again for the opportunities you have provided.

33 Dimitri December 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

From Holland I wish you all the very best.
Enjoy your holliday as much as I am enjoying mine.
If next year is only half as inspiring as this one than I’ll be reading your posts every day again.

34 Jacob December 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Thank y’all for everything! I’m graduating from The Univ. of Texas in May and the “Heading Out” series has been especially great for me. Something I’ll be referring back to for some time!

35 Daniel V. December 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Geetings from mexico, i´been following this site since 2009, many of your articles, have been a great help in various times of my life, i can recall naow, is forgiveness manly???, the series of resiliency, embracing NO, Delaying gratification, so really THANKS, i hope this year come whit many good surprises. so KEEP GOING! AOM

36 Andy January 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I wanted to wish a very happy and prosperous New Year to Brett, Kate, all the contributors, and all the readers of AoM. This is a fantastic site and I look forward to many great posts and new insights in the coming year. All the best!

37 Michiel January 2, 2013 at 6:32 am

All are great posts, although work and family sometimes let little time free. Many thanks for your keenness and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to reading new articles in 2013!


38 Dustin January 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Unfortunately, although I discovered the site early last year, I pegged it as a work-distraction and did not recognize the value it held until late this year. Since then, it has become my favorite site and one I have recommended to numerous men.

As part of my resolutions for 2013, I am seeking to slow down and take more time with some things. Contrary to what many in my generation seem to believe, not everything needs to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some things should be practiced as an art. To that end, I would love to see more articles along the lines of “how to shave like your grandpa.” I am resolving to shave (settling for a double edged safety razor for now) and write (dip pen and ink) like the classics. True to the rule of three, I would love to add one more. Do you have any suggestions?

39 Wendy January 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I’ve been following your blog for a few years and enjoy the articles greatly. Many are not just for men, but insightful topics that would pertain to both genders. However, the insight you give into the concepts of what makes men manly has been the most instructive to me as a writer and is what keeps me returning. I feel that I am writing male characters that are more true to life thanks to this blog.

Take your well deserved break and have a wonderful time with your family. We’ll all still be here waiting for your next post.

40 Tim Miller January 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

Merry belated Christmas Brett and Kate and other guys on this great site. I actually didn’t have the best Christmas last year because i caught a cold around the Christmas to New Year.

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