The Art of Manliness Podcast Episode #49: The Way of Men With Jack Donovan

by Brett on August 3, 2013 · 14 comments

in Podcast


In today’s episode I talk to Jack Donovan, author of the book The Way of Men. We discuss his conception of a universal code of masculinity and if it’s even possible to live “the way of men” in modern society. Be sure to tune into this one for Jack’s always incisive and thought-provoking comments on manhood.

Highlights from the Show:
  • The difference between being a good man and being good at being a man
  • The four tactical virtues of manliness
  • What mastery has to do with manliness
  • Flamboyant dishonor
  • Why every man needs a gang


Listen to the podcast!

Find us on Stitcher

Special thanks to Keelan O’Hara for editing the podcast!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ceraphym August 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Great stuff.

2 Ashley S. Palmer August 4, 2013 at 6:31 am

Excellent interview!

I found myself chuckling and enthusiastically nodding in agreement with the identification of displays of flamboyant dishonour as an exhibition of Nietzschean ressentiment. An astute and apropos observation!

It would be great to have Jack Donovan return to the podcast to expand upon various aspects of the tactical virtues. I’d be particularly interested to hear a discussion on the importance of striving for peak physical fitness and the study of historical examples and philosophical schools of thought that encourage heroism and glory as an inspirational path for men to overcome the softening of body and mind resulting from modern-day egalitarianism and a society that champions the inversion of manliness and Virtus.

Keep up the great work!

3 Frank August 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

Really interesting podcast. One thing you guys mentioned that really stood out was talking about that sort of primal desire to develop and live those virtues in a scenario where it is a necessity (“one day as a lion”). That’s something I’ve always had an underlying desire for, so it was great to hear it articulated and explained in such a way and to know that other men often feel the same.

4 S.E. August 4, 2013 at 7:08 am

great podcast. i don’t agree that it’s not possible to be moral with everyone/that having to choose your family over other families is against morality – every moral system recognizes the need to prioritize/the right of self-defense – of tribe or of family or self. I’m don’t really think we need to take it to that kind of level. to me, part of manliness is magnanimity, expansiveness of character, generosity, concern for humanity not just self/extensions of self.

5 neuro August 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

good stuff! great intro for people.

6 Milo Morris August 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm


I cannot tell you how pleased I am to see you do this interview with Mr. Donovan. I have been hoping that something like this would happen ever since The Way of Men first came out.

The book caused me to reflect on my life to this point, and how I want it to proceed going forward. And while I’m not young enough to necessarily “start the world,” I can certainly view it differently and behave accordingly.

There is one thing I want to add to the conversation–because I know lots of people are asking they can be more manly, and .guide boys into being men. You and Jack talked about the kinds of jobs most men have, and how being a cog in the wheel of corporate America can deteriorate a man’s will to keep being manly. I think one thing that has helped me is keeping whatever job I’m employed in at any time separate from my identity. Now, I’m not talking about jobs where I actually get to ply my craft as a musician, because those jobs are what I want my life to be. I’m talking about the boring (and sometimes not-so-boring) jobs that I’ve had over the decades. You see in my family (and many other black families), we had a sense of being outsiders. We were taught that “its a white man’s game.” That might seem racist, but for most blacks of my generation and before, that was the truth. So we approached the job market from the perspective learning, and getting into “The Game.” It was a mostly unspoken assumption that managing “the Game” effectively not only required a level of mastery of oneself, but it also meant being a little less “black” while you were doing it. There was also the concept that if a white man came along who wanted your job, he’d find a way to get it because white employers have little/no loyalty to black employees. These stereotyped attitudes allowed me to maintain a certain detachment from what I was doing, even though I never really believed in most of them. Even when the jobs were paying well, and I was moving up the food-chain, I never let my ego get wrapped up in the job itself. It was always something I did to make money, not part of the essence of who I am as a man.

So with the right attitude, I think a man can operate as a just another worker, and still maintain his sense of manliness.

7 Phillip August 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Concerning being called a coward.

What ever happened to “Sticks & stones…”

Rather than getting your feathers ruffled, Epictitus mentions to tell your would-be offender that “Apparently you don’t know all my faults.”

8 Dave August 7, 2013 at 7:28 am

Could anyone recommend me book which is similar to that one Donovan has written?

9 Philip August 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Not sure I agree with Jack Donovan’s love for the violence and recklessness of gang behavior. Some of this sounds similar to the people who read Fight Club and miss the dark satire

10 Mike August 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Milo – Great post and you make some good points!!!!

11 MMusial August 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I found this podcast very interesting I will deffinately need to check out Mr Donovan’s book. I think it would be interesting to hear more about what’s lines is. From his point of view based solely on the podcast it sounds more like manliness unrestrained by a moral guide line which is something I find very important when considering what is a man.

12 Stan September 29, 2013 at 1:35 am

Jack Donovan’s thesis applies strongly to a young man who doesn’t yet have a woman, community, and children to support and protect. Those roles–husband, citizen, and father–can satisfy a grown man’s thirst for purpose and honor if he feels appreciated by the people who depend upon him.

13 Matt October 4, 2013 at 2:19 am

I haven’t finished reading ‘the way of men’ yet. But the book and some other conversations with friends have got me thinking about society as it is now and where manhood stands.

I think one major problem in western culture is that we’re taught to try and change rather than new ways to cope with the new modern sociological burdens men face. Women carry babies, men carry the burdens. A mans burden used to be survival, war. Now a mans burden is sociological, of course sociological burden has always been there but in this modern society that burden is magnified tenfold. We’re told we have to change as men to be ‘good’ in this society and instead we need to be teaching boys and men how to cope with their new modern problems, a way that men can express these as men.

14 Leo October 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Just listened to this podcast. Interesting stuff. You had me up until the comments about “flamboyant dishonor.” I think it’s important to draw clear distinctions among: 1) men who refuse to abide by any standards out of whiny individualism masking immaturity, 2) men who have different cultural and political views from Jack Donovan, and 3) gay and transgender people. 1) is objectionable, 2) is debatable, and 3) is part of the natural variation of our species.

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