Sunday, August 5, 2012

"Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's little lessons for making it work" by Tim Gunn

On the runway of life, Tim Gunn is the perfect life coach... You've watched him mentor talented designers on the hit television show Project Runway. Now the inimitable Tim Funn shares his personal secrets for "making it work" - in your career, relationships, and life.

Filled with delightfully dishy stories of fashion's greatest divas, behind-the-scenes glimpses of Runway's biggest drama queens, and never-before-revealed insights into Tim's private life, [this book] is like no other how-to-book you've ever read.

In the world according to Tim, there are no shortcuts to success. Hard work, creativity, and skill are just the beginning. By following eighteen tried-and-true principles, you can apply Tim's rules to anything you set your mind to. You'll learn why Tim frowns on displays of bad behavior, like the vitriolic outburst by Martha Stewart's daughter about her mother's name-brand merchandise. You'll discover the downfalls of divadom as he describes Vogue's Andre Leon Talley being hand-fed grapes and Ann Wintour being carried downstairs by her bodyguards. And you'll get Tim's view on the backstabbing by one designer on Project Runway and how it brilliantly back-fired.

Then there are his down-to-earth guidelines for making life better - for yourself and others - in small and large ways, especially in an age that favors comfort over politeness, ease over style. Texting at the dinner table? Wearing shorts to the theater? Not in Tim's book. Living a well-mannered life of integrity and character is hard work, he admits, but the rewards are many: being a good friend, being glamorous and attractive, and being a success - much like Tim himself!

He is never one to mince words. But Tim Gunn is always warm, witty, wise and wonderfully supportive - just the mentor you need to design a happy, creative, and fulfilling life that will never go out of style.

So the secret is out. No, not about Gunn being gay. No, not the one about him not having had sex for decades after a bad breakup/AIDS scare. Nope, the biggest secret that I think Gunn has been keeping is this...

Tim Gunn is a genuinely nice guy. Really!

While reading this book, his tips for life, that's the one thing that keeps coming through again and again. After all, we've got chapters here like "Take the high road" and "Niceties are nice". Gunn is never the snarky queen that most would expect here. He is sincere in his offerings of how to make one's way through life, but he's also honest as well. (I love the title of the 2nd chapter, "The world owes you...nothing"!)

Gunn gives some background regarding his trials and tribulations, and those are nice examples of what he's talking about. He has taken the high road himself several times, even though he's been sorely tempted to be just as nasty in return. He's just got a nice style to his writing, one that makes it seem as if you'd totally be able to have a conversation if you happened to meet him on the street. He's the gay everyman, I suppose. And he's just about as worried as I am about where the youth of today are headed. In Chapter 5, he's talking about students who say they're not "inspired", and that they need "inspiration" but don't know where to find it. Gunn responds "Look around you!... Look out the window. Go for a walk. Go to a movie. Go to a museum. Go see a show. Read a book. Go to the library.... Have a conversation." THANK YOU. It seems like too many young people today expect the world to just give them what they need. Wake up! You need to look for these things yourself - which makes them more meaningful in the long run. Sigh.

I definitely recommend this book. It's short, it's sweet, and he's got some very good advice. If you're not going to pick it up, here are the rules to live by, and I would agree that they are some very good rules for life.

1. Make it work
2. The world owes you...nothing
3. Take the high road
4. Don't abuse your power - or surrender it
5. Get inspired if it kills you
6. Never underestimate karma
7. Niceties are nice
8. Physical comfort is overrated
9. Talk to me: there's always another side to the story
10. Be a good guest or stay home (I won't judge you - I hate parties)
11. Use technology: don't let it use you
12. Don't lose your sense of smell
13. Know what to get off your chest and what to take to the grave
14. When in Rome... I still wouldn't eat monkey brains
15. When you need help, get it
16. Take risks! Playing it safe is never really safe
17. Give back (but know your limits)
18. Carry on!

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