Self-Made Man Book Summary - Self-Made Man Book explained in key points

Self-Made Man summary

Norah Vincent

Brief summary

Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent is a fascinating memoir where the author explores gender roles by living as a man. It offers a thought-provoking and insightful look at the differences in how men and women are treated in society.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Self-Made Man
    Summary of key ideas

    Exploring the Male World

    In Self-Made Man, Norah Vincent embarks on a social experiment, disguising herself as a man named Ned for a year and a half. Her goal is to gain insight into the male world, to understand the pressures and expectations that men face. Vincent's journey begins with a visit to a men's support group, where she witnesses the raw emotions and vulnerabilities that men often hide.

    She then moves on to a monastery, where she experiences the strict discipline and emotional suppression that monks endure. Vincent's time at the monastery provides her with a deeper understanding of the male psyche and the societal expectations that shape it. She also explores the world of male bonding through joining a men's bowling league and a men's therapy group.

    Challenges and Revelations

    As Vincent continues her journey, she faces numerous challenges in maintaining her male disguise. She struggles with the expectations of male behavior, the pressure to suppress emotions, and the constant fear of being discovered. Despite these challenges, Vincent gains valuable insights into the male experience, particularly the pressure to conform to traditional masculine norms.

    One of the most significant revelations for Vincent is the loneliness and isolation that many men experience. She observes how men often lack the emotional support networks that women have, leading to higher rates of depression and suicide. Vincent also explores the world of male-female relationships, experiencing firsthand the different dynamics and expectations that exist between the sexes.

    Understanding Masculinity

    Throughout Self-Made Man, Vincent delves deep into the concept of masculinity. She examines the societal expectations placed on men to be strong, stoic, and successful, and the detrimental impact these expectations can have on men's mental health. Vincent also explores the ways in which men are conditioned to view women, often as objects of desire or as emotional caretakers.

    As her time as Ned comes to an end, Vincent reflects on her experiences and the lessons she has learned. She acknowledges the complexity of gender identity and the limitations of traditional gender roles. Vincent also highlights the need for greater understanding and empathy between men and women, as well as the importance of challenging societal norms that restrict individual expression.

    Concluding Thoughts

    In conclusion, Self-Made Man is a thought-provoking exploration of masculinity and the male experience. Norah Vincent's daring social experiment provides a unique perspective on the challenges and pressures faced by men in our society. By immersing herself in the male world, Vincent sheds light on the complexities of gender identity and the impact of societal expectations. Her journey as Ned offers valuable insights into the human experience, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about gender and identity.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Self-Made Man about?

    Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent is a thought-provoking exploration of gender identity and societal expectations. Through her own experiences living as a man for 18 months, Vincent delves into the complexities of masculinity and the ways in which it shapes our lives. This eye-opening book challenges traditional notions of gender and offers a unique perspective on what it means to be a man in today's world.

    Self-Made Man Review

    Self-Made Man (2006) is a thought-provoking exploration of gender identity as Norah Vincent goes undercover as a man for a year. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With courageous honesty, Vincent provides a unique and authentic perspective on gender dynamics and the struggles faced by men in society.
    • The book offers insights into the male experience that are eye-opening and challenge conventional stereotypes.
    • Through her immersive experiences and encounters, Vincent creates a narrative that is captivating and engrossing, keeping readers engaged from start to finish.

    Who should read Self-Made Man?

    • Those interested in exploring gender identity and societal expectations
    • Readers who enjoy personal narratives and investigative journalism
    • Individuals looking to challenge their perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of masculinity

    About the Author

    Norah Vincent is an author and journalist known for her thought-provoking work. She has written for publications such as The New York Times and The Village Voice, covering a wide range of topics. Vincent's book, Self-Made Man, explores her experiences living as a man for 18 months and provides a unique perspective on gender and identity. Her other notable works include Voluntary Madness and Adeline.

    Categories with Self-Made Man

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Self-Made Man FAQs 

    What is the main message of Self-Made Man?

    Self-Made Man explores gender identity and societal expectations through the author's experiences living as a man for 18 months.

    How long does it take to read Self-Made Man?

    The reading time for Self-Made Man varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Self-Made Man a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Self-Made Man is a thought-provoking and insightful read that sheds light on gender dynamics. A recommended choice for those curious about societal expectations.

    Who is the author of Self-Made Man?

    Self-Made Man is written by Norah Vincent.

    What to read after Self-Made Man?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Self-Made Man, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
    • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Happiness by Richard Layard
    • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
    • The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
    • Justice by Michael J. Sandel
    • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday