"We are the whirled."
The perfect anytime gift.
This priceless and timeless three-handbook set (Cook Book, Playbook, and Whirled Book) is the final trilogy in our "How to Life" guides, and is filled with practical, old-school basics, some hero worship, and the art and science of living well. Knowledge you can carry around in your pocket is the best present ever. Celebrate Dads and Grads. Any brainiac's birthday. Back to school. A housewarming. Your fabulous Valentine lover. Thanks, mom! You.
What are you waiting for, Christmas?
Jam-packed with DIYs and How-tos.
Raid the pantry and Frankenstein some homemade créme de corps together; chicken fry a kangaroo; become the "Egyptian" at a restaurant; and even a step-by-step guide on the best way to buy the American Dream, for cheap. Life is certainly scary sometimes, but wonderful and dangerous adventure's all around, kids, for the taking, as easy as kiss my hand.
See for yourself:
Don't believe us.
Mike Lerario, author of Leadership in Balance, retired army special forces officer and West Point grad from Fayetteville, North Carolina had some great things to say about the First Edition of The Official Old's Cool Education. The Second Edition, offered here hot off the press, is just as well-bred, well-read, and well-said.
We can't imagine a better gift than enlightenment and wisdom, in the palm of your hand! The Official Old's Cool Education is boredom's annulment.
The ten best book gifts ever. Period.
In our journey through life, both metaphorical and literal, we always try to keep in mind poet Gary Snider's simple mantra:
Stay together. Learn the flowers. Go light.
Here's our list of the best books you could ever give or receive, the funnest, most faithful, practical old-school compagnons de voyage in the history of the universe, whether your adventure is a local daytime jaunt over hill and dale, a well-needed holiday to the seaside sun and sand, a longer, stranger in a strange land-type quest, or a quick Caribbean cruise, these tomes will ensure ease and delight.
Or you could always just stay home and go on a figurative vacation of discovery deep into the heart of your own head from the comfort of your own couch–reading is that simple and transformative.
Seriously, these gifts, for ludic and literate ladies, as well as the cultured and discerning gentleman, are uniquely portable magic:
1. The Odyssey is the most important stone in the foundation of western literature because it is the first, and best. This timeless classic has endured and entertained for 3,000 years for good reason. Read it.
2. Please read The Gulag Archipelago by Alexandre Solzhenitsyn, now. And then let's have a chat. You will be a different person, guaranteed. "Best Non-Fiction Book of the Twentieth Century." – Time
3. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon is a masterpiece of history, philosophy and literature. I always liked this quip, from The Duke of Gloucester, brother of King George III, on seeing the second monstrous volume: “Another damned thick, square book! Always, scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?"
4. The Bible. We're egotheists over here (we think we're God!), and you don't need us to tell you that The Bible is absolutely stunning: it's done more to shape western thought and culture than everything else combined. By far the best-selling book of all time, with good reason.
5. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. I'm going to quote Shakespeare's contemporary and critic Ben Jonson, who states in a poem he wrote about his rival that not only is he superior to other English playwrights, but to the Greek and Latin masters as well. Johnson says first and definitively what has become a universal opinion: “Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show/ To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe/ He was not of an age, but for all time!”
6. According to Luc Sante, "The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas has become a fixture of Western civilization's literature, as inescapable and immediately identifiable as Mickey Mouse, Noah's flood, and the story of Little Red Riding Hood." It's a dashing, romantic, and heartbreaking hero's journey that we all wish we were on.
7. Matthew Arnold called Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays "the most important work done in prose."
8. I think most self-help books are horse manure. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey isn't. In fact I really think it's the only one you'll ever need, if indeed you do need help. Some of us don't.
9. The Elements of Style has been mostly on my desk for the past 35 years. Have I ever read it I hear some of you wise snots asking. As a matter of fact I just opened it the other day, and a photograph of an old girlfriend fell out. Cinematic and sublime. And the book's fabulous too.
10. This last book was the hardest–we thought about Confessions of St. Augustine, Meditations, Democracy in America, Against Interpretation, Crime and Punishment, Catcher in the Rye, and Brave New World, to name a few, but finally settled on this unsung stunner: West with the Night by Beryl Markham.
11. In a twisted, This is Spinal Tap way, The Official Old's Cool Education is the bastard child of all of these impressive parents.
Are you ready to give TOOCE II the old college try?