Nov 22

“Masterminds and Wingmen” by Rosalind Wiseman

Rosalind Wiseman, author of the 2002 book Queen Bees and Wannabes that inspired the 2004 movie Mean Girls, now addresses boys’ needs in her new Masterminds and WingmenHelping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World.

What is this thing she calls “Boy World?” From the publisher: “It’s a place where asking for help or showing emotional pain often feels impossible. Where sports and video games can mean everything, but working hard in school frequently earns ridicule from ‘the guys’ even as they ask to copy assignments. Where ‘masterminds’ dominate and friends ruthlessly insult each other but can never object when someone steps over the line. Where hiding problems from adults is the ironclad rule because their involvement only makes situations worse…”

Who helped Wiseman produce the material for this book? Over 150 volunteer young male “editors” ages eight to twenty-four who were recruited by the author.

In an Amazon Q & A on the book page, Wiseman describes some of the surprising things she learned while working on the book:

For example, it’s funny, but boys hate it when their parents pick them up from school or practice and ask a million questions. Other things I learned are more serious. I didn’t realize how often adults dismiss boys’ feelings, or that boys regularly have experiences where people assume they’re either hormone-crazed jerks or lazy slackers—or both. I also didn’t realize how complicated lying is in ‘Boy World.’ Boys lie for many different reasons and our (adult) responses when we catch boys doing it need to reflect an understanding of the reason they lied in the first place. If we don’t understand it, we can’t impart whatever values we want to teach boys.

Selected Reviews of Masterminds and Wingmen

Michael Thompson, PhD, psychologist/author: “Her new book, Masterminds and Wingmen, contains some of the best advice for communicating with boys that I’ve ever read: wise, clear and tough. The brilliant chapter on why boys lies to their parents is alone worth the price of the book.”

Wendy Mogel, PhD, psychologist/author: “This book is a gem. Rosalind Wiseman offers readers deep, nuanced, up-to-the-minute insight into today’s boy. She explains how and why boys, in so many areas, make it easy for parents and educators to miss out on their suffering and their strength. Most important, she shows how to reach out and lift boys up without getting on their nerves.”

Michael Gurian, counselor/author: “What makes Masterminds and Wingmen so remarkable is how thoroughly it decrypts boy-world language.  It allows us to really connect with boys. If you want to understand what’s in your son’s head, read this book!”