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You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations Hardcover – Feb 28 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (Feb. 28 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439167850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439167854
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #318,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“All these years, Michael Ian Black has not gotten enough credit for what a good writer he is. This book is charming and good company and—best of all—amazingly honest. And really, really funny, of course—though you probably already guessed at that part.”
— Ira Glass, This American Life

"Memorable and funny. . . . An amusing look at masculine insecurity and confusion."
—Kirkus Reviews

“This book is so frank, so full of amusingly embarrassing confessions, I should probably be giving Michael Black a hug instead of a blurb.”
—Sarah Vowell, New York Times bestselling author and essayist

“It’s no surprise that Michael Ian Black’s book is hysterical. But I was surprised by how heartfelt and touching his memoir is. It’s true: Michael Ian Black has emotions!”
—A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All

"I loved My Custom Van. But I loved You're Not Doing It Right even more. Reading this book felt like taking a long road trip with Michael himself—which I’ve done. And I actually recommend the book more. Touching, hilarious, and truthful all at once. What else do you want, America?"
—Mike Birbiglia, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepwalk with Me

"Dear Michael Ian Black: please stop writing things in books that I wish I had written myself, it's starting to make me feel bad. Also, would you like to be friends someday? I sure would."
—Samantha Bee, senior correspondent on The Daily Show and author of I Know I Am But What Are You?

"Michael Ian Black is one of the finest comedy minds of our generation and a master at assembling words in a hilariously pleasing way. You would have to be a vapid crapsack not to enjoy this book."
—Chris Hardwick

About the Author

Michael Ian Black has starred in many television series and films, including Michael and Michael Have Issues, Stella, The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Viva Variety, VH1’s I Love the… series, and NBC’s Ed. He wrote the screenplay for Run, Fat Boy Run and wrote and directed the film Wedding Daze. Michael is also a popular stand-up comedian and world champion poker player (not true). He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids.

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By Brett Madill on July 23 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I devoured this book in a few short hours and was left wanting more, which is pretty much all you can ask for in such a collection. MIB's sophomore effort hit home for me and was incredibly relatable. I think he's a very funny performer but if gave that up to write more like this I would be content.

Read this if you possess human emotions.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Mr. Black tells about meeting his wife, getting a dog, grieving over the death of that dog, having children and generally getting on with life. It’s heart-warming in places, funny in others and occasionally thought provoking.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa G on March 11 2012
Format: Hardcover
For what it's worth, I think he's doing it right. This is a must have for any fan of MIB and his work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 155 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Buy this book and then read it. March 3 2012
By Brian - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is 243 pages long, and every one of those pages is great. Michael Ian Black has been making me laugh since 1993, but it wasn't until late in 2011, when I heard him do a piece on 'This American Life' about his late father and about Michael becoming a dad himself, that he made me cry. That piece is in this book (Chapter 9: Dead Dad Kid) and it's as heartfelt as anything I've heard or read in years. The rest of this book is just as good.

Don't get me wrong: I still laughed out loud during every chapter of 'You're Not Doing It Right.' But there's as much heart as there is comedy in its pages. Please buy it and read it and then read it again later. Then tell people you read it. When they ask to borrow it, tell them to buy their own. That's how we ensure we get more books in the future from this great writer.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
It made me laugh... but it is the furthest thing from funny July 6 2012
By A fellow with a keyboard - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Michael Ian Black nearly abandoned this project, and you can see why. This is not just another giggly book by a comedian-actor. It is deeply, horrifyingly personal. It feels like you are reading the diary of a person struggling with depression, one who happens to be highly intelligent and an unusually good writer.

There is humor in this book, and you'll likely find yourself laughing out loud, but the humor's purpose is only as little candy sprinkles on top of a giant loaf of misery. Although it's likely to make you laugh, you're unlikely to find it funny. There is a difference. The little absurdities and wordplays induce laughter but mostly as a reflex. The overall feeling from this book is profound despair:

* "I wonder if, like me, there are people who occasionally experience the curious, disembodying sensation of not recognizing their present life as their own. It is a feeling I can only describe as being the opposite of déjà vu. Rather than feeling as though you are reliving some unique moment in time, it is as if you are experiencing the mundane activities of your everyday life for the first time. So that's what this book is about, those occasional instants when I do not recognize my life as my own, and I am left wondering how I got here."
* "I know her better than I have ever known anybody, but there are times when I have also never felt more distant from another person. The thing that nobody tells you about marriage is that sometimes it makes you lonelier than being alone ever could."
* "The fatigue reawakens all the scary fantasies I used to have of harming my child. One morning, I am so frustrated and angry when Ruthie refuses to take her bottle that I whip it across the room as hard as I can, splattering formula everywhere and creating a satisfying divot in the drywall. Scarier still is the fact that I don't love this new baby. Not even a little bit. Not now, not when she is a lumpy and hateful annoyance."

The big mystery is why he would confess such terrifyingly personal things to a broad, faceless audience. Why tell us, for example, about faking sadness at the news of his dad's death? Why tell us about fantasies of harming his small children? It's impossible that he was doing these things just for giggles. It was either catharsis or something else. You can get a vague idea from his interview with Marc Maron when he said, "Audiences just want to hear their lives reflected back to them." Based on that quote and based on the content of the confessions, it seems that he's telling ultra-sensitive stories from his life because he suspects that you'll be able to relate to them, and he suspects you'll like that because you'll feel generally less alone with your deepest problems and insecurities.

The problem is that the book is heavy on navel gazing and psychoanalysis and self-consciousness. It is, in other words, heavy on Self. All of his deepest insecurities - fighting with his wife, unfeelingness at his dad's death, fantasies of harming his children, abandoning his dying dog - have to do with his self-ish-ness. He openly acknowledges his selfishness, and yet he goes on writing about his feelings, his problems, his selfishness. It doesn't seem to occur to him that his profound loneliness could be a direct result of his attention to Self at the expense of his attention to others. You can hear it even in his idea that "audiences just want to hear their lives reflected back to them," as though he believes everyone is ceaselessly self-absorbed and that nobody has ever managed to have genuine interest in and concern for things outside themselves.

You get the feeling that he sometimes added humor not because he wanted to nor because it fit well with the story but just because that's what he was expected to do as a guy known for making jokes.

The only thing that kept this book from being unendurably sad and the only reason I recommend it is the first chapter and especially the last two chapters. Not that those chapters are un-sad, but they appear to have been written from a much different state. The second-to-last chapter is the second-best thing I've read about dogs (behind Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs). And the last chapter has a personal message to his wife that I am sure, when he wrote it, made him weep uncontrollably-- in a good way. It was beautifully done. If he had more chapters like the last two this would easily be a 5-star book.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Legitimately Legit March 22 2012
By sweetdanger - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. I did not expect to love this book so much. I totally expected it to make me laugh my face off, because Michael Ian Black is good at that, but I did not expect it to bring me to near tears several times. Maybe almost as many times as it made me laugh out loud (Disclaimer: I was PMSing while reading a good portion of this so... reaction may have been slightly influenced by my enraged uterus, but as I am generally not an overly emotional person during any time of any given month, I don't think that is the case.)

Every page of this book is funny, but that's not what impressed me. What impressed me was the way Michael can take some common experience we all go through and write about it in a way that is both original and totally relatable. I found during the course of this book that we think very similarly, which is great because I love people who think just like I do.

Michael's brand of humor is generally not the kind that appeals to a broad population. You have to be a little smart to appreciate it. But I think his humor in this book is the kind that almost anyone could appreciate, and if you can't, you'll probably at least respect the brutally honest treatment he gives every aspect of his life from dating to marriage to having babies, owning pets, and even buying a car. The whole time I was reading this, I was like "Damn, I can't believe how much I am loving this book." What's more, I actually learned a few things from this book. Things about myself, even. Yes, Michael Ian Black gave me several epiphanies. One on an airplane, another on the subway.

I agree with the other reviews. Get this book, read it, and then tell everyone you know to read it. Michael's shameless pimping on Twitter annoyed me at first, but now I get it... this book deserves to be a best seller so much more than most best sellers out there.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
More like 4 1/2 Stars Feb. 29 2012
By Cheryl - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I mostly remember Michael Ian Black from the TV show Ed, though I know I've seen him in various things over the years and always thought he was funny. My sister won an ARC of the book and she loved it and recommended that I read it and I'm very glad I did. In You're Not Doing It Right Black's not just funny, he's laugh out loud hysterical. The book doesn't touch on much of his acting career, but focuses on his family, from his lesbian mother who holds Alan Alda up as the ideal man, his seemingly emotionless father and his own wife and kids.

Black is unflinchingly, and sometimes cringe inducingly, honest about his childhood, dating, marriage and his kids. He says he hates his wife and kids on multiple occasions. I'm sure he was exaggerating at least a couple of times, and I'm sure that he and everyone I know who has kids really do love them, but this book is going into evidence that people with kids push those of us who don't want them to have them because sheer, unadulterated, neverending misery loves company.

I also assume that no one had any say in what he wrote and it never ceases to amaze me what people will disclose. Case in point, his wife, Martha, cheated with him while she was living with someone else (very classy, both of you, made me think you deserved all of the fights you had) and she had slept with that guy's brother, too (so gross). I admit though, I almost fell off my moral high horse while reading those stories because I was laughing so damn hard. There's not a lot, but there are a couple of stories about serious, sad events that happened in his life and Black handles them just as well as the funny parts. He really is a talented author and I would definitely check out future books by him.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious must-read for young dads -- and the rest of us. April 4 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not sure what impelled me to read this book. It sounded funny, and I had just finished reading the rather long and challenging "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese. I needed something light.

I should tell you I'm a seventy-year-old African American woman, concert pianist, and writer. I'm married (twice)and have step-grandchildren, but I've never given birth.

You might not think that such a person would enjoy this book, but I'll tell you: I laughed out loud -- a lot. His descriptions about episodes in his life are so endearlingly honest. I've never had children because I thought it would be darned hard, and boy, he has justified my reluctance in spades.

He's a funny guy. Every young father should read this book. He will find an ally in his misery.

And Black's description of buying a BMW was so refreshing. I see these hotshot young (mostly) white guys in their black BMW's playing the role of world conquerors. That chapter just made me chuckle and shake my head.

I won't go on and on. I'll just say that if you want an amusing peek into someone's real life read "You're Not Doing It Right."