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Book Review: Bro on the Go by Barney Stinson with Matt Kuhn

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As noted in this reviewer's piece on How I Met Your Mother's 100th episode, one of the best elements of the series is Neil Patrick Harris' Barney Stinson. Harris has made a potentially highly unlikable character into the breakout one on the series. Since the show's inception Barney has maintained a blog on the CBS website. The blog has been used as an extension of the series, with entries building off of plotlines and jokes within the show. The blog perfectly suits Barney and his personality, offering both kernels of wisdom and bits of true insanity.

Barney Stinson's writing does not however begin and end with his blog. No, with the help of Matt Kuhn, in 2008 Stinson published his first book (that we know of), The Bro Code. That title explained in great detail what it means to be a "Bro." Now, building off of that title, Stinson and Kuhn have released the nearly-pocket-sized book, Bro on the Go, which features "new wisdom and select classics from The Bro Code for today's active Bro."

This new title is divided into chapters such as "A Bro at the Ballet," "A Bro at the Mall," and "A Bro at the Bar," so as to provide the reader with easy access to advice for whatever predicament they may find themselves in. Within each chapter Stinson provides short (no more than three or four sentences) pearls of wisdom about a Bro's proper actions in the various situations. For instance, in the mall chapter, Stinson offers the advice that "Lingering around the children's play area to scope out the hot young moms is a good idea in theory only."

One should not think that Stinson's entire thoughts as they relate to the Code are purely sexual (though those are the majority). Stinson instead extends his thoughts to other general man areas such as in the "A Bro Behind the Wheel" chapter where he cribs from The Bro Code stating "A Bro never admits he can't drive stick. Even after an accident."

Okay, so the entire thing is a joke, something which most will not take in a remotely serious fashion even in Stinson believes in it wholeheartedly. As a joke though it is wholly amusing, offering the reader quick little snippets of funny and sometimes actually offer decent bits of advice, just like with the aforementioned statement that it is in fact a bad idea to try to pick up women by scoping out the children's play area at the mall. A man (even if they refuse to refer to themselves as a bro) could very easily get into trouble for that sort of thing. There are certainly more crude examples included in the book, but that one is undeniably true.

While the brief book can be read cover to cover, it seems more likely that it is meant to be picked up, flipped through until an appropriate bit of wisdom can be found, and then put down again. Stinson would, most likely, recommend actually carrying the book with one at all times just in case a situation arises where his advice is needed, but that seems like a somewhat foolish notion. Certainly, anyone who truly believes themselves to be a Bro ought to have the wisdom either memorized or in hand at all times, but for fans of the show, having it available on a coffee table or sitting on the shelf somewhere is probably plenty.

The book is full of the sort of crass humor Stinson regularly offers up on How I Met Your Mother, and the best moments in the title are the ones where the reader can actually see Stinson acting (or having acted) that way on the series. Bro on the Go may not feature a ton of witticisms – it clocks in at approximately 130 pages – but Stinson and Kuhn keep the jokes coming, and the book is a good compliment to the earlier title and the television series as a whole.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • STINSON JOHN A

    Like your show, Im sure i will like your crazy book.