Why, you may ask, is a mother of eight children reviewing a book written for men who don’t want kids? In my opinion the very existence of this book is a public service, and if spreading the word about it helps at least one couple, it will be worth taking the time to write this post.

I didn’t know this book existed before Photoshop World in Orlando last month. I saw it in the Scott Kelby display at the Peachpit Press booth and thought, “Huh? How did I miss this?” Laura, who operates the Peachpit Twitter account (follow!) later sent me a copy to review.

Just as Alice was unable to resist the tiny bottle that said “Drink Me,” this small volume is oddly compelling—it seems to whisper “Read Me.” My 19-year-old son carried it on the deck and finished it the day after it arrived, and I read it in the car later that weekend.

The Book for Guys Who Don’t Want Kids is a conversation-turned-book, the result of a friend’s wife’s plea to share with her husband, a reluctant father-to-be, why Scott enjoys being a father.

The title is perfect considering the assumption that the reader is uninterested, if not hostile to the subject matter: there’s no patronizing “Fatherhood is Bliss” or “Having Children is the Best Decision You’ll Ever Make.” Scott Kelby originally didn’t want kids himself, but now loves fatherhood.

He totally “gets” his intended audience, and that’s what makes this book work.

For me it was a fascinating read, viewing parenthood from the opposite end of the spectrum. Apparently a lot of men suffer from two fears when considering parenthood: uncertainty whether they’ll make a good dad, and a general “I don’t want to give up a life of fun and freedom and exchange it for sleepless nights, crying babies and dirty diapers” fear of fatherhood.

Rather than sugar-coat the truth, Scott shares his experience in a profoundly honest manner, as in the following excerpts:

Look, I’d be lying if I told you that you’ll be able to do every single thing you did before you were a dad (well, you could still do them all, you’d just be a really bad dad), but I will tell you this, and it’s absolutely the truth—it won’t matter. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but once you have a kid, you’ll find out that your personal priorities have changed. I’m not talking about your fatherly responsibility and all that; I’m talking about what you, personally, find important.

I can see you parents nodding your heads now. Let’s continue:

I must admit that this is one of the hardest concepts to come to grips with in the entire book, because you’re sitting there thinking, “This guy is whacked if he thinks I’d rather be on the floor with a rattle than watching the game on my big screen,” but that’s one of the most amazing things about this whole process—things that used to be so incredibly important suddenly (and almost overnight) because somehow not that important.

Here’s the thing: Babies make you do weird stuff. Not all babies, mind you—your baby. There’s no more powerful object on the planet than your own baby.

I truly enjoyed The Book for Guys Who Don’t Want Kids even though I’m far from the intended audience. My son summarized it when observing that it would make you stop and appreciate why you love being a parent. It’s a small hardback, only 72 pages long, and easy to finish in one sitting. If you or someone you know is a reluctant father, this book could be a valuable resource.

{Disclosure: Book provided by Peachpit Press. Amazon links are affiliate links.}

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