A Year in Books/Day 125: The Way You Wear Your Hat

  • Title: The Way You Wear Your Hat Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin’
  • Author: Bill Zehme
  • Year Published: 1997 (HarperCollinsPublishers)
  • Year Purchased: 2001/2002
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: In an industry  known for its larger-than-life characters, Sinatra towered over them all. Love him or hate him, his talent, personality and legend cannot be ignored or discounted. Fourteen years after his death, many men still consider him the epitome of style, class and swagger. The Way You Wear Your Hat plays into that assumption. Born from an in-depth 1996 Esquire profile, the book is essentially a how-to guide for gents looking to tap into some of that ol’ Sinatra magic. The fact that Zehme had such privileged access to the source gives it an almost autobiographical quality, and supplies the book a wider appeal. It is obviously meant as a tribute, where even the distasteful habits and the dirty deeds are just another totally worship-worthy facet to this greatest of all men’s men. In print-as it must not have in the glowing presence of the flesh-and-blood person-it wears thin after awhile. Even then, you know that you are in the presence of someone formidable. That’s just it, really: he’s not always likable but he’s always unforgettable.
  • Motivation: I know, I know! I already have all the swagger I can handle. Seriously, although I run hot and cold on Sinatra the man (Sinatra the singer and actor, I’ve no complaints with) I thought this looked like an interesting read, even though I am not its target audience. It was, and not always in the ways I expected.
  • Times Read: 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 6: “Woe to those missing. More woe to those who greeted dawns by his side. It is there that scores of men slumped, trapped, for he insisted nobody leave. They could not hit the hay before he did, and they had to drink apace with him until the finish. It is a sore, but proud, subject among them all.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8
    Frank Sinatra at Girl's Town Ball in Florida, ...

    Frank Sinatra at Girl's Town Ball in Florida, March 12, 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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