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Posted July 24, 2001
Nostalgia, History, and Good Conversation!
Before reviewing this book, I would like to pay homage to a very special man who has been cutting my hair since 1965, Mr. Michael Cogliandro. As much as I love his hair cuts, I love talking to him even more. He has taught me a great deal. Over the years, I have learned that many Nobel prize winners, politicians, judges, and professors regularly seek out his advice as well, along with their hair cuts. I feel honored to have been in his chair! Mr. Staten understands what a barber shop is all about. It's a place to congregate for good company and good conversation. The book captures that element very nicely. In so doing, it provided a lot of nostalgic memories of good times I have had in barber shops, both before and after Mr. Cogliandro began cutting my hair. To write this book, Mr. Staten did a lot of research. He visited over 300 barber shops (not salons for hair styling). He often got a hair cut (although as a balding person this was potentially dangerous), a shave, or just sat in for the conversation. He also did a lot of historical research into the history of barbering, the barber's pole, and the role of barbers as surgeons and blood-letters. Mr. Staten also taught me more than I ever thought I could ever know about hair tonics and the scents they carry. He does a nice job of capturing special moments like a first hair cut (Mr. Cogliandro gave both of my sons their first haircuts), when you don't need to sit on the board any more, and when the barber first starts joking with you. Alas, the barber shop is in decline. Although many people originally blamed the hippies, the barbers agree that it was really the Beatles who did them in. The numbers of shops and barbers are dropping, and many barbers are now retiring. The book does a nice job of explaining how uprooting this can be . . . to have to search out a new barber and a new shop. He also located some terrific shops for you to visit including Three Brothers Barbershop in Stamford, Connecticut; Vernon Winfrey's Barbershop in Nashville, Tennessee (that Oprah's Dad); and Hugh Sample's Barbershop in Boomer, West Virginia. Of course, he also talks about the most famous barbers of all time, such as Floyd on Mayberry R.F.D., Figaro, Sweeney Todd, and Sal 'the barber' Maglie. For men, this book will be a ball. For women, it will be an eye-opener. Now you'll know why men like barber shops! After you finish reading this book, why don't you take a stroll down to your barber shop and discuss what you learned in this book? 'You're Next!' Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent SolutionWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.