Hef's Little Black Book

Hef's Little Black Book

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by Hugh M. Hefner, Bill Zehme

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"[A] breezy, charming chronicle."
Time Out New York

The legendary founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner invites you into his world with Hef's Little Black Book, an illustrated treasury of advice and maxims. The only book ever written by the iconic publisher and unabashed hedonist, Hef's Little Black Book features a new,


"[A] breezy, charming chronicle."
Time Out New York

The legendary founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner invites you into his world with Hef's Little Black Book, an illustrated treasury of advice and maxims. The only book ever written by the iconic publisher and unabashed hedonist, Hef's Little Black Book features a new, updated Afterword from Hef himself. Dedicated Playboy readers and fans of The Girls Next Door, the hit reality TV series that takes you behind the doors of the Playboy Mansion, will not want to miss this fantastic guide to the very good life from the man who has lived it better than anyone.

Editorial Reviews

Time Out New York
“[A] breezy, charming chronicle...Both gracious and unapologetic about Hef’s...otherworldly existence....Striking.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.16(w) x 6.98(h) x 0.55(d)

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Hef's Little Black Book

Part 1

The Chase

Of Pursuit and Romance

The one he loved first did not love him back.

They jitterbugged together and laughed together, and his heart leapt whenever he saw her, whenever he thought of her. But she did not love him back. This was the summer before his senior year of high school, and she had asked another boy on a hayride, and he would never be the same because of it. "I turned myself into a different guy," he would recall. This different guy was self-assured, a dapper fellow whose new wardrobe bespoke his reinvention -- the jaunty flannel shirts, the yellow cords, the saddle shoes. He now wrote for the school paper under the byline Hep Hef. He also wrote songs and drew cartoon strips that chronicled the arc of his young life and his young loves. He learned then that he lived largely to be in love, to pine, or to yearn. He learned that his heart felt best when aflutter. Of this time, a classmate buddy of his later remembered: "His interest in girls was intense. Hef was constantly falling in love, one girl at a time, and would be smitten for maybe a month or so. If he wasn't in love, he felt incomplete and unhappy."

This would never change. The boy was father to the man he would become. And the man he would become loved women, one after another ad infinitum, with the wide-eyed exuberance of the boy in saddle shoes. As a man, he would be almost naive in love, giddy and intense -- one friend aptly nicknamed him High School Harry, this in his fifth decade -- and yet the ad infinitum would also make him aware in love. He would repeatedly decla"My life has been a quest for a world where the words to the songs are true." He meant the love songs of yore, the dreamy ones, the ones Sinatra and Billie Holiday sang while caressing the microphone and suggesting bittersweet romance. Such romance had already been the foundation of his empire. Also, he would say, "For me, being in love is the very essence of being alive." And "I think life is deadly dull when a relationship becomes routine and boring." And "I admit that I'm still the same romantic pushover I was when I was young."

While there would be sexual adventures beyond reckoning and well-nigh-innumerable bedmates, he always pursued primary relationships that filled him with fierce longing (even while openly straying therein; he did, after all, have a reputation of epic proportions to uphold). He had romanticized his first marriage to high school sweetheart Mildred Williams until he realized that the romance had faded, that he was not built for marriage after all: "It was a period of dreams lost, dreams set aside -- trying to follow a different road, a road not charted in my own terms." He created Playboy so as to re-create himself, just as he had done at Steinmetz High School in Chicago. His magazine gave him license to play again, and his long-term playmates in the decades that followed -- his Special Ladies, as he would call them -- gave him reason to swoon head over slippers. He said in the autumn of 1968, at age forty-two, "I'd rather meet a girl and fall in love, and have her fall in love with me, than earn another hundred million."

In fact he had met that girl months earlier on the set of his syndicated television show Playboy After Dark. She was a petite eighteen-year-old coed who resembled the one he had loved first, the one who did not love him back. This girl, however, would love him back, famously so. Her name was Barbara Klein, whom he would rename Barbi Benton in the pages of Playboy. Over the next eight years she would become the extra-special lady that people thought of most whenever they thought of Hef in love. "Barbi became a kind of Hollywood version of the teenage romance I never really had when I was in high school," he said later. "I was crazy about her." On the night that they met, he danced with her to the song "This Guy's in Love with You." He softly sang the lyrics into her ear and, as ever, believed those lyrics were true.

When You Know for Sure, You Know for Sure

I asked Barbi out the first night we met. "But I've never been out with anyone over twenty-four," she said. "That's okay," I replied. "Neither have I."

Being in Love Feels Far Better
Than Not Being in Love

Everything changes when you're in love. The food tastes better. The music is sweeter. Everything is a little more delicious because you're sharing it with somebody you care about.

If you are a romantic, I think it's possible to fall in love with somebody across a crowded room. Essentially, love is an illusion. It's something you project. And it has a great deal to do with what love, or youthful fantasies of love, came before. We tend to repeat ourselves and fall in love with variations on the same person over and over again. If you think about it, you'll know what I mean.

"A romantic relationship for me is an escape from the challenges and problems I face in my work," he once said. "It's a psychological and emotional island I slip away to." Rarely has he been cast adrift from any such island for very long, as he indicated in a memo to his attorney in early 1988: "Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s I have had a series of serious romantic, live-in relationships that included Cynthia Maddox, 1961–1963; Mary Warren, 1963–1967; Barbi Benton, 1969–1976; Sondra Theodore, 1976–1981; Shannon Tweed, 1981–1983; and Carrie Leigh, 1983–January 1988." The reason for the memo, incidentally, was in response to a misbegotten and quickly dropped $35 million palimony suit filed by Carrie Leigh, the most tempestuous and sexually omnivorous of all the Special Ladies who had inhabited a Playboy Mansion with him ...

Hef's Little Black Book. Copyright © by Hugh Hefner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Hugh M. Hefner founded Playboy magazine in 1953. In 1998, he was inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame, and he remains unquestionably the most famous magazine editor in the world. He lives at the Playboy Mansion West in Holmby Hills, California.

Bill Zehme is the author of the New York Times bestselling homage to Frank Sinatra, The Way You Wear Your Hat, and Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman. A recipient of the prestigious ASME Award for Profile Writing, he has written for Esquire, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Vanity Fair, as well as the collection Intimate Strangers: Comic Profiles and Indiscretions of the Very Famous. He lives in Chicago.

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thus far I have not read the entire book, however, I skimmed it at the bookstore and have found the book to be absolutely the opposite of what I expected. I picked it up expecting a graphic, dirty summary of Hef's life and the tricks he has up his sleeve, but found it to be fabulously accurate and suprisingly interesting. Kudos to Hugh!
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
The ultimate player's guide Hef's Little Black Book by Hugh M. Hefner and Bill Zehme contains all the hidden secrets from the world's most famous Playboy, Hef for all to see. Yes this book is written tongue and check however it does give some uncanny advice to novice players. Broken down in five parts it takes on the mission from the chase to inside the bedroom. With glossy prints and cut way inserts full of gems of funny quotes like "I asked Barbi out the first night we met. 'But I've never been out with anyone over twenty-four,' she said. 'that's okay' I replied, 'Neither have I.'" When addressing pick up lines Hef declares to not use lines and be truthful, however "On the other hand, however, I've also had a lot of luck by simply saying 'My name is Hugh Hefner,' but that may not work for everyone." From what to wear, to the perfect after sex meal, Hef's Little Black Book does pack a good punch. Pick up a copy of Hef's Little Black Book by Hugh M. Hefner and Bill Zehme and be on your way to move up to the Playboy league.