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Hipster Handbook

Hipster Handbook

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by Robert Lanham

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hip•ster - \hip-stur (s)\ n. One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool"; a Hipster would instead say "deck.") The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream


hip•ster - \hip-stur (s)\ n. One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool"; a Hipster would instead say "deck.") The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A Hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat.

Clues You Are a Hipster

1. You graduated from a liberal arts school whose football team hasn't won a game since the Reagan administration.

2. You frequently use the term "postmodern" (or its commonly used variation"PoMo") as an adjective, noun, and verb.

3. You carry a shoulder-strap messenger bag and have at one time or another worn a pair of horn-rimmed or Elvis Costello-style glasses.

4. You have refined taste and consider yourself exceptionally cultured, but have one pop vice (ElimiDATE, Quiet Riot, and Entertainment Weekly are popular ones) that helps to define you as well-rounded.

5. You have kissed someone of the same gender and often bring this up in casual conversation.

6. You spend much of your leisure time in bars and restaurants with monosyllabic names like Plant, Bound, and Shine.

7. You bought your dishes and a checkered tablecloth at a thrift shop to be kitschy, and often throw vegetarian dinner parties.

8. You have one Republican friend whom you always describe as being your "one Republican friend."

9. You enjoy complaining about gentrification even though you are responsible for it yourself.

10. Your hair looks best unwashed and you position your head on your pillow at night in a way that will really maximize your cowlicks.

11. You own records put out by Matador, DFA, Definitive Jux, Dischord, Warp, Thrill Jockey, Smells Like Records, and Drag City.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Are you a hipster? Do you possess tastes and social attitudes that fellow hipsters can recognize from a distance? Do you consider yourself an artist but haven't quite found your genre? If so, you can relate (if only condescendingly) to The Hipster Handbook, Robert Lanham's tongue-in-cheek tribute to that neo-bohemian lifestyle. Trend-setting hilarity.
Publishers Weekly
Just as The Official Preppy Handbook exposed wearers of Lacoste polos and drinkers of Bloody Marys, Lanham's new book delves into the lives of those who deem themselves too cool for school. Hipsters, he says, are the ones you see around town smoking European cigarettes, wearing platform shoes and reading biographies of Che Guevara. Lanham, editor of the site FreeWilliamsburg.com (Williamsburg being a favorite New York City hipster enclave), does his best to dissect the personality types, the hangouts, the colleges and even the facial hair of the modern-day Hipster. There's no main narrative per se, rather a prolonged pastiche of sarcastic observances and witty asides. And in a clever marketing gimmick, Lanham compiles a raft of lists detailing crucial Hipster music (including the Beastie Boys record Paul's Boutique) and literature (Nick Hornby's High Fidelity), which are sure to spark debate. Topping it off is a questionnaire, to suss out whether or not you could qualify for Hipsterdom (e.g., if you subscribe to Wallpaper, you're in; if Maxim's more your speed, you're out). The truly hip wouldn't touch this with a 10-foot pole, of course, but they aren't really Lanham's target. (Feb. 18) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Welcome to the esoteric world of the well-read and well-educated, where all things are either deck ("punk rock," cool) or fin (over). The hipster's answer to the Official Preppy Handbook, this volume, when spot-on, is almost embarrassingly funny: imagine that the avowed anti-conformists still conform to roughly ten different types? The authors brilliantly capture the nuances of the hipster culture: nobody hip still likes the Strokes or Radiohead or, if they do, won't admit it. Even when it doesn't ring quite true, this book is still very funny, and its tongue-in-cheek humor is certainly deck. Of course, my qualifications for judging are dubious at best: according to a test at the back of the book, my hipster quotient is poseur owing partly to my ownership of the decidedly fin Gateway computer (Macs are deck) and my penchant for brushing my teeth with gel instead of regular paste. Who knew? A fun but optional choice for larger public libraries.-Tania Barnes, formerly with "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"The Hipster Handbook. . .proves that behind every goatee, shaggy hairdo and baggy blouse, there's still a lot of preening."
The New York Times

"The Hipster Handbook is your official guide to the language, culture and style of hipsters young and old…. There's even a dating guide for various hipster combinations." –Los Angeles Times

"Describes everything cool–the slang, the dress code, the career path, greetings and (of course) taste in music kids from the Inner Mission to Williamsburg ascribe to—in pitch-perfect detail…. [T]his guy clearly has some insider information himself. Gently teasing and hilarious." –Philadelphia Weekly

"The Hipster Handbook is The Official Preppy Handbook for people who wear Atari T-shirts." –Esquire

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
8 MB

Read an Excerpt

Everything That Once Was Cool Is Now Deck

You've seen them all over town with their mop-top haircuts, swinging retro pocketbooks, talking on cell phones, smoking European cigarettes, shading their eyes behind bug-eyed lenses, and strutting in platform shoes with a biography of Che sticking out of their bags. They come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and nationalities. Beck is one. Jack Kerouac was one. Meg from the White Stripes is one. And the girl at work in the Jackie-O dress is one too. You may even be one yourself. From New York to New Zealand, Hipsters are everywhere. Welcome to The Hipster Handbook, the first guide to what it means to be a Hipster.

Since Hipsters are a vital part of the international social fabric, this book is for everyone. If you are a Hipster yourself, carry it in your back pocket or in your purse. Excuse yourself to the bathroom during that important party and brush up on the correct lingo by consulting our glossary. Even Hipsters need a refresher course from time to time, and you wouldn't want to be throwing out dated slang like "grody" or "wicked" when mixing with other Hipsters in the know.

If you are not a Hipster, but want to learn more about this ubiquitous genus, this book is for you too. We will teach you how to spot Hipsters, how to interact with them, and how to better understand their unique culture. If you are a parent with Hipster children, this book will help you understand and maybe even talk to your children. You'll also become just a little more deck in the process. If you are a scientist, we hope you'll use our anthropological studies as a starting point to document the phenomenon of this emerging human archetype. Our research garnered us a nomination for the Margaret Mead Award in 2001.

And finally, this book is for those among you who want to become Hipsters yourselves. Anyone can become one with the proper education. Study this book and complete the questionnaire at the end and you will be on your way.

But perhaps we are being too kind in saying this book is for everyone. Some people are clearly hopeless. If you are a neo-Nazi and accessorize with an automatic weapon, this book is not for you. If you have appeared in the Girls Gone Wild video series, this book is not for you. If you go to tanning salons, this book is not for you. If you listen to Slipknot and have ever been to the Warped Tour, this book is not for you. And perhaps most important, if you are wearing a sweatshirt that has a Disney character on it, this book is not for you.

For everyone else, we present the long-overdue documentation of what it means to be deck-or, depending on your age, groovy, nifty, fresh, chic, savvy, fly, bodacious, jazzy, cool, righteous, hip, and hep. This is the motherfucking Hipster handbook.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

About the Author

Robert Lanham is the author of the romantic series known as The Emerald Beach Trilogy which includes the works Pre-Coitus, Coitus, and Aftermath. This collection of novels was recently called “a beach towel classic” by Redbook. Robert has a great body and often drives shirtless in his Camaro. He brushes his teeth several times daily, but is nevertheless prone to cavities. He is currently the Editor of FREEwilliamsburg, which can be found online at www.freewilliamsburg.com. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and works at Foot Locker on the weekends.

About the Art Director

Bret Nicely's theories linking artistic practices with sandwich making buttressed much of the cultural output of the early 21st century. His work "Post-Structuralist Beer n' Brat" won the 2002 Turner Prize and was named a "Best One Dish Meal" by Gourmet Magazine. Bret began working with Robert Lanham through their shared interest in falafel, and in 1999 became the Chief Creative Officer at FREEwilliamsburg. He lectures widely around the world and currently lives in Brooklyn.

About the Drawer

Jeff “J-dawg” Bechtel grew up on the cruel streets of Richmond, Indiana. As a teenager, he battled an addiction to glue and took up drawing to escape the thug life. He was recently called "the greatest Drawer of his generation" by Phil Donahue. His work has appeared in Dutch, Maxim International, and Family Circus. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is hilarious. Lanham has a talent for satire.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very funny stuff. Look forward to another edition of this handbook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok, ok.... Do Hipsters really need a Handbook? Aren't they the originators of cool, or should I say "deck." I was a naysayer when I heard the title, but I must confess, this book is hilarious. Written by Lanham almost as an anthropological study The Hipster Handbook merges highbrow and lowbrow comedy with a dead-on eye for the nuances of Hipsters. The glossary of terms is hilarious and the illustrations alone make this a must own for the square and hip alike! I'm still laughing at this very funny read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best birthday present I've received in years! At dinner parties/cocktails/etc open to a random page and everybody cracks up or says, "that's totally me!" How very rare to find social commentary that is both dead-on and drop-dead funny. I predict that this will be *the* coffee table book for years to come.