It’s called Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, it’s- and um, man, you’ve got this book all over the place, translated in 24 languages, all over Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa. You must have really struck a chord with this.
Elliott Katz: Exactly. You know, uh, eh, I’ve come to realize you know, cultures may be different, but human nature is, is similar and men all over the world really need to learn how to be men, and traditionally, fathers or other me- older male role model- (clears throat) Excuse me. Other older male role models used to teach a younger man about what it means to be a man and that really has been lost.
A lot of the ideas today, the things that men see on TV, the things they hear in the media have really lead to a lot of confusion a- among men. I mean, we even hear that term, masculine confusion. We’re not sure what it means to be a man and we’re searching, searching, searching. So, I mean, this book is the result of my own search of looking what does it mean to be a man. I was married and, for ten years. I got divorced and like a lot of people, at first I blamed the other person. Then I came to a point of asking myself, “What do I have to learn from all this? I don’t want to go through this again.”
So I set off on a journey to learn what does it mean to be a man. And I started listening to the men. The more I listened to the men, the more I realized we’re all confused. I started reading books on relationships. [inaudible 01:42] They really didn’t say anything to me and it was only when I turned to that timeless wisdom that fathers used to teach their sons I was blown away because it coincided with what I heard women complain is lacking in men today. They don’t show leadership, they don’t make decisions, they don’t take responsibility.
There’s this giant disconnect between all the things men have heard and what women really want and really this is what traditionally fathers taught their sons, to be leaders of their family. And it’s not about being controlling, not about micromanaging and being a tyrant. Not at all. It’s just today men are so afraid of being accused of being controlling, they’ve gone to the other extreme and they’ll say … you know the wife will ask them, you know, for their input. “Oh, whatever you want. You decide.” Well, if you say that, she’ll think of you as one of the kids.
David Brower: Right, right. And it makes me won- makes me want to ask the question, it seems like, and I can’t tell you when, but it seems like a generation or so ago that a lot of us parents decided we should be friends with our kids instead of parents to our kids, and I wonder if this is a carryover from some of that mindset.
Elliott Katz: Oh, absolutely, because when you’re a friend, you’re not being a leader. You know, your child will have many friends, but they need a father. They only have one father and that’s you job.
David Brower: Right.
Elliott Katz: And it doesn’t mean you know the stereotype of the tyrant, tyrannical father who’s tough and he’s screaming and a bully. That’s, you don’t uh, That’s not … You don’t have to be that way. That’s not appropriate. You can still be friendly with your kids, but your kids are really looking to you to lead them, to guide them, to teach them how to succeed in this world uh, as a person, not only as a career, but as a person, as a human being, as a man, how to relate to other women, how to, how to relate to a wife. You know, all these things. They’re looking for you as a role model. They want you … to learn from you. And, and if you just want to be friends with your kids, well, you’re, you’re really, you’re really failing them.
David Brower: Yeah, no kidding. So, when you started doing the … your own catharsis and getting through your, your ten years of marriage and your divorce and all the blame games that we all play at one time or another, and you started reading all of these books, and if I heard you right they didn’t really hit much of anything on the nail for you, so what … where did your epiphany come in?
Elliott Katz: Well, it was really … Okay, forgetting about like modern books on relationships, but really looking back, you know the fascinating thing is teaching a younger man about being a man is, is a very traditional thing. I me- You can look over the centuries and see all kinds of writings by men, teaching, sharing their wisdom about being a man with, with a younger man, and I mean it’s, it’s … There’s so much writing. It do- It’s fascinating that there’s so much out there and that today men are so lost.
I mean even the, the famous poem um, If by Rudyard Kipling. What is it saying? It says, you know, if, if you, if you can keep your head when all those bu- all those around are losing theirs and blaming it on you and then the, what’s the last line? Then you will be a man, my son. It’s about teaching a son this is what it means to be a man. There’s a lot of writing and really, what does it say? It says be a leader like you ta- take responsibility.
You got … You know, wi- Your family is looking to you to be responsible for what goes on in your home and don’t shirk your responsibility. Don’t just say, “Whatever.” Don’t, don’t you know, because everybody is looking to you. You know, as much as today we, we have all these ideas about gender equality, people still, their natural inclination is to expect the man to take responsibility, so since people are going to hold you responsible, take responsibility and be the leader and really, women really want that. It’s, it’s like, you sa- Part of the fascinating thing about this journey is like talking to men and telling them this and like somebody will say, “Oh, I’ve, I’ve never heard this before.” I’ve, I heard that so many times.
David Brower: Wow.
Elliott Katz: It’s your job to be a leader in your family. You wife is frustrated with you because you don’t show any leadership. She wants you to step forward. She doesn’t want you to control her, but when there’s a situation she really wants you to step forward and deal with it. She doesn’t want to have to tell you what to do. She doesn’t want- You know so many men will say, “Well, I’m such a great husband. I come home, my wife tells me, ‘Do A, B, and C,’ and I do it. I’m a great husband.” Well, you know, what differentiates you from a nanny? That’s what a nanny does.
David Brower: That’s right. That’s right.
Elliott Katz: To be- She doesn’t want you to control her, but she wants you to know what’s going on. Ne- These situations that need to be dealt with that are not being dealt with, step forward, take charge, find a solution, implement it. She doesn’t want to have to tell you what to do because she wants to look up to you. She wants … She married you because she wants a man. And eh, and like when you tell men this, it’s like, it’s like they never heard this before.
David Brower: So you get a, you get a deer in the headlight look from the man and you get a shaking head from the woman?
Elliott Katz: Yeah. It’s so amazing. The women, the women are like wha- I was just talking to a group of uh, like people yesterday, both men and women together. The women were smiling. They liked so much what I was saying and the men were like not sure what to think, and I even said to them, I said, “The two biggest surprises of this journey of sharing what I’ve learned is the men need to be convinced. They’re not, they’re not, they’re not sure what I’m (laughter) … they should agree with me, and the women say, ‘How do I convince my husband this is what I want?'” (laughter)
David Brower: Right. Yeah, can you go spend an hour with my husband? I’ll be back. (laughter)
Elliott Katz: And, “How do I get him to read this book?” I get, I get that all the time. Or, or one woman said to me, said to me, her hus- the husband uh, she told her husband, “I want us to read this book together, because you’re not doing what this book says.” (laughs)
David Brower: Wow. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know, you know?
Elliott Katz: I’ve gotten feedback from people who have written to me and said, “This book has saved our marriage,” because really wi-, i-, i-, it, you know it sucks, like you know it’s, what’s fascinating is that women don’t … I mean, this is what they want, but they don’t seem to know how to say it. They, they’ll say, “Oh, you don’t do enough at home,” and the man thinks, “What do you mean, I don’t do enough at home? I wash the dishes, I give the kids a bath, I change diapers, I take out the garbage. How could you say I don’t do enough at home?”
David Brower: There’s that nanny description again.
Elliott Katz: Yeah, they, she wants you to be the man. She wants you to be the leader. I-, it’s, it’s really been, been fascinating, so you, you know if your listeners, if the, your, your man is like having ch- uh, challenges in your marriage, take a look at the book it, it could save your marriage.
David Brower: So, uh, eh, uh, I mean you’ve written this book how long ago?
Elliott Katz: Well it first came out about eight, nine years ago.
David Brower: Okay.
Elliott Katz: And I’ve done a revised edition since adding more things that I’ve learned.
David Brower: And I guess that was my next question. This has to be a journey, a continuous journey, for you as you continue to interact with these men and these women and, and you learn more of not only how valuable your book is but maybe different directions you can, you can take your book.
Elliott Katz: Well, absolutely. Uh, uh, it’s, it’s been a fascinating … Cuz really, like I was saying, the reaction from women, I … Even when I first did the book, like I really didn’t think women would say, “Yes, this is what I want. I want a man who’s a leader.” And I … Because I thought, you know, today, you know, with this whole thing of e- you know, being equal partners that women wouldn’t want to say, “No, I want a man who’d make decision and shows leadership. I don’t want to make all the decisions.”
David Brower: Right.
Elliott Katz: But women will say that. They’ll say, “Uh, I, I Yeah. I want a ma- I don’t want to make all the decisions.” They resent that, you know, and men today think, Well, the woman runs the home. The home is the woman’s domain. I let her run it and I’m just such a nice, non-controlling guy.”
David Brower: Wow.
Elliott Katz: Because women are fed with them. They says, “He, he leaves everything to me.”
David Brower: Yeah.
Elliott Katz: He’s like one of the children. That’s, that’s what they say. It’s like, it’s because men were not taught to be men and really that- It’s truly the timeless wisdom that fathers used to teach their sons, this is what it means to be a man.
David Brower: So what kind of specifics do you have in your book for a man that, that um is open to, to hearing what you have to say?
Elliott Katz: Well (clears throat) you know, the- there’s a lot of specific things, like what are the common problems like money, you know, like there’s often, especially when you have a young family there’s financial stress and people get in- you know, men will often let their wives run up bills because they wa- they’re afraid to stand up to them and tell them to stop or they’re, or they’re thinking, “Well, if only I could make enough money, my wife will be happy.” And I find that, you know, that will not bring happiness. That’s just going to bring you, bring you down.
You gotta step forward and say, “Okay, this is a reasonable amount of money and that’s no- as much as we can spend,” and like don’t be afraid to stand up and say, “You know, this is all we can spend,” because if you, if you go bankrupt, then if you, if you lose your house or whatever, people are, everyone’s going to blame you. You could say, tell everybody, “Oh my mo- my wife spent money like water. That’s why this all happened. It’s all her fault,” but people will look at you and say, “How did you let it go on?” Because that was one of the things that happened to me. I, I met a fellow, we were ta-, he was divorced, we were talking. This was very early on in my own journey. Our si- our situations were so similar and then he said his wife ran up $50,000 on the credit cards, and I looked at him. I said, “Well, how did, why did you let that go on?”
David Brower: Yeah.
Elliott Katz: I mean, yeah your wife was wrong, no question, but how could you let it go on? Like, that’s something I would never let go on, so it’s really realizing all these situations, you know, you, you you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta … You’re going to be held responsible, so since you’re being held responsible, see that it’s empowering you to do something about it. Be the leader.
David Brower: One of your, one of the ladies who spoke to you mentioned that she wishes her and her husband could really read this book together. That seems like a, a wonderful thing to do for a lot of couples, not just the man, right?
Elliott Katz: Absolutely, absolu- I think, because a lot of men aren’t sure that this is what women want and when, when she says, “Yes, this is what we want. We want a man that takes charge, who, who you know, takes the lead on situations, doesn’t wait for me to tell him everything, knows what’s going on at home, and, and steps forward and deals with it, you know, uh wa- because it’s, it’s, I just go to the situation where men will say to me, “No, this isn’t what women want.” Then women will say, “Yes, this is what we want.” (laughter) It’s, it’s, it’s … I mean, I shouldn’t laugh about it, because it’s a serious situation, but, but I’ve have this so many times that … and then … Because, because when you think about it, where were men today to learn about being a man? So many young men they, they grew in families, maybe they didn’t have a father, there’s divorce or the father worked long hours. They go to school, most of the teachers are women, they watch television, men are portrayed as buffoons.
David Brower: Right.
Elliott Katz: Where do you get an idea that this is what it means to be a man?
David Brower: Absolutely right. And, are there other resources like on your website or different things that you have available for people to reach out to you to learn more about your philosophy on this?
Elliott Katz: Well, I have a website, uh, wwwelliottkatz, E-L-L-I-O-T-T-K-A-T-Z.com. And people can- You know, it describes to- some of the ideas in the book, and if people want to email through the website I’m happy to hear from them and any questions, I’m happy to discuss, because I re-, you know I really feel, this is like a mission for me and um, you know when I’m able to help someone and so- and someone says, “Hey, you know what? You saved our marriage. You really improved the situation,” it’s very rewarding. I don’t want more kids to be from broken homes. And you know, if you ge- if you know, often, you know a lot of divorces are initiated by the woman because she’s with the man and so many men will say, “If I would have known what I could do to save the marriage, I would have done it.”
David Brower: Right.
Elliott Katz: “Just, I was just trying these things. Nothing worked. And if I would have known, I would have done it.”
David Brower: Well, and the sad part of that conversation is by, oftentimes, not always, but oftentimes, by the time that mean comes to that realization, the woman’s already done.
Elliott Katz: Yeah.
David Brower: You know? And that’s what’s, that’s really sad. So are you a happily married man or just pushing your book, or what are you doing?
Elliott Katz: I’m working on it.
David Brower: (laughs)
Elliott Katz: Getting there.
David Brower: Good for you, good for you. It is a journey. It isn’t-
Elliott Katz: The women appreciate it. They … You know even, even asking a woman on a date, you know, pe- women really like it if you call them up and you show … take the lead. You say, … You know, your a, be a man with a plan.
David Brower: Yeah.
Elliott Katz: Women, I couldn’t count the number of single women say, “A man asks me out for a cup of coffee. He doesn’t even know where he wants to go. He wants me to plan the date.” And it’s, and it’s … I say- I’ll tell, I tell [inaudible 14:32] that if you can’t even decide where to go for coffee, how are you going to make important decisions?
David Brower: Exactly right and the important decision is not wha- not what we’re going to have for dinner tonight, sweetheart.
Elliott Katz: Yeah, but you know what? If she wants your input on that decision, give it to her, even though it doesn’t matter to you.
David Brower: If she wants it, that’s right, that’s right. How exciting, man. That’s a … What a wonderful journey you’ve been on and be able to go through your own journey and then help … I can’t even tell you how many people you’ve been able to, to improve their lives and save marriages having your book published all over the world. It has to be beyond gratifying and very humbling, I’m sure.
Elliott Katz: It’s ver- it’s very rewarding. It’s very rewarding to be able to make a difference, help keep a family together. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s wonderful.
David Brower: Well good for you, good for you. What uh, what do you do professionally? Do you just promote your book now or what do you do?
Elliott Katz: What do I do like for a living?
David Brower: Yeah.
Elliott Katz: Actually, I’m retired.
David Brower: Oh, good for you.
Elliott Katz: Yeah, I used to work for the government and now I retired, so now I’m focusing a lot on the book and now I’m actually starting to do like speaking, because I wa- You know, when you have a full-time job, it’s not so, so easy, but I want to speak to groups and really get the word out and you know, because there’s a lot of you know a lot of people, you know a lot of men, they work hard, they earn big incomes and, and they, then you come home and life is miserable. It’s like, “Why?” You know it’s, you know it’s, it’s like so sa- I tell them, “Save some energy.”
David Brower: Yeah.
Elliott Katz: “And come home, be a leader,” but I guess, but they don’t really know, that’s … They think, “I’m, I’m … What a great husband I am. I’m earning a good income, I’m … Why, why is she so resentful?”
David Brower: Well, and too, when you tell them, “Come home and be a good leader,” there’s a message there that they don’t even understand the definition part of the time, I’m sure.
Elliott Katz: Right, right.
David Brower: Well, congratulations on your book and I’m glad you’re retired so you can really uh, get the word out on this book even more. It’s uh, it’s timeless for any generation, so congratulations to you.
Elliott Katz: Thank you very much.
David Brower: And your website, again is …
Elliott Katz: All the best with what you’re doing with these podcasts.
David Brower: Well, thank you. It’s … I just retired myself. I do uh, I do voiceover work full time and I had a marketing job up until September, and so now I’m just, I’m just doing my own thing and, and uh so I decided to start doing a podcast, not unlike you. I’m not writing a book, but I’m trying to put experts out there who know what they’re talking about in hopes of helping somebody along the line with, with an issue that they may be having, so we’re on a, we’re on a similar path, my friend, so thank you. So it’s elliottkatz.com and the book, again, is Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, available, I assume, on uh Amazon and all the usual places?
Elliott Katz: It’s on Amazon, both as a paperback and an eBook and on Kobo and iBooks and it’s also available in bookstores and if they’re sold out just ask them to order it for you and they’ll get it to you pretty quickly.
David Brower: Very good. When are you going to do an audio book of it?
Elliott Katz: Yeah, I should do that. Yeah, it’s … Okay, I’ll, I gotta do it.
David Brower: Elliott, thank you so much. Continued success and uh, enjoy the road. Our guest has been Elliott Katz, again, author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man. It’s elliottkatz.com. You’ve been listening to your 20-minute Podcast with David Brower. And be sure to like us on Facebook at facebook.com/your20minutepodcast.