Reading Group Guide
Questions for Men
1. Many of the essayists -- particularly Mark Winegardner -- refer to the influence of their mothers. What areas of the authors' lives were most influenced by their mothers? What impact did your mother have on your life? Did she play a particular role in shaping your career decisions or personal choices?
2. In the preface to the book's "Fathers" section, Michael Segell writes, "How sad it is that so many of us seem to know and appreciate our fathers better in death than in life." Do you think this belated understanding of fathers is true of daughters as well as sons? If so, why? Generally speaking, do men or women have an easier time relating to their fathers, and why? Also, as Charles Siebert's essay points out, it seems men often draw closer to their fathers only in times of tragedy or severe need. Why do you think this is? Are there examples from your life, or the lives of friends and family, that mirror this?
3. Recall Nelson Aldrich's distressing tale about his family's wealth. Who taught you financial lessons, your mother or father? Both? Neither? How do you cope with economic hardship, or react to prosperity? How does this differ from the women you've known and their attitudes to money?
4. There are many essays about being or having a mentor. Have you ever been a mentor to someone outside your family? How did you and the other person benefit from the relationship? Were your favorite teache see more