Sunday, September 17, 2023

Tools of the Trade

*Excerpted from Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know by H. Douglas Knust

I never had decent tools until I was forty years old. I had a hand-me-down toolbox full of orphaned tools that I had accumulated over the years. Nothing matched. My 1/2” socket was from a different set than my 3/4” socket. My straight screwdriver was different than my Phillips screwdriver. Every job that required tools was frustrating because it seemed like I never had the right tool or because my tools were cheap, they’d break.

So, when I got a gift certificate for Lowe’s, I decided I was going to use it to finally upgrade my tools. I bought some high-quality tools. Since then, every home repair or handyman task is so much easier. I actually enjoy some of them!

Parents and grandparents always struggle to find a good gift for a young man. Young men aren’t very good at offering suggestions other than the latest video game or tech gadget, both of which are likely to be obsolete within a year.

Tools are a timeless gift or purchase that can be used again and again either to assist someone or to fix something for yourself. Maybe your love interest needs help assembling some furniture. What a great way to impress that important someone in your life - breaking out a set of quality tools to help her with the job!

Owning a well-equipped toolbox is something that many young men leave to their dads. Then when you have a project, you have to either borrow tools or enlist help. A man should be self-reliant. He should have the tools and know-how to tackle basic projects around the house.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Who? Me? A Wordsmith?

I had the opportunity to discuss my book Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know with podcaster Stephen Schneider on his podcast Discovered Wordsmiths. We had a great visit about the book and how I came to write it in the first segment. We discussed the plight of young men and other topics in the second segment. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Stephen does a great job and I encourage you to followed Discovered Wordsmiths on Facebook and Instagram to find new authors and books.

Thanks Stephen!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

An Editorial Review: Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know

 Review by P Reefer:

Loved it! 😍

A transformational book that outlines tangible, ordinary steps any young man can take to produce extraordinary outcomes.

Knust uses an informal conversational style with clinical details aimed at producing young men of merit who can relate to other fellow human beings and ultimately become valuable members of their community. In Man Stuff - Things a Young Man Needs to Know, the author tackles topics like the art of conversation, shaking hands, demonstrating gratitude with a thank you note, the importance of punctuality to mention some of the issues discussed.


I wish I had read this book a bit earlier in my career as I would have learned that in spite of saying thank you after a valedictory function held in my honor, it would have been ideal to follow this with a thank you card. I cringed at the chapter on bathroom etiquette, but I am sure that many fathers will be satisfied by the practical and gentlemanly ethics shared in this chapter.

Knust brief reminders of the importance of exercising and sleeping are timely and relevant in the digital age amid Covid 19. I was a bit disappointed that these two crucial dimensions were not expounded upon even more.On the other hand, I was particularly impressed as an educator and a parent with the chapters on goal setting, gratitude, and leadership.

In my former place of employment, I was at an all-boys college with a library that needed several copies of a text like this one. The young male audience would be enriched intellectually and spiritually from encountering this text. As such, I would unreservedly recommend this text to young boys, young men, and parents concerned about grooming sons who would make them proud. Moreover, this text empowers single moms clueless about getting their little boys to develop into responsible and sensible men. Man Stuff's is a transformational book that outlines tangible, ordinary steps any young man can take to produce extraordinary outcomes.


I am a Global citizen residing in one of the Happiest Caribbean Countries: Trinidad and Tobago. I am a Teacher of English and Communication Studies. Reading and creating book reviews are my favourite pastimes. I wrote several reviews currently published on Amazon and Goodreads.

South Dakota Magazine Comments on "Man Stuff"


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Who Should Read "Man Stuff"?

I recently published my book Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know. I have often been asked who should read the book.

Man Stuff includes advice on interpersonal relationships, manners, body care, leaderships, digital etiquette, dressing for success and other critical skills that are essential for a young man.

I have discussed all of these topics with sixth through eighth grade young men at weekly meetings of the Explorers Club during the Man Stuff segment of the meetings. It would not be an overstatement to say that they truly enjoy these segments.

I do not believe, however, that the audience is limited to adolescent young men. Former Explorers club members have expressed an interest in these topics. That group includes high school age young men.

I think the book could be very helpful to single mothers during a time when their boys are developing into young men. Single moms have a huge job and this book can serve as a guide or a discussion starter for many life topics with their sons.

Grandparents can use the book as a guide for reinforcement of topics their grandsons need to know. Often those "pearls" of wisdom from grandparents are more readily accepted than they are from parents at that critical age. It can be a great gift from grandparents to their grandson.

Man Stuff would be a great gift for any young man age 10-18. The topics are traditional, timely and current. I plan to update as needed.

For example, the first two chapters in the book were going to be about the handshake and the bro-hug.  I chose to move them because of the 2020 outbreak of COVID-19 virus.

I believe there is a very really possibility that the handshake’s place in American culture may be changing. People will be much more sensitive to touching each other in a world of “social distancing” and it will be important to respect those sensitivities. The same applies to the “Bro Hug”.

I’ve chosen to leave these chapters in the book, because, at the very least, it is important to understand the role of the handshake and “Bro Hug” in our recent culture. You need to understand some of the subtle things one could convey and learn by these interactions.

If they go away, some type of formal greeting will replace them and you will want to understand how this changes the greeting and exchange. 

I encourage you to give Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know a read. I think you will find that there is something there for almost everyone!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Man Stuff

I have written in this space about the Explorers before. That organization is the inspiration for my new
book Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know.

Here is the forward from my book:

When my son was in seventh grade, I saw a need for some kind of youth organization that ALL young men could belong to – even those who were not athletic. I started the Explorers Club, a boys service club for 6-8th grade Chamberlain Public School and St. Joseph’s Indian School students, in the fall of 2001. Since then, over 350 young men have worked to raise over $125,000 for their school and community which has help fund over $650,000 in projects for the area.

This money has helped construct a new baseball field (with scoreboard) and new soccer field; purchase new playground equipment at two parks, new slides and equipment for the municipal swimming pool and A/V equipment and an AED device for the school; construct a fishing pier in the municipal campground, a new picnic shelter, and a community Frisbee golf course; and purchase trees, 60 new flag poles for community flag park, and equipment at Veterans Park. They have given financial support to the local “Meals on Wheels” and “Relay for Life” programs in addition to many other things.
They volunteer for an impressive list of service projects including cleaning school grounds, assisting with Veterans Day programs, assisting with sports tournaments, serving meals at high school athletic banquet, hosting Halloween parties for mentally handicapped, and performing various chores for elderly community members. They raise money for numerous people fighting health issues. They truly are the “go-to” organization for service and help in the community.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

March Sadness and The List

I have documented in this space my love of college basketball and my annual trip to the Final Four with a great group of friends. Over the past thirty-eight years, I have been fortunate to attend 115 Final Four basketball games (semifinals and finals) since my first one in 1982. Needless to say, some of those games have been blowouts, some have been very competitive and some have been classics

Since there aren't any games this year, a lot of lists are being created. Twitter is full of them.  This is MY list. A list of the best games I've seen. 

When I think about what makes a classic college basketball game, I think of story lines, buzzer beaters, stakes and upsets. The stakes for all of these games couldn't be higher. All of these games are for a berth in the National Championship game or for the title so that almost eliminates that factor. But I have broken these down into semifinal games and championship tilts. While there have been some great semifinal games, there is a special place for games played with a title on the line.

A few years ago, I wrote a post about some of the great title games that we have been able to witness. That was an "off the top of my head" ranking and there have been a few great games since then. The list below includes a bit deeper look with the above considerations factored in.

Here is the pool of games that I have witnessed and from which these lists are compiled. The games in red were one possession games. Click on year and date for full tournament bracket.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

“Can We Talk About Communication?”

Welcome to the new SDADA Update!

Every trade association I know of struggles with communication. That means both sending information to and receiving information from their members.

Our SDADA Bulletin, in its current printed form, is not an efficient mode of communication with our dealer members. Certainly a quarterly publication no longer qualifies as “news”.

So we are taking a page from the playbook of many other associations, inside and outside the auto industry, and going to an electronic newsletter. We don’t want to jam up your email box up so we will start with a semi-monthly (1st & 15th of each month) publication and adjust from there.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The SenTree

sentry noun sen·​try | \ ˈsen-trē  \plural sentries
Definition of sentry: GUARD, WATCH  especially : a soldier standing guard at a point of passage (such as a gate)

A recent South Dakota Magazine article about trees and the stories they hold reminded me of a tree that has overseen so many of my late fall sunrises. The tree doesn’t even sit on my property. It does, however, sit as the backdrop for virtually every deer that has been harvested on our property for the past 25 years.

I think the tree is some kind of elm but I don’t know for certain. I’ve never touched it. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten within 20-25 yards of it. By the time it factors into our deer hunts, the leaves have long ago fallen and it would be difficult for me to even determine what kind of tree it actually is - not that it matters. When you look at the tree during the day, it is extremely unremarkable.

During deer season, however, the sun rises directly behind this tree when you sit in our deer stand. It transforms from “just another tree” to “the tree”.