One of the first things I did when I started wet shaving was to read as much as humanly possible about the subject. This included reading the forums, peoples personal shave blogs, forum Wiki pages, and trying to find actual BOOKS that dealt with the subject. I had a lot luck finding information on the web, but was mostly disappointed in the books available. At the time, there wasn’t very many books to choose from. Most were PDFs of old “gentleman’s guides”” or actual barber manuals. These were useful, but even in the early stages of my learning process showed flaws (which after 80 to 90 years isn’t too big of a surprise). I did find one very good book, but more on that below.
This is Part One of the Shaving book reviews. Check out the following in the series here:
The other night I was curious and went onto Amazon.com and started looking at what was avialable. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of wet shaving books available until I started looking a little harder and saw the quality of information being presented. I decided to do a little research and present it here. FYI, I bought each and everyone of these books being presented. Most were bought in ebook format (and a lot are only offered electronically). This is Part 1 of however many posts it takes! All books were researched on Amazon, because it’s the single largest bookseller in the world. This is all based upon my opinion and my opinion alone.
- The Good = Good content, well written, not overly skewed by personal opinion. Good formatting, grammar, and spelling. If a book has decent content and is presented in a easily readable format.
- The Bad = Poor content and/or poorly written. Poor formatting, grammar, and spelling. Also possibly heavily skewed by authors opinions.
- The Complete Wastes Of Your Money = Meets one of two criteria. Either so badly written it doesn’t even qualify for The Bad category or is a reprint of material you can obtain for free.
This book is available in both print and ebook format. I have only read the print book.
Originally released as Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving – Sixth Edition: Shaving Made Enjoyable. Just recently updated to Rev 7. This book is written by Michael Ham, better known as Leisureguy in wet shaving forums and groups. Michael can often be found on the the wicked_edge sub_reddit helping out new shavers.
Pros: Step by step instructions on equipment selection, shave prep, shaving, and equipment maintenance. Great section covering vintage and new safety razors and a huge index of online resources.
Cons: There is only one thing about this book I do not like. Michael only covers the use of safety razors. No straight razor guidance given. If you want to use a straight razor this book is still very good in covering the methodology of wet shaving and how to prep for a shave.
Conclusion: Buy this book. End of discussion. This is the go to book if you are looking to get a friend or significant other into wet shaving.
This is a book by Will Evans and Derek Zender. This book appears to only be available in e-book format.
To start off with, the book is technically correct and doesn’t seem to give erroneous information. However, almost every aspect of shaving is boiled down to one or two paragraphs. There is nothing unique or noteworthy about the content of this book. If you browsed a forum for a few hours you would get more in depth info. However, if you wanted to give a stocking stuffer to your 12 year old nephew, this might fit the bill.
Shaving Made Easy : What the Man Who Shaves Ought to Know. This book was originally published in 1905 and is now considered public domain. That means that anyone can use it for whatever purpose they want. That includes selling it as their own. There are a LOT of people selling copies of this book online. Some copies are nothing more than a scanned image of the original book where others have been retyped and professionally bound. These books are being sold as both e-books and bound editions.
The following is most of the books currently listed on Amazon.
I’m sure there are a few that I missed, but you get the point. If you would like a FREE copy of this book then download it for free (no sign-up or anything else) at Project Gutenberg and Archive.Org. Digital copies of these books (and others) are available on most of the shave forums Wiki pages.
If you NEED a hard copy of this book I would recommend downloading the free PDF and using a friends printer.
There is one pseudo-exception on this list. The author Leon Cutajar has taken this book and expanded upon its original text.
It is better than some of others, but it is written like someone who has researched a lot, but has no real experience wet shaving. Not to mention a majority of the content is copied from freely available public works. As such it gets to stay with its brethren in the waste of money category.
I hope this was a little bit of help to someone out there. I have another dozen or so books to write up and share. Should take up two, maybe three more posts. If you liked the post, please share it with others and/or leave a comment below.
Have a great day and a smooth shave!