Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • The Hipster Handbook
  • Written by Robert Lanham
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781400032013
  • Our Price: $14.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Hipster Handbook

Buy now from Random House

  • The Hipster Handbook
  • Written by Robert Lanham
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307485946
  • Our Price: $9.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Hipster Handbook

The Hipster Handbook

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook

Written by Robert LanhamAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Robert Lanham


List Price: $9.99


On Sale: November 26, 2008
Pages: 176 | ISBN: 978-0-307-48594-6
Published by : Anchor Knopf
The Hipster Handbook Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - The Hipster Handbook
  • Email this page - The Hipster Handbook
  • Print this page - The Hipster Handbook
Categories for this book
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
» see more tags
satire (5) culture (4) hipsters (4)
» hide


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.


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.
Robert Lanham|Author Q&A

About Robert Lanham

Robert Lanham - The Hipster Handbook
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.

Author Q&A

Q: What is a Hipster?

Hipster is someone who is fashion conscious and a connoisseur of music, art, and fine cuisine. Though Hipsters have always been around (Flappers, Beatniks, and Hippies were earlier forms), today's Hipster experiences being bohemian by shopping at thrift shops, by denouncing something's credibility should it become mainstream, and by striving to be ironic. Hipsters generally consider themselves to be artists who lean to the left politically. Republican Hipster is an oxymoron. In a nutshell, a Hipster is someone who is up on all the latest trends.

Q: A girl walks into the room. What are three sure-tell signs that she's a Hipster?

Since Hipsters have so many different styles, it's easier to discern who is a Hipster by identifying who is not. If a girl walks into a room wearing a Tasmanian Devil sweatshirt and carrying a take-out bag of Popeye's chicken, chances are she's not a Hipster.

Q: How many types of Hipsters are there?

There are 10 main types of Hipsters and they are outlined in detail in the book. To name a few there are UTFs (Unemployed Trust Funders) who get a little cush from their parents and dress in second hand clothes to appear bohemian. There are Bipsters (blue collar Hipsters) who own pit bulls, work as bike couriers and carpenters, and have no patience with art school pretension. And of course there are Loners, Hipsters who are more interested in collecting imported German records on limited edition vinyl than in being social.

Q: Why did you write this book? Do Hipsters need a handbook?

I wrote the book for money and chicks.

Hipsters secretly read TimeOut and watch "Friends," though they'd never admit it. They'll do the same thing with this book. Preppies, princesses, and snowboarders have handbooks, so why shouldn't Hipsters?

Q: Are today's Hipsters different from past Hipsters? Who were some of the great Hipsters in history?

Today's Hipsters are obsessed with kitsch. They wear John Deere-style mesh caps and have Loni Anderson posters on their walls. This obsession with kitsch is unique to our time in history.

Some iconic Hipsters are Jack Kerouac who epitomized what it meant to be cool by making his own rules as an artist. Sappho was another especially deck Hipster in history. She was the daughter of royalty and had a trust fund that provided her the freedom to be an artist on the isle of Lesbos.

Q: Is deck really the new cool? What are the latest Hipster words we'll be hearing?

There hasn't been a good slang word for cool to come around since "fly", back in the eighties. The term "cool" just seems very Fonzie, so I was glad to hear people using the more current-sounding "deck" in casual conversation. Some other favorites are "frado," which is an ugly guy who thinks he's good looking and "piece," which refers to a Hipster's cell phone. Overall, Hipsters use a myriad of slang, mixing up kitschy words from the past like "dope" and "groovy" with more current terms like "deck."

Q: You live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the country's Hipster Meccas. What is it about Williamsburg that attracts Hipsters?

Hipsters began moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn years ago due to a housing shortage and rising rents in Manhattan. The neighborhood is one stop away from the East Village and five years ago was an easy place to find a cheap loft space. Hipsters in Williamsburg now love to complain about gentrification while sipping coffee at the L Café. Unlike most neighborhoods, Williamsburg is amazingly without franchises. Hipsters feel at home living in a Starbucks-and-Barnes-and-Noble-free environment.

Q: Once a trend catches on, Hipsters flee the scene. Is Williamsburg still deck? Or is it over?

Hipsters like to claim that Williamsburg is passé, while looking though the classifieds for a Williamsburg apartment and drinking a pint at a Williamsburg bar. The bottom line is that Hipsters consider what is deck to be esoteric knowledge. Once something catches on, they are quick to diss it. Most Hipsters still dig Radiohead, but would never admit it.

Q: Outside of Williamsburg, where are there other Hipster hot spots?

Hipsters are everywhere, but here are a few of the hot spots:

Manhattan — Lower East Side
Seattle — Belltown
Richmond — The Fan
Washington, D.C. —The U District
San Francisco — Inner Mission
Cleveland — Coventry
Chicago — Wicker Park

Q: Can aging Hipsters still be deck?

As long as they don't work in a store that sells comic books and Lord of the Rings action figures or wear tight T-shirts with decals that say Porn Star.

Q: Music is an integral part of the Hipster's life. Who are the new deck bands?

I'm biased being from Brooklyn, but I think a lot of great talent is coming out of this borough. The Rapture, Metro Area, and The Liars are some of my local favorites. I secretly like Ryan Adams too, though I wish he'd stop doing Gap ads.

Q: What does it mean to be midtown?

In New York, midtown is filled with Starbucks, Disney Stores, and people who wear hairspray. To be midtown is to be the type of person who goes to TGI Fridays on the weekend to eat poppers and drink Bahama Mamas.

Q: Finally, people will want to know: are you a Hipster?

I consider myself more of an anthropologist. My next book will be a sociological study of white baby boomers who dress like Native Americans.

George Bush and John Ashcroft would probably say satire is un-American, so I guess I should avoid defining the book as such. But of course a true Hipster would never admit to being a Hipster.



"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

  • The Hipster Handbook by Robert Lanham
  • February 04, 2003
  • Humor
  • Anchor
  • $14.00
  • 9781400032013

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: