Parents of boys could do worse than point them towards James Bond as a role model. Those who think of Bond as a self-indulgent alcoholic womanizer will react with shock. Others merely smirk.
This dismissive attitude is based on the compound error of focusing on minor aspects of the Bond character and then misunderstanding those aspects anyway.
To shift gears for a moment, let me point out that we are facing (and any tone of alarm here is entirely intentional) a looming crisis in masculinity, due to factors both physiological and sociological. Consider some of the trends: (1) American men have been showing a significant decline in both testosterone and sperm count for some decades; (2) while more and more women are going to college (and good for them), the number of male college students is on the decline; (3) according to psychologist Terri Apter, the percentage of young adults living with their parents went from 11% to 20% between 1970 and 2005. I suspect that after decades spent fretting over the (admittedly genuine) problems arising out of male aggressiveness, we are going to find that male passivity doesn't yield the hoped-for utopian outcome either.
Let's take a minute to think of some of the many things James Bond would never do. You would never find him living on his mother's couch and spending his days playing video games. He never spends an entire Saturday watching football on TV. He doesn't go to the supermarket in sweat pants. He doesn't let his weight get out of control. If he has a problem, he doesn't bemoan his fate but takes corrective action. He doesn't wait for opportunity to come to him. He drinks, but in moderation. He demands the best from those around him and from himself. Time and again he saves the world, but savors life while doing so.
So choosing James Bond as a role model isn't crazy. Since Paul Kyriazi first coined the "James Bond Lifestyle" idea it has burgeoned into a bit of a movement.
Now to the product: Kyriazi has produced successively expanded versions of the seminar. The version I used comes on 8 CD's, which consist mostly of narration by Kyriazi himself, with an introduction by two-time Felix Leiter actor David Hedison, and punctuated occasionally with music and interpolations by Hedison and other voice actors (Kyriazi has considerable experience producing audiobooks).
The topics covered range from large to small--but one must understand that the large is the small. To take one example, consider the discourse on the seemingly trivial matter of valet parking, which was an eye-opener for me personally (and includes a most entertaining little audio-play). First of all, there is no question that James Bond always uses valet parking--we see it several times in the movies. Kyriazi points out valet parking's many practical advantages, especially when considered against the cost (usually only a few dollars tip). But there's a philosophical point to be made as well. When you force the woman you're with to walk through the rain or cold in order to save a few bucks on tipping the valet, what message are you sending about the value you place on her? What message are you sending to yourself, for that matter?
Some of the other topics covered in the seminar: Health and fitness, some philosophy about the relationship between one's inner state and the outer world (this reminded me much of Buddhism, but Paul Kyriazi told me there was no overt connection), maintaining your home and car, the importance of planning and taking action (a core principle), how to play craps--both the game and the social customs around the game, much more about tipping, how to check into a hotel properly (yeah, you think you already know, but Kyriazi takes it to the next level, including tips such as how to get a room in a booked-up hotel), what clothes to wear, how to walk, what you should be wearing.
One more topic deserves special mention and that's the Bond girl. For Kyriazi your Bond girl is your wife, your girlfriend, your date, or whatever woman is making up a couple together with yourself at the moment. The phrase "Bond girl" is among the most widely misunderstood. A recurring amusement for anyone who follows the Bond movies is hearing the actress signed for the upcoming Bond film discuss her character: "Oh, she's not the typical Bond girl, she's strong, she's smart, she's self-sufficient, etc., etc."--missing the point that the Bond films have a tradition of strong, smart, self-sufficient women going back to Honeychile Ryder with a knife on her hip.
And though Bond has been labeled a misogynist (and admittedly the early films have a few cringe-worthy moments--I'm thinking of a young lady who gets patted on the buttocks early on in Goldfinger) he actually follows a code of conduct considerably more chivalrous than some guys I know. His vocabulary does not include terms such as "bitch" or "slut", nor by word or deed does he suggest that any woman is unattractive, unintelligent, or not worth spending time with. (Okay, he does occasionally twist arms or even shoot people, but only for the purpose of saving the free world and stuff like that.)
More to the point, I can't imagine any woman being unhappy if the guy she's with follows the guidelines laid out in Kyriazi's seminar, which are based not only on treating any lady with respect, but going the extra mile to be a worthy companion.
In summary, though I originally bought the seminar with an attitude of curiosity, it turned out to be one of the most useful, practical and inspirational pieces of self-help I have come across. You can find it on Kyriazi's James Bond lifestyle at http://www.bondlife.com/.