This book was ostensibly about mentorship and what makes a good teacher, but it ended up being about half that and half Tim Gunn’s random thoughts about things. Which, no shade. I love Tim Gunn, and a book of his random thoughts is good enough for me.
The book is structured in chapters outlining the traits of a good teacher with the acronym “TEACH.” I, of course, remember none of what it stands for. What I do remember are Gunn’s asides. For instance, his interview when asked about trans models and the fallout from it being misconstrued. He expressed concern about their inclusion in fashion shows not being about their beauty or skill modelling, which he affirmed, but for reflecting designers’ unfair expectations of the female form (in other words, stick thin women born as women still have those pesky hips that women assigned male at birth often don’t). Basically, he was worried that the models were being exploited, just in a different way than typically. His horror at that line being taken out of context as indicative of his being transphobic was palpable in the book, and it’s one of the more moving anecdotes as a result.
He makes an excellent case for his brand of teaching with this book as well; just because it meanders doesn’t mean the book doesn’t accomplish what it set out to do. His insights about caring tough love make so much sense in light of his Project Runway experience; you understand more about why he always turns questions back on contestants so they can experience their revelations themselves instead of being told what to do; his assertion that not failing bad work does a disservice to students who would otherwise go into the world thinking their efforts would be rewarded and fail where it really matters.