My Mentor: Greg Gutfeld on Mark Bricklin

'Think of the reader first, he always said, so I kept my mom's picture on my desk'
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The Independent Online

"Mark Bricklin was running the world's largest health magazine when I watched him swallow a taco salad the size of a monkey's head. At the time, I was 25, broke, living at home with my mom and mailing out countless résumés with no success. Bricklin flew me to dreary Allentown, Pennsylvania, to interview me in a smoky diner for Rodale's Prevention, a magazine that catered to lonely women with cats and psoriasis.

"Mark Bricklin was running the world's largest health magazine when I watched him swallow a taco salad the size of a monkey's head. At the time, I was 25, broke, living at home with my mom and mailing out countless résumés with no success. Bricklin flew me to dreary Allentown, Pennsylvania, to interview me in a smoky diner for Rodale's Prevention, a magazine that catered to lonely women with cats and psoriasis.

Bricklin had produced the most successful health books in the country, and he created Men's Health magazine. While GQ and Esquire were for the wishful girlfriends of weak men, Men's Health was real stuff for real men. It exploded to a circulation of 1.6 million in the US. That's a lot of men, many of whom now moisturise almost daily.

Bricklin taught me how to report and how to write lean. Most important, he advocated including 'the hot spot' - an arresting factoid rewarding the reader with a sense of mindless achievement on discovering that... leftover cereal milk contains more nutrients than the actual cereal; you need to walk a block to burn off one M&M; shaving the pubes adds a half-inch to your penis, etc.

Think of the reader first, he always said, so I kept my mom's picture on my desk. But most writers were more interested in showing off. They liked Hunter S Thompson - he smoked, drank and shot guns. So did Bricklin. But Mark did it while holding down a massive job - and that makes him more interesting. True rebels infiltrate the mainstream, where it counts. If it wasn't for Bricklin, I'd still be on my mom's porch luring jailbait with drink. Instead, I became editor of Men's Health, then US Stuff, and now Maxim UK.

It was weird to see Rodale let Bricklin go, especially since they owe so much of their success to him. I guess it's scary to have someone smarter and more talented than you wandering the halls. Bricklin still writes and edits, while shooting pistols at his farm in Pennsylvania. If you see him, duck."

Greg Gutfeld is editor of 'Maxim'

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