While the cowboy life is basking in the Brokeback spotlight, Stein (How to Ruin Your Life) believes the mindset of these romantic figures-the cowboys' ""bunkhouse logic""-is the ultimate guide to fulfillment in life. But don't let the stature of this breezy book fool you: Stein dispels wishful thinking and exhorts readers to figure out what they want and then to ask for it. Unlike most entries in the self-help field, Stein's writing is dark, funny and devoid of sunny aphorisms: readers should accept that life is a series of potentially debilitating blows, forego ""illusions that anything will work out in a just or decent or proper way,"" realize that ""constant ass-kissing is so demeaning to the ass-kisser and the ass-kissed that it cheapens life"" and always ""dream your biggest dreams."" Stein's bunkhouse thinking revolves around realizing the stark facts of life and then acting accordingly, so associating with lucky, successful people is good, but choosing perfection over persistence is bad. Readers may be disheartened to read Stein's flip affirmation of their fears about how the world works, but this guide to playing the game will help those feeling hogtied.