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Tim Gunn sounds off on 'making it work' in real life in his latest self-help book

November 16, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Gunn Admit it — you think Tim Gunn is a wise old sage. Yeah, so do we.

Which is why his recently released self-help book, "Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work," doesn't feel like it's coming out of left field — even though the "Project Runway" host is weighing in on life issues, not style conundrums.

But Gunn has always been a guy with good sense and courage enough to call out bad manners when he sees them (he recently lambasted a "Gossip Girl" star for her bad behavior on the "Runway" set and has publicly iced the White House-crashing Salahis, whom he called "sociopaths").

In his travel-sized new tome, the dapper creative director of Liz Claiborne let his classy flag fly by way of anecdotes from his professional life, which is steeped in academia.

Rule No. 1, of course, is "Make it work!" -- or "make the best of a bad situation." Rule 2? "The world owes you ... nothing," also the name of a chapter in which Gunn talks about the disturbing trend of college kids who can't function without their parents doting on them every minute. "Maybe it's because I became a public person late in life," wrote Gunn, "but I have never lost the belief that all my success could vanish just like that."

Other rules, including "Take the high road," "Never underestimate karma" and "Take risks! Playing it safe is never really safe," ultimately tell Gunn's personal story, including how he became involved with "Project Runway."

The show's producers were looking for a consultant, and they called him at Parsons the New School for  Design. "I will tell you that I had my snob hat on," Gunn wrote. "Fashion reality? ... That sounds disgusting."

But he met with the producers and discovered "there was integrity there." But Gunn's employer nearly fired him for getting involved in a TV show the first season. "Afterwards," said Gunn, "they were congratulating themselves for getting in on the ground floor."

What was that thing about karma again?

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: The book jacket for "Gunn's Golden Rules." Credit: Gallery Books