By Darren Franich
Updated March 21, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

New Yorker cartoons can be whimsical, smart, hoity-toity, profound, or inscrutable. And that conglomeration of adjectives is a good description for this chatty autohagiography, written by the magazine’s longtime cartoon editor. Mankoff guides the reader through his life as a cartoonist, and his development of a distinctive stippled-line style. As memoir, it’s a bit impersonal; whole marriages are reduced to a couple of lines. But by mixing his snappy-banter writing with actual New Yorker cartoons, Mankoff offers fascinating insight into the professional trials and artistic struggles of a cartoonist — and his own method of defining what, precisely, makes a New Yorker cartoon. Mankoff frequently indulges in my-brilliant-career navel-gazing: ”I may not have the best job in the world,” he writes, ”but I’m in the running.” It’s a bold statement. And, as How About Never proves, highly accurate. B+