We live in a world that's very different from the one in which Emily Post came of age. Many of us who are nice (but who also sometimes say "f*ck") are frequently at a loss for guidelines about how to be a good person who deals effectively with the onslaught of rudeness we all encounter. To lead us through this this miasma of modern manners, syndicated columnist Amy Alkon - The Advice Goddess - gives us a new set of manners for our 21st-century lives. In chapters titled "The Telephone", "The Internet", "The Apology", and "Communicating", among others, Alkon maps out new rules that go beyond what fork to use to answer real questions we all have:
Real advice for today with more than a touch of humor, Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck is destined to give good old Emily a shove off the etiquette shelf (if that's not too rude to say).
©2014 Amy Alkon (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
Okay, I didn't know what to expect. Within 20 minutes I was hooked. I was listening while BBQ'ing outside.When I came in my wife said, "you look crazy out there laughing to yourself while your flipping our burgers. Good thing I know you." It's not that this book is so side splitting, it's that Alkon can turn a phase and pick a perfect analogy. MacDuffie does a fabulous job on the narration.
If you want to know how to handle you pesky neighbors, get those people at work to stop asking when you are getting engaged, or just how to say 'no,' then this book is for you. This is definitely for a person who does not mind strong language and suggestive analogies -- so if these things bother you, you should avoid this book. That said, Alkon goes on to be funny without being vulgar -- a neat trick. She also backs up her advice with reference to the latest psychology ; but, that part of the book is very scant so don''t get too nervous.
I recommend that you listen to this -- it is well worth you time. I bought a print copy for my daughter to read -- she is going to love it.
I know there are people who get outraged at a review for a book that was abandoned but I really do want to comment on this book. There were some really goods points.
First, the narrator, Carrington MacDuffie, was great. I've never listened to her before. Her voice reminds me of a famous Canadian singer, Anne Murray, who has an awesome speaking voice, so that was a bonus.
A point the author made several times, that I can get behind, is that the Internet is not a fearsome dangerous place to be avoided. It can be a fabulous tool for communication and connection, you just have to use some sense when using it. Give some thought to your boundaries and behave accordingly. Great advice. Some of her advice about cell phone use and cell phone 'culture' was interesting and thought provoking. I can't agree with her supposition though that actually phoning someone instead of texting or emailing is rude and intrusive.
Lastly, some of the humour was delightful and I had a few chuckles.
Unfortunately, I decided to DNF the book after about 3 hours for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the author was incredibly inconsistent. On one hand, she says several times 'if you don't know what to do, behave with kindness and an attitude of inclusiveness'. Then in several parts of the books she describes handling things in a way that are anything but kind...web shaming, stalking wrongdoers, and telling an awful lot of 'white lies'. She also is a proponent of blowing someone off in a written note because that is a lot 'kinder' than talking to the them face to face. Maybe its because this advice goes against everything I've worked so hard to learn about communication and relationships. If you don't have the skills to have a difficult conversation face to face with someone, learn them, don't resort to notes.
There were a lot of other things that rubbed me the wrong way so I let it go.
I sound pretty negative about the author but in reality, she is probably a decent person who I would like in real life. It is clear that she tries to be a kind, civil person, but the behaviour she advocates just gets in the way.
After using every tactic in our arsenal to solve the problem of 6 piles of dog excrement that dotted our front lawn like landmines and greeted us each morning when we opened the front door, I purchased this book. When I say every tactic, I mean from calling the city, animal control, stuffing mailboxes with fliers quoting the city ordinances regarding responsible pet ownership, posting a sign in the middle of our yard (with attached plastic bags) imploring neighbors *PLEASE clean up after your dog!* (or horse?), and even doing night recon with our old lame bulldog, an airsoft gun and a spotlight. By the time I had to resort to a ludicrous, tacky, ridiculous, sign pleading with people to pick up their pet's poop from our manicured lawn, we had already had the F-bomb blitzkrieg behind closed doors, and were at the point of standing in our flower beds screaming like crazy people at any one that even walked by our house, including children on tricycles. Having to clean up after a pack of assorted sized dogs with assorted diets every effing morning, will do that to you -- even you gentle folk that think the F-bomb is the ultimate no-no spewed only from those with mouths like a sewer pipe. Did I get an answer? Yes and no; but I definitely laughed and lowered my blood pressure.
Alkon, who writes a syndicated advice column, actually offers some really good advice dealing with the tangles we get into living and working with those people that don't give a F*CK -- the ones that really need this book. The problems she tackles head-on include those not even on the horizon until the advent of electronics and social media, including how to re-act when you receive a text accompanied by a picture of an acquaintance's "zipperwurst". She is hilarious, clever, considerate, and grounded; but mostly she is blunt and fearless, empowering the reader to throw their shoulders back and take some power when dealing with any form of boorish, rude, impolite, inconsiderate, discourteous, insolent, people you still have to see every day. And sometimes she gives examples where the offender actually takes responsibility and ends up apologizing!
Like she says, you can be aggressive without being hostile. But it is a fine art facing an offender of civility if you don't have any desire to surround your property with an electrical razor wire fence, find a new job, or change churches after flipping the middle finger to a driver that cuts you off and realizing it was your Pastor. I don't want to stand out in my yard giving passer-by's the stink-eye, or hurling words my grandmother said, "only make you look unintelligent;" but neither do I want to keep a garbage can full of stinky dog poop in my garage until garbage day. I'm not holding my breath until I hear... "we're so sorry our Great Dane has been using your lawn as his toilet!" But, I do feel fortified with the might of right, the responsibility to live with civility and dignity, and the duty to enforce, with kindness, good manners. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Alkon tells you how to begin that quest...and does it with terrific style and humor.
Author Amy Alkon has done her homework by reading and referencing a number of books or studies on human behavior, the brain, social studies and psychology and that makes this book an intelligent observation on human beings today.
We live in a very different society than a generation ago, and thus there is need for a re-frame of what is considered to be considerate or inconsiderate behavior. With humor, directness, and great examples this book covers behaviors we experience today and some optional responses.
Amy Alkon covers many relevant topics, from what is to be done about cell phones, tipping, parking, or how to respond to invitations by email. That was expected and I learned more than I thought I would. What I didn't expect, and found helpful were when Amy wrote about how to best help people. How to respond when a someone says they have cancer. How friends can network to help a friend. How even though we can not give a homeless person "three hots and a cot" we can still do something small to make their day better.
Funny throughout, this is a guidebook for life where big cities and technology have both brought people together and isolated them. Compassion, respect, intelligence, and at times courage to do what it takes to correct selfish and inconsiderate behavior are illustrated throughout.
This would be an excellent book to be assigned reading in school to help young people have better life skills. And for people who remember phones that had a spinning disk on front to dial numbers, this book is a great way to keep up.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
This is one of the titles I picked-up on recommendation. I can't say that I enjoyed it, although at times it made me smile; for example the Title.
It's written under topics that purport to be inclusive, but I got the impression that it was a selection of prior advice columns collected together under a general tag. For example, the same sentence or series of sentences appears on two or three occasions and really do not warrant repetition.
Also, the text sounds a lot like extracts out of "Sex in the City", without the fourway tension or bedroom antics. Much of this text I disagree with (particularly the misleading of others to avoid a confrontation and anonymous notes). I think I am too direct to apply much of The Goddess' advice.
Still, that is not a good reason to pan a book. The narrative is entertaining and sharp (like the bits that bite - kids on planes, for example).
It's not for me, but if you like "She's Not that Into You", then you'd probably like this too. I liked "Sex In the City" (eventually), but I guess I'm not ready to take Amy's advice (which, I suspect, she's cool with).
Although some parts were interesting, the humor and swear words (I got the impression the author actually rarely says the F word) seemed to be a compensation and an attempt to hide some very nosy & time consuming, busy body ways.
Beyond table manners & thank you note etiquette, Alkon reviews what we already should know about coexisting with other human beings. Tips on dealing with noisy neighbors, tipping and people who want to change seats with you on a flight. Advise on what to do when cancer shows up in your circle of friends or you spill a cab on your host's white carpet, sofa or both.
Funny & helpful without any Polyanna sweetness or prim and proper superiority that could have easily crept in.
Give to all your friends for the next gifting holiday or tomorrow (just to let them know you are thinking of them.).
I really really liked this book. It could change your life & your mind about how you deal with people & how you let them deal with you!
Kathleen in FL
Lots of valuable tips for the new millennium given in a straightforward manner. Definitely worth the listen. It is a reference book to hang onto.
She offers some sound advice, but some of it feels kind of like a different flavor of rudeness. I enjoyed the science behind her thoughts on the issues discussed, but the manners she recommends are things I mostly already do, or seem questionable.
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