In 1995 high-flying British journalist Toby Young left London for New York to become a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Other Brits had taken Manhattan - Alistair Cooke then, Anna Wintour now - so why couldn't he? But things didn't go quite according to plan. Within the space of two years he was fired from Vanity Fair, banned from the most fashionable bar in the city, and couldn't get a date for love or money.
"Author really should have had someone else read"
When even his friends refer to him in print as "a balding, bug-eyed opportunist with the looks of a beach ball, the charisma of a glove-puppet, and an ego the size of a Hercules supply plane", the odds of Toby Young scoring, in any sense, appear to be slim. But then How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, his account of the five years he spent trying (and failing) to take Manhattan, improbably catapults Toby to best sellerdom, and his book is translated into 12 languages, including American.