Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?

Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Guide to Modern Manners
by Henry Alford
Twelve, 2012. 242 pgs. Nonfiction.

Henry Alford notes that most of us can easily spot bad manners, but we aren’t always sure what good manners are in modern society. Alford decides to explore what good manners are by visiting Japan, known for its excessive attention to politeness, interviewing writers like Judith Martin, and trying his hand at advising his friends on tricky etiquette questions.

This book is less of a how-to guide and more of a memoir. Alford is quite funny and some of the chapters were very insightful; some of the other chapters were less helpful or interesting. I did like that he addresses many modern issues like Facebook and email etiquette and I liked his final conclusion that having good manners mostly means using your imagination to figure out what another person might be thinking or feeling in a particular situation.


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