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Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why Hardcover – October 21, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A man usually seeks etiquette tips from three types of people: a sharp woman he admires, a Jeeves, or a stylish metrosexual. In Post, great-grandson to the diamond-tongued Emily Post, he will find a mild-mannered golf companion. In his preface, Post explains that since most men don't want a dry reference book on manners, he set out write a "conversational" book "that men can read right through, from cover to cover." Nonetheless, most readers may still prefer to skim this guide's many subheadings, bullet points and sidebars and head straight to what interests. Post's book is studded with anecdotes taken from a nostalgic domestic universe, where men "wander into the kitchen and pull out all the fixings for a delectable Dagwood sandwich," which Post narrates in the conjugal we-e.g. "over the past few years we've helped organize several monster clambakes on Martha's Vineyard." In this world, women appear as watchdogs and oracles, repeatedly quoted as the ultimate authorities on male behavior. Indeed, Post's etiquette guide becomes a dating guide midway through, and the important "Social Life" section crescendos with a chapter on weddings. He is conservative on technology: in his view, "we have become slaves to the phone" and emails should be considered public documents, without exception. But Post is no enemy of progress: in another section, he offers tips for making effective PowerPoint presentations. For the modern bachelor who wants to give a dinner party, the author provides his personal "Keep It Simple Stupid" entertaining guide, including his favorite recipe (for chicken tarragon), but skips precise rules about how to set a table. Overall, Post appears to have exchanged the mystique of manners for business-casual rules of thumb. Many men might welcome this exchange, and the book should do well among readers who enjoyed Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business (1999).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“ should welcome this book.” (Andy Spade, CEO and creative director, Kate Spade LLC)

“A helpful manners survival guide for figuring out those sticky everyday situations.” (Joshua Piven, coauthor of The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook)

“[Peter Post] has masterfully tackled a specific market that desperately needs his advice.” (Letitia Baldrige)

“. . .tells men, in a readable and unscolding way, the basics of what they need to know.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“. . .a fast-paced and witty guide to help men handle everyday situations.” (Charlotte Observer)

“. . .a sensible, realistic guide for men on how to relate to others with grace, courtesy, and charm.” (Elegant Weddings magazine)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (October 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060539801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060539801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gunia VINE VOICE on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Peter Post, the great-grandson of etiquette expert Emily Post, President of the Emily Post Institute, and frequent conference speaker on business etiquette, has provided an enjoyable, pracitical book for younger men who would like to improve their social interactions.

Post begins by defining etiquette as the desire to be respectful, considerate, and honest toward those around us (and balance the three). Manners are defined as the ways in which these three things manifest themselves. With these definitions in mind, once can easily go through both the book and life having a good idea of what to do/not to do in a social setting.

Post has divided his book into three major sections: Everyday Live, Social Life, and On the Job. In each, he has several examples of "dos" and "don'ts" that seem silly to even address (loudly burping while at a business function, using deoderant, not calling female co-workers "Sweetie"), but he also has many techniques and guidelines that are quite helpful--this is especialy so for infrequent occasions like job interviews, attending a wedding, or "working a room" at a business-social function.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was Post's writing style. Knowing that etiquette is often viewed as an "upper class" type thing, Post plays into this stereotype tonge-in-cheek as he uses fictional examples of visiting vacation homes on the beach and attending cricket matches. He also writes in a "high class" yet very readable style and uses humerous names for fictional charactes (Dan Petrefied, Heather Nervous, etc.).

While older gentlemen will probably have mastered many (but probably not all) of the manners and techniques Post writes about, younger men will probably benefit most from this book. Some can benefit from a little refining or incorporating techniques, others are probably doing just fine in social situations, but can use the confidence boost that this book can provide. Recommended.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By John on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this triumph of principles over dogma, the great-grandson of Emily Post provides a practical, no-nonsense, research-based guide for any man wishing to improving his relations with others at home, work, or elsewhere. This aptly-titled book first boils all of etiquette down to one timeless principle from Emily Post, and the rest of the book couches the most common situations ("common" according to survey) in terms of this principle.

I had several epiphanies because this book explains WHY. Now I understand the *reason* for putting the toilet seat down, not using profanity, etc. These eye-openers were not what I expected and make the manners obvious so that there's nothing to remember. There is a simple discussion of staring (ogling) and how to avoid it, and it works!

The author acknowledges that etiquette does not apply everywhere. The two other books on men's manners I looked at were somewhat dogmatic and arbitrary, and this was the jewel.

Contrary to another review, the only mention of a vacation house and cricket is on pages 120-121 as a hypothetical example of something that the invited guest is UN-familiar with. For the record, I find Peter Post to be remarkably accessible and down-to-earth. He writes openly about passing gas, spitting, and other "small grossnesses." (The message is HOW to do these things if you must, rather than just "don't do it.") I did not find any paragraph to be the least bit pretentious, condescending, snooty, or hoity-toity.

A man is more attractive when confident. This book triggered long-overdue changes in how others respond to me, and raised my dignity.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Many men sabotage opportunities and hurt others because they are unaware of basic ettiquette. Recently I spoke with an employee who described inept, offensive behaviors of another male employee who is basically well meaning. I purchased this book for him, which he enjoyed very much and found enlightening. I also gave him Optimal Thinking: How To Be Your Best Self to learn how to make the be his best, optimize situations and bring out the best from others. I have seen a remarkable change in his demeanor so I recommend both of these books.
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71 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Robert Foss on February 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First let me say I like this book. However there are a few small items that make the book a touch annoying.
First the author drops anecdotes or examples in bold print in the middle of his paragraphs. The anecdotes/examples would have been much better placed at the end of the paragraphs instead of mid thought.
Second the writer comes off sounding very pretentious with references to staying at friends beach houses and going to cricket matches. Great that you have a life that affords you cricket matches and Beach Houses; but can you stay focused on helping us poor slobs who want to do the right then when we go to a kegger? I found his references to a life most of us won?t know a little distracting ? like manners are for rich people.
Finally, The best thing in this entire book is the tipping section - who and how much to tip - this section alone has saved me the cost of the book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harkius VINE VOICE on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The title, for the first time EVER on a book like this, is accurate.

I, personally, was not taught the manners that I apparently should have been. I grew up in a place with little formality and little pretentiousness. As this book explains, manners are not a matter of pretentiousness, though. They are simply the behaviors that keep people from feeling uncomfortable. Once you begin to understand this, these quirky, silly rules become a little more fun and a lot more tolerable.

This book covers most of what you will need to know. Most of the things in here are common sense enough, but the one thing that it really helps with are circumstance-specific pointers (including a VERY useful guide of appropriate vs. inappropriate business/casual clothes).

One thing that it doesn't mention, but that may be well out of its purview, is that communication is an oft difficult but always essential factor of any relationship. ANY relationship, be it business, personal, or with an acquiantance or stranger. The fact of the matter is that this book is largely about interpersonal rules of communication (verbal and non), so it may not be as out of the way as it initially seems. A chapter or two, or pointers in the individual chapters, covering appropriate methods to discuss more situations would have made this from merely essential and really good to absolutely essential and superb.

This is about the only drawback, though. I read through this in less than a day. It is about 150 pages, so it should take most people four hours of reasonable concentration. Its pointers are invaluable, and most of them are simple enought that, once taught, you will never forget.

All told, a wonderful primer for any young man.
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