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Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck Paperback – June 3, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“Alkon not only tells readers what good manners are but also provides useful suggestions for politely calling offenders’ attention to their rudeness. And she does this in a ferociously funny style--it’s worth a read for the laughs alone. There is nothing here of the proper arrangement of table setting, nor of how to address a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury; rather Alkon deals with modern problems in interpersonal relationships, such as how civilized people should act when standing in lines, on airplanes, online, and elsewhere. In addition, she officers very dependable, sensible, caring advice to those whose friends or family are coping with terminal illness. VERDICT: Solid psychology and a wealth of helpful knowledge and rapier wit fill these pages. Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal (starred review)

“This book is a gem. Hysterically funny and grounded in science, Amy Alkon explains why so many people are rude and how it's possible to be courteous, even if you're foul-mouthed and clueless about etiquette.” ―Dr. Adam Grant, Wharton School professor and New York Times-bestselling author of Give and Take

“I can say without reservation that Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck is hilarious, consistently entertaining, and, above all, wise. It's Emily Post as a beach read.” ―Charlotte Allen, The Weekly Standard

“She is chatty, at times outrageous, but full of ideas about living politely in a society that she says has become too big for our brains to handle. As for Oscar Wilde, at the end of his life is said to have commented: ‘The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.'” ―Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal

“If you're frequently left gasping by the jaw-dropping social ineptitude of your fellow human beings, or you're guilty of being a rude jackass yourself from time to time, this is the book for you. Alkon doesn't suffer fools lightly, but she also has the gentle wisdom to know that each of us plays the role of the fool sometimes. Armed with fascinating science, great humor, and a preternatural bullshit detector for a mind, she shoots from the hip – and you'll be damn glad she does, too.” ―Dr. Jesse Bering, Associate Professor of Science Communication and author of Perv

“Contradiction is part of what makes Ms. Alkon so captivating. Perhaps the biggest contradiction: The hisser can also be utterly lovely.” ―Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

“Although the subject matter should be enough to hold your attention, it is primarily Amy's ability to turn a phrase that makes the book such a good ride. Her section headings (e.g., 'Dating is War,' 'Murder-Suicide and Other Forms of Diplomacy,' 'The Tragedy of the Asshole in the Commons') make it impossible to put the book down and get back to work without reading just one more section. I highly recommend this book.” ―Dr. Frank McAndrew, Evolutionary Psychology journal

“In this comprehensive, science-based, easy-to-read, and hilarious book, Alkon looks at where our rudeness comes from and provides tangible ways for all of us to deal with it.” ―Dr. Jennifer Verdolin, Psychology Today

“One of '11 Smart Books You Should Read This Summer'” ―Sam McNerney,

“This crazy redhead is on to something. Her pink Rambler story alone is worth the price of the book.” ―Elmore Leonard on I See Rude People

“Amy Alkon is intellectually promiscuous―and funny as hell.” ―Howard Bloom, paleopsychologist and author of The Lucifer Principle on I See Rude People

“Seriously great book. Alkon is smart and savvy and funny as hell. Where Hannibal the Cannibal only ate the rude, Alkon stands up to them with the sort of glorious panache that sometimes makes you want to stand and cheer.” ―David Middleton, January Magazine on I See Rude People

“Alkon turns reporting on findings in evolutionary psychology into an art form. She scans the research horizon for fascinating new results. Though relentless in her skepticism, she is keenly attuned to findings that are both solid and suggestive. (The world lost a great analyst when Alkon turned away from academic research.) In her hands, all this research turns into practical advice for how ordinary people can live better lives. Alkon may be, as the LA Weekly put it, 'Miss Manners With Fangs,' but she is perhaps better characterized as the offspring of Charles Darwin and Dorothy Parker. We academics can all take a lesson from her ability to redefine academic turf in terms 'the ordinary person' can both understand and enjoy.” ―Dr. Barbara Oakley, Oakland University on Amy Alkon

About the Author

Amy Alkon writes The Advice Goddess, an award-winning, syndicated column that runs in more than one hundred newspapers across the United States and Canada. She is also the author of I See Rude People. She has been on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NPR, CNN, MTV, and Entertainment Tonight and has a weekly radio show called Advice Goddess Radio. She has also written for Psychology Today, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Daily News (New York), and Pravda, among others. She lives in Venice, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250030714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250030719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Manhard on August 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
I doubt anyone is expecting a standard guide to etiquette when they see a title like this and they'd be right. But this makes so much more sense as a guide to etiquette in the connected world. This book is just groaning with good advice livened by both Amy's personal anecdotes and her research into the psychological background of the personal interactions of modern life.
She will use a charmingly old-fashioned word like "masher" in reference to a possible Facebook creep and then use a wonderfully modern 'mot juste' like "moochspam" in reference to people trying to hit up their entire contact list for some crowd funding project. The book is laid out in highly digestible bites but is also engaging and amusing enough to reward deep draughts as well (to mix a consuming metaphor).
This a book for anyone and everyone. Those [people who say "f*ck" all the time and those who never do. Reading this book will make you a better person and since I have to live in a world with you, I tell you: buy this book!
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Format: Paperback
This is not your grandmother's manners book! Comparing it to any book with a section on addressing wedding invitations would be a mistake. This book is about how to not end up in a viral video for being a jerk. It deals with etiquette issues that desperately need addressing (e.g. how to not be a cellphone boor) as well as the question of why people seem ruder than ever... and what we can do about it. Perhaps most importantly, it doesn't simply chirp to "set a good example" but is empowering in that explains how we can influence others to behave better, without being a jerk about it, of course.

...And it's funny too.

(more details about this book are available on our website)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Patricia buckley on July 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Advice Goddess in my local paper and noticing the author's email address, I took the liberty of telling the author how hilarious her advice was. Amy Alkon has an ability to say what is on her mind in such a way that the reader sees the world in a whole new way. She has an educated understanding of psychology and technology coupled with a warm embrace of humanity.

After buying "Good Manners" which I thoroughly enjoyed from cover to cover, I realized that the behavior of certain people upsets each one of us but the majority of us just walk away. As an activist for preventing further actions that cause misery to others, Amy differentiates from most people. She is a champion in this regard and takes action. We need more people in the world to step up to the plate and say or do something when slighted or offended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Adam F on August 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I thought this book was terrific. It's really much more than a manners book. It was almost like a guide to better living. You just feel like you know how to be a slightly better person when you finish each section. The premise that we're being rude because humans have spent most of our history in tribes of 150 people and our brains aren't accustomed to huge cities rang totally true to me.

And I laughed on almost every page. On random friends who hit you up for money on Kickstarter: "He contacted me to ask me to pay into his Kickstarter fund to finance the distribution of some indie film he’d made. My response: “I would like to get a new pair of boots. Please send me $200 via PayPal.”

On talking with the person next to you on a plane: "Even when a seatmate seems open to chatting, you should look for signs suggesting his openness has closed, such as fidgeting or a little trickle of blood coming from his ear."

I'd post a bunch more but Amazon is being a real prude about curse words!

Great read, great science, full of life tips that are actually interesting, and funny throughout. I also think it would make a fun, cheeky gift to give a friend who's a bit of an a-hole...I have several in mind...
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Baker on June 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An English friend once explained to me that "proper" Brits could not use salt shakers. They had to spoon the salt onto the rim of their plates and transport it to their food with the tip of a knife. That rule changed abruptly when Prince Charles was caught on camera salting his food directly from the shaker, giving the whole country permission to do the same. Perhaps that is how etiquette evolves in a rigid class society, but where do the rest of us go to learn how to live harmoniously with each other long after we have outgrown Miss Manners and Emily Post?

You may not realize how much you need this book until you read it. This sassy, classy, redhead is assertive enough to take on the monumental task of spelling out everything you need to know about how to co-exist with almost eight billion other people without losing your sanity or your humanity. For example: do you know when it's OK to cold call someone? (Never.) When you should leave a voice mail? (Don't.) What to do when stuck in a row of airplane seats with four armrests for six arms? (The two end passengers get one and a half armrests each; the squishee in the middle gets two halves.)

Be prepared to find out some things about yourself that you didn't want to know. Are you a cheapskate who has been under-tipping? A helpful person giving out unwanted advice? Amy is such a talented and entertaining writer that she can say the things your friends won't tell you and do it with such humor and tact that you actually enjoy the process!
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