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How to Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy Hardcover – 1998

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Bridges, author of How to Be a Gentleman, is also the coauthor, with Bryan Curtis, of seven other volumes in the best-selling GentleManners series. He is a frequent guest on television and radio news programs, always championing gentlemanly behavior in modern society. Bridges has appeared on the Today Show, the Discovery Channel, and CBS Sunday Morning, and has been profiled in People magazine and the New York Times.

Bryan Curtis is an author and the president of Dance Floor Books. He is the author/coauthor and editor of more than 25 books, including My South, My Southern Food, Classic Wisdom for the Good Life, Classic Wisdom for the Professional Life, and the popular GentleManners series.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558535969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558535961
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 4.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

211 of 244 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has some real pros and some real cons. The *majority* of the advice given is practical, no nonsense etiquette. For this reason I would heartily recommend this publication to a gentleman looking to improve upon such areas in his life. There are other books however that he should supplement his learning, in my opinion.
Now, having said that, there are some glaring problems w/ this book.
I.) The suggestion that a man should NEVER turn down an invitation is nuts. The author gave the reader the out in the event of illness or death in the family. Come on, there are times, for whatever reason, that you have to respectfully decline.
2.) Drink beer from a CAN!?! How did that slip in there? First, at a truly formal occasion you simply don't suck down the suds. At any other occasion it is more than acceptable, but how hard is it to put it in a glass? Drinking beer from a can in your living room by yourself (or w/ your wife) after a long hard week, sure that's fine, but elsewhere drink from a glass.
3.) There is one point that states simply, "If a gentleman can afford to do so, he should have someone else clean his home." Why? There is a fine line between snobbery and etiquette and this crossed it. If it said if the man and his wife are to busy to keep a house clean, then that would make a lot of practical sense. Otherwise, it's a waste.
4.) The other gives the reader full liberty to not wear socks in many occasions, but says w/o question he must wear a undershirt. Though I live in the North and always wear the two aforementioned articles, I could see why a gentleman from Dixie would not want to wear an undershirt during the summer. Socks are a must, IMHO.
5.) The quib about always bringing condoms was both out of place and inappropriate in my opinion. Such sexual matters are both personal and vary depending on a gentleman's religious background. It didn't belong in this book.
Good day.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Yslas on October 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This easy to read book makes manners a matter of preference. The educated man can make a decision to accept the authors guideline or not. I personally do not have much occasion to entertain large parties in my home - so I feel no need to have every piece of silverware known to man, but if I needed to help host a large party, I would be prepared. I like the chapter breakdown and the way subjects intertwine, allowing for fast referencing should the need occur. I consider myself a man pretty in tune with etiquette but this was a good shot in the arm. This book is great for those who might not know the basics or for one who might be very well mannered. This Christmas all my Brothers-in-Law and nephews are getting this book plus a stack of Thank you notes.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book, then promptly returned it a few days later. If the information was worth the price, I most certainly would have kept it. As a few other reviewers have mentioned, 90% of the information is common sense. The other 10% is no real surprise either.
Unfortunatly, the majority of the book consists of 1 line advice. "A gentleman does this. A gentleman never does this" etc.
While the description says you will learn how to order a bottle of wine, it is glossed over quickly. It explains the theatre of wine presentation, but fails to give any simple recommendations regarding what types of wine are recommended for different foods and occasions.
Here's the advice from "A gentleman goes to the opera". Turn your cell phone ringer off and don't leave your seat. Oh, and don't applaud until you are sure a set is completed.
The author recommends not being the first to arrive at a party and not being more than 15 minutes late. In my opinion, a gentleman is never late, period.
In short, try to find a general etiquette book. I am sure that many who are attracted to a book of this type are interested in acting as a gentleman as to distinguish themselves for the opposite sex. Look elsewhere.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John H. Teeple on August 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the sort of book interesting only to those people serious about self-perfection. The book offers easy and handy tips for how to behave as a gentleman -- and far from the typical GQ/Maxim/Men's Health ideal of manhood, this book aims to help the reader achieve refinement and dignity. "A gentleman," as the author puts it, "is someone who makes others feel comfortable." "His goal is to make life easier, not just for himself but for his friends, his acquaintances, and the world at large." Nothing in here about how to flatten your abs in three weeks, succumb to the latest fashion trend or technological fad, or get 'her' into bed. But neither is this book simply moralistic. Rather than ethics, it is concerned with manners and maintaining a decent, honest, and caring public persona.
I think it's unfortunate statement on our contemporary society that such a book needs to be read; but it is encouraging that people may read it.
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159 of 200 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There is much in this book that is useful and entirely correct. Unfortunately, the good is drowned by the instances in which the author is just plain wrong and the instances in which the author mistakes his own personal preferences for requirements of gentlemanly behavior. What follows are some of the more egregious examples, but the list is by no means exhaustive:
1) Bridges claims that a gentleman always wears an undershirt. Although I always do, I understand that this is a matterof personal preference, not a question of etiquette.
2) Bridges claims (repeatedly) that a gentleman never declines an indication and always accepts the first invitation that is presented to him. This is the biggest bunch of baloney that I have ever heard of. While there are some invitations that one cannot turn down (to your brother's wedding, for example), one does not have to allow any person at any time to allocate one's time in order to be a gentleman. Miss Manners would not approve.
3) Bridges claims that a gentleman would not wear brown shoes to a wedding or a funeral, when, in fact, the correct pair of brown shoes is every bit as solemn and appropriate as black shoes. Alan Flusser would not approve.
4) Bridges believes that one must have every piece of stemware known to man in order to be a gentleman, but he does not believe that it is necessary to drink beer from anything but a can. Again, Miss Manners would not approve.
I really could go on and on, but the point is clear: Bridges simply doesn't know nearly as much as he thinks he does.
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