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New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer Hardcover – July 21, 2005

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Editorial Reviews Review

Book Description:
Bill Maher is on the forefront of the new wave of comedians who have begun to influence and shape political debate through their comedy. He is best known not just for being funny, but for advocating truth over sensitivity and taking on the political establishment. Maher first came to national attention as the host of the hit ABC-TV program Politically Incorrect, where he offered a combustible mixture of irreverence and acerbic humor that helped him to garner a loyal following, as well as a reputation for being a controversial bad boy.

Bill Maher's popular new HBO television show, Real Time, has put Maher more front and center than ever before. Particularly one regular segment on the show, entitled "New Rules," has been a hit with his ever-growing legion of fans. It is the part of the show during which Maher takes serious aim, bringing all of his intelligence, incisiveness, wit, and his signature exasperation to bear on topics ranging from cell phones ("I don't need my cell phone to take pictures or access the Internet. I just need it to make a phone call. From everywhere! Not just the places it likes!") to fast food ("No McDonald's in hospitals. I'm not kidding!) to the conservative agenda ("Stop claiming it's an agenda. It's not an agenda. It's a random collection of laws that your corporate donors paid you to pass.")

His new book, the first since his bestselling When You Ride Alone You Ride with bin Laden, brings these brilliantly conceived riffs and rants to the written page. Appropriately titled New Rules, the book will collect some of the best of the rules derived from previously written material and will also contain substantial new material, including some longer form "editorials"--of course with a twist and bite that only Bill Maher can deliver.

Rule Breaker: An Interview with Bill Maher

In New Rules: Polite Musings of a Timid Observer, Bill Maher skewers celebrity, pop culture, and politics in his classic acerbic style. With a new season of Real Time with Bill Maher and an upcoming HBO Special (his sixth), Bill Maher: I'm Swiss, on deck, Maher also found the time to host's 10th Anniversary Concert at Seattle's Benaroya Hall. caught up with Maher upon his return to Los Angeles to talk about the book, the comic's night-table reading habits, the Internet, and what's wrong with the media.

Read our interview with Bill Maher

From Publishers Weekly

The new rules TV host Maher establishes for "a self-obsessed, success-by-any-means, get-mine culture" make a convincing case for Maher's claim that everyone but him is crazy. Zingers about fads like low-carb dieting and flat-screen televisions ("Congratulations-you just paid $10,000 to watch Hogan's Heroes") poke fun at appearance-obsessed, megalomaniacal American consumers, and his takes on current news stories such as Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride from Georgia, and the popular television shows Desperate Housewives and Growing Up Gotti ("You don't get a TV show because Grandpa killed people") are clever jabs at the media and the entertainment industry. But Maher is at his best when he addresses controversial political issues by making a serious point without sacrificing the wisecracks. He slips a cheeky remark about George Bush's past into his discussion of brutal conditions in prisons, and points out that the No Child Left Behind law has created "pushouts": poor-performing students who Maher says schools put in "phony categories like 'transferred' or 'enrolled in GED' or 'dating Demi Moore'" in order to meet requirements to receive federal funding. Though Maher's rules are sometimes just whiny (he complains about room service personnel not knowing what kind of soup is available) and he repeats a few tired jokes (variations of "you want to spend your millions on a worthless cause, try donating it to the Democrats" appear several times), his views on the state of contemporary political and social culture are bound to cause a few laugh-out-loud moments.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594862958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594862953
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Maher, ascerbic comedian, claims that we all lived by rules, even if the rules were just "Stay off the grass," or "Don't Feed the Ducks." So, new rules becomes his signature before each witticism. For example, according to Maher, the best way for terrorism to be defeated is to ensure that the terrorists all receive plenty of sex. He suggests, "New rule: We need to mobilize two divisions of skanks,... a brigade of girls who just can't say no--all under the command of Colonel Ann Coulter, who'll be dressed in her Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S. uniform. Girls, there's a cure for terrorism and"

Such comedic salvos are pithy, creative, and irreverent. Maher's language is often salty, and everyone and everything is grist for his mill. Although decidedly anti-Bush, he takes potshots at democrats alike, and most importantly, at himself. "... Something is very wrong when the only one fired over terrorism is me." (Too many times people turned their attention toward me to find out why I suddenly laughed out loud).

It would help the reader to have already heard Maher's voice and delivery. It might give each joke more impact. Nevertheless, this man's star is on the rise, and so is his book.

"New Rules," rules!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love Real Time with Bill Maher, especially the New Rules segment. (HBO and Tivo Rule). This book was very good, but I had previously heard almost all of the material. I was expecting some additional materials or some insight beyond the show script. Having said that, it was fun to re-live the rules and I could almost hear Maher's voice as I read them. A personal favorite rule is - "The people who were most in favor of the war in Iraq must go there and fight it."
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By greenpete on August 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read about half this book in the bookstore and couldn't put it down. It's hilarious, and hits the mark! Maher verbalizes a lot of what many of us feel, but which some of us are too intimidated to discuss during these ultra-patriot days in America (Congressional singalongs to "God Bless America: ok, we get it, you're with us... now get back to work!").

Although Maher obviously leans to the left and isn't afraid to take shots at Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld and Co., neither does he spare the Democrats (he gives France kudos for standing up to the Bush administration, "which is more than the Democrats in Congress are doing").

Guts and honesty. Two virtues sorely lacking in this country today. Thanks Bill, for not being afraid to tell it like it is and remaining "politically incorrect."
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By I. Woll on August 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Don't get me wrong, it was funny, but to me, when you charge $14 for a 240 page book I deserve a 240 page book. Easily 1/3 of the book were blank pages, pages with 1-4 lines of text, or empty pages except for his New Rules title. Even the pages that did contain rules were 1/2 full. This was, at best, an 80 page pamphlet spread out over 240 pages. Honestly, I feel that Maher mailed this one in. Do yourself a favor and pick up "When you ride alone you ride with Bin Laden" its a much more substantive book.

In other words "New Rule: A 240 page book should be 240 pages of material."
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Scott Bresinger on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
First off, you should know that despite the page count of 230, a good deal of that is empty space. No, I'm not talking about the content, wise guy, but the actual empty space surrounding the content. Taken mostly from Maher's show-ending one liners and rants on his HBO talker "Real Time with Bill Maher," mostly these are little nuggets of comedic vitriol, often accompanied by photos to help sell the joke. Here's one entry in its entirety: "New Rule: Former drug addicts and alcoholics have to stop saying, "I almost died." No. Cancer survivors almost died. You almost had a good time." some are a bit longer; some are even shorter. Each chapter ends with a page-or-so long rant that lets him break into something resembling his standup act. As you might guess, politics is a favorite subject, and his opinions, often falsely catagorized as liberal, are really a kind of Las Vegas/Rat Pack brand of libertarianism. Republicans are bullies and busybodies, but Democrats are spineless and unorganized. Both are liars. Of course, where Maher really picks up the blue state support is when he comments on "values issues" like gay marriage (for) or the war on drugs (against). Then there's the matter of religion. Always irreverant, lately his humor has targeted all the stupid things that "people of faith" do, from Christians to Muslims. To quote: "Pat Robertson is insane. Just because he smiles and wears a nice suit doesn't mean he's any less of a whack job than all those wild-eyed, urine stained nut bags who babble on street corners about Jesus through a bullhorn." Then there's this: "If you don't want the world to think your religion is medieval, stop beheading people. Texans are bloodthirsty and dim, and even they learned to use an electric chair. Come on, Islam. Join the nineteenth century.Read more ›
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47 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Rico on August 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book. I do not consider myself either liberal or conservative. I consider myself an American. Bill Maher says exactly what a lot of us think, but are too scared to admit. I may not agree with everything Bill says, but I appreciate his honesty and common sense. It always amazes me that so many people throw stones from a glass house. At least Bill admits he is not perfect, but does practice what he preaches. Bill is in touch with America, and it's a shame that nobody wants to admit it. I am from Texas, and even I think Bill is funny when he picks on Texans. If you can't laugh at yourself or your heritage, you need help.... Bill, if you ever want a Texan on your show, give me a holler! That's Texan for call me, I do have a phone! What we need in this country is more common sense media icons like Bill Maher, and a lot less opinions that are "paid for".
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