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In Praise of Flattery (Stages) Hardcover – November 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The research is thorough and the writing compelling in historian Regier's latest, but the appeal of this academic exploration of the art and history of flattery will likely be quite limited. The author of Book of the Sphnix and editor of Masterpieces of American Indian Literature, Regier compiles 128 "rules" of flattery culled from artists, authors, philosophers, statesmen and kings that take readers through the history of what happens "when praise seeks a reward" (Rule 1). Explaining flattery's role in professional and personal relationships through time and around the world, Regier's far-reaching study includes forays into business, art, fable, family, government, gift-giving and God, as well as a double handful of illustrations. Despite its brevity, readers will need patience to stick with it; if they do, they'll be rewarded with a trove of rhetorical-philosophical gems: "Flatteries are the building blocks of fame," "Poets are the aristocracy of flattery," "Flattery is the school for praise." Unfortunately, the total is significantly lesser than the sum of its parts.
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“[T]he book contains many gems: exquisite, entertaining, carefully chosen words by the obscure . . . and the mighty.”—Christine Schwartz Hartley, Bookforum
(Bookforum 2007-12-01)

"A trove of rhetorical-philosophical gems."—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

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Product Details

  • Series: Stages
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803239696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803239692
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,039,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By springtimebreeze on September 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Interesting book. Before I read this I had no idea that flattery could be the topic of an entire book, but now I realize it really is a big part of our civilized life - at work, at home, with strangers and loved ones - everywhere.

I've learned hundreds of things about flattery, including: insulting flattery (my favorite kind), true flattery and false, the science and the art, women and men differences, playing up flattery for the audience as well as the flatteree, the difference between praise and flattery. So many things that flatter - money, gifts, fortune, but also envy, silence, names. Emblems of flattery. Dangers of flattery. Divine flattery. And more.

After learning about all these aspects of flattery and examples throughout history, I was surprised to come across a self-help section with sage advice. For example: "If you flatter yourself properly you will be better able to enjoy yourself. Stretch your joy so that others enjoy you too." And yet "Flatter yourself critically," which I believe is so important.

I'm very much about the beauty of books as well as content, and this book has it. There are lots of quotations weaved in, which flower the book and illustrate the points (and if you like quotes, see also his Quotology book!). In Praise of Flattery has a beautiful design on the cover and throughout at the chapter breaks - so stylish - as well as nifty art and illustrations from centuries past.

He finishes off with impressively extensive notes and bibliography sections.

I enjoy Mr Regier's writing style - whimsically intellectual, scholarly yet playful, light yet thought-provoking, fun yet brainy - with lots of subtleties. "Flattery.... is sweet, sticky, addictive, and as full of surprises as a new lover.
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In Praise of Flattery (Stages)
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