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The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself With Style and Grace Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 27, 2005

ISBN-13: 860-1400490884 ISBN-10: 0767921690

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767921690
  • ASIN: B002ECEVB6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,624,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There is so much information in this manual that the easily intimidated may decide that silence is sometimes better than bearing in mind all the rules of conversation. Shepherd, a calligrapher and writer (The Art of the Handwritten Note), covers almost every type of social or intimate situation, including how to make introductions, requests, apologies, and a variety of tips for speaking with children, elderly people and in-laws. Shepherd also addresses those difficult moments when we all have trouble knowing what to say: she advocates first checking when a bedridden friend will welcome visitors and allowing a seriously ill person the freedom to express anger at his or her condition. Not all will agree with her argument that it's appropriate to speak in a louder voice to someone whose first language is not English. Some of the author's 10 rules of conversation are obvious, while others seem based on her own likes and dislikes. And some standard rules that she reiterates—such as not speaking about religion or politics—have loosened up a bit in recent years. (Dec. 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Just as a civilized conversation can get the morning off to a great start, it can enhance your work life all through the day and invigorate an evening of social life. If you enjoy the art of conversation with your family and friends, you will also shine at breakfast with a client, lunch with coworkers, and dinner with your boss. It’s the Swiss Army knife of social skills that anyone can learn to use. Take it with you wherever you go, and you’ll be equipped to turn a seatmate into a confidant, an interviewer into an employer, and an acquaintance into a friend. As an accomplished conversationalist, you’ll be welcomed everywhere; everyone loves good conversation because it is fun.”
—from the Introduction

More About the Author

Margaret Shepherd is a writer, calligrapher, and teacher. In addition to The Art of the Handwritten Note, she has written thirteen books on calligraphy. Each year she speaks at MIT's 'charm school' about the importance of gracious communication. She lives in Boston.

Customer Reviews

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This is another great, short book packed full of information.
Jenn
Some of the tips are pretty obvious, but still stated in such a way to give me pause.
Amber D. Goodman
This book helps us build the skills to make the most of each interaction.
D. Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Amber D. Goodman on January 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
You know the person who is shy, talks too much, and always puts her foot in her mouth and winds up offending you? Yeah. That's me. I got this book in the hopes that it would help me to be able to socially chat in group settings.

I enjoyed this book. It has given me some advice and some pointers in how to have conversations with people. Some of the tips are pretty obvious, but still stated in such a way to give me pause. The author has some insightful things to say as well. She gives brief lists of do's and dont's for almost all of the topics in the book. For example how to (and how not to) accept a compliment. One major problem I had is that the author seems to regard conversation as a game. I don't. So in some instances her outlook did not help me.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a bore, who is shy, or who always seems to be putting thier foot in thier mouth. Honestly I would recommend it to anyone wanting to improve thier conversational skills.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By D. Ryan on March 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I borrowed this book from the library and now would like to have a copy of my own. I liked the author's informal conversational style. This book was easy to read and organized into chapters which you can read all at once or just refer to as needed.

It's true that much of her advice seems obvious: tell the truth, don't interrupt, ask questions. However, judging from many of the conversations I have had, we often forget these common-sense rules. The most useful parts of the book for me were the suggestions for opening a conversation, dealing with difficult people and recovering from conversational blunders.

This book is not a manual for learning how to manipulate people socially, in business or romance. Instead it is a handbook for people who are interested in turning conversation into connections. Most of the interactions we have with our family, friends and coworkers have very little content. This book helps us build the skills to make the most of each interaction.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lucy the Bargain Hunter on January 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book at a thrift shop for 25 cents. It has been worth every penny and much more.

This book presents specific guidelines on how to deal kindly with various types of people and how to conduct yourself politely in a multitude of social situations. In addition, it offers "do's" and "don't's" of what to say in short, simple sentences. You could practice the "do's" at home and memorize them so you will be prepared at any time.

I enjoyed this book immensely because I am often confronted with very rude people. This book helped me to see that the people who upset me are actually NOT behaving according to proper rules of etiquette, and they ARE genuinely rude. This book has helped me to understand how I can effectively deal with rude people without being rude myself. (Question: Do rude people get offended when others are rude to them???)

This book is a valuable resource for anyone who deals with people as part of their job, or for anyone of any age or situation in life who wants to live peacefully and happily with those around him.

I enjoyed reading this book through once and will enjoy rereading it many times in the future. This book was so well done that if I could find a polite way to present it to my rude friends and associates, I would! Maybe the author even has a suggestion on how to do that with grace and style! A big THANK YOU to the author: You have brought a ray of class and elegance into my life which I will cherish for years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jenn on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is another great, short book packed full of information. Interestingly - last night I had two of my most chatty friends over.

One of these friends has been described by a mutual friend as having an aversion to still air and this friend does talk incessantly. I talk a lot but not as much as she - and the other friend is a fount of information but also ceaselessly talks.

At dinner, my friend said "Gee, he sure is nice but he sure talks a lot" - to which I responded "Hello, Pot? This is kettle calling!" She was shocked to hear that I considered her to be extremely chatty - and when she countered with "well I don't talk more than you" - I challenged her to pay attention to whether I was ever able to get a word in edgewise and to ask other friends. She said, "Huh, I always thought of myself as a quiet person."

What's interesting is that I can tell her something - and she'll repeatedly ask me the same question because she wasn't listening at all. Even when I point this out to her - it doesn't sink in that she's talking and NOT listening.

For me - this book was very interesting because it identifies bad habits - such as talking too much and not listening, but other traits as well. The book also offers excellent advice on introductions, topics, addressing bad habits (like nosy, prying people or bores). It's another book that I wish I could give to many friends and family but fear that they would take it the wrong way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ttran on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Terrific book, easy and clear to read, not overly critical or patronizing. Author Margaret Shepherd clearly pinpoints the traps and falls of rude conversation and aptly suggests remedies to that. So easy is it for us to be guilty of "taboo" behaviors and after reading this, I definitely monitored what and how I engage with others. This book is a worthwhile read, for everyone of all ages.
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