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Cuss Control: The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing Paperback – April 11, 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you think that cursing is the nation's foulest and most undiagnosed bad habit, and that it creates an unfavorable business image and is disparaging to relationships, then Cuss Control is right up your alley. Author James V. O'Connor, who runs a public relations firm, decided to write Cuss Control after appearing on Oprah Winfrey's television show. O'Connor was being quoted in various places at the time for proclaiming, as president of the Cuss Control Academy, that certain swear words were about to become commonplace as a result of Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and Viagra. When Oprah herself said that she wished she could stop swearing, O'Connor decided to turn his anti-cussing crusade into a book. Part of his complaint is about foul language, but O'Connor also makes a case for the role of cursing in the dumbing-down of language. He argues that in using profanity, the speaker is usually just being lazy, avoiding having to choose more descriptive words to express himself. Cursing, O'Connor writes, "does little to convey our real message or the fact that our education continued beyond fifth grade."

So, how do we reach this promised land where everyone sounds educated and no one swears? O'Connor suggests two paths: choose G-rated words, or--and this is his preference--recognize that the real remedy is to change your attitude. If you must subscribe to one or the other approach, it's tempting to recommend an attitude change over a vocabulary transformation, at least based on some of the suggestions here, which include ditching four-letter words in favor of "Dangnabit!" "Criminey!" "Curses!" "Gadzooks!" and "Nerts!" There's also a suggestion to create your own curse words. ("That's a bunch of Bolshevik." "You fudrucker." "I don't give a wick.") Regardless of your path to a cleaner vocabulary, Cuss Control is a decent read that doesn't take itself too seriously. After all, where else can you find chapter titles like "Cut the Shit, Now and Forever" and "The F Word: Stop Me Before I Say It Again." --John Russell

From the Inside Flap

Finally--the cure for the common curse!

Faced with an epidemic of profanity, our country is in need of practical suggestions for breaking a habit that has ordinary citizens contributing to the decline of civility and good manners. It's not always easy to resist the urge to cuss, but foul language creates an unfavorable image, is damaging to relationships, and goes hand-in-hand with a negative attitude.

Now, James V. O'Connor--founder of the Cuss Control Academy--offers the first book to explain why we swear and how we can learn to hold our tongues. Cuss Control doesn't call for the total elimination of swearing, just for its confinement to situations where extreme emotion (think hammer, think thumb) or poetic license (think Rhett Butler's "Frankly, my dear. . .") demand it. His program for easing us off the gutter-talk highway involves alternative "potent phrases" for classic curses, including the F-word; ways to communicate clearly rather than use lazy language; and tips on adjusting your attitude and abolishing obscenities.

Packed with practical exercises and tips, as well as thoughtful reflection on how we've worked ourselves up into such a state of affairs, Cuss Control is a refreshing celebration of the joys of a civil tongue.  
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (April 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609805460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609805466
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,730,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ooh, this book made me cringe. I recognized myself more times than I cared to. I bought this book for the specific reason to help me curb my cursing and not only did it curb it, it has pretty much eliminated it.
Mr. O'Connor does an excellent job keeping the reader's attention. I appreciated his explanation of the two types of cursing: causal and casual. I have been able to eliminate casual cursing from my vocabulary and for the most part do very well with causal cursing even to the point of hopping around shouting 'shoot, shoot, shoot' when I stumped my toe recently.
I wish this book were required reading in public schools. My son's junior high is rife with colorful language. I know his language must have been just as bad as everyone elses. I had him and his buddy read through the book, and even through faked shocked giggles at the list of 'dirty' words the book got the point across to them and I've noticed that their language has cleaned up. I've even seen a dramatic decreases in the "Oh Gods" and "Gods" they say. They both said the book made a point of letting them know how ignorant they looked when their language was peppered with foul words. No, I didn't get them to read all the book but enough to make a difference.
Who am I? Well, suprisingly enough, a middle class college educated housewife with a strong religious backing who had found her language filled with the 'f' word and the cursing habit seemed ingrained and hard to break. Until I read Mr. O'Connor's book. Cringe, cringe, cringe....but it was worth the squirming hard look at myself to break this habit. I have been relatively curse free now for three months. The lessons learned in this book are not easily forgotten!
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Format: Paperback
I first learned about this book when I saw the author (and two imposters) on the game show "To Tell the Truth". One of the panelists, comedienne Paula Poundstone (besides picking the wrong guy as the REAL James V. O'Connor), seemed to have a problem with the very idea of people encouraging others and themselves to clean up their language. After all, she curses and even allows her children to curse. Well, Paula, I think even you might enjoy this book if you actually read it. Far from advocating censorship, this book can be a valuable help to those who want to curb something that is as much a bad habit as smoking. Plus it is very entertaining, even hilarious in some places.
O'Connor is assuredly no stick-in-the-mud. There are probably more bad words used in this book than in 95% of the books out there, but they are there to make a point. When you read how these words are used, you can see how ridiculous they really sound. Plus, he gives many ideas for word substitutes, but he goes beyond that. Differentiating between "casual" and "causal" cursing, he suggests that it is easier to get rid of casual swearing. As for the causal, he attempts to attack it at the root, which is often anger and frustration, and points out that an attitude change is what is needed. If nothing else, this book makes you more aware of your use of language and how it affects you at work, at home, and, yes, in traffic. I know a guy who read this book and his cursing was curbed almost immediately because he was more aware and alert to it. (What, do you think I'm talking about myself? Hey, someone who knows me might be reading this right now, so keep your doggoned mouth shut!)
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Format: Paperback
Cuss Control literally had me rolling on the floor. It is a combination of education and tear jerking laughs. It is the kind of book that you think will be a preacher, but in reality the author is subtle in his teaching method, but extremely effective. He teaches so you want to learn and he has a real knack for making you want to "tame your tounge." After reading cuss control I feel like I am a lot more aware of how I affect others in conversation and I am also a lot more aware of how others affect me with their swearing.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book because it received high ratings in one of my magazines: sort of half as a joke and half because I did feel like I was cussing too much.
This book was hilarious and not at all preachy. He used humor very effectively for deterring cussing. He's right, when you think about what you are ACTUALLY, literally saying...a lot of cuss phrases sound really stupid.
The personal narratives were also really effective. Not only did you see how this kind of negativity hurt others but sometimes...when you actually see the cussing in print it's embarrassing. What I am saying is, when you read it you realize that you may be being a little irrational.
A great book...a humorous look at working towards a behavior change. Good fun.
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Format: Paperback
A surprisingly entertaining read with a lession for all of us.If you want to clean up your mouth-or clean up your act-I strongly recommend Mr. O'Connor's highly original book.
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This is not your typical self-help book but it is an educational tool. It is written in laymans terms so that everyone can benefit from its eye-opening concepts. This book also contains real interviews with all types of people from all walks of society. Each interview reveals a shocking tale of personal insight which is not only entertaining but also life changing.
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