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Other People's Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You'll Be Glad You Didn't Receive Hardcover – May 11, 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"’A rejection letter can sway or scar a life,’ writes editor Bill Shapiro, ‘causing one person to give up his dreams, another to work harder.’  They’re no fun either way, but after reading the examples in his new book, at least you’ll know you’re not alone."  - People

"A lusciously laid out compendium of snobbery as delicious as it is heartbreaking" – New York Observer’s Very Short List

"A collection of more than 150 notes, letters, and telegrams that will make you feel good about yourself." – Esquire.com

 "Bill Shapiro shares 150 nay-saying (and jaw-dropping) messages that’ll take the sting out of your own recent burns, spurns, and turndowns" – More Magazine
 
"The native Angeleno and editor of Life.com must have rifled through lots of desk drawers (and government files) to come up with these: nasty emails, angry texts, and dismissals of both the famous (like Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix) and non-famous alike – and they’re funny because they’re not ours." – LAmag.com

 "A new anthology of career failure, romantic relationship disasters, cute letdowns, and outrageously nasty trash talk" – Boston Herald

“A great gift for anyone who has ever heard a resounding no.” -- AllYou.com

About the Author

BILL SHAPIRO is the editor in chief of LIFE.com and the former editor of LIFE magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Style; 58582nd edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307459640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307459640
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #903,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The letters in this book are fully engaging and beautifully presented, spanning a full range - from rejection letters sent to famous people (Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, etc.) to relationship kissoffs ("You were right; I'll be fine without you") to notes scrawled by kids ("I hat you," [sic], "I'm running away"). But what's especially impressive is how the letters flow, one after another, with little treasures left here and there -- a typed note from Eleanor Roosevelt, a sexy text about a "doggystyle" party, the saddest break-up letter ever, and on and on. They're like sparkling one-act plays. And the book isn't just entertaining to read: it helps you see clearly that you're not alone in the universe, that everyone gets shot down once in a while. This would be a great gift for graduates seeking to make their way in the world with their pride and sense of humor in tact.
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Format: Hardcover
This was an amusing concept, and one in ten or fifteen of the letters in the book are actually very funny. The others are simply boring as hell. If the funny ones were made into a book, it would be a slender volume, indeed. I slogged through a reading of a foreclosure notice, numerous rejection letters of no interest whatsoever, a petition for divorce, and a long (boring) notice to a parent that her child bites other children and is being sent home. The book is virtually all filler, and very little frosting. I wouldn't buy it if I were you; if you want to read rejections of this quality, you could just send poorly written material to publishers and then visit your own mailbox. It's a shame, because this could have been much better.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book expecting that the rejection letters would be funny and entertaining. They're not. Many of them are simply standard, straight-forward rejection letters and I had to wonder, from an editorial standpoint, why they were even included. Some of them are mildly entertaining once you know the back story, but the background information is included in the very last section rather than with the letter itself. This is a very disappointing, and not at all amusing, book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is missing one rejection letter...the one that should have been from the publishers of this book. Exceedlingly boring, the follow up letters should be WITH the rejection letters, not stuffed in the back. Some letters are very hard to read. The good news is, it look less than 2 hours to read, but certainly NOT worth the cover price. DULL DULL DULL
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I find it hard to believe this book is composed of the most interesting examples on the topic.
I read this book a short while after reading "Other People's Love Letters" by the same editor -- I'm giving this volume one less star than I gave that one because the letters in the other ("Love Letter") volume were more original, and the end notes about a few select entries added some poignancy, and I can say neither of those things about this book.
Many of the rejection letters published here were addressed to the same people (who I think have already reprinted them in books of their own?), and many more were boilerplate form letters pertaining to foreclosure / eviction / immigration status / declined applications for credit cards, etc. Sometimes I felt as if I were reading someone else's junk mail.
Although this book can be read in a few hours, some of the letters were just too long -- or maybe they just seemed so because they were so uninteresting. One long letter was made more interesting by a note at the back of the book indicating it was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter: you couldn't determine that just by reading it (no letterhead and signed "daddy"), but, again, another example of a letter published elsewhere. However, most of the letters lacked any context or sense of irony because they were from / to anonymous people.
Maybe not so surprisingly, the survival of many of these letters seems to say much more about the people who kept them than it does about the people who wrote them. Actually, the most interesting part of the whole book was the editor's introductory explanation of why this subject attracted him and what he learned from it (about himself).
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Format: Hardcover
The reviewers who didn't likeven this book are probably your average non-intellectual person looking for a quick and dirty laugh...so I wouldn't pay attention to any of these inpatien people. I loved the book. It was funny and heartbreaking, and a bunch of other things but never ever dull or boring. Thanks for writing/putting together this book Mr. Shapiro.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw a CNN article that mentioned rejection letters involving Jimi Hendrix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Andy Warhol, and so I immediately decided I had to have it.

It's a fun book - but you should know that most of the letters are to and from "ordinary" people. Because of that, I agree with another reviewer that you probably need to see it only once. I personally don't feel the need to read someone's personal rejection over and over again. Reading it once confirms that, "Oh yes, we've all been through this." Reading it more than once feels like a waste of time and a tad bit weird. If you buy it - it's one of those things you might take out every few years.

If a larger number of the letters were to or from famous artists and public figures who I admire, it would be a five star. Then, it would be like reading a biography of a bunch of people who you want to learn about.

One more note - this isn't everyone's coffee table book. At least three of the letters I read were uncouth - so it's not something I'd necessarily have on the table with young kids around.
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