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VINE VOICEon July 9, 2005
This book did not really tell me a whole lot that I didn't already know. Why, then, did I give it 5 stars (you ask)? Well, it's because I know a great many people who would gain a lot from reading Levine's book.

Unfortunately, the people who would benefit the most from this book are also the least likely to read it. Most of the people I know who are guilty of the most egregious social practices that Levine details are also COMPLETELY oblivious that they are doing anything wrong. Sometimes it amazes me how some people are consistently so thoughtless, yet they never give a 2nd thought to their words or actions.

It is a quick read, even quicker than what it looks [thanx to several mini-quizes]. That is a good attribute of a Self-Help book. It means that it is focused on discerning tangible problems and finding tangible problems. Self-Help books that are 600 pages long frequently meander around so much and try to solve all the world's problems @ once. In doing so, they many times leave the reader dumbfounded as to what he / she just read. Not so this book. The length is adequate to what Levine is trying to accomplish.

In Plato's APOLOGY Socrates said that "the unexamined life is not worth living." In saying this he was not just talking about philosophers. One need not have a degree in philosophy to do some introspection and learn how to become a better person.

To that end, this book is highly recommended to the general populace. The more you think you don't need it, the more I would recommend it anyway. Even if you find that your life's practices are equivalent to what Levine writes, it's good to know that you're on the right track.
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on September 18, 2013
Skip this book. Instead look at Robert Shutt's Shine While You Dine: Shine While You Dine Etiquette

In this book, Raise Your Social IQ, you will learn that you should speak civilly, return phone calls, fire people or break-off relationships in person, and other similarly obvious behavior tips. So far, so good, if not exactly news to anyone likely to buy and read such a book.

But from there, the author presents a fairly standard set of Liberal ideologies as 'social i.q.' Maybe it's true for Hollywood, but not generally.

And on some points he simply doesn't know what he's talking about. For example, the author, right up front, tells us that he's Jewish and therefore 'an ambassador' for Jews to the world. But the very first point he makes on which there is a clear Jewish position, he gets wrong. He describes a situation in which a friend tells you that his father has died. The Jewish response, if the friend is Jewish, is to say 'HaMakom yenachem et'chem b'toch shar avay'lay Tzion vee'Yerushalayim,' which translates roughly as "May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem." You then let your friend drive the conversation, if there is one. You do NOT, as the author instructs, say "How can I help?" If there is anything you can do for your friend, he will let you know. If your friend is not Jewish, you should say something along the lines of "My heart goes out to you," or "My deepest condolences." DO NOT say anything that requires a reply. And never say, "I know how you feel," because you cannot possibly know how someone else feels at such a time.

You will get the author's personal opinions about non-marital sex, homosexuality, etc., which, given that he's a Hollywood liberal, you can probably guess.

Skip this. Get Shutt.
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