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I See Rude People: One woman's battle to beat some manners into impolite society Paperback – Bargain Price, November 27, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Applied evolutionary psychology at its best. The funniest book I've read since Dave Barry's Big Trouble...also endorsed by Elmore Leonard."

--Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, London School of Economics, tinyurl.com/kanazrudep --FROM PSYCHOLOGY TODAY (added by author)

"Seriously great book. Alkon is smart and savvy and funny as hell. Where Hannibal the Cannibal only ate the rude, Alkon stands up to them with the sort of glorious panache that sometimes makes you want to stand and cheer." David Middleton FROM JANUARY MAGAZINE (added by author)

About the Author

Amy Alkon writes the advice column The Advice Goddess. She has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and Psychology Today and has appeared on "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," NPR, CNN, MTV, "Politically Incorrect," and "Nightline." She blogs daily at advicegoddess.com, can be found on Twitter at amyalkon, and lives in California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (November 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071600213
  • ASIN: B005DI8D58
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,066,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Mazer on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings about this book. I first heard of Amy Alkon through an article somewhere this past week which cited her as an expert on modern-day rudeness, and believe me, I'm sensitive to this topic. Courtesy seems to be in rapid decline. And Alkon, fed up, has some very entertaining stories on how she's started dealing with rude people, from taking the photographs of particularly offensive people (priceless) to billing telemarketers for her time. Interspersed between her anecdotes are a surprising amount of interesting and relevant facts and quotable studies, including a particularly intriguing 150-people-per-village concept, which suggests that there are simply too many of us living in too little real community for us to feel much societal restraint. Her "Don't inflict yourself on other people" motto should be framed and hung everywhere. She's definitely got me thinking about how I can minimize my impact on others around me. The last chapter of the book, in particular, has many very constructive suggestions for coping with and challenging rudeness in the world.

That said, some of her stories don't describe her defending against rudeness as such, but her fights against people (cops and bank workers, for starts) who don't give her the service she feels she deserves, and at these points in the book she loses a little of my sympathy. I've had a car stolen; I've had problems at her bank which were handled professionally. Glossed over in her complaints of how her bank failed to prevent theft from her account is that her bank refunded her money without question. That they refused to help her track down the perpetrator is hardly surprising.
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In terms of style, think Dave Barry crossed with Seinfeld, Andy Rooney, Kathy Griffin (although less funny), and throw in a bit of Curtis Sliwa. While I can't stand the same sorts of folks Alkon rips here, this is an uneven effort that could've fairly easily been made better by omitting some tedious personal detail in several places. The parts on cell phone rudeness and misbehaving children are quite good, but the identity-theft incident hardly deals with rudeness in the same sense at all and seems somewhat out of place. The rest of the book regarding bad experiences with a small-time car thief, a sleazy old guy who damaged the author's new car, various bureaucratic corporate weasels, overwhelmed functionaries of the criminal justice system, and assorted hostile internet blog commenters reads as rather self-indulgent venting. Although I do give her credit for standing up to thoughtless, obnoxious boors and encouraging others to do the same - there's nothing wrong with a bit of etiquette vigilantism in my book - this seems like it was a rushed work that could have been tightened up to good effect.

BTW, my review was posted several months ago but within an hour or two of it being online I had received votes that it was "not useful", which I found rather odd - especially since it normally takes some time to receive feedback on books that have been out for a while. I read through other less-than-stellar reviews and associated comments and discovered the rather sad situation of the author and people who "really like" the book accusing those who don't of being part of a conspiracy to harass Alkon and damage her sales - apparently some of the hostility touched on in the book spilled over onto Amazon's review pages.
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Rude people beware: Amy Alkon may see you, and if she does, it is unlikely to be a pleasant experience for you. Car thieves, "underparenting" parents, cell-phone users, and telemarketers have all attracted her ire, and she has responded with persistence and ingenuity in ways that most of us can only dream of. But this book is not just a rant about the unmannered. Alkon skillfully weaves in learning from the fields of psychology and anthropology (among others) to explain why we face such a scourge of the impolite. People have always been "grabby, self-involved jerks," but the anonymity of modern society means that they are no longer constrained by the norms of the small groups that traditionally kept those jerky tendencies in check.

This a book for everyone. Those burdened by the impolite may learn defensive strategies, or at least learn that they have a champion in Amy Alkon. If we're lucky, the impolite will learn that what they do is actually impolite, causing them to change their ways; at the very least, however, they will learn to look over their shoulders.

"I See Rude People" is delightfully entertaining. Those familiar with Alkon's advice column ([...]) will recognize her wit and energy. After reading "I See Rude People," those not familiar with her column will be impelled to make it a regular destination for an "Alkon fix."
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I've been reading Ms. Alkon's column for many years, and I was prepared to enjoy her book. Amy probably snapped at about the same time I did in regards to 'rude people'. I will quote from page 120: "I thought kids and I had a deal: I'd stay out of Chuck E. Cheese if they stayed out of the martini lounge." This hits me at home from both sides, and I am still laughing.

This book is even better than my expectations. As much as I enjoy visiting her blog, I get involved in the discussions there and sometimes forget that Amy is there. And this book really was an evening with Amy. She's sassy, precocious, and absolutely fabulous in the way she relates her stories and views.

Ms Alkon makes you laugh and makes you think. And from her precisely sharp wit she provides us all with courage to make the world a little more friendly, and a better place.

The advicegoddess is my new Dave Barry. And with much better hair. I can't wait to send copies of her book to friends and foe.
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