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Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners Hardcover – January 3, 2012
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"Investigative humorist Henry Alford explores the illusive art of behaving well... Alford is a charming writer, who seems able to spin delightful stuff from whatever straw he happens to stumble across, and his rumination on good behavior is no exception."―Salon.com
"[His] self-deprecating wit recalls earlier generations of gentlemanly humor writers... Alford offers a...nearly always charming account of his own confusion about how to act."―The Boston Review
"Alford is a razory-wicked, fun guy to be around, and each of his stories are like those 'tiny acts of grace' brightening your day."―Kirkus
"Mr. Manners Henry Alford explains how-and why-to behave. WOULD IT KILL YOU TO STOP DOING THAT? amuses as it informs."―The New York Times Book Review
"[Alford] describes life as a cosmic Wikipedia, in which each of us through our actions is redefining and expanding the categories to which we belong. The book alternates between these idiosyncratic digressions and actual commentary on modern manners...consistently fun."―Newsday
"Extremely entertaining....Whatever the ideals may be, most of us can agree decent manners are a good idea. Thanks to this handbook, we stand a better chance of complying."―Bookpage
"Even the best behaved among us would benefit from a close reading of investigative humorist Henry Alford's brilliant primer on gracious living, Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?"―Vanity Fair
"In today's world of social climbers, inconsiderate shoppers, cell phone yappers and the ever-evolving social media, Alford has taken it upon himself to get to the root of just what good manners really means in 2012. His flair for adding jovial wit to the proceedings offered is evident in every chapter. He has a natural, informative and clever writing talent....All in all, Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners provides a reference point from which to learn, a sympathetic voice of reason and an everyday guide for almost any social situation you could possibly imagine."―The Edge
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The challenges? I anticipated some logical sequencing and organization prior to opening the cover of a book on manners or etiquette. However, this is not your Mother's Reference Manual on Etiquette & Manners. This witty book is a random walk on the subject where often times you get lost in the story missing the etiquette punch line altogether. The author lurches from discussions involving the appropriateness of slurping noodles in Tokyo, to accepting all friend requests on Facebook to asking how much rent you pay in Manhattan, to stealing a cab.
A number of recommendations were thoughtful:
* Don't return a phone call with a text. "There's an implicit hierarchy of communication. If you go lower on the hierarchy, people will think there's a subtext."
* Don't overuse the word "thx" in emails especially to a sender that has spent considerable time sending you an email. Take a moment to use the sender's name and spell out Thanks. Tone is often lost in email and it's important that the recipient not misconstrue your intention.
* If someone sends you a gift certificate, why not send that person a photo of what you bought or at minimum tell them what you bought.
* Is it rude if someone refuses to accept your friend request? If you've actually met in the flesh, then yes, it sounds like it is.Read more ›
As to the book itself - short, sharp-tongued, and occasionally scathing. There is some language towards the end (he is a NYC greeter, and likes to shock his overseas visitors by taking them by the booth selling "effing" shirts.) There is also a bit of a better than thou tone throughout, but strangely enough, it humanizes rather than irritates. The section on his "retaliatory manners" especially hit me square in my own often passive-aggressive tendencies, and made like him all the more because of our shared failings.
Overall, nothing earth-shattering, and most certainly not exhaustive or even complete, but a very enjoyable short and sassy addition to the voices of those calling out for a continuation and furtherance of modern manners.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lewis Black meets Miss Manners. Had me laughing very hard at many points. Well worth reading, and actually true to life.Published 13 months ago by R. Weiss
I found this book nearly unreadable -- although I did make it through to the end.
The prose is often convoluted and the author's tone waspish and snide. Read more
I found this book more amusing than useful. I had really hoped to discover some new strategies for dealing with rudeness ...without escalating the situation.Published 15 months ago by Tale Bearer
not miss Manners
She had a kind sense of humor , and thoughtfulness I liked
SO far this book seems likely to deliver. I like the writers wit and style and I purchased it exactly and only because of what other reviewers commented and I am satisfied.Published 18 months ago by K.Grace Brady
I read a lot of books on etiquette and public behavior, both historical works and present-day guides. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Michael K. Smith
This is a funny book about manners, or the lack of manners.
Not like any other book on manners I ever read though. Read more
I laughed a lot while reading this: A great bookj from beginning to end. And to top it off, I learned a lot about etiquette.Published on May 24, 2014 by P. A. Harvey