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Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries and Quagmires of Today

3.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  250 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Office attire and e-mail misfire. Twitter snafus and dating miscues. Philip Galanes hears an awful lot of WHAT SHOULD I DOs?!

“I’m pretty sure the woman who swims laps next to me at the Y is peeing in the pool. What should I do?”

It started in 2008, when Galanes began the “Social Q’s” advice column for the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times.

“My boyfriend has an i
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Simon & Schuster
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 553)
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Feb 17, 2012 J rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing. I love etiquette books but this one gave bad advice and normalized inappropriate behavior. Under the guise of addressing "modern" issues, a range of outrageous behavior was addressed. I couldn't even enjoy the book as a guilty pleasure - it was too outrageous and vulgar.

There were also disappointingly few questions. It was mainly the author pontificating his opinions in essay format. It was more about his morals and values than etiquette. Opinions (especially uninformed ones) are
Linda HB
May 03, 2016 Linda HB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK. I know I own far too many etiquette books. It all started in 1968: Emily Post's Pocket Book of Etiquette which I read cover to cover--even the chapters on proper comportment vis a vis servants--info I've never needed. Philip Galanes (by contrast) is well-versed in 21st century behaviors (good and bad). Even if his advise may be a bit off at times, there is always fun to be found in his humor and pop-culture references--even his snarkiness. It is, admittedly, a guilty pleasure. Downside: this ...more
Kelly Hager
Galanes writes an etiquette column for the New York Times. This is a collection of some of those pieces, plus lengthier advice on (bluntly) how not to be an ass in this brave new world.

I love advice columns and etiquette columns, because (like everyone else) I think I’m an expert at both. (Turns out I’m correct with etiquette 99% of the time!)

The one percent where I was wrong? Turns out that if you want to be called by your first name but the parents want their kids to call you “Miss Kelly,” the
Fun for fans of advice/etiquette columns, but my oh my is Galanes snarky! Also, I might not follow any of this advice.
Amanda Mitchell
Mar 18, 2015 Amanda Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is witty, wise and worthwhile. The author, a lawyer and NY Times advice columnist, provides practical wisdom for navigating modern etiquette minefields. Inside you’ll find gems like “People who succeed at work are never the ones who look like they just finished a shift at Scores.” Throughout this book he provides tips about how to view situations which gives you a framework for creating your own solutions. His advice is entertaining but more importantly is grounded in respecting those ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun book with the author giving his opinion, usually witty and wise, on a variety of today's "most awkward and pressing questions."

"What's 'fashionable' is what I'm wearing. What's 'unfashionable' is what she has on."

In answer to a question of a woman regarding the character of a man she met on a dating site: "Stop communicating with him. This guy is a creep and a liar, probably married and --even worse-- using seriously outdated photos of himself in his online profile."

"A calm word,
Oct 18, 2011 Birgit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly I am not the kind of person who'll actually read advice columns - which often are either condescending or leave you even more puzzled than before - but I didn't even know that Social Q's has its roots there before I started reading. I simply assumed it would be a modern view on etiquette. With a humorous touch. Luckily this book, based on the respective NY Times column by Philip Galanes, is a far stretch from regular advice on etiquette, but instead a witty read that really does give ...more
Kelly Davis
A long-time admirer of Philip Galanes’s sassy etiquette column for the New York Times, I’ve actually solicited his advice on two occasions: once for help in settling a dispute with roommates over a security deposit, and once seeking guidance on how to “break up” with my hair stylist after she moved to an exorbitant high-end salon. Galanes has yet to address my queries (I’m still overpaying for highlights, Philip!) but I bought his book Social Q’s anyway. After years of reading a column a week, g ...more
Sep 09, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Quick read and easy to understand. Lots of information about today's common sticky spots (when to unfriend) and traditional family and friend problems.
Vanessa Wu
Funny handy New Yorker tailored guide of how to slide through daily social life. Taking a break from pre-21st century authors.
Jul 07, 2012 Marcia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book by a New York Times advice columnist. I thought it was intriguing because many of the the situations the author answers, advises or gives his opinions on are updated situations, geared toward younger people. He uses lots of humor. It was not laugh out loud humor, but Ok. I guess the bottom line is, sometimes you just have to suck it up. I guess things have not change that much over the years. You have to get along with family, neighbors, friends, etc. Sometimes this is hard to do ...more
Parker F
Feb 16, 2012 Parker F rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Social Q's is to be commended for espousing a simple and coherent etiquette ethos: avoid escalating conflict whenever reasonably possible. Unlike the instructions of many etiquette writers, rather than seeming arbitrary, the author's suggestions are almost enlightened with regard to their adherence to the aforementioned dictum. However, Galanes wastes most of the book making unfunny pop-culture references and providing entirely unhelpful mnemonic devices. I would have recommended the book much m ...more
I like his columns more than this book - a little too "perky" and blithe - plus occasionally careless with advice, in my opinion. That being said, it was fun lunchtime reading and being a little over the top in how to respond to people is a fun fantasy! I also began to appreciate his "least resistance" approach - prioritize what's important and aim for the most ease to insure good long-term relationships! (...while taking care of yourself - but just give everyone a little slack ...we all make mi ...more
Laura Hughes
Dec 13, 2012 Laura Hughes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advice
I expected this to be a collection of columns, but it was more like essays with letters used as illustrative scenarios. The essays take the firm of instruction on dealing with various aspects of life with fun charts, mnemonics and exercises to explain generalized theories for how to behave. The writing can be cloyingly seventeen magazine ("besties" etc) but overall has a warm, likable tone. The advice is usually solid. I don't always agree with the author about texting, but i enjoyed the book a ...more
Dec 17, 2011 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pure fun. The author has a great sense of humor, and his message can be summed up in a few words... "Be kind and generous in speaking and in action." The letters he receives in his advice column in the NY Times are used as the spring-off point for a discussion of how to react in different likely situations of today. Much more amusing than Emily Post and Dear Abby. I give it four stars, not for the writing, but for the sensitivity and sensibility of the advice offered.
Mar 13, 2012 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm one of those crazy people who reads etiquette books for entertainment. I must have ordered this one based on a review. While there's nothing much new in the manners world (apply the Golden Rule would sum it all up), this book is interesting in that it gives more than just an answer to questions, but also a rubric to follow when considering similar problems. An answer tends to be question specific, a way of evaluating situations is much more helpful.
Feb 10, 2013 erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Philip Galanes' short book on etiquette is a fun, easy read with a good message: be kind.
Not necessarily unique, Galanes' witty urgings that we be patient, listen, consider others, and be kind are wrapped in interesting and fun questions posed to him through the New York Times' Sunday Styles sections "Social Qs." Frankly, we can all use reminders to be ethical and turn the other cheek, and this is an entertaining vehicle for that message.
Kris Springer
Jan 23, 2012 Kris Springer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, charming, and good advice about different life situations. Galanes has a witty writing style and sometimes comes off a bit catty but in the end, he encourages the reader to err on the side of caution and silence, so that family relations remain smooth and bridges aren't burned. A fun read and it made me feel like I'm pretty normal, especially compared to some of the outrageous people needing his help.
Jan 05, 2012 HeavyReader rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with etiquette dilemas
Shelves: how-to
Philip Galanes is no Miss Manners, but I appreciate what he's doing.

I like that he counsels people to cut each other a little slack. He also gets it right that if the parent is present, it's her/his job to correct a child. And it's really great that he's telling people to turn off the electronic technology and talk to each other. Right on.

But I can't say anything in this book thrilled me.
Heidi Campbell
Mar 03, 2013 Heidi Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great! I will refer to this book again. Laughed a lot as I read it, enjoyed it, nodded in agreement & feel that Mr. Galanes is the much more witty, up-to-date "Miss Manners"...than previous advice columnists. Fun to read! But also, this little book is full of common sense & wisdom in navigating .....well, taking this from title: .... "...the quirks, quandaries & quagmires of Today."
Jan 04, 2012 Ben rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Some might say that Galanes is "snarky". I'd call him petty, mean, and out-of-touch. I read a few of the questions, compiled here from Galanes' column in the New York Times, and that was quite enough to decide that this is not advice I care to take.

I guess I'm more of a Dan Savage kind of guy.
Nov 21, 2011 m_miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: openbook
While I don't always agree with the author's advice, some of the tools he uses to get there seemed really useful. Of particular interest to me were the beauty matrix (I wish I would have used that when considering bangs), the hygiene test when deciding whether to intercede (health risk?; power in the relationship?; Possible backdraft?) this could come in really handy at work.
Dec 22, 2011 A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just came across this book and picked it up to read without knowing anything about it. It is great! So funny! It is an advice column type of book with very up to date advice on life. This book was easy to read and very enjoyable. It will make you laugh. I recommend this book for the humor and for the wisdom found in the author's writing.
Lori Paximadis
Nov 26, 2011 Lori Paximadis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great little book on modern etiquette. While it's not comprehensive, its strength is in showing the reasoning behind the right thing to do, which lets you extrapolate advice from one particular situation to other similar situations. Galanes is smart and witty and a direct writer, which made this book easy to breeze through.
Dec 21, 2011 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
like that he breaks down situations by equations, giving you the option to interpret how he would handle a similar but different question

found people's concerns tedious/mean/little
too often felt that he agreed with the tedious (nothing worse than someone says Paree vrs Pariss)
not as helpful as I anticipated
Frederick Bingham
This is a quick read book from the author of a New York Times advice column. I heard the author interviewed on Fresh Air. It focuses on social mores in the era of Facebook, online dating, text messaging and office cubicles. The author has a humorous take on these issues and is full of laughs. Quite enjoyable and very light.
Jan 03, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick fun read (which I needed after my last book). I heard the author interviewed on All Things Considered and was intrigued. The book provided all kinds of common sense advice for today's gadget obsessed life. And BTW--no, it is not appropriate to break up with someone over a text message.
Ravi Batra
Sep 22, 2013 Ravi Batra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educational
Very informative in a fun reading style. I learned a lot, but it also reinforced that I'm on the right path when it comes to social situations. I definitely recommend people to skim it and for those who consider themselves socially awkward to read it so they can see they are not as awkward as they think.
Carrie O'Maley Voliva
Hilarious, and sometimes quite useful advice.
Meg Baker
Jun 24, 2013 Meg Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was first planning on reading this slowly while reading a more plot based book as well, but this is so incredibly helpful and entertaining! Galanes guides you through very common mishaps with his humor and humility, and I know I'll be whipping this book out a lot in the future.
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