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Why Manners Matter: The Case for Civilized Behavior in a Barbarous World
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Why Manners Matter: The Case for Civilized Behavior in a Barbarous World

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In the spirit of On Bullshit, a wonderfully erudite and entertaining essay about manners.

When Lucinda Holdforth told her mother she was writing an essay about manners, her mother said, “You’re writing a book about manners?” Deeply offended, Lucinda called her best friend and relayed what her mother had said. Her best friend paused before saying, “Well, you do say “f***” a
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 5th 2009 by Putnam Adult (first published September 3rd 2008)
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Lee Anne
As always with a book of this type, the people who most need to read it wouldn't.

This essay is literate, occasionally witty, and very dry. The author doesn't teach any etiquette, or make suggestions; she uses literary and historical allusions to make her point about how manners make us a better world.

There is an incongruous blip in her theory, though, of which I may be hyper-conscious, owing to my line of work: she admits to being rude to customer service people who are "paid to be cheerful."
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Kristen
A fun little book. The author makes some bold claims (Manners can save democracy!) but also realizes the boldness of her claims and does not take herself too seriously. As someone who believe manners are important, and has often been obliged to explain that manners are not snobbery or "being fake", this was an enjoyable read.
Megan
I was so scared I would do something rude while reading this and especially while carrying it with me in public places. Hypocrisy terrifies me.
Sonia
Un titolo del genere credo farebbe la gioia della maggior parte dei nostri genitori, meglio ancora dei nostri nonni, o ancor di più dei nostri (ex) professori.
Come se le buone maniere fossero un retaggio di un passato che non ci appartiene, che ormai è andato, i cui unici depositari hanno tutto il diritto di lamentarsi di questa grande assenza nel mondo contemporaneo, accusando tutto e tutti per questa triste scomparsa.
Purtroppo non è questo il luogo adatto per discutere, riflettere, e scambiarc
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Sara
I liked this book. I myself think that manners are exceedingly important, which is probably the main reason I picked it up. I don't believe that just anyone would choose this book, although I think they should. Lucinda Holdforth brings up a lot of good points about the nature of manners. They don't have to be stuffy or oppressive, they are just nice. I mean, doesn't it feel good when someone is nice to you, and, at least for me, being nice to others makes me feel good. Anyway that is why I liked ...more
Bill Herring
A great challenge for any essay writer in persuading her audience to see her point of view is to take specific examples and connect them to the broader ideal. I think Holdforth does an excellent job at that. The entire basis of this essay explains the consequence of a society that no longer utilizes the skills of manners. Holdforth consistently connects the long-forgotten practices which we know as manners and their reasoning to the broader ideal of why those specific practices actually help soc ...more
Amy
meh. I expected to really enjoy this book. I was looking forward to some great rants about ill-mannered bastards that don't bother to write thank you notes, hold doors for people or understand the basics of small talk (ie when asked how are you, you are actually supposed to respond and ask the same question. This is one that has been bothering me a lot lately). What I actually got was so forgettable, that I can't remember anything a week later other than the vague idea that I read a sermon which ...more
Margaret Sankey
In which a 30-something comes to the realization that all these years of "manners are hypocrisy, do your own thing" produce people who do obnoxious, annoying shit in the name of freedom, and feels compelled to write a book about how this has really, all along, been the cornerstone of civilization keeping us from darkness. All I can think of is having spent the last thirty plus years knowing that when my behavior did not hold up to my grandmother's "is it worthy?", a batsignal of bad karma flashe ...more
Kathryn
This book was a revelation, and that is no overstatement. Halfway through, I realized why all the teenagers who come into my store annoy me so much; they have no manners at all. It made me feel better about insisting to wait for the "Walk" sign when I cross the street downtown. Since finishing this book, I feel more inspired to cultivate my natural Canadian manners.
Lynette
It was a bit of a let down towards the end. I've been wanting to put together something like this book myself for a few years (a case for the relevance of manners today), nut this author wandered off into some areas that seemed a bit vague, and some I just couldn't follow her on. Anyway, gives me a chance to think over the topic myself again.
The Boston Fashionista
A fun little book. The author makes some bold claims (Manners can save democracy!) but also realizes the boldness of her claims and does not take herself too seriously. As someone who believe manners are important, and has often been obliged to explain that manners are not snobbery or "being fake", this was an enjoyable read.
Martin
I could not completely buy in to the author’s thesis that manners are the root of “civilized” civilization. I did find her overview of ideas like manners and social contract interesting, along with her tie-in to modern behavior interesting. Readers should be aware of the author’s Australian perspective.
Jenn
Though not necessarily an instructive book about manners - this book describes the social history of manners and the ways in which they may be helpful (with some caveats about how they may constrain) - great examples and lots of juicy information. Very well written, engaging and fun.
M.A.
Insightful and so true and a young person wrote it. I enjoyed this book;it was very insightful. I agree that we need more manners in the world and I'm a baby boomer!
Paula Kirman
A succinct and often funny look at why simple things like not swearing are so important in our lives and the world at large.
Lauren
LOVE THIS BOOK! It's not just about manners, but why manners are indicative of society and our willingness to live in community!
Sidra
I thought it to be clever, but it kind of turned out to be a rather long essay. like the rotary bit though.
Cynthia
Essay on the modern need for good manners and courtesy, written by an unexpected Australian.
Faythe Swanson
This book was both funny & interesting. I caught myself laughing out loud from time-to-time.
Maureen
Unfortunately a book that is needed in this day and age . I do not understand why?
Paulette
Interesting little book. Lots of history, wit and thoughtful observations.
Suzanne
Had to put it down due to language.
Angelica Santos
Angelica Santos marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2014
Ali Faye
Ali Faye marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2014
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