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Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  891 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
A professor of Italian literature and the cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, P. M. Forni came to the crucial realization one day that he would rather his students be kind human beings than know Dante. The word civility comes from the Latin civitas, the root also for civilization. How we live together in groups and treat each other on a daily basis is ultimate ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2002)
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Polly Trout
Feb 06, 2009 Polly Trout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forni defines civility as the art of cultivating respectful relationships with the purpose of being good community members and good neighbors. This is a charming and kindhearted book about why life is better when we are thoughtful and respectful with each other. Forni treats kindness and consideration in relationships as art forms that can be learned, taught, and honed; he digs through the ritual of etiquette to find their philosophic foundations. His "25 Rules" include advice like: pay attentio ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Julianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wish it had a rip out list in the front or back as a "cheat sheet" of the 25 rules. So, here they are:

1. Pay Attention
2. Acknowledge Others
3. Think the Best
4. Listen
5. Be Inclusive
6. Speak Kindly
7. Don't Speak Ill
8. Accept and Give Praise
9. Respect Even a Subtle "No"
10.Respect Others' Opinions
11.Mind Your Body
12.Be Agreeable
13.Keep it Down
14.Respect Other People's Time
15.Respect Other People's Space
16.Apologize Earnestly
17.Assert Yourself
18.Avoid Personal Questions
19.Care for Your Guests
20.Be a
This book had some good advice. The begginning is very slow. So much so that I found myself falling asleep but its mostly just the first part of the book.

Part One of the book mostly argues why civility is important and that being polite isn't hypocritical.

Part Two gives all the dos and don'ts to do with house guests, strangers, coworkers, etc. This is where the 25 rules of conduct are.
Part Three just sums up everything.

Like I mentioned before it has good advice so it was useful but just a bit
Lennie Ross
How does one critique a book on civility with civility? This book was just a bit too basic. The advice was good, but the book is slow-paced and the points could have been addressed in far fewer pages... and it wasn't a very thick book to begin with. Felt like someone wrote it just to have the credit of having written a book. I would say there must be a better book on the subject out there. if you know what it is, feel free to recommend.
First, I think this book needs a new title. I like the subtitle "The twenty-five rules of considerate conduct" because that spoke to why I picked up this book: I wanted to be a more considerate person. "Choosing Civility" makes it sound like we've all been uncivil until now, and I found it to be a little holier-than-thou.

Second, this book needs an editor. The first 30 pages argue the case for civility, which is unnecessary because you've already gotten the reader to pick up the book. The last 30
Marjorie Elwood
Sep 08, 2011 Marjorie Elwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspiration
This was a lovely little book about why we should choose civility in our everyday lives and what that looks like. It was a good reminder of why we are polite with each other ("Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength." Eric Hoffer) and helped me realize where I might improve in my behavior towards others. Highly recommended.

For the library types out there: I learned about this in Public Libraries, July/August 2011: "Choose Civility: Public Libraries Take Center Stage".
Aug 15, 2009 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is for a college class and it was really good. I have experience reading books like this so it wasn't that hard for me. It was a real eye opener. It's all about being civil but as I read it, I thought about situations where I could have applied the rule and I feel like a new person and can actually see the world. This book was for my University 1000 class that doesn't start for another week. XD
Kristine Morris
This book made its way onto my bookshelf because my spouse has to read it for a course he is taking. Like a few other commentators I found the first part of this book difficult to get through (even though it's not long). It nearly derailed my intentions to read the whole thing. The second part which lists the 25 rules of considerate conduct were well done. Some of this is common sense, however, P.M.Forni was spot on with each on. He provided examples of uncivil behaviours or conversations we've ...more
Rachel Ramirez
May 26, 2016 Rachel Ramirez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This was a very easy read with useful information. Originally I bought this book because it was required for one of my University classes that all students had to take. Needless to say I thought it would be a boring book that I'd hate and never read again. This book completely surprised me! I found ways that explained how I could better myself as a person conduct-wise; I believe it helped me make college and moving as enjoyable as it's been. It's a book I think everyone could benefit from readin ...more
S Beverage
Jan 20, 2016 S Beverage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, practical ideas for being a kinder human being. I plan to introduce this at work, as libraries have always been engaged in civil discourse and interaction. We can model civil behavior - it fits into our mission and speaks to how we engage with people.
Feb 17, 2011 Jeslyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Consoled me on some pages, indicted me on others - but in a good way; some terrific redirects. Also punctuated with some fantastic quotes throughout.

I gave this book to numerous friends and family as a gift since I thought it was such an excellent read; interestingly, the gift seemed to offend some...before reading. Hopefully not after.
Dec 10, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Lots of wonderful common sense information, that isn't really common for today's populace. In observing the lack of civility in America today, Forni outlines how to be a civil member of society. Perhaps this brief volume should be added to required reading lists so that future generations aren't the boars that their parents have become.
Aug 28, 2012 Nuri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book & I live by it. It's powerful, it changed me. It made me want to be a better person. Kinder, more courteous & civil to to others. It speaks to its readers intelligently & provides precise & clear directions for a happier & fulfilling life. Best of all, It has less than 200 pages. A must read for everyone.
Jan 21, 2009 Jed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in living a life more mindful of others
The problem with a book like this is that 1) uncivilized people won't read it anyway and 2) civilized people will only fret about the one or two things they'd never considered. It's a good encapsulation of various ways one might act civilly. Have lent this book out already, with success.
Cherokee Schill
May 05, 2013 Cherokee Schill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so much better than a social etiquette guide.
how to respond to uncivilized behavior. more importantly, how to avoid getting sucked into uncivilized behavior by those around you.
Nov 23, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, audio
While the author is at times a bit pompous, and though I didn't agree with every suggestion, this is an excellent guide to getting along with others. I think my nature is generally to be agreeable, so I found myself nodding along quite a lot. I am frequently amazed at the ways people inconvenience others to save themselves a little bit of time or effort. Though I consider myself to be quite civil, there were a few a-ha moments in here for me where other people might not be interpreting my action ...more
Perhaps not the best choice for an audiobook, on reflection. Because I listen when I drive, I couldn't give the text the full attention it deserves - though that might also be because of the high reading level. The word "interlocutor" shouldn't have appeared once, let alone multiple times, if you ask me. Considering incivility is a problem that crosses all social and educational levels, it would have been nice to see some simpler language.

Some basic, common sense information here, and definitely
Susan Grodsky
Dec 17, 2015 Susan Grodsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book took me a VERY long time to read. Although the author appears to be quite a nice man, I couldn't help but feel criticized. Reading the book was, at best, like lifting weights. You know you're doing something that's good for you, and you're happy to see the improved muscle tone, but it's not much fun to do while you're doing it. I read a few other books in between sessions with this one.

That said, this nicely typeset book is full of sagely formulated advice, quotations from iconi
I read this because it will be used in freshmen class I'm teaching in the fall.

I think Forni has some interesting approaches to the question of civility, but he can come off as a bit old-fashioned and preachy at times - which may be off-putting for a younger audience. I also think the people who would most benefit from his ideas are the least likely to pick up this type of book. I did find myself rethinking past social interactions based on his perspective, which seems to be the point of the boo
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

Even though I'd suggest the first section of this book could be skipped, the central section, 25 rules of civil behaviour, still makes the book a 4 star book for me. I first found this book because my teenaged daughter was asking about some rules of etiquette. After looking through several books full of 'rules of etiquette' I decided this book had a lot more to offer. Anyone can learn the mechanics of invitations, table manners, how to dress for different social occasions. What F
Dec 24, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, meridian
A helpful little book, though somewhat repetitive, with some incredibly insightful gems sprinkled throughout.

Dr. Forni's Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct compiles, as the subtitle promises, 25 rules to smooth social interactions and show consideration for others. The rules actually only take up the middle of the book's three sections. The first section lays the groundwork for why considerate conduct is important. The second outlines the 25 specific guidelines. The
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Forni is European and it shows. He comes from a culture where respect for people is assumed. America disappoints him now and then. He wants to help America.
I need to practice these twenty-five things. If I practiced just these twenty-five things, I would be a much better person.
So what are they? Let me list them to remind myself:
1. Pay attention
2. Acknowledge others
3. Think the best
4. Listen
5. Be inclusive
6. Speak kindly
7. Don’t speak ill
8. Accept and give praise
9. Respect even a subtle “no”
May 31, 2012 Indrani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My rating actually is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars.

As with "Saving Civility..." by Sara Hacala, I read this for work, with the thought of using it as a framework for group sessions with adolescent boys. Dr. Forni breaks his lessons in civility into 25 "mini-chapters", rather than Ms. Hacala's 52, however they cover many of the same subjects.

As others have noted, the first section of the book can feel a bit preachy. Dr. Forni spends this section making an argument that civility is a necessary
Apr 11, 2012 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I recently attended a PLA webinar hosted by Howard County (Md.) Library System (HCLS) CEO Valerie J. Gross. She and her co-presenters discussed the change in culture that her library helped initiate within their community around the topic of civility. Small changes add up and create a kinder, healthier community that has the tools they need to discuss issues in an open environment.

A key tool to how Gross got started with the Choose Civility movement, which now involves over 100 partnering local
Book Calendar
Jan 14, 2010 Book Calendar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: attention
P.M. Forni is writing about modern manners. He has come up with a list of ideas on how to be proper. Paying attention, listening, and being agreeable are all things which make most people much easier to get along with. Manners make society easier to negotiate.

The tips about manners include personal hygiene, physical appearance, and personal space all of which affect how we interact with others. We are reminded that when we are at our best is when people are most civil to us.

There are some poli
Mary Karpel-Jergic
A wonderful, small, easy to read book with a powerful message. Forni, considers manners an important aspect of acting with civility. I guess as a species we must have evolved these social rules of behaviour for a purpose but we seem to be living in an era that wants to disregard them. We all live in a society. We interact with people both close and distant and we make choices as to how we treat them. Equally, they make choices about how to treat us. That interchange shapes the world that we inha ...more
Nov 04, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The difficulty with a book like Choosing Civility is that only polite people will look at it and it preaches to the choir. It's a useful primer on manners, but there's nothing in here your mother didn't try to teach you.

I've actually attended a talk by Professor Forni and he is, as you would expect, very well mannered and gently polite. His talk was fascinating and his explanations for the decrease of civility were well researched and thought provoking

This was at a bookstore in Baltimore, Maryla
Apr 17, 2011 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought-provoking, for-the-most-part practical little book that makes the case for everyday thoughtfulness. And lest anyone think that's just a nice way of saying 'this book is about how to be a doormat,' I need to explain. Forni spends a lot of time on important potentially awkward moments we've all faced now and again, like how to say no to someone we care about and stick with it, how to let someone know when they have asked too personal a question, etc. What it comes down to is that kindnes ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read about our culture and where we stand on civility. Even though it may seem as if civility is a thing of the past, the author believes that we are becoming more openminded about accepting those who are different from ourselves as well as improving on respecting the environment, which can be viewed as forms of civility. We just have to get back to good old-fashioned caring for one another. I found a wonderful Chinese proverb in this book that I want to carry with me - D ...more
Oct 11, 2014 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for the audio version.

The information in this book is good, but I think it might be a better read than a listen. From the narration it seems that the actual book might be one of lists, highlighted boxes, and standard texts. This did not translate well into an audio book. I did finish the book, but am contemplating on getting a print version as reference and to skim over to see what I "lost in translation."
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Dr. Pier Massimo Forni is a professor in the Department of Germanic and Romance Languages and Literatures, Johns Hopkins University. In 1997 he co-founded the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, an aggregation of academic and community outreach activities that is aimed at assessing the significance of civility, manners and politeness in contemporary society. It has been reconstituted as The Civility I ...more
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“How can you respond to an unwelcome and self-serving invitation to chill out? More or less like this: "No, I'm not going to chill out, and I'm telling you why. By telling me to chill out you are saying that I'm overreacting, which is like saying that I shouldn't feel the way I feel. I hope you'll allow me to have my feelings and express them the way I choose. Since I happen to feel strongly about this issue, there is no reason I should look the other way. I suggest that instead of making me fee bad about my reaction, you come to terms with the seriousness of your actions.” 5 likes
“Few things would gratify me as much as a rediscovered respect for things belonging to others. Not abusing the property of others (or that of the community) is one of the ways in which we respect others. It is an essential part of being considerate guests, no matter where we are: in an airplane, in a friend's home, in a movie theater, in a doctor's office, in a public library, or in a public square.” 3 likes
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