I originally read this book when I was 12. No idea why since I’ve never been shy or at a loss for words yet I remember it fondly even if my only recalI originally read this book when I was 12. No idea why since I’ve never been shy or at a loss for words yet I remember it fondly even if my only recalled take-away is to be well-read so you that you have something of interest to discuss. Rediscovering this book on openlibrary.org is a lesson in how faulty our memories truly are and how a 12 year-old is not the best judge of books. What 12 year-old needs chapters on conversing with royalty, celebrities, tycoons (both regular and lady tycoons plus the tycoon's wife), and lady drunks (distract her from her booze by asking if she would be so kind to accompany you to the ladies room)? Thankfully, my 12 year-old self absorbed nothing from her chapter on flirtation, both in the office and while looking for a man (in the same chapter, I think, to distinguish between fun, pointless flirtation and serious flirtation with an end goal). Let’s just say Clarence Thomas would applaud Walters approval of “casual” office flirtations and the advice for women to be pleasant and agreeable above all else. Just so you know, Walters is flattered if you openly flirt with her husband and thinks nothing more fun than an interviewee undressing her with his eyes, especially if he's Richard Burton. In another chapter, she even states that even the most loathsome of sexual advances at least reminds you that you’re pretty. Yes, because who doesn’t want to be pretty for a lecherous drunk? FYI, hair and makeup tips to remain presentable, another conversational plus, are also provided.
I did like Truman Capote’s advice for handling bores by making the bore a topic of mental analysis (What makes him so boring? What could his inner life be like?) and Walters’ advice on how to handle those who have such objectionable politics (“There are those who say . . . “) although the objectionable ones were those crazy early 70s radicals. And I now know the origin of Barbara Walters' odd “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” line of questioning. As she states, if all else fails and you can’t get a conversation going, bring up a conversational game like who would you want in the next hospital bed for company. Hugh Downs would like Sophia Loren in the next bed and Liberace chose Greta Garbo, letting you know that Walters has asked lots of people this question and that she does a lot of celebrity name-dropping throughout the book.
In Barbara Walters' defense, this book is long out-of-print and, based on the antiquated lady politics, I’m guessing or hoping she’s greatly evolved her feminist thinking and would like to keep it that way. Shame on openlibrary.org for making this crazy book available for e-book loan and ruining my fond tween memories but thank you for saving me from paying $26, the cheapest price available, for a used copy. For entertainment value, I’d love for Whoopie Goldberg and Joy Behar to debate this book on Walters' show The View with Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who I’m sure would find this book timely and relevant. ...more
This really belongs in Read, Currently Reading, and To Read. I love having this constantly accessible. So many great and random series -- from HiroshiThis really belongs in Read, Currently Reading, and To Read. I love having this constantly accessible. So many great and random series -- from Hiroshima in 1946 to a series on different foods, like a very lengthy article on potatoes in the 1970s. A must to own....more
Every healthcare worker should be required to read this book. A much needed reminder about taking into account cultural frames of reference. Also an iEvery healthcare worker should be required to read this book. A much needed reminder about taking into account cultural frames of reference. Also an interesting introduction to the Hmong culture....more