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Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct
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Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,067 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
Most people would agree that thoughtful behavior and common decency are in short supply, or simply forgotten in hurried lives of emails, cellphones, and multi-tasking. In Choosing Civility, P. M. Forni identifies the twenty-five rules that are most essential in connecting effectively and happily with others. In clear, witty, and, well...civilized language, Forni covers top ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published November 8th 2003 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2002)
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Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Polly Trout
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 30, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Lennie Ross
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Video review:

A great self-help and grounding book that reminds us how to act as adults and citizens in every area of our lives.
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Marjorie Elwood
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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".
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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”
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
For what it sets out to be, this does pretty well. It was not what I thought it was when I chose it. It's a short book with very brief (2-4 pages each) descriptions of Forni's "25 rules of considerate conduct." What once were called manners. But it is far from a simple list of dos and don'ts. Forni opens with several short essays describing the role, function, and reasons for considerate, or what he calls "civil," behavior. The book closes with several short essays grappling however briefly with ...more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Kristine Morris
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
S Beverage
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Audrey Rudinsky
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 stars- This book explains how to not behave like a terrible person. If you're not a terrible person you don't need this book. Also most of this book is full of opinions, with a very little amount of facts. The author is quite dull and some of his ideas and stances are very very antiquated. I really did not enjoy this and I definitely would not give it to young people to read b/c civility is changing rapidly as technology advances and society progresses. I had to read this for school and I am ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know many people believe that treating others with kindness and civility is weak, but I think that Professor Forni makes excellent points. One can be assertive and stand up for one's rights without being rude about it. I believe that lack of respect for others and civility towards them is at the heart of so much of our nation's problems today. Good manners cost us nothing and gain us positive feelings that can be nothing but good for us.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a great book, for its word economy as well as its great content. For such a short book, I was amazed by how in-depth the author went, providing insights of his own as well as others'. While some of the rules such as respecting others seemed to be a little straightforward and elementary, others were much more compelling discussions.
Mary Beth
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not a perfect book and at times one wants to write a note to Mr. Forni saying, "Have you ever talked to any women in your life? Because your rules for civility is basically how we are all socialized." But, it is a nice and helpful book for those who don't know this is how a person should behave.
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book you should give to all high school graduates on how to see yourself as a part of something bigger, on the implications good and bad that your existence and actions have on others, and essentially - how not to be horrid while taking a test in college.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was dull and understandably preachy. The middle section with the rules of civility was the most relevant to me. I liked that the author didn't bemoan the degradation of civility and manners like many people who care about manners; while acknowledging that certain niceties have essentially disappeared, he also points out that new ones have developed (e.g. respect for minorities).

I do feel like I understand better how to make a good impression on others from reading his rules for civilit
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Read this as part of my research for a project on civil discourse as it applies to diversity and inclusion. Some good information but dated. The rating is for the value to my inquiry.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although there were a lot of suggestions that felt somewhat old-fashioned, this books is a reminder our society desperately needs to be kinder and more civil to one another.
Tom Coulter
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was written in 2002. A need to guide citizens in civil civics was already recognized. This is a good book for anyone who can read at any age.
Polly Callahan
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
looking for an alternative to PBIS; this book is the core of the "Choose Civility" Choose 2Bkind programs
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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
“If we are kind and considerate, people will want to be around us, and we benefit from enduring circles of attention and care.” 4 likes
More quotes…