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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 ·  1,161 ratings  ·  197 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 Griffin (first published 2002)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,161 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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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
Rachel Aranda
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
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
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".
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
Bryan Tanner
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Best book I've read all year! (Take that with a grain of salt; I think every 5-stars book I just complete is my favorite.) My purpose for reading was to develop the invaluable habit of considering that no action of mine is without consequences for others and anticipating what those consequences will be. I wanted to learn to live in a responsible and caring way.

In an era of incredible technological innovation, social progress, and independent thought, it is worth considering the almost-forg
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
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.
stella Lee
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was about a lot of common sense and courtesy that we SHOULD know, and felt like a middle school text book.. What we should do vs. not to do as a civilized human being. I skimmed through it and gleaned several awesome quotations that I like repeat:
Ralph Waldo Emerson : Let us be silent so we may hear the whisper of the God
Samuel Buckett: I cannot go on; I will go on
Ann Frank: Then I do not think of all the misery but of the glory that remains
Mark Rosen: A good friend will listen to
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. A better quality of human interaction makes for a better life, a saner, more meaningful, healthier, and happier life. This book left me feeling inspired to be more aware of how my actions affect others and become good at being courteous and civil in all circumstances. It helped me see the dignity and poise of careful communication and the following of the “rules” of good manners that so many people have come to think of as repressing their basic right of self-expression. On the c ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a life changer. I cannot recommend this enough! This etiquette book is absolutely perfect and it’s helped me a lot with my social anxiety. The explanations were a little difficult at first, me thinking how ridiculous it was. But when I stopped to think about it, I realized that these were actually amazing tips. For today’s youth (myself included) these lessons really can set you apart. People treat me differently (with more respect) than before I learned a few things. Guys treat me like ...more
Jeff Babbitt
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
In the forward the author states: “This is a handbook for the practical use of civility.” It sure is that. A little too much for my liking. I found the constant barrage of do’s and don’ts to be abrasive and tiresome. Still, I liked the overall concept of the book and I have no objections to the “25 rules of considerate conduct.” I did come away from this book with some homework assignments, things I can do (or stop doing) to be a more civil person. Regardless of my feelings about the author’s ap ...more
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.
LInda L
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
The sub-title tells us what to do and when to do it -- as several people listed the 25, I will not repeat that. While the advice was basic and good, it was dry and did not make me want to rush to the next page. I think the information should be addressed in Middle school, then test them for content. At the least, they should be able to coherently explain each of the 25 rules. This book teaches not only kindness, but grace.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The simplicity of the message adds to the beauty of this book. The author outlines 25 rules/guidelines of human and social interaction for being a thoughtful, caring, and considerate person in your day to day life, and how far such a simple reminder and shift in perspective can go in creating warmth in the world around us. Having gotten this as a Christmas gift from a friend, I enjoyed the book beyond expectations!
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.
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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
“If we are kind and considerate, people will want to be around us, and we benefit from enduring circles of attention and care.” 5 likes
“....a crucial measure of our success in life is the way we treat one another every day of our lives.” 5 likes
More quotes…