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Dishonesty Is the Second-Best Policy: And Other Rules to Live By

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,308 ratings  ·  212 reviews
David Mitchell’s 2014 bestseller Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse must really have made people think – because everything’s got worse.

We’ve gone from UKIP surge to Brexit shambles, from horsemeat in lasagne to Donald Trump in the White House, from Woolworths going under to all the other shops going under. It’s probably socially irresponsible even to attempt to cheer u
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Hardcover, 264 pages
Published November 7th 2019 by Guardian Faber Publishing (first published November 1st 2019)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
David Mitchell is a very funny man - he is also very clever. My family are all English and I married an Englishman so we watch a lot of UK TV. You have probably seen David Mitchell on QI, Would I Lie to You, Mitchell and Webb and plenty of other UK programs.

When reading this book I was reading it as I imagined he would be saying it all - hard not to. I really enjoyed this look at life through David's eyes - a series of columns from a British paper. He talks about everything from Trump to Brexit
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Katie Lumsden
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Witty, insightful and enjoyable.
Tommye (The Fantasy Review)
In the review section for this book on Goodreads, I saw that a few people put the book down after reading the introduction. I can sort of see why. It wasn't the happy, comical interpretation of modern society that many of us would be expecting from David Mitchell. The tone of the introduction does not fit well with the rest of the book. This is, of course, because the book is a collection of Mitchell's columns from The Guardian, not a traditional work of creative nonfiction. This is not a critic ...more
Becky
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I got this from Audible the last time I had credits to spare (coincidentally right before cancelling Audible... again). I love David Mitchell. I'm not British, but I think David Mitchell may be my spirit animal. (Well, except regarding how he feels about surround sound. REALLY, David?? You look behind you to see what that explosion was? LOL Whut? OK.)

But really, in almost every other thing, I think we're samesies. I found myself laughing quite a lot while listening to this book, and nodding and
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Jo
A collection of Mitchell's newspaper columns covering 2014-2019. A mix of wit, humour, sarcasm and despair. Rather entertaining. ...more
Nigeyb
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy: And Other Rules to Live By (2019) is the follow up to Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life (2014) which I somewhat belatedly read in January 2020.

Both books are a collection of David Mitchell's satirical Observer newspaper columns. I almost didn't bother, I mean what's more dated than a satirical newpaper column? As it turns out these articles not only give a great snapshot of politics, current affairs and society at the
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hayls 🐴
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british
As expected, highly amusing rants and angry logic of the kind heard on QI. Always listen to the audiobook.
Ewan
Nov 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The best part of this book is that, if I take the dust cover off, and paint over the spine, I'll have a moderately nice decoration for a shelf I don't own.

Really boring, light on laughs, heavy on middle-classed woes that bounces between apologetic nonsense and deft prose that falls on truly weary ears.

Still, a very easy read, light on just about every level.
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Clint
2.5 stars
I still really like David Mitchell’s wit, but the format of this book is not favorable. Essentially a collection of a few recent years of his pop culture/politics op-eds in the Guardian, Mitchell himself jokingly described it by saying “I’m going to really double down on the out-of-touch hypocritical centrist whingeing.” While that self-deprecation is funny, it’s also a critique that’s partially apt (if exaggerated for defensive effect).

Whingeing is a reductive but basically correct des
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Frank Paul
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure whether to give this 4 stars or 3. Mitchell is a funny man, who I mostly know from watching British game shows on YouTube. (I know how to live.) He is most famous in the states for the Mitchell and Webb series, which is genuinely brilliant. And this book is good but there are more smiles than laughs in this compilation of newspaper columns.

Mitchell and I are virtually the same age and seem to be on a nearly identical spot of the political spectrum of our respective countries. We s
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Lorraine
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it
A book for dipping into rather than reading from cover to cover like a novel; Dishonesty is the Second Best Policy is a collection of newspaper articles David Mitchell wrote over a number of years for the Guardian.
It covers an eclectic range of topics, so there's probably something in there for everyone. Some of the articles made me laugh, others made me annoyed, and quite a few made me think, which can't be a bad thing.

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Nick
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
As always for a collection of various works - some were a miss, but the ones that hit had me laughing uproariously in public spaces.
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
Well, what a timely read. The world really is upside down and completely bonkers at the moment. Britain, well I’ll try and leave Brexit chat in 2019, where I wish I could also leave Trump and his outlandish knee-jerk reactions. However, here we are in 2020 and rather than thinking, we can shake off the bad stuff and the evil do-ers who lurk behind cameras (Weinstein), in front of them (Spacey, Louis CK, Lauer), and warmongers (well, we all know those characters). I’m sat at home, on my laptop, w ...more
James Powell
3½⭐

Very funny at times. Really enjoyed the audiobook; I feel hearing it in Mitchell's own voice added to my enjoyment.
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BMK
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
What David Mitchell's does well, amusing whinging. ...more
Hannah
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this - felt it worked particularly well as an audiobook as David Mitchell himself reads it, which adds to the comedy value. Perfect for anyone that is a fan of his comedy and work, and despite containing articles from as early as 2014 it is still humorously relevant.
Kinga
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
A collection of David Mitchell’s columns from The Observer, which summarise in a often funny and always perceptive way the rage and Weltschmerz I’ve felt over the last 4 years. Brilliant, amusing and, in many places, depressing.
Alex James
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How I acquired this book?
I chuckled at David Mitchell’s jokes when he was on a chat show on TV, and I received the book as a Christmas gift, perplexed at first that I’d been bought a book written by a comedian. Miserable hermit that I am, I don’t think I’d ever read such, but I was looking forward to giving it a try.

What is this book?
I supposed I expected a humorous take on the book, but I didn’t actually know what its contents would cover. Dishonesty is the Second Best Policy (DSBP) is not a m
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Abhishek
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is essentially a collection of the columns that David Mitchell wrote over the last few years. I've been following his columns in Guardian currently, so it was nice to have a selection in a book rather that me trying to search for stuff from back catalogue.

If you know him from British TV, you kind of know what to expect from him. With his typical low key brilliance he calls out BS left, right and centre while somehow being laugh out loud funny at times. At the very least, I found myself
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Abi McManigan
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is actor and writer David Mitchell's second compilation of columns he wrote for The Observer newspaper and I don't know if it's because these columns are more recent but I found this book even better than the first.

The columns are organised into categories and I loved hearing David's view on each and every one. He is so articulate and he presents a well thought out, well constructed side to his arguments that's very difficult to argue with. He just always seems so rational that you will alw
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Serena
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
As an American who loves David Mitchell (he of WILTY, Peep Show, etc) I will read anything he writes and watch any program he is on. The difficulty in being an American fan living in America is that for some ridiculous reason he is not well known here, so getting my hands on his work takes a subscription to Britbox, Amazon, and hitting up friends traveling to the UK. Another difficulty, and this is particularly a problem of his last two books, is that they are very focused on British current eve ...more
Lisa Bentley
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A fantastic collection of David Mitchell’s articles. I think David Mitchell is hilarious. I wish I could just converse with him about random things and then marvel at his passionate diatribes that I know would follow. I know I would spend my time in his company holding my sides from laughing so much.

In his book Dishonesty is the Second Best Policy we look at more current events that are provoking a response from David Mitchell such as Brexit. His witty take on the world does take you on a journe
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Jack Mckeever
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first book of David Mitchell's I've read, and one that largely qualifies his continued 'national treasure' status. For the most part, it's every bit as funny, pedantic and sardonically thoughtful as you'd hope. Akin to other comics like Frankie Boyle, Mitchell writes about politics with a level of insight and nuance that goes way beyond the depth of many of our current MPs.

In his own classically self-deprecating way, Mitchell writes in his introduction that the reader should 'dip in and out
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Jaclyn
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much exactly as I thought it would be. I laughed really hard in some places and in others the writing seemed quite laboured, which isn’t surprising when you think of the chore of cranking out a column once a week for a newspaper, things are bound to get a bit thin. I really enjoy when he doesn’t lean into the ranty character that hates everything and goes with the ranty character who quite likes the thing everyone else is rantaly hating on. Adds a bit of colour.

Over all I’m extremely hap
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Jen Harper
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
My wifi's been patchy lately, and as I've waited for an excel report to load or a House episode to buffer, it's been quite enjoyable to dip into one or two of David Mitchell's articles. I'm vaguely familiar with Mitchell as an on-screen presence, but hadn't yet read any of his writing - my verdict is positive. His humour is light, appropriate and charmingly self-deprecating, and I appreciate how he manages to break down serious topics into understandable ideas, often by use of funny metaphors. H ...more
Colin
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reliable chuckles delivered in a deadline, slightly despairy tone. It's a selection of newspaper columns so each one - or at least each one that touches on politics - is another milestone on our road to decline over the last few years. It stops short of the covid era though, so even the worst bits feel like rosy nostalgia now. ...more
Olivia O'Leary
Jul 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
Ho hum. David Mitchell is a very funny, smart man, but a book of his collection of columns just seems a lazy way to make a buck. And it just didn’t hang together for me in any way that I felt compelled to keep reading. I snorted with laughter a few times, hence the two stars, but this ultimately has ended up being the first book in many many years that I won’t be finishing.
Simon
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very enjoyable collection of David Mitchell's newspaper columns from the last few years. To sum up: the essays are the thoughts of a reasonable man leaving in unreasonable times.

Well worth a read.
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Tom Boniface-Webb
Excellent!

Brexit talk! Finally. The only thing wrong with this collection of columns from David Mitchell was that I had now exhausted all of writings of David Mitchell... I guess in a couple of years they’ll be one about COVID-19, bring it on.
Olya
Dec 22, 2019 marked it as abandoned
I zoned out after the second essay. Or was it the third. Might have been the first one actually...
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

David Mitchell is a British actor, comedian and writer. He is one half of the comedic duo Mitchell and Webb, alongside Robert Webb, whom he met at Cambridge University. There they were both part of the Cambridge Footlights, of which Mitchell became President. Together the duo starred in the Channel 4 sitcom Pee
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