Rules for Modern Life
I love a good etiquette guide. Having spent much of my childhood reading and rereading our family copy of Debrett's (a wedding gift to my parents, which as a present was either thoughtful or incredibly shade-filled now I think of it) and thoroughly enjoying modern tomes such as The Fabulous Girl's Guide To Decorum, I have a soft spot for books filled with hints, tips, and ways to navigate the social minefields we encounter every day.
I was delighted, then, to receive a copy of Rules for Modern Life (Portfolio, £9.09) written by the icon that is Sir David Tang. I always look forward to his agony uncle writings when we take the Financial Times, and this book is a witty, funny compendium of Sir David's tips for ensuring smooth passage through the social waters (avoiding the many icebergs which await us all). This is an etiquette guide written with flair and wit, with its tongue firmly in its cheek. Sir David is charm itself and the book is filled with great ideas and helpful hints, but it never takes itself too seriously. I was very pleased with how quick and enjoyable this was to read.
I was also pleased by how many of the pieces of advice were inclusive and warm and (much like my own idea of manners), grounded in common sense and consideration for others. Some etiquette guides get very hung up on which fork to use or how to address an earl - here Sir David focuses on manners that will help you and make life more pleasant for those around you. As the author himself says, "as far as etiquette is concerned, I am always in favour of common sense, rather than pointless conventions."
This is a fun, witty, charming book, and would make an excellent gift. I know I'll be referring back to it in the new year - particularly the hugely helpful chapter on Technology.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book to review from the publisher. All opinions, thoughts and ponderings are my own.