- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee (Oct. 7 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399169105
- ISBN-13: 978-0399169106
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.5 x 21.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 90.7 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #239,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Elements of Wit: Mastering the Art of Being Interesting Paperback – Oct 7 2014
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“Elements of Wit promises to teach the wit-deprived hordes how to become modern-day Oscar Wildes and Dorothy Parker…An entertaining book that…will inspire his customers to read as widely as possible and, with the help of a few martinis, crack a little wiser than before.”
—The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Ben Errett is the managing editor for features at the National Post, a Canadian national newspaper. He lives in Toronto.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is delightful and thoroughly engaging book that takes a detailed look at the greatest practitioners of wit including the Oscar Wilde, who Errett shows was not nearly as clever or spontaneous with his witticisms as one might think, to Oscar Levant, rapper Jay Z, and comedian Russell Brand, who all truly excel at this art. It become obvious throughout the book that most great wits were not good conversationalists, which requires one be a good listener. You will pick up a lot of good tips for becoming more interesting, which the author demonstrates has much more to do with being interested than being able to make quick biting or ironic remarks.
It is an enjoyable book for a lazy Sunday, but the author's own attempts at witticism is only mildly amusing. For example, he writes (about Oscar Wilde): 'To return to the famous measure of overconfidence, Oscar Wilde would surely be a better-than-average driver, even if the automobile wasn't invented until he was in his thirties.' Some may say in the author's defence, that that is perhaps what wit should be, mild and pleasant without being over-powering. Hence, I think, depending on the reader, some might give this an extra star or two.
In my view, it has nothing to do with the Art of Being. Witty people are a certain way, which is artful, but this is no how-to on reaching personal enlightenment. The most readers will come away with is possibly an understanding of how witty people get that way. Many of them were miserable in their personal lives.