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Talk to the Hand Audio CD – Audiobook, Oct 31 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (Oct. 31 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 056350434X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563504344
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 12.4 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,012,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This isn't a book about good manners, per se. Instead, the British author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves sets out "to mourn... the apparent collapse of civility in all areas of our dealing with strangers; then to locate a tiny flame of hope in the rubble." It's a plea to show some consideration to others, especially in certain areas: (1) "Was That So Hard to Say?" ("thank you"); (2) "Why am I the One Doing This?" (e.g., punching doggedly through the automated switchboard); (3) "My Bubble, My Rules" (forcing others to listen to a private conversation on a mobile phone); (4) "The Universal Eff-Off Reflex" (outrage when antisocial behavior is pointed out); (5) "Booing the Judges" (active disrespect for the umpire, the older person, anyone in authority); and (6) "Someone Else Will Clean It Up" (e.g., rubbish tossed out the car window). Truss expounds on these themes with fine ire, mordant humor and many examples, but it must be said that the result is not so much a book as a heavily padded magazine article. Not that this will bother the many book buyers who will tuck it lovingly into the Christmas stockings of their somewhat discomfited nearest and dearest.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"So lively, so witty, so exhilaratingly splenetic" Craig Brown, The Mail on Sunday "Highly perceptive, passionately argued and extremely funny...a brilliantly nailed truth about contemporary life" Sunday Telegraph "Trademark Truss...(very) readable, (very) funny, (very) engaging" Stephen Bayley, Observer" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are many books today that bemoan the end of manners and civility in an era on selfish me-first society driven by the mindless consumerism of TV and pop culture. Few of them have any humour, none of them (that I've read) have the wit Truss imparts.
Just as the Internet is killing grammar and punctuation, TV is killing social graces. We're being taught to be rude, ignorant and insufferable as well as demanding and impatient. Many people toay seem to use Beavis and Butthead as their role models and more will learn from that and similar shows. Given that the average North American watches 22-25 hours of TV a week, and the vast amount of popular programming is dreck, that's not surprising.
Truss doesn't offer us any quick-fix answers; hers is more a gentle screed on our cultural development. And, of course, how bloody awful we are in the way we interact. We all know that we've arrived in some social hell in the proverbial handbasket, but she says it so much better than most of us.
She does suggest that by following a few simple rules of engagement we might lower the annoyance level a bit - use of forgotten terms like please and thank you, a little more social deference instead of the enforced familiarity foisted on us by customer service manuals, and in a very Buddhist sense, taking responsibility for your own actions, rather than leaving your mess for others to clean up.
An important point is that Truss delineates between "posh" manners which are rules of etiquette for their own sake (social graces which are usually intertwined with class structure), and social manners which govern and mitigate the way we interact at the street level.
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By A Customer on April 12 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb and important book. Those hoping to find an amusing follow-up to Ms. Truss's previous work on punctuation will naturally be disappointed; as will those who cannot understand what she's talking about because they commit the very offences she describes and see nothing wrong with them.
This brief book is nothing less than a treatise on the decline of western civilisation, and as the bibliography demonstrates, it is amazingly well researched. It sets out the types of 'rudeness' that are really forms of attack in the guise of personal freedom, such as a lack of inhibition in public no matter how much others are distressed by it, a lack of civility in customer relations, and the failure any longer to recognize anyone else's right to respect if it conflicts with your own immediate, impulsive need. Good manners may be seen as an outdated inconvenience to some, but they are a mark of how harmoniously a society functions. As Ms. Truss points out, no one any longer wants to be corrected in any way since correction is taken as personal criticism. People no longer understand the concept of shame. If they want to do or say anything, that is all the authority they need to do or say that thing, no matter how rude or inappropriate it is. Pointing out how someone's inconsiderateness is disturbing you can lead to a punch in the face, or worse.
There have been other times in history when people have claimed that the end of civilization is nigh, but I think for sheer degeneracy our current era will be hard to beat. Pendulums have a habit of swinging back, usually farther than anyone likes. It won't surprise me a bit if eventually some draconian authority takes power in the West and ensures that we not only don't chew any more gum but that we conform in ways that will make today's Singapore look like a paradise of liberality. We will only have ourselves to blame.
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Format: Paperback
Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss is an easy and delightful read, similar to her previous book, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. The only problem I had was that many of the mannerisms were very "English" and even the way she speaks is very "English", not that this is all that bad. The English are known for a kind of humour that mocks their "proper behavious" in a rather raunchy way. Truss reverses this process. She gives hilarious examples of rude behavior that is very much in line with our new technological era, but is very serious about her disappointment in the human race for being unaware that there are other people in the room. I fully agreed with almost all of her issues, although I am hardly a man who is fixated on manners. I do, however, see that if we do not do something about improving our manners, we will simply lose sight of anyone else in the room but us, and that would indeed be a tragedy. This book very skillfully points out where we are heading and how we can stop the stupidity by just stopping the behavior. We need not be rude by nature; it is a matter of being aware of the simple fact: "We are not alone". And this is not just to refer to having a God hanging about.

My advice to all is not just to enjoy the humour but to look at your behavior. The next time that cell phone rings in the middle of a conversation with another, do you a) answer it, b) answer it with an apology, c) dont't answer it and let it ring d) don't answer and let it ring with an apology, e) shut it off or f) shut the damn thing off with an apology? What is even more important is to examine why you have it in your pocket in the first place. What does that say about you and your relationship with OTHERS around you? Are you able to cope with "delayed gratification"?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars 157 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk to the Hand and Look into the Mirror July 30 2006
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lynn Truss has written another witty book that will stick well beyond the initial read. "Talk to the Hand" is a good whack to the head. In "Talk," Truss defines and analyzes six areas in which our dealings with strangers seem to be getting more unpleasant and inhuman.

Truss highlights the loss of punctuation signaling the vast and under-acknowledged problem of illiteracy in "Eats, Shoots, & Leaves." In "Talk," she addresses the collapse of manners and the vast and under-acknowledged problem of social immorality.

In Chapter 3, "My bubble, my rules," Truss goes after the issue of personal space and a person's right to be left alone, unmolested, undisturbed, that is until the arrival of the cell phone! Now, we are forced to listen to another's intimate conversation in restaurants, grocery stores, and even in the john...The tension between public and private space is a growing flashpoint.

Have you ever asked someone to move outside with their cell phone? If not, proceed immediately to Chapter 4, "The Universal Eff-off Reflex," and learn about the lash-back reflex of shocking proportions which your are about to receive for pointing out bad manners.

According to Truss, you can equate good manners not only with virtue in today's environment but also with positive heroism. "Talk" is a good mirror for all of us to look into.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truss Comes Back Fighting the Extinction of Etiquette March 19 2008
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on
Format: Paperback
Embittered albeit bemused finger-wagging appears to be author Lynne Truss' specialty, and I have to say I find her newest little tome on the global lack of respect and good manners even more cutting than her bad grammar colonic, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Both books reflect her British sense of civility with lacerating wit and shrewd observation, but this one feels more like a rant than a how-to manual on how to improve upon such social breeches. However, she does a clear-eyed job in analyzing the origins of such barbaric behavior.

In her previous book, Truss saw the decline of punctuation as indicative of the increasing spread of illiteracy. Here she suggests that the collapse of manners is the tip of what she calls a "social immorality iceberg", i.e., a decreasing competency in building community and using manners as a sign of mutual respect. In fact, there will definitely many who view her definition of what used to be considered basic good manners as elitist. For example, she may be a member of a shrinking populace who bristle when there is the absence of a simple "Thank you," and "You're welcome" when a door is held open. I happen to be in her camp, so I am quite amenable to her observations. Inevitably, there will be the impolite thinkers who demand quantitative data to back up her arguments. However, because so little data is available on long-term trends, Truss doesn't bother with statistics, and instead devotes six short chapters to examples of how behavior that was unthinkable a generation ago has become normal.

The weakness of the book is that she offers no actionable solutions. Her examples are entertaining but beyond hoping that someone will recognize the problem, she doesn't anticipate that things will improve. In fact, it seems like a missed opportunity to lay out a plan for how people really ought to behave in social situations with tangible steps for her readers (or more appropriately, the rude friends of her readers) to follow. Her reason for this omission is that she doesn't want to be held up to such constant scrutiny which seems like an unnecessary concession. Yet, Truss's concern for the morality of our everyday interactions is thorough and affecting, and to her credit, she never tries to simplify the subject given its political and moral dimensions. She celebrates intolerance and does attempt to set out a manifesto toward the end of the book. Just like the basis of the rising Labor movement in her homeland, Truss believes that manners are connected to the common good, and I have to agree that acts of kindness ennoble the world in which we live.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cry of my own heart! Jan. 7 2008
By Elf_Friend - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While this book is not quite the treasure that was its predecessor "Eats, Shoots, & Leaves", it is none the less the same incredibly witty and sarcastic Lynne Truss, master of the full-length rant. In this treatise on the endangered nature of manners in a "modern" world, Truss cleverly cuts apart the public cell-phone screamers, the willfully ignorant youth, and a particularly shocking, get this, profane AND nursing four-year-old. It would be side-splitting if not so very true. Her idiom is excellent, her grammar, of course, impeccable, and her timing truly convicting. Enjoy!
57 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I bailed by page 86 Jan. 21 2006
By K. W. Schreiter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Familiar with the author's 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves', I saw this small book in our library's new release section. While there are a few thoughtful passages, the book mainly contains inconsistent rants about the decline of polite society. These include a puzzling, embarassing attack on the gluten and lactose intolerant and a passage comparing online banking to 'doing you own dental work' (sic) and 'DIY funerals: the modern way'. Truss laments our lack of 'please' and 'thank you' but then disavows 'the enforced perkiness of American service workers'. She acknowledges the empowering effect of the availability of choices to modern women, then complains that too many choices exist in today's society. My outrage at the $20.00 hardcover list price for 200 pages further contributed to the low rating, especially considering each page barely contains a half-dozen sentences.
66 of 87 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Truss is the rudest one of all Jan. 16 2006
By jjthecaliforniaboy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Utter Bloody Rudest thing of all in this book is Ms. Truss and her ignorant bigotry on gluten intolerance, i.e. celiac disease. Guess what, Ms. Truss? 3 million Americans, and a little over 1% of Britons are genetically gluten-intolerant (and probably similar percentages for the rest of the world), and this life-damaging disease KILLS an unknown number of people each year. So you don't like dealing with gluten intolerance? We don't either, but we don't have a choice. Get over yourself, and quit slinging gratuitous insults at people dealing with serious medical issues.