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The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself with Style and Grace

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For those intimidated by the complexity of personal interaction, or those simply looking to polish their speaking skills, The Art of Civilized Conversation is a powerful guide to communicating in an endearing way. In our fast-paced, electronic society, the most basic social interaction--talking face-to-face--can be a challenge for even the most educated and self-assured ind For those intimidated by the complexity of personal interaction, or those simply looking to polish their speaking skills, The Art of Civilized Conversation is a powerful guide to communicating in an endearing way. In our fast-paced, electronic society, the most basic social interaction--talking face-to-face--can be a challenge for even the most educated and self-assured individuals. And yet making conversation is a highly practical skill: those who do it well shine at networking parties, interviews, and business lunches. Good conversation also opens doors to a happier love life, warmer friendships, and more rewarding time with family. In The Art of Civilized Conversation, author Margaret Shepherd offers opening lines, graceful apologies, thoughtful questions, and, ultimately, the confidence to take conversations beyond hello. From the basics--first impressions, appropriate subject matter, and graceful exits--to finding the right words for difficult situations and an insightful discussion of body language, Shepherd uses her skilled eye and humorous anecdotes to teach readers how to turn a plain conversation into an engaging encounter. Filled with common sense and fresh insight, The Art of Civilized Conversation is the perfect inspiration not only for what to say but for how to say it with style.


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For those intimidated by the complexity of personal interaction, or those simply looking to polish their speaking skills, The Art of Civilized Conversation is a powerful guide to communicating in an endearing way. In our fast-paced, electronic society, the most basic social interaction--talking face-to-face--can be a challenge for even the most educated and self-assured ind For those intimidated by the complexity of personal interaction, or those simply looking to polish their speaking skills, The Art of Civilized Conversation is a powerful guide to communicating in an endearing way. In our fast-paced, electronic society, the most basic social interaction--talking face-to-face--can be a challenge for even the most educated and self-assured individuals. And yet making conversation is a highly practical skill: those who do it well shine at networking parties, interviews, and business lunches. Good conversation also opens doors to a happier love life, warmer friendships, and more rewarding time with family. In The Art of Civilized Conversation, author Margaret Shepherd offers opening lines, graceful apologies, thoughtful questions, and, ultimately, the confidence to take conversations beyond hello. From the basics--first impressions, appropriate subject matter, and graceful exits--to finding the right words for difficult situations and an insightful discussion of body language, Shepherd uses her skilled eye and humorous anecdotes to teach readers how to turn a plain conversation into an engaging encounter. Filled with common sense and fresh insight, The Art of Civilized Conversation is the perfect inspiration not only for what to say but for how to say it with style.

30 review for The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself with Style and Grace

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    With chapters such as "Rescue Conversations from Blunders", this book is about as practical as it can get. Best tip, from a section titled "How To Respond When Someone Insults You On Purpose": "You seem unhappy enough to risk really offending me." With chapters such as "Rescue Conversations from Blunders", this book is about as practical as it can get. Best tip, from a section titled "How To Respond When Someone Insults You On Purpose": "You seem unhappy enough to risk really offending me."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Holly gave me this book. We don't come from families who are talented in this area! I learned some things I do well already and others I can work on. So many conversations came to mind while reading this, mainly others who were attentive to me or where I made a solid connection. So often, our entertainment culture works against the idea that we should converse civilly. When the banter gets too sassy in my house, my scold is usually something like, "Hey, we don't talk to one another like TV and mov Holly gave me this book. We don't come from families who are talented in this area! I learned some things I do well already and others I can work on. So many conversations came to mind while reading this, mainly others who were attentive to me or where I made a solid connection. So often, our entertainment culture works against the idea that we should converse civilly. When the banter gets too sassy in my house, my scold is usually something like, "Hey, we don't talk to one another like TV and movies; families can have fun, but we have to remember we love each other." Lots of very practical helps here. Now I'll use it as a reference. I especially appreciated help on talking with those who are ill or bereaved and with people of different ages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    L.r.

    I read this book three years ago. I found it while cleaning house last month. I read it again quickly. This book is very good at providing basics in polite conversation. I do not agree with everything it advises, but the generalities are solid. I wish the author had a firm editor who did not allow grammar and sentence structure mistakes. That always distracts me from the subject. But I recommed this book to people who feel awkward in public, and when in diificult situations such as at funerals. I read this book three years ago. I found it while cleaning house last month. I read it again quickly. This book is very good at providing basics in polite conversation. I do not agree with everything it advises, but the generalities are solid. I wish the author had a firm editor who did not allow grammar and sentence structure mistakes. That always distracts me from the subject. But I recommed this book to people who feel awkward in public, and when in diificult situations such as at funerals. This book will get you through almost any social situation. I was hoping to become less awkward myself, but I guess that would take a miracle, not a book! :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Ballou

    At only 15, there isn't a lot of civilized conversation around you. This was definitely an eye opener and allowed me to learn lots from it. I have bought a copy of my own and look forward to using it as a reference throughout my future adulting days. I do think that this book is kind of a common sense book. I found it useful in a lot of ways, but I do wish it had more of the psychology and reason behind the ways of conversation other than the usual "manners and ice breakers" book. Overall, I enjoy At only 15, there isn't a lot of civilized conversation around you. This was definitely an eye opener and allowed me to learn lots from it. I have bought a copy of my own and look forward to using it as a reference throughout my future adulting days. I do think that this book is kind of a common sense book. I found it useful in a lot of ways, but I do wish it had more of the psychology and reason behind the ways of conversation other than the usual "manners and ice breakers" book. Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone looking to brush up and dust off their words. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    Good, clear, and correct. Makes you think about things in more detail and consider the comfort of others, which, if you're as typically selfish as I am, is fantastic. It's more of a reference book than a good read, though. It put me to sleep a few times. Good, clear, and correct. Makes you think about things in more detail and consider the comfort of others, which, if you're as typically selfish as I am, is fantastic. It's more of a reference book than a good read, though. It put me to sleep a few times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    I read this book a little over a year ago, and at the time I read it, I really looked forward to putting some of these skills to use in the real world. As someone who isn't necessarily a natural at the art of conversation, I found this book to be full of helpful tools to facilitate basic social interactions and then some. I've found myself attending many holiday parties this month, and I have made a conscious note to remember some of the conversation basics presented in this book before I went o I read this book a little over a year ago, and at the time I read it, I really looked forward to putting some of these skills to use in the real world. As someone who isn't necessarily a natural at the art of conversation, I found this book to be full of helpful tools to facilitate basic social interactions and then some. I've found myself attending many holiday parties this month, and I have made a conscious note to remember some of the conversation basics presented in this book before I went out to the social gatherings. So, I thought I'd mention it here - that even well over a year after having read this book, I've been able to apply its insights in my everyday life. This is a great handbook for those of us who are naturally socially awkward. We don't have to be! This book shows you how to feel confident and not like you want to shrink into a corner. HA!

  7. 4 out of 5

    charlie

    My 9-year old daughter bought me this as a gift because she knew I read a lot of non-fiction. My guess is that she was inspired by my absolute love of the Munro Leaf picture books Manners Can Be Fun and How To Talk Politely which I highly recommend for all ages! On the other hand, this obvious common-sense manual of humorless idiocy will not receive the same reverence. Although, since it was one of the sweetest gifts ever from my daughter, it gets 5 stars in my heart. I love you, Kika! I'm glad you My 9-year old daughter bought me this as a gift because she knew I read a lot of non-fiction. My guess is that she was inspired by my absolute love of the Munro Leaf picture books Manners Can Be Fun and How To Talk Politely which I highly recommend for all ages! On the other hand, this obvious common-sense manual of humorless idiocy will not receive the same reverence. Although, since it was one of the sweetest gifts ever from my daughter, it gets 5 stars in my heart. I love you, Kika! I'm glad you don't have a GoodReads account!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Charity

    This book gives good examples of ideal and less than ideal conversation habits. The author illustrates how enriching communication can be and how important it is to treat everyone with respect. Although I am sure my conversation skills will not change overnight, I now have a good foundation to start from.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Penrose

    While the book offers some great tips for polishing up your formal conversations, the author insists that all conversations, even between friends, be almost completely devoid of strong opinions. "The temperate zone," the author calls it. It all sounds too sterile and lackluster for my taste. Useful only if you are forced to hobnob with acquaintances frequently. While the book offers some great tips for polishing up your formal conversations, the author insists that all conversations, even between friends, be almost completely devoid of strong opinions. "The temperate zone," the author calls it. It all sounds too sterile and lackluster for my taste. Useful only if you are forced to hobnob with acquaintances frequently.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Clear, helpful advice for the conversationally awkward. Bonus: she even quotes Eldridge Cleaver.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yinzadi

    I spent about the first half of this book being annoyed with the author. She says to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," but in the next paragraph she turns around and says to only tell the truth that you and the person with whom you're talking have agreed to tell, and recommends lying or dissembling if the truth isn't "kind." She recommends people invent excuses for why they aren't "able" to do things rather than being honest and saying they don't want to do them, and I spent about the first half of this book being annoyed with the author. She says to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," but in the next paragraph she turns around and says to only tell the truth that you and the person with whom you're talking have agreed to tell, and recommends lying or dissembling if the truth isn't "kind." She recommends people invent excuses for why they aren't "able" to do things rather than being honest and saying they don't want to do them, and in general her attitude is one of self-abnegation: prioritizing what the other person thinks, feels, and wants to do and talk about over yourself. I don't think this is any healthier of an attitude than ignoring the other person's wishes in favor of your own; all interactions, including conversation, need to be mutually consensual in order to be consensual at all. However, I started to appreciate the author's perspective in the latter part of the book, when she talked about how to talk to people who are sick, in the hospital (even those are not able to speak in return), and bereaved (including those who have suffered a miscarriage); to babies, children, adolescents, and the elderly; and to people are blind, Deaf, and physically or mentally disabled. I was impressed and sometimes moved by her humane sensitivity to other people. This second half of the book shone with benevolence, and I appreciated more her prioritization of the feelings and needs of others. I still don't agree with the author's level of repressing your own wishes for the sake of being "polite" - people shouldn't feel they have to lie, be friendly with people whom they don't like, or allow themselves to be touched if they don't want to be, for instance - but I appreciate that the author's purpose in conversation is not to get her own point across or to get what she wants, but truly to understand others. Her communication style is oriented around how best to make people feel comfortable, listened to, and appreciated, so that they feel safe and able to communicate, themselves, and at the most basic level, so that they can know and feel that you care about them. While I'm all in favor of communication that helps people assess information and get closer to the truth, and communication that helps you effectively express your own feelings and needs, I think communication whose purpose is purely to respect and build a sympathetic rapport with another person is a noble goal in conversation. Many times while reading the latter half of this book I was reminded of E.M. Forster's "only connect," and then that turned out to be the quotation on which the author closed the book. I believe that is truly the spirit in which this book is written.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Self-Help for Convo: THE ART OF CIVILIZED CONVERSATION http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... One of my resolutions this year was to be better at conversation: Listen more, swear less, ask questions, etc. When I saw this book from Tantor I knew I had to listen to it. Shepherd is an expert calligrapher, and according to the Tantor website, “Each year she speaks at MIT’s “charm school” about the importance of gracious communication.” (https://tantor.com/author/margaret-sh...). While I don’t know i Self-Help for Convo: THE ART OF CIVILIZED CONVERSATION http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... One of my resolutions this year was to be better at conversation: Listen more, swear less, ask questions, etc. When I saw this book from Tantor I knew I had to listen to it. Shepherd is an expert calligrapher, and according to the Tantor website, “Each year she speaks at MIT’s “charm school” about the importance of gracious communication.” (https://tantor.com/author/margaret-sh...). While I don’t know if that qualifies her as an “expert” she certainly seems to have a good grasp of the topic. This is the first book I have listened to with narration by Donna Postel and she did an outstanding job with a pleasant, expressive voice, well-modulated delivery and no trace of the pedantic. I really liked the quality of her narration. The thing about a self-development book is that it assumes two things: that you want to change something and you are willing to pay attention to your behavior in regards to it. But, conversation is so constant, necessary and ubiquitous that habits can be particularly hard to change. Shepherd’s book is exhaustive in it’s scope of human conversation: I think almost every possible context of communication is covered. Perhaps it leaves out only family communication. I liked the section on how to have conversations with people with disabilities and the section on how to speak with people of different ages. It is exhaustive, and there’s a lot of information and instruction. I felt there were a few too many personality squelching no-nos; I would fear being a bit of a robot if I took her instruction to much to heart. And, while the information is valuable and the narration excellent, it is hard to take in large doses. In large doses it was a sleep-aid. And, the narration provided the intonation that lightens the mood and prevents the subject from being too dry. It is hard to go back and forth in an audiobook which I think is an issue, in general, with non-fiction in this format. Did it help me? Well the proof will be in the pudding: I tried to employ some of the techniques in my bookclub meeting the other day. If you are just starting out after school, need a graduation present for a teen or college grad or know someone trying to improve their sales technique, moving to a new area or otherwise entering a new arena then this is worth the listen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I selected this book, The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself With Style and Grace by Margaret Shepherd based on a recommendation by one my bibliotherapy blogs. I have a hunch that the title appeared on a "Listscription" as I read quite a lot on the subject of workplace, social intelligence and mentoring. So far I'm 30% into the book and find it worth the while. Although much of the author's advice is obvious, I have bookmarked paragraphs concerning how to disagree in a I selected this book, The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself With Style and Grace by Margaret Shepherd based on a recommendation by one my bibliotherapy blogs. I have a hunch that the title appeared on a "Listscription" as I read quite a lot on the subject of workplace, social intelligence and mentoring. So far I'm 30% into the book and find it worth the while. Although much of the author's advice is obvious, I have bookmarked paragraphs concerning how to disagree in a civil manner, handle gossip and address intentional confrontation. Looking forward over the table of contents, Ch. 4 "Make conversations count" and Ch. 5 "Change situations into conversations" may prove to be the highlights of this handbook. Other practical-sounding chapters deal with communication between generations, between men and women, between people with challenges (non-native speakers, hearing difficulties), and lastly, technology (phone, internet, paper/email). Published: 2006 (pre-smartphone 'epidemic'). Would like to see the updated, 2014, edition. Audience: Recommended for general population ages 12+. Especially pertinent for career advice, coaching, social networking and even dating.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Adam Dobson

    This was not what I was looking for. I don't know what kind of conversations Ms Shepherd has, or where, or with whom, but she lives in a galaxy far, far away from mine. This ain't no quick, pithy self-help book, and it is aimed more at genteel conversations at cocktail parties and high teas. It is loaded with common sense, and it is affirming in that way, but I do not know anyone who engages in conversations in the way Ms Shepherd describes them. I needed something more along the Rules of Engage This was not what I was looking for. I don't know what kind of conversations Ms Shepherd has, or where, or with whom, but she lives in a galaxy far, far away from mine. This ain't no quick, pithy self-help book, and it is aimed more at genteel conversations at cocktail parties and high teas. It is loaded with common sense, and it is affirming in that way, but I do not know anyone who engages in conversations in the way Ms Shepherd describes them. I needed something more along the Rules of Engagement in a social setting, for drawing people into conversations and for avoiding being too serious. I suppose in its own way this book does these things, but it is a scenic route and there is too much lavender fragrance for my needs. It did do two good things though: first, it made me realise what I do not need; second, it made me think for ages about whether it is 'comparisons are odious' or 'comparisons are oderous'. I have always used the former, but it seems the latter is acceptable as well!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lorene

    I could just as easily have selected fantasy or science fiction as shelves for this book since the art of civilized conversation seems to be rapidly deteriorating before our very eyes. Concepts that may be old hat to those of us who have been on the planet longer than most may be brand new to younger generations. While many conversations today seem filled with words meant to shock or irritate those within earshot, there was a time when it was more important to be polite than impactful. It probab I could just as easily have selected fantasy or science fiction as shelves for this book since the art of civilized conversation seems to be rapidly deteriorating before our very eyes. Concepts that may be old hat to those of us who have been on the planet longer than most may be brand new to younger generations. While many conversations today seem filled with words meant to shock or irritate those within earshot, there was a time when it was more important to be polite than impactful. It probably wouldn't hurt anyone to glance through this book and pick up a civil idea or two, just for a change of pace. Maybe I'll leave it on my coffee table.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    There was definitely nothing groundbreaking in here, but there are some good tips for how to engage in polite conversation with various groups of people and in all kinds of situations. Much of the advice given is, for most of us, common sense. But as someone who is prone to the faults of interrupting and talking too much about myself, this was a good reminder and I enjoyed it as a quick little read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Everyone should read this book. It's not so much that I agree with everything the author suggests, but that the suggestions are so very worthy of contemplation! Civilized conversation is rapidly becoming a lost art, and it is good to have a framework of guidelines to work with as we learn and polish these skills. Everyone should read this book. It's not so much that I agree with everything the author suggests, but that the suggestions are so very worthy of contemplation! Civilized conversation is rapidly becoming a lost art, and it is good to have a framework of guidelines to work with as we learn and polish these skills.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I found myself cringing a few times thinking about how I have handled certain conversations poorly. Much of the book, which covers as many types of conversations as I can think of, is about thinking about the other person and how to make a discussion memorable and enjoyable for them, in addition to yourself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Jean

    I didn't find this book useful or ground-breaking. I rated it a two because while there are nice reminders on how to communicate civilly in different settings, there is also dubious advice like when to lie to spare feelings. Gentle honesty is better than white lies. I think the author was trying to get there but didn't deliver. I didn't find this book useful or ground-breaking. I rated it a two because while there are nice reminders on how to communicate civilly in different settings, there is also dubious advice like when to lie to spare feelings. Gentle honesty is better than white lies. I think the author was trying to get there but didn't deliver.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walsh

    A good review of well known but often forgotten tenants of civilized life. Beyond that, this book presents valuable tips for conversation as well as new approaches to situations you may yet to have mastered. Worth a read for anyone looking to avoid being a bore at any party.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Nothing I didn't already know, but an excellent review of the basics. Nothing I didn't already know, but an excellent review of the basics.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Louis

    Common sense. For those who don’t have much, a good book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marice Young

    Not really any new information here. Might be helpful to someone who has zero social skills.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jary Welker

    A nice read...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenn "JR"

    This is another great, short book packed full of information. Interestingly - last night I had two of my most chatty friends over. One of these friends has been described by a mutual friend as having an aversion to still air and this friend does talk incessantly. I talk a lot but not as much as she - and the other friend is a fount of information but also ceaselessly talks. At dinner, my friend said "Gee, he sure is nice but he sure talks a lot" - to which I responded "Hello, Pot? This is kettle This is another great, short book packed full of information. Interestingly - last night I had two of my most chatty friends over. One of these friends has been described by a mutual friend as having an aversion to still air and this friend does talk incessantly. I talk a lot but not as much as she - and the other friend is a fount of information but also ceaselessly talks. At dinner, my friend said "Gee, he sure is nice but he sure talks a lot" - to which I responded "Hello, Pot? This is kettle calling!" She was shocked to hear that I considered her to be extremely chatty - and when she countered with "well I don't talk more than you" - I challenged her to pay attention to whether I was ever able to get a word in edgewise and to ask other friends. She said, "Huh, I always thought of myself as a quiet person." What's interesting is that I can tell her something - and she'll repeatedly ask me the same question because she wasn't listening at all. Even when I point this out to her - it doesn't sink in that she's talking and NOT listening. For me - this book was very interesting because it identifies bad habits - such as talking too much and not listening, but other traits as well. The book also offers excellent advice on introductions, topics, addressing bad habits (like nosy, prying people or bores). It's another book that I wish I could give to many friends and family but fear that they would take it the wrong way.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ty

    I read most of this little book in a day. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. What I thought it was going to be was an interesting examination of how to have deeper, more fulfilling conversations. Tips and advice, anthropological and anecdotal which could enliven most conversations in most circumstances with most people. What it actually is is a manners guide thinly disguised as a book about conversation, and not a particularly good one at that. Much of it is common sense. Don't start a co I read most of this little book in a day. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. What I thought it was going to be was an interesting examination of how to have deeper, more fulfilling conversations. Tips and advice, anthropological and anecdotal which could enliven most conversations in most circumstances with most people. What it actually is is a manners guide thinly disguised as a book about conversation, and not a particularly good one at that. Much of it is common sense. Don't start a conversation with, "you've put on some weight," don't tell a mother that her newborn looks like E.T. I can't argue with that advice, but then again, if these are things you don't already understand about being a decent person, this book isn't going to help you. Anyone not raised by apes should already have enough couth to realize what this book is advocating. If not, they are probably not going to read the book anyway. Two stars for a few almost-interesting tricks about how to approach conversations in a different-than-usual way, but that's about it. I started skimming about 2/3 of the way through. In sum, the book is "What to say and what not to say" to start a conversation in any given situation, with no insight on how to keep a conversation going, or to make it more interesting. A disappointment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ariane

    The book was not bad. I don't think that it was uber helpful because most of what was said was common sense: don't take advantage of people; ask questions and listen to the answers; don't focus on appearances, etc. The author does offer some clever advice for coming up with conversation starters: "rub two cliches together ." A great example of this would be, "Cold enough for you? and Nice coat equals: That's a beautiful color you've got on; it warms me up just to look at it!" (25) The 6th and 8th The book was not bad. I don't think that it was uber helpful because most of what was said was common sense: don't take advantage of people; ask questions and listen to the answers; don't focus on appearances, etc. The author does offer some clever advice for coming up with conversation starters: "rub two cliches together ." A great example of this would be, "Cold enough for you? and Nice coat equals: That's a beautiful color you've got on; it warms me up just to look at it!" (25) The 6th and 8th chapters were particularly good-- "Conversations with Younger and Older People", and "Conversations with All Kinds of People", respectively. The latter spoke about conversing with people whose first language was not English, who used wheelchairs, and who suffered from speech impairments and/or behavioral disorders. It was a decent book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Blanca

    I'll admit I'm a sucker for etiquette books with nice covers. The power blue cover on fine stock paper made me associate this book to getting something from Tiffany's. I was giddy to open it up and see what was in store. That's considering I don't even like diamonds or care for Tiffany's. This little tome's pearls of wisdom imparted to the reader provides how to segue into a graceful conversation as well as depart the conversation with style and grace. It pretty much reminds you that to be an ar I'll admit I'm a sucker for etiquette books with nice covers. The power blue cover on fine stock paper made me associate this book to getting something from Tiffany's. I was giddy to open it up and see what was in store. That's considering I don't even like diamonds or care for Tiffany's. This little tome's pearls of wisdom imparted to the reader provides how to segue into a graceful conversation as well as depart the conversation with style and grace. It pretty much reminds you that to be an artful conversationalist, you have to navigate it out of those murky waters of, "ums, and so...what's up?" The crowning jewel of conversation savers for me is the advice on how to graciously exit a conversation that has gone on too long: "I told my daughter I'd be home by ten."

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Carver

    An informative and mostly helpful primer on how to initiate, read, and improve one's conversations. While the average reader could come up with much of Shepherd's advice through application of common sense and the Golden Rule, the book offers many specific tips that would be hard to find elsewhere - for instance, Shepherd's quip that judging in a conversation - even when both speakers agree - has "big risks and small gains." In a perfect world, this book would have included longer examples of co An informative and mostly helpful primer on how to initiate, read, and improve one's conversations. While the average reader could come up with much of Shepherd's advice through application of common sense and the Golden Rule, the book offers many specific tips that would be hard to find elsewhere - for instance, Shepherd's quip that judging in a conversation - even when both speakers agree - has "big risks and small gains." In a perfect world, this book would have included longer examples of conversations that show many principles working together, instead of bullet-pointing short responses in specific situations. Fortunately, the situations and responses that Shepherd does include cover so many areas so well that it's worth re-reading with a highlighter in hand.

  30. 4 out of 5

    A.

    This is not quite as good as Dale Carnegie or Miss Manners (although it's basically the offspring of their philosophies), but very useful, concise, and to the point. The BEST part is the last chapter on how to talk to children (a horribly underdeveloped skill in our world of worlds), the elderly, and people who have dementia or Alzheimer's, and even the comatose (literally, not figuratively). It also includes handy little sidebars on the various kinds of difficult conversational personalities, s This is not quite as good as Dale Carnegie or Miss Manners (although it's basically the offspring of their philosophies), but very useful, concise, and to the point. The BEST part is the last chapter on how to talk to children (a horribly underdeveloped skill in our world of worlds), the elderly, and people who have dementia or Alzheimer's, and even the comatose (literally, not figuratively). It also includes handy little sidebars on the various kinds of difficult conversational personalities, such as the bore, the gossip, the jerk, etc. It's a nicely written and practical little manual.

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