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Nick Naylor likes his job. In the neo-puritanical nineties, it's a challenge to defend the rights of smokers and a privilege to promote their liberty. Sure, it hurts a little when you're compared to Nazi war criminals, but Nick says he's just doing what it takes to pay the mortgage and put his son through Washington's elite private school St. Euthanasius. He can handle the Nick Naylor likes his job. In the neo-puritanical nineties, it's a challenge to defend the rights of smokers and a privilege to promote their liberty. Sure, it hurts a little when you're compared to Nazi war criminals, but Nick says he's just doing what it takes to pay the mortgage and put his son through Washington's elite private school St. Euthanasius. He can handle the pressure from the antismoking zealots, but he is less certain about his new boss, BR, who questions whether Nick is worth $150,000 a year to fight a losing war. Under pressure to produce results, Nick goes on a PR offensive. But his heightened notoriety makes him a target for someone who wants to prove just how hazardous smoking can be. If Nick isn't careful, he's going to be stubbed out.


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Nick Naylor likes his job. In the neo-puritanical nineties, it's a challenge to defend the rights of smokers and a privilege to promote their liberty. Sure, it hurts a little when you're compared to Nazi war criminals, but Nick says he's just doing what it takes to pay the mortgage and put his son through Washington's elite private school St. Euthanasius. He can handle the Nick Naylor likes his job. In the neo-puritanical nineties, it's a challenge to defend the rights of smokers and a privilege to promote their liberty. Sure, it hurts a little when you're compared to Nazi war criminals, but Nick says he's just doing what it takes to pay the mortgage and put his son through Washington's elite private school St. Euthanasius. He can handle the pressure from the antismoking zealots, but he is less certain about his new boss, BR, who questions whether Nick is worth $150,000 a year to fight a losing war. Under pressure to produce results, Nick goes on a PR offensive. But his heightened notoriety makes him a target for someone who wants to prove just how hazardous smoking can be. If Nick isn't careful, he's going to be stubbed out.

30 review for Thank You for Smoking

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Christopher Buckley, you witty guy, you don’t miss a trick! For starters, the name of your main character, Nick Naylor, tobacco advocate – that’s Nick as in nicotine and Naylor as in coffin nails, an apt and colorful term for cigarettes back in the heyday of smoking and lung cancer. Thank You For Smoking is scathing social and political satire. Thank You For Smoking is belly laugh funny. Thank You For Smoking published in 1994, right around the time medical evidence demonstrated flight attendant Christopher Buckley, you witty guy, you don’t miss a trick! For starters, the name of your main character, Nick Naylor, tobacco advocate – that’s Nick as in nicotine and Naylor as in coffin nails, an apt and colorful term for cigarettes back in the heyday of smoking and lung cancer. Thank You For Smoking is scathing social and political satire. Thank You For Smoking is belly laugh funny. Thank You For Smoking published in 1994, right around the time medical evidence demonstrated flight attendants working for the airlines were dropping like flies after breathing in all that second hand smoke on airplanes. Today smokers in the US are relegated to designated smoking areas so they no longer jeopardize the health of non-smokers. But there were those many years when tobacco and smokers and smoking ruled the workplace and everywhere else in this county. And if someone dared claim cigarettes cause cancer, that person was labeled an anti-American crank and destroyer of freedom. The time frame of the novel is perfect. Right at the crossroads of the tobacco industry/smoking lobby having their way and all the legal restrictions enacted, things like no cigarette advertising on TV and radio, warning labels and designated smoking areas in restaurants and other public spaces. But, in the spirit of asserting personal freedom, the rights of individuals and the American way of life as outlined by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Nick and his bunch are fighting to turn back the tide. More than the string of events composing the story, the real humor comes through in Christopher Buckley’s timing and language. However, I’ll resist the temptation to simply lift quotes from the book (you will have to read for yourself). Rather, here are a number of snapshots featuring our super sharp Nick dealing with all he has to deal with in his capacity as chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies in Washington, D.C.: THE MOD SQUAD Nick has lunch once a week with Polly and Bobby Jay, his counterparts, respectively, for liquor and guns. They call themselves the Mod Squad after the 60s TV show, however, for them, MOD stands for “Merchants of Death.” All three take great pride in the challenges presented by their jobs. Sure, cigarettes and liquor and guns kill many thousands of people every day in the United States, but, hey, we’re living in the capitalist home of the free where the God given right to make a profit must be protected, even honored, no matter how high the death toll. Christopher Buckley’s sharp, satirical needle digs deep here, recognizing the tragic consequences of the collective stance of these three young professionals. To add an extra helping of sizzle, Polly is a blonde bombshell for booze and Bobby Jay was inspired to join the National Guard after the Kent State shootings so he could shoot some college students for himself, but, alas, the army took him off to shoot some Vietnamese instead, but there was a problem – they shoot back. THE BOSS Nick’s boss is a guy going by the initials BR, as man as ruthless, callous, hard-nosed and sadistic as humanly possible. Through the magic of Christopher Buckley’s storytelling, with the inclusion of BR, we can completely empathize with Nick, even, in many respects, take his side. Some may say that BR is a mere caricature, but such critics are entirely mistaken – BR is a completely developed character down to his thick-skinned toes. Anybody who has spent years working in the American business world knows from first-hand experience many, many bosses are cookie-cutter replicas of BR. And BR's redeeming personality traits are . . . er, ah . . . nonexistent. THE TV TALK SHOWS Nick does his slick, smooth-talking in debates with the opposition on Oprah and Larry King. Listening to Nick making his points by way of logical fallacies (topping the list are: Ad Hominem, Non-Testable Hypothesis, Begging the Question, Straw Man) is something to behold. Meanwhile, since the anti-smoking people on the air with Nick are unacquainted with logic, they are reduced to flying into fits of rage. One of the more hilarious parts of the story. THE BABES Heather the lovely journalist and Jeannette the luscious, success driven femme fatale within the Academy of Tobacco Studies try to get their way with Nick. And their chief weapon? Of course – sex and more sex. Lucky guy! But wait, is he falling into a deadly trap? THE KIDNAPPING AND ITS AFTERMATH What really infuses serious drama into Christopher Buckley's tale is Nick being kidnapped and tortured (dozens of nicotine patches slapped on his body all at once). The way Nick and the Mod Squad ultimately swing into action to deal with this terrible injustice is a stroke of genius. I urge you to read all about it. This is my first Christopher Buckley novel and it will not be my last. I was initially attracted to Mr. Buckley's writing through his insightful, humorous book reviews. As something of a bonus, here are a number of quotes from two of my all time favorite Christopher Buckley book reviews: From his review of The End of the Age, a novel written by Pat Robertson, champion of conservative Christian ideology: “It's hard to define The End of the Age exactly. It's sort of a cross between Seven Days in May and The Omen, as written by someone with the prose style of a Hallmark Cards copywriter. “The bad guys tend to sound like the villains in a Charlie Chan movie. In fact, they sound as if they were being simultaneously translated from some sinister Indo-Iranian tongue. "The End of the Age is to Dante what Sterno is to The Inferno. When you have a hard time keeping a straight face while reading a novel about the death of a billion human beings, something is probably amiss." From his review of Tom Clancy’s novel, Debt of Honor: “This book is as subtle as a World War II anti-Japanese poster showing a mustachioed Tojo bayoneting Caucasian babies. . . . His Japanese aren't one-dimensional, they're half-dimensional. They spend most of their time grunting in bathhouses. “And there is this hilarious description of Ryan's saintly wife saving someone's sight with laser surgery: "She lined up the crosshairs as carefully as a man taking down a Rocky Mountain sheep from half a mile, and thumbed the control." You've got to admire a man who can find the sheep-hunting metaphor in retinal surgery. "Tom Clancy is the James Fenimore Cooper of his day, which is to say, the most successful bad writer of his generation. This is no mean feat, for there are many, many more rich bad writers today than there were in Cooper's time.” American author Christopher Buckley, born 1952 "Fiction, for me, is sort of a protracted way of saying all the things I wished I said the night before." - Christopher Buckley

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    WARNING: SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY ANYTHING TO SELL CIGARETTES. And one of those people is Nick Naylor, chief "smokesman" for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. Though in dark moments he might refer to himself as a washed-out, forty-year-old snake-oil vendor who on the Karma food chain is somewhere between a sea slug and eel shit, ole Nick enjoys his job "lying for a living," and making sure the public keeps on smoking. He's good at it. And it may just cost him his life. Though this was not Buckley's firs WARNING: SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY ANYTHING TO SELL CIGARETTES. And one of those people is Nick Naylor, chief "smokesman" for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. Though in dark moments he might refer to himself as a washed-out, forty-year-old snake-oil vendor who on the Karma food chain is somewhere between a sea slug and eel shit, ole Nick enjoys his job "lying for a living," and making sure the public keeps on smoking. He's good at it. And it may just cost him his life. Though this was not Buckley's first book. I'm pretty sure it's the one that got him on the map and out from under his famous father's shadow. I can't really say how it compared with the 2005 film as I only saw it once. I remember only the pretty Aaron Eckhart and the annoying Katie Holmes. (You won't catch me jumping up and down on a couch over her!) There are already hundreds of reviews of this book, so if you're looking for an in-depth analysis of the plot, read one of them. My pal Joe has an excellent one here - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... BUT - I do want to tell you about one of my favorite parts before I shut up for today. During one of his many television appearances, Nick mentions that his agency has pledged a cool five million to convincing teens NOT to smoke. He hires an ad agency to create a NOT TOO CONVINCING campaign. Here, he speaks with the creative director: "What we did was to take the 'Some People Want You to Smoke. We Don't' concept, which avoided the whole health issue, and instead tapped into the adolescent's innate fear of being manipulated by adults. You didn't like it." "Right. Because it was effective." "It's gone. So now we're going to be blunt, we want to speak to them with the voice of despised authority, nag them, tell them to go to their rooms, turn them completely off," "I like it already," Nick said. "Okay." Sven said. "Here we go. He pulled the board into video camera range. All it had on it was type. It said, "Everything Your Parents Told You About Smoking Is Right." "Hmmm," Nick said. "You know what I love about it?" Sven said. "Its dullness." "It is dull," Nick admitted. "It's deadly. Kids are going to look at this and go, 'Puuke.'" "And yet," Sven said, "its brilliance, if I may say so, is in its deconstructability." "How's that?" "Say the last three words out loud." "Smoking Is Right." "I think," Nick said, "that I can sell that to my people." Oooo - Subliminal. Subversive. Sinister. I love it! As my dad always said, "That's how they get ya."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    Looking for a light read between my 2,400 page journey through post-apocalyptic America in Stephen King's The Stand and Robert McCammon's Swan Song, I picked up Christopher Buckley's 1994 political satire Thank You For Smoking, a title that appears on King's Reading List For Writers. The novel deals with the shameless exploits of a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, whose product was killing between 435,000 and 475,000 Americans per year (depending on whose expert was testifying), but the book i Looking for a light read between my 2,400 page journey through post-apocalyptic America in Stephen King's The Stand and Robert McCammon's Swan Song, I picked up Christopher Buckley's 1994 political satire Thank You For Smoking, a title that appears on King's Reading List For Writers. The novel deals with the shameless exploits of a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, whose product was killing between 435,000 and 475,000 Americans per year (depending on whose expert was testifying), but the book is written tongue-in-cheek and is as close to a beach read as I'm going to get. Nick Naylor is chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, a Washington think tank committed to promoting cigarettes. In America, these are the days of sadness for tobacco. The White House is calling for a four-dollar per pack excise tax on cigarettes. The Surgeon General wants to ban tobacco advertising altogether. The industry is being hit with thousands of liability lawsuits. But Nick Naylor is a bullshit artist of the highest magnitude and in a call to a reporter at USA Today, starts throwing shade at the opposition. "Where are the data?" "What do you mean, where are the data? It's The New England Journal of Medicine. It's all data, for Chrissake." "This was a double-blind study?" " ... Sure." Fatal hesitation. Attack! "And how big was the control group?" "Come on, Nick." "Was this a prospective study?" "You want to be in the story, or not?" "Of course." "You want me to go with 'Where's the data?" "'Where are the data.' Please. I don't mind you making me out to be a soulless, corporate lickspittle, but at least don't make me sound like an ignorant, soulless corporate lickspittle." Nick's unpleasant boss Budd Rohrabacher (BR) is not thrilled by the work Nick is doing, citing the "defeatist" attitude of a memo in which Nick proposed the Academy admit what everyone already knows, that there's a serious health problem with their product. Nick senses that what BR really wants is to replace him with BR's protégé, a "Yuppie dominatrix" named Jeanette. Nick is given until Monday to find a strategy that will turn the public relations tide, marching orders from the Academy's chairman, tobacco titan Doak Boykin, "The Captain". For help, Nick huddles with his friends. Polly Bailey is spokesperson for the National Association of Alcoholic Beverages, representing the beer, wine and distilled spirits industry, while Bobby Jay Bliss is spokesman for SAFETY, the Society for the Advancement of Firearms and Effective Training of Youth, representing the gun industry. Nick, Polly and Bobby Jay refer to themselves privately as The MOD Squad ("Merchants Of Death"). The Mod Squad has at times welcomed representatives from the veal industry, tuna industry and radioactive waste industry to exchange strategies, but Nick, Polly and Bobby Jay are the permanent members. Nick's brainstorm comes down to getting cigarettes back in the movies and in a positive light. BR is not impressed and informs Nick it's time to rethink his job. Already booked to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nick travels to Chicago. Ambushed on national TV both by Oprah and a stage of neo-Puritan tobacco crusaders, Nick realizes he has nothing left to lose, and goes on the offensive, shutting down his opponents. His publicity gets the attention of The Captain, who summons Nick to Winston-Salem to put him in charge of the Hollywood project, which Nick's boss tried to take credit for. Nick's celebrity draws attention. A reporter for the conservative-leaning Washington Moon named Heather Holloway asks Nick to dinner. A Catholic with apparently weak knees for evil, she goes home with her subject and writes a mostly flattering story about him. But when Nick appears on Larry King Live, a caller less than amused by the spokesman threatens to kill him. The headline in the Washington Sun reads, CALLER TO KING SHOW THREATENS TO STUB OUT TOBACCO SMOKESMAN. At the time, Nick feels the threat to him has been blown out of proportion. But strange things are afoot at the Academy For Tobacco Studies. Thank You For Smoking is highly entertaining. Buckley, an editor for Forbes Magazine and son of William F. Buckley, would seem well positioned for observing how D.C. lobbyists use words as weapons, but as a storyteller, is also able to make each character sound unique. Buckley demonstrates a great ear for dialogue. After a while, we can tell which character is talking purely by the style of their speech. This reminded me of Elmore Leonard and like Leonard, Buckley's novel is a fast, funny and entertaining read. "Satire" is one of those words everyone seems to have their own definition of. The best satires, for me, are believable until the storyteller takes one step away from reality and into the absurd, which with the way the world is going, might not be so absurd in a year. Nick Naylor's antics made me question whether a spokesman so blatantly misleading, so anti-reality could hold onto his job and in 1994, Naylor might've seemed silly. Two years later, Fox News aired its first broadcast. In retrospect, Buckley's book seems damn near prophetic. Today, Naylor would have no problem getting booked on Hannity & Colmes The novel has a weird thing going on where Buckley mixes real celebrities with fake ones. Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and Ted Koppel all share scenes with Naylor, while the politicians (including presidents) are fictitious, as are all the newspapers. Buckley also fabricates movie stars, who Nick discusses on his trip to Hollywood. I'm not sure what the legal reasons were for this -- Buckley hardly slanders any celebrities or dishes dirt. I didn't understand why Oprah could be a character, but Bruce Willis or Julia Roberts couldn't even be mentioned. It took me out of the story. I recommend Thank You For Smoking for anyone who'd like a lightning quick read with laughs and more nutritional content than a Happy Meal. A film version released in 2005 starred Aaron Eckhart as Nick Naylor. It was adapted for screen and directed by Jason Reitman in his feature film debut and deviated from the source material by exploring Nick's relationship with his son, who in the movie, joins his father on his West Coast trip for what Nick hopes will be bonding time but instead, gives him an opportunity to demonstrate the art of the sale to his boy. Reitman went on to adapt the Walter Kim novel Up In the Air with stellar results and the Joyce Maynard novel Labor Day with disastrous results.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Brilliant satire of the Tobacco industry. Nick Naylor comes off as an actual person throughout. Well written, incredible characters and funny as hell. Recommended to all who like a little bite to their humor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mohnish

    4.5* This is political satire at its best. This book reminded me so much of George Carlin & Bill Hicks. Following is a profane thingy I wrote. Read at your own risk. Judge me all you want. I'm gross & wicked, so that's how it comes out. A ciggies rant: I envy that fucking Cuban Cigar. He's grubby, stout, unattractive, but that fucker gets to last. He gets circumcised before he's even lit into this world, before an affluent ruffian of a human takes the first drag. Ha, his life ain't perfect, but at 4.5* This is political satire at its best. This book reminded me so much of George Carlin & Bill Hicks. Following is a profane thingy I wrote. Read at your own risk. Judge me all you want. I'm gross & wicked, so that's how it comes out. A ciggies rant: I envy that fucking Cuban Cigar. He's grubby, stout, unattractive, but that fucker gets to last. He gets circumcised before he's even lit into this world, before an affluent ruffian of a human takes the first drag. Ha, his life ain't perfect, but at least he still gets to last. I've a life span of 3-7 minutes, and that too luckily, if I am not incessantly dragged by a moron human, while he gets to last until eternity. Fuck life, its unfairty, & its brevity. The one shot I have, to get out of this ephemeral imbroglio, is to get into one of those movies, I know that's only for the good-looking ciggs but at least, the burnt me can feature in one of those ashtrays. In the last few micro-seconds of my existence, I shall become immortal. I am still thankful though...to our old bearded-deep-voiced cigg god, to not have come across the wicked gassed people. Wicked is a euphemism here, they are the devils of our own pseudo Ciggy-Iggy pop hell. Thinking bout them, fear gushes through my slender refined stick-ye figure, these neo butt-chug-erring bohemians, cig world Nazis, who prefer asshole cancer over the lung one, make me tobacco boiling sick. I believe in unprejudiced living too, but also more importantly unfilthy living. And there had been a time in my life, when I was obdurate, when I was devoted, to the cause of getting my fellow cigarettes out of their bigotry. I thought humor was the key, not discourses & alterations. When cigarettes laugh, that's when their guards are down, inhibitions & priggishness forgotten, a new idea implanted in their minds, as they laughed on themselves. I've turned cynic now, I've not the time to make substantial changes to the way cigarettes think. It was vanity that had prompted me to get other ciggs to change as it suited me. I've realized my mistake, I should just have a good time, in these few minutes I get to exist. Get my butt kissed by a voluptuous-crimson lipped beauty, her slight warm tongue would touch my filter tip, soothe me, making all my suffering worthwhile. As for humans: I may seem pernicious to some, ostentatious to others. But I have no stakes in your games humans, I just don't give a fuck. No thank you, for smoking me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    When it comes to naming our best contemporary satirists, the default response usually (and accurately) settles on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The Onion, too, and certainly anything Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It; In the Loop; Veep) creates. But I never hear Christopher Buckley's name mentioned, which is a shame. He's made a career out of skewering various American power structures – the stock market, the justice system, the State Department, etc. – and I'm glad that I finally got around When it comes to naming our best contemporary satirists, the default response usually (and accurately) settles on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The Onion, too, and certainly anything Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It; In the Loop; Veep) creates. But I never hear Christopher Buckley's name mentioned, which is a shame. He's made a career out of skewering various American power structures – the stock market, the justice system, the State Department, etc. – and I'm glad that I finally got around to reading Thank You for Smoking,, which has to be his best work to date. Here, Buckley sets himself the herculean task of turning Nick Naylor, the tobacco industry's chief spokesman, into a sympathetic character. No easy feat when Naylor regularly appears on Oprah and Larry King Live to tout the health benefits of smoking and then follows it up by meeting his counterparts in the alcohol and firearms lobbies for dinner – an unofficial social club which they've named "The Mod Squad" (short for Merchants of Death). But somehow Buckley manages to make Naylor a character worth rooting for. He accomplishes part of this by making Naylor smart and funny and sort of "aw, shucks" about his own duplicity – a genial fellow who can't help but make up statistics about how nicotine slows the onset of Parkinson's. But the bigger part is that he makes Naylor a victim – first of his boss (who's an even bigger asshole than Nick), then of a kidnapper, then of the FBI who suspect Nick in his own abduction. Because Nick seems like such a decent guy, who can't help but feel sorry for all the stuff he's going through, even while he's paying off a celebrity lung cancer victim to stop speaking out against the tobacco industry (a thinly-veiled Marlboro Man, who actually did die of lung cancer in 1992). The whole thing is pitch-black and very, very funny. Take this advice, which Nick gives his 12-year-old son: '"The important thing is...is to feel tired at the end of the day.' Aristotle might not have constructed an entire philosophy on it, but it would do. True, Hitler and Stalin had probably felt tired at the end of their days. But theirs would not have been a good tired." If acidic commentary is your thing and you don't know Buckley's work, start here and don't look back.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    A political satire skewering the tobacco, alcohol and gun lobbyists, the media, and the politicians who all have a role in public policy regarding these “legal vices.” Nick Naylor is the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, an organization funded entirely by the big tobacco producers. As such, he is frequently vilified, and the target of threats. His boss, BR, and his chief rival at the Academy, Jeanette (who happens to be the boss’s “main squeeze”) seem to be trying to angle him o A political satire skewering the tobacco, alcohol and gun lobbyists, the media, and the politicians who all have a role in public policy regarding these “legal vices.” Nick Naylor is the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, an organization funded entirely by the big tobacco producers. As such, he is frequently vilified, and the target of threats. His boss, BR, and his chief rival at the Academy, Jeanette (who happens to be the boss’s “main squeeze”) seem to be trying to angle him out of his job. But when he goes on Oprah, he becomes a hero to “The Captain,” and the golden boy of the Academy. Next he’s on Larry King Live where he is, once again, subject to irate callers, including one very specific threat on his life. He shrugs this off, but he does commiserate with his friends Bobby Jay (spokesperson for the gun lobby) and Polly (spin control for alcohol industry) – collectively calling themselves the Mod Squad (for Merchants of Death). He also begins a relationship with sympathetic reporter Heather Holloway. Still the industry wants to ensure their golden boy is safe, so the Captain assigns him heavy duty security. When Nick ditches them, he finds himself kidnapped in the lobby of his own office building, tied and blindfolded, taken to a remote location, and covered in nicotine patches before being unceremoniously dumped on the National Mall and left for dead. Then the fun REALLY begins. The story is somewhat dated today, but as political satires go it’s fast-paced and quite funny in places.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Weiland

    I would have given this book one star, except it did make me laugh twice... meh.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katy Noyes

    Smokin'! One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. I saw this on a library shelf and remembered how much I'd enjoyed the film a few years ago. The book is definitely worth reading too. Very dark humour, it's the sort of funny that might make you spit out your tea. Who would have thought that lung cancer, gun death and fetal alcohol syndrome could be so hilarious... Nick Naylor is Big Tobacco's spokesman - the man whose job it is to make them look good, to suck up criticism and spin it int Smokin'! One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. I saw this on a library shelf and remembered how much I'd enjoyed the film a few years ago. The book is definitely worth reading too. Very dark humour, it's the sort of funny that might make you spit out your tea. Who would have thought that lung cancer, gun death and fetal alcohol syndrome could be so hilarious... Nick Naylor is Big Tobacco's spokesman - the man whose job it is to make them look good, to suck up criticism and spin it into a positive. He's very good at his job. After work, he relaxes with his two associates - spokespersons for the Alcohol industries and Gun Lobbies respectively. Called the Mod Squad (Merchants of Death), they support each other as much as comparing the number of deaths their employers are responsible for on an annual basis. If you are easily offended, this may not be for you. This is completely crazy - we are rooting for a man trying to get teenagers to start smoking! The whole book manages to mock a whole host of industries and employers. One of my favourite moments involved the answerphone message of the Washington Post: "If you feel you have been inaccurately quoted, press one...If you are a confidential White House source and are calling to alert your reporter that the President is furious over leaks and has ordered a review of all outgoing calls...press five." Watching Nick at work, on TV and in the media is at once outrageous and brilliant. His verbal dexterity is admirable, even if few people reading this will agree with his arguments. The story takes a few twists and turns, involving an unidentified person gunning for Nick, a threat on his life, some suspicious FBI agents and an attempt to get cigarette smoking into a major Hollywood film. If you enjoy slightly tasteless but incredibly witty reads involving morally suspect men - look no further. Just brilliant.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sidna

    Buckley has a very dry sense of humor. A good example is the name of the main character, Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the tabacco industry. "Nick" for nicotine and "Naylor" for coffin nails. a euphemism for cigarettes. The other lobbyists featured in the book are for alcohol and guns (firearms). The three main lobbyists in the book are anti-ATF. To me, Nick is a modern-day Scrooge. Not many people remember that at the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is said to keep Christmas better than anyone. Buckley has a very dry sense of humor. A good example is the name of the main character, Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the tabacco industry. "Nick" for nicotine and "Naylor" for coffin nails. a euphemism for cigarettes. The other lobbyists featured in the book are for alcohol and guns (firearms). The three main lobbyists in the book are anti-ATF. To me, Nick is a modern-day Scrooge. Not many people remember that at the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is said to keep Christmas better than anyone. By the end of the book, he has an Epiphany and completely changes his life. Reading Nick's response to all the anti-tobacco claims was entertaining because someone would make an unrefutable claim and Nick would have a response for it. Having grown up in a family of chain smokers, I am not as bothered by smoking as some people seem to be. I've always thought that was an attention-getter. I smoked briefly in college, but quit because I thought it was not healthy. My parents weren't so tuned in and died from smoking-related illness. However, they were adults, smoking is a legal addiction, and it was their choice. I get tired of people who try to tell everyone else how they should live. This book is not laugh-outloud funny as the cover claims, but it was an interesting read. Buckley was trying to make a point without preaching. If you like dry humor, read "Boomsday" by this author. I thought it was much funnier. Buckley is the Jonathan Swift of our day. Remember "A Modest Proposal"?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I saw the film in the theatre in the spring and really liked it a lot, so of course, I picked up the book. It was smartly written and had the same tone as the film, which is always great. The movie dealt more with Nick and his family, especially his son, while in the book, they where in it for like one, maybe two chapters, out of thirty. they hardly made a dent. He dealt more in the book with his job as a spokes person for a pro-tobacco company and his relationship in the MOD (Merchants of Death I saw the film in the theatre in the spring and really liked it a lot, so of course, I picked up the book. It was smartly written and had the same tone as the film, which is always great. The movie dealt more with Nick and his family, especially his son, while in the book, they where in it for like one, maybe two chapters, out of thirty. they hardly made a dent. He dealt more in the book with his job as a spokes person for a pro-tobacco company and his relationship in the MOD (Merchants of Death) squad, which where the most entertaining parts in the film. What else can I say, Nick Naylor is a spokesperson for a group that promotes the most hated cause in america, the smoker. The book was entertaining and easy to follow and I am lame to say this, but I am glad I saw the movie first. Both where very entertaining and I like picturing the actors in their roles. Grade: C+ (only because the only things I would give B's are ones I would read again and this one I wouldn't. Like with my GPA in high school, A's will never see the light of day in this tag)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Funny little biting political satire on the nonsense that goes on in Washington (and Hollywood, to a lesser extent); the money that changes hands, the souls that are sold, the amoral deals that are made, the shrieking hysterical harpies on each side of a divisive issue (smoking, in this case) that are convinced they just want what's best for the American public. Funny little biting political satire on the nonsense that goes on in Washington (and Hollywood, to a lesser extent); the money that changes hands, the souls that are sold, the amoral deals that are made, the shrieking hysterical harpies on each side of a divisive issue (smoking, in this case) that are convinced they just want what's best for the American public.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Chevalier

    This is a witty piece of social satire. The main character Nic Naylor (Nic=nicotine and Naylor= nailing closed a coffin?) is both despicable and endearing as he is the lead spokesperson for big tobacco. His two closest friends are Polly (the lead spokesperson for beer, wine and spirits) and Bobby Jay (spokesperson for the gun lobby). Bobby Jay is a Vietnam vet who lost his hand in the war and sports a hook . . . Yes, a hook. Calling themselves the Mod Squad (Merchants of Death), they meet in the This is a witty piece of social satire. The main character Nic Naylor (Nic=nicotine and Naylor= nailing closed a coffin?) is both despicable and endearing as he is the lead spokesperson for big tobacco. His two closest friends are Polly (the lead spokesperson for beer, wine and spirits) and Bobby Jay (spokesperson for the gun lobby). Bobby Jay is a Vietnam vet who lost his hand in the war and sports a hook . . . Yes, a hook. Calling themselves the Mod Squad (Merchants of Death), they meet in the back of restaurants to support and advise each other. Little does Nic, the favorite of the Colonel who the head of the tobacco, know that he has made some serious enemies who will try to kill him in the most creative manner possible. This satire chronicles the abuses of big industry, political spin, hypocrisy, and our own fascination with vice.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since I watched the movie a couple of years ago. Thank You For Smoking is one of the most cynical, devilishly funny satires I’ve ever read. It was written over a decade ago, when anti-smoking legislation–banning smoking in restaurants, etc.–rolled through after studies started to definitively prove the link between smoking and a host of physical ailments. The story is narrated by Nick Naylor, a spokesman for the tobacco lobby, as he tries to delay t I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since I watched the movie a couple of years ago. Thank You For Smoking is one of the most cynical, devilishly funny satires I’ve ever read. It was written over a decade ago, when anti-smoking legislation–banning smoking in restaurants, etc.–rolled through after studies started to definitively prove the link between smoking and a host of physical ailments. The story is narrated by Nick Naylor, a spokesman for the tobacco lobby, as he tries to delay the inevitable... Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Manish Ramesh

    1. I loved the corporate America vibes from this book. 2. Scampering lobbyists (this is a must-read if you're into that) on overdrive driving the narrative was exciting. The lead character was super-relatable. 3. All in all, a riveting piece of fiction that's perfect for a comfortable weekend read. 1. I loved the corporate America vibes from this book. 2. Scampering lobbyists (this is a must-read if you're into that) on overdrive driving the narrative was exciting. The lead character was super-relatable. 3. All in all, a riveting piece of fiction that's perfect for a comfortable weekend read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Satire, thy name is Buckley. Smoking opens the door on what could only be labeled Despicable Jobs and the People That Live Them, taking Washington lobbyists to task for their support of hideous business interests. Buckley thrives on humorous insights about cultural idiocies. Here he creates characters straight from the world of Carl Hiaasen, goofy and eccentric cretins one prays are only found in fiction, but are suspiciously close to the power-elite making the news on a daily basis. You have to Satire, thy name is Buckley. Smoking opens the door on what could only be labeled Despicable Jobs and the People That Live Them, taking Washington lobbyists to task for their support of hideous business interests. Buckley thrives on humorous insights about cultural idiocies. Here he creates characters straight from the world of Carl Hiaasen, goofy and eccentric cretins one prays are only found in fiction, but are suspiciously close to the power-elite making the news on a daily basis. You have to laugh to keep from jumping off a cliff.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Will Drickey

    it is with a heavy heart that i must report to you that the movie is just,,, SO much better

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nate Williams

    Me earlier today on the phone with my friend Alex: I want to get better at literary criticism :) Me now: damb this book suchs! Conservatives aren’t funny :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    ATiredRavenclaw

    Very fun to read. I wish the relationship between Nick and his son Joey was expanded on more like it is in the movie but I do like the few moments he has in the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Clay

    OK. I'm going to say something I don't usually say. In the case of Thank You for Smoking, I liked the movie more than I liked the book. Let me preface my comments by admitting that I am not one of those literature snobs who, overhearing a conversation about a movie, feels the uncontrollable urge to interject with, "The book was better!" in a desperate attempt to inspire awe in the unwashed, lowly, illiterate masses who are expected to immediately fall to their knees and proclaim, "Oh my God! He OK. I'm going to say something I don't usually say. In the case of Thank You for Smoking, I liked the movie more than I liked the book. Let me preface my comments by admitting that I am not one of those literature snobs who, overhearing a conversation about a movie, feels the uncontrollable urge to interject with, "The book was better!" in a desperate attempt to inspire awe in the unwashed, lowly, illiterate masses who are expected to immediately fall to their knees and proclaim, "Oh my God! He knows how to READ!" Listen up book snobs: we KNOW the book was better. Saying "the book was better than the movie" is just like saying "the 1986 Richebourg Grand Cru was better than the Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill." Even if we didn't have personal experience, we'd know without needing to be told. Now, I like books. And I like movies. Each mode has its own advantages and disadvantages. And I loathe comparing the two because they're completely different animals. Having said that, I liked the movie better. Why? First, let me run down the basics. Thank You for smoking is an irreverently satirical story about a man named Nick Naylor who is a spokesman for Agglomerated Tobacco. As vice president of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, Nick's job is to promote the virtues of smoking cigarettes to the general public amidst the caterwauling cries of outrage emanating from cancer victims, angry soccer moms, health zealots, self righteous politicians and anyone else who wants to experience that "holier than thou" feeling that only comes from denouncing the devil in the public sphere. Along the way, Nick makes some wonderful friends like The Captain: Titan of Agglomerated Tobacco and aging Southern gentlemen, Polly: Spokeswoman for The Alcohol Moderation Council and serious drunk and Bobby Jay: Patriotic, gun-toting, born again mouthpiece of the novel's equivalent of the NRA. Nick also makes some nefarious enemies such as B.R.: The Academy's director, Jeanette: B.R.'s personal aide and Senator Ortolan Finisterre: fierce anti-smoker and outspoken champion for tobacco's seemingly countless victims. What went right: Christopher Buckley (yes, he's the son of THE William F. Buckley) has written an extremely charming satire about personal responsibility and the sleazy underbelly of the American political machine. His story is well thought out and nicely told. His writing is fresh and a triumph of the English vocabulary - I relied heavily upon my dictionary - - but not in an overbearing, preachy sort of way! But it's Buckley's characters that shine. They're the real reason this whole thing works as well as it does. It was genuinely delightful to read the next piece of dialog from the Captain or Bobby Jay as they served to provide the levity next to Nick's serious struggle to keep his head above the water in the dog-eat-dog world of insider politics. What went wrong: The ending! Argh! I'm not going to spoil anything but I was extremely disappointed with the ending! Have you ever been reading one of those books that was just wonderful only to have the main characters completely divest themselves of the motivations they held so fiercely throughout the entire story and become a completely different character in the final chapters of the tale? No? Good. Because it sucks! It makes you question whether or not you really even liked the book. To be clear: I DID like the book. A lot. I just wish it had ended a wee bit before Buckley took a hard left turn with the characters that I had come to treasure. Why the movie was better: (in my humble opinion) The movie took Buckley's excellent premise and his delightful characters and deposited them into a better paced, BETTER ENDED plot which worked wonderfully and didn't get so distracted with the witty nature of the satire that it failed to make a coherent point. The movie just did it better. Sorry. But it happens. Let me say that I LOVED the first two thirds of Christopher Buckley's Thank You for Smoking. In fact, I fully intended to give it 5 stars. However, the destruction of the characterization in the last few chapters - especially the epilogue - of the book made me so disappointed that I yanked 2 full stars away and ended up with a "merely liked it" 3. Let that be a lesson to all you authors out there: don't you dare mess with well loved characters' motivations. You will be held accountable with Goodreads rating stars... Jerks.

  21. 5 out of 5

    MacK

    As I continue my long strange voyage through Chris Buckley's assembled work, I was surprised at how underwhelmed I was by Thank You for Smoking. Perhaps it steams from the fact that I watched the Jason Reitman film first, or from the fact that I've become used to his more mature style. Whatever the case, while I read, and chuckled and enjoyed Thank You for Smoking this might well be the first Buckley book I feel no temptation to read again. With a plot that scatters like buckshot and a main chara As I continue my long strange voyage through Chris Buckley's assembled work, I was surprised at how underwhelmed I was by Thank You for Smoking. Perhaps it steams from the fact that I watched the Jason Reitman film first, or from the fact that I've become used to his more mature style. Whatever the case, while I read, and chuckled and enjoyed Thank You for Smoking this might well be the first Buckley book I feel no temptation to read again. With a plot that scatters like buckshot and a main character who cannot contain his sexual appetites, the book is difficult to really admire. And yet, like all of his beltway books, Buckley infuses his novel with a singing sarcasm. That's not a misspelling I do mean "singing" satire, a satire that soars above the fray so high that only when you look down on the plot as a whole do you fully appreciate the subject he has skewered. While his other novels (or at least the ones I've read) have leveled charges at the absence of common sense in Washington, the complications of family in an individualistic town, and the ways that media and business guide foreign policy, this one concentrates on how much an individual ought to defend their personal principles instead of those encouraged by their party or employers. While there's plenty to chew on with spin, rebranding, personal freedom, and loyalty (or the lack thereof) at the end of the day everything from the waffling of Larry King to the scandals of senators addresses the balance between private and public opinion. Despite the chaotic story telling, despite the frustratingly self-interested characters, that's the story that keeps Buckley captivating, and the kind of deep art in a pop-art candy shell that will keep me reading

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I may have made a mistake with this novel, because I actually saw the movie first, having forgotten that I had the book unread on my shelves. I suspect I might've given the book 4 stars instead of 3 if I'd come to it de novo, but surely such tragedies cannot rule our pitiable lives. In any case, it is a funny, enjoyable book, if perhaps a little bit dated. Published in 1994, it is heavily reliant upon the 'anti-political correctness' humor trope that was ubiquitous at the time. That's not a fatal I may have made a mistake with this novel, because I actually saw the movie first, having forgotten that I had the book unread on my shelves. I suspect I might've given the book 4 stars instead of 3 if I'd come to it de novo, but surely such tragedies cannot rule our pitiable lives. In any case, it is a funny, enjoyable book, if perhaps a little bit dated. Published in 1994, it is heavily reliant upon the 'anti-political correctness' humor trope that was ubiquitous at the time. That's not a fatal flaw, but the inherent humor of bashing people who believe earnestly in causes that are generally good isn't quite as mordant after the reign of war criminal-cum-President G.W. Bush. Moreover, reading this in the age of Obama, when a fanatical religious tendency posing as the rump remnant of a political party has declared war on the very principle of actually governing, reminds one that what can seem utterly corrupt and venal at one point in time can appear to be at least functional at a later date. Overall, this is a gently humorous read. It's not Christopher Moore funny, let alone Irvine Welsh or Jerry Stahl funny. It's more like T.C. Boyle funny, but without the broader novelistic vision. Amusing, but not laugh-out-loud funny.

  23. 5 out of 5

    thethousanderclub

    Adam C. Zern offers his thoughts . . . "Christopher Buckley takes a really interesting and unique idea, a novel about a "merchant of death" or tobacco company spokesmen, and doesn't do much with it. The first 100 pages of the book are worth reading, including a very funny and original twist in the story in which the main character, Nick Naylor, is kidnapped by supposed anti-tobacco fanatics. Nick is nearly assassinated by having nicotine patches placed all over his body. However, after that surp Adam C. Zern offers his thoughts . . . "Christopher Buckley takes a really interesting and unique idea, a novel about a "merchant of death" or tobacco company spokesmen, and doesn't do much with it. The first 100 pages of the book are worth reading, including a very funny and original twist in the story in which the main character, Nick Naylor, is kidnapped by supposed anti-tobacco fanatics. Nick is nearly assassinated by having nicotine patches placed all over his body. However, after that surprising and funny moment, the book just careens down a silly and uninteresting 'whodunit' type conspiracy story. Not to mention Nick's depraved affairs with a newspaper woman, which serves almost no purpose whatsoever, and another affair with a co-worker that serves only to advance the plot but does very little if anything for the story or characters. There is humor, sometimes funny and sometimes trite, throughout the story, but it's nothing that will leave you in stitches. Overall, I felt the book was a disappointment. It started off so strong with an engaging angle and a character who could have been very memorable. Yet, it ended up being what a lot of contemporary novels become - mediocre." http://thethousanderclub.blogspot.com/

  24. 4 out of 5

    Agi

    okay, i have to be honest here; i watch the movie first so the entire book is like an open spoiler to me. i know the storyline, i can imagine what Nick Naylor and other characters exactly looked like... and after reading the entire book; i like the movie more i have to admit that it's hard to have a non-biased opinion towards the book. of course, the satirical way of portraying The Big Tobacco is hilarious, but i feel like the movie were exceeding the 'hilarious-form' while the book is 'just hila okay, i have to be honest here; i watch the movie first so the entire book is like an open spoiler to me. i know the storyline, i can imagine what Nick Naylor and other characters exactly looked like... and after reading the entire book; i like the movie more i have to admit that it's hard to have a non-biased opinion towards the book. of course, the satirical way of portraying The Big Tobacco is hilarious, but i feel like the movie were exceeding the 'hilarious-form' while the book is 'just hilarious'. The book is also fast-paced, which i liked, but the characters were seemed to shabby and not well explored. The way Nick handles the 'anti-tobacco-group' were awesome and also how he handles his own personal life. if you're looking for satirical point of view, and hilarious black humor, this book is the one for you

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    In a word: underwhelming. It was funny, but it felt like sit-com funny when you know exactly what the jokes will be about as soon as i.e.) Jerry Seinfeld gets to the dentist/buys an old car/gets a new girlfriend. In fact, in the end I thought that Buckley left good material out and missed a few potential jabs. All in all it was unsatisfying. I only laughed out loud once (and I was alone, driving up to DC, so I had ample opportunity to snort/laugh obnoxiously). I loved Boomsday and I hoped this w In a word: underwhelming. It was funny, but it felt like sit-com funny when you know exactly what the jokes will be about as soon as i.e.) Jerry Seinfeld gets to the dentist/buys an old car/gets a new girlfriend. In fact, in the end I thought that Buckley left good material out and missed a few potential jabs. All in all it was unsatisfying. I only laughed out loud once (and I was alone, driving up to DC, so I had ample opportunity to snort/laugh obnoxiously). I loved Boomsday and I hoped this would be just as piercingly true and hilarious. I kept waiting for the repeated phrase "tobacco takes care of its own" to come full circle and be a big, socko-boffo, ironic ending. But alas, it was just mediocre.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Reyes

    This book is one of those oddities, that ended on my list because I read about it on a forum about funny books. And I'm glad to have read it, because Nick Naylor the protagonist has so many traits that made me feel so empathic with his situation from the opening lines to the very ending. I really liked the gags, the pace of the book, but the characters save for Nick are a little stale, I also love the 90's references when still had cigarettes advertising, who would have thought that 20+ years af This book is one of those oddities, that ended on my list because I read about it on a forum about funny books. And I'm glad to have read it, because Nick Naylor the protagonist has so many traits that made me feel so empathic with his situation from the opening lines to the very ending. I really liked the gags, the pace of the book, but the characters save for Nick are a little stale, I also love the 90's references when still had cigarettes advertising, who would have thought that 20+ years after the publication of this book things would be so different. Recommended if you're looking for laughs and a fast paced book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    C. Scott

    Oh god I loved this book! I had seen the movie a few years ago and remembered liking it, but I wasn't dying to dive into the book necessarily. I'm glad I did. This book was hilarious and breezy - just great stuff. I immediately went and bought another of Buckley's books when I was about halfway through this one. I loved the Nick Naylor character and would jump at the opportunity to spend more time with him in sequel after sequel. Oh god I loved this book! I had seen the movie a few years ago and remembered liking it, but I wasn't dying to dive into the book necessarily. I'm glad I did. This book was hilarious and breezy - just great stuff. I immediately went and bought another of Buckley's books when I was about halfway through this one. I loved the Nick Naylor character and would jump at the opportunity to spend more time with him in sequel after sequel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Funny, but too caustic. Everything was so sarcastic I had a hard time accepting even the truth in that book. It was full of irony-- I could just picture the author rubbing his hands together like a mad scientist going "You won't expect THIS, suckers!" The ending was cliche, but not, because it ended the way we all expect it to, but it still had that ironic ... taste. Not satisfying, but not bad either. Read for a good laugh. Funny, but too caustic. Everything was so sarcastic I had a hard time accepting even the truth in that book. It was full of irony-- I could just picture the author rubbing his hands together like a mad scientist going "You won't expect THIS, suckers!" The ending was cliche, but not, because it ended the way we all expect it to, but it still had that ironic ... taste. Not satisfying, but not bad either. Read for a good laugh.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tasula

    Hilarious satire of lobbyists for tobacco, alcohol and firearms. Full of witticisms, some of which made me laugh out loud. The main character is 40 year old Nick, VP at the Academy of Tobacco Studies, who finds ways to fight anti-smoking groups so he can "pay the mortgage". I find Buckley's books very visual- as I read I can see how the scenes would play out on a movie screen as a dark comedy. Hilarious satire of lobbyists for tobacco, alcohol and firearms. Full of witticisms, some of which made me laugh out loud. The main character is 40 year old Nick, VP at the Academy of Tobacco Studies, who finds ways to fight anti-smoking groups so he can "pay the mortgage". I find Buckley's books very visual- as I read I can see how the scenes would play out on a movie screen as a dark comedy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Labijose

    An excellent satire, full of funny moments. It lets you thinking how easy it is to manipulate people, especially in the lobby world of advertisement, so yes, it has a clear political message. I also watched the movie, whose screenwriter was the same author. Very funny, too. I recommend both for an easy and good laugh.

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