You know what it's like: whether it's the leafblower blaring at 7am or the queue-jumper cutting in at the cinema, there's nothing like an act of rudeness to spoil the day. But why do so many of us get worked up about these examples of incivility? Isn't that just life? Do manners really matter, anyway?
Yes! says Lucinda Holdforth in this passionate and elegant essay, drawing on history's great writers and thinkers to argue, unashamedly, that manners are absolutely essential to civilisation.
Lucinda Holdforth wrests the case for good manners away from the knife-and-fork snobs, the exclusivist bores and the corporate fakers, to show how courtesy protects our rights and freedoms, strengthens our communities, and adorns our individual humanity. She shows us that privacy can co-exist with neighbourliness, that intellectual freedom can flourish within agreed social rules, and that civility saves us from over-legislation.
Let's face it. Modern society doesn't seem to offer many rewards to the courteous and well-behaved. It often appears as though the pushy, impolite types are so often the winners. Perhaps that's why, like so many of us, I noticed that my own manners were deteriorating. I was becoming ruder, more hostile, and more defensive. So this book is a gentlle reminder to myself and to others of the powerful reasons why we should still bother to make the little gestures and sacrifices demanded by manners.
Courtesy requires attributes which are deeply unfashionable today, such as patience, self-control, consideration of others and deferral of self-gratification. But, with these small sacrifices, we dignify ourselves. And we combine to make something bigger than ourselves: a civil society. I believe it's time to bring these qualitites back in vogue and make our interactions with each other more pleasurable and less hostile.
Bold, brimming with anecdote and brilliantly conceived, Why Manners Matter is as witty as it is timely, and as forceful as it is charming. This important yet thoroughly entertaining little book will ensure you never take courtesy for granted again.
Lucinda Holdforth lives in Sydney and is a speechwriter. She has been a researcher at ABC Television, an official in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, speechwriter to former Deputy Prime Minister Kim Beazley, and a communications specialist for a management consulting firm. Her articles and columns have been published in Australian newspapers and magazines. True Pleasures was released in Canada and the USA by Greystone Books in 2005.
Review: A refreshing look at society and how basic manners can make a difference to your own personal wellbeing and the happiness of those around you. Manners never went out of fashion.
Why Manners Matter
Random House Australia
Author: Lucinda Holdforth
ISBN: 9781741668704 / 1741668700