“How to Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy” is a quick read about etiquette for men. The book had caught my eye several times before I finally picked it up and gave it a read. I’m glad I did, as it’s an excellent resource on interpersonal behavior, courtesy and how to properly treat others. And although the book is geared primarily towards men, some women may find some of the advice useful as well (being courteous to others is gender neutral).
Some of the highlights of the book include:
- Advice about when to write a thank you note.
- Advice about how to conduct oneself during a meal.
- Tips on dressing for various events.
- Suggestions for gifts to bring when invited into someone’s home whether just for a meal or for an extended stay.
- How to act in the presence of royalty.
- How to shake hands properly.
- How to tie a bow tie.
- How to properly introduce people to each other.
The 150 pages are easy to read — most of the information in the book is broken into small blocks of text consisting of a couple of sentences with a short article intertwined every now and then. It took me less than two hours (spanned over two nights) to get through it.
Some of my favorite take aways from the book were:
- You don’t always have to say a lot during a toast. “You’re a good friend and I’m proud of you” will suffice in many situations (weddings and other events where a longer speech is expected are the exception).
- When giving your sympathies to someone who lost a loved one, you don’t have to be too verbose. “I’m sorry about your loss. I know how important he was to you” is often enough.
- When supervising others, direct instead of dictate.
In summary, this book is packed with useful information that men (especially single men) can benefit from. It’s definitely worth checking out.