F You Very Much by Danny Wallace


Published by TarcherPerigee

3 stars


From the bestselling author of Yes Man, a hilarious and pitch-perfect look at the rudeness that’s all around us — where it comes from, how it affects us, and what we can do about it

“An astute, easily digestible guide to not being a jerk.” –Kirkus

You’re not just imagining it: People are getting more and more rude – from cutting in line, gabbing on their phones and clipping their nails on public transportation, to hurling epithets on Twitter and in real life (including a certain President who does both). And the worst part is that it’s contagious, leading reasonably courteous people to stoop to new lows in order to respond to the ever-coarsening encounters we face every day.

In this engaging and illuminating new book, bestselling author and all-around curious guy Danny Wallace looks at the reasons behind the rudeness, and what we can do to stop it. His quest to stop the madness includes interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, NASA scientists, politicians, and other experts. He joins a Radical Honesty group, talks to LA drivers about road rage, and confronts his own online troll in a pub–all to better understand the scourge that’s turning normal people into bullies, tantruming toddlers, trolls, and other types of everyday monsters.

Want to be part of the solution? Let Danny Wallace be your smart and funny guide.

This book tries to be both funny and informative, but lands much more heavily on the informative side of the fence.
The author finds himself being rudely put down by a lady in a hot dog shop one day, and then embarks on a journey of self-confessed pettiness to study the nature of rudeness and figure out why she was being such a massive arse.
I can get behind pettiness, very few of us are above petty revenge when someone is rude to us but I think I’d probably have handled the hot dog incident a little bit better than the author did… maybe it’s a customer service thing but dealing with rudeness is a speciality of mine these days. That said, it does provide a common thread that ties it all together.

Aaaaanyway, he then discusses the nature of rudeness with a variety of specialists (yeah, they exist!) though not in any great depth. He also pays for a report to be written, surveying the opinions of 2000 people regarding rudeness – this was a highlight for me, I love statistics!

There were some really interesting chapters to this book, including anecdotes about Mockus, former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia and his unconventional approach to changing the attitude and behaviours of an entire city (it involves mooning and employing mimes, though not at the same time because obviously that would be weird).
I also enjoyed the exploration of ‘extreme honesty’ as an excuse to be rude and unpleasant under the guise of therapy and lifestyle.

The idea of the book and the research made for an enjoyable read, but the author’s voice didn’t really do it for me – maybe it’s just envy on my part that it comes as a shock to him when someone is overtly rude to him.

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