Authoritative guide on manners, etiquette, and all that good stuff?
April 1, 2008 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Authoritative guide on manners, etiquette, and all that good stuff?

I pride myself on being a fairly well-mannered guy, but I am sure there is always room for improvement. I went on Amazon to try and find a couple of decent books on proper manners and etiquette, but there's just too many to wade through, and there doesn't seem to be a consensus on what's good and what isn't. I am trying to see if there is a book or two that are considered sort of a gold standard (think Julia Child on introduction to French cuisine, for example). Any suggestions?
posted by detune to Human Relations (13 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Emily Post.
posted by jamaro at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Emily Post is probably the accepted traditional authority, and the latest version of her iconic book Etiquette has been partially rewritten by another family member so that it's more in keeping with contemporary situations, so you don't look like a hopelessly old-fashioned boorish boob.
posted by iconomy at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2008

Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior is my favorite, because it gives the rationale behind the "rules" and models good decisionmaking about complex social situations. And it's funny and readable pretty much straight through.

Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post are two others that are conventional standards, you wouldn't go wrong with either of those.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Emily Post. Nuff Said
posted by pearlybob at 9:43 AM on April 1, 2008

(Emily Post and Miss Manners are mostly written for American upper-middle-class white people. Nothing wrong with that, but if you're, say, an international business traveler, there are better etiquette books. I don't think there's a genuinely universal etiquette book, but, because of the emphasis on rationale and explanation and whatnot, I think Miss Manners comes closest.)
posted by box at 10:35 AM on April 1, 2008

I'm currently reading To the Manner Born. Its decent so far
posted by khaibit at 11:25 AM on April 1, 2008

You can't beat good old Debrett's. Their books "Correct Form" and "Manners for Men" might interest you.
posted by rose selavy at 12:33 PM on April 1, 2008

My mother bought me Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers when I was young. I guess I was a slob at the time. But it's great for an overview of table etiquette, and the illustrations are funny. I've never forgotten it, so that says something.
posted by dammitjim at 2:17 PM on April 1, 2008

Judith Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners, is witty and wonderful. Highly recommended.
posted by theora55 at 4:22 PM on April 1, 2008

I'm not an etiquette aficionado, but Miss Manners is the name in this field that most stands out.
posted by reenum at 5:33 PM on April 1, 2008

Since you have a lot of answers addressing your question directly, I will allow myself to link to a book which is considered authoritative by fewer, but which you may find even more useful and enjoyable than the most popular guides.

Quentin Crisp: Manners from Heaven (Amazon, BookCrossing)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:38 AM on April 2, 2008

Probably not authoritative, but interesting nonetheless:
Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence, and Style to Get Ahead by Fonzworth Bentley.
posted by braveterry at 9:30 AM on April 4, 2008

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