How to Do Things Right: The Revelations of a Fussy Man

Overview

Learn how to eat an ice cream cone properly, how to develop principles when you have none and why America needs a Leisure Ethic. These are among the topics the author explores in his leisurely and humorous ramble.

Hills' mission is to turn chaos into order, to make fussiness respectable and to advance those passing fancies we have to get our stuff together. When you're not laughing out loud, you'll be thinking hard.

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Overview

Learn how to eat an ice cream cone properly, how to develop principles when you have none and why America needs a Leisure Ethic. These are among the topics the author explores in his leisurely and humorous ramble.

Hills' mission is to turn chaos into order, to make fussiness respectable and to advance those passing fancies we have to get our stuff together. When you're not laughing out loud, you'll be thinking hard.

"Must reading for perfectionists, parents of teenagers." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The subtitle goes on: Three Incomparable Books of Wit, Charm, and Wisdom Finally Available in One Volume, as Revised, Edited, and Enhanced by the Author. The three books, previously published separately by Doubleday, are How to Do Some Particular Things Particularly, How to Retire at Forty-One, and How to Be Good; each title also has long descriptive subtitles. These are the humorous writings of the Esquire fiction editor for 30 years on topics ranging from how to eat an ice cream cone to how to develop "principles" when you have none, encompassing all that logically lies between those two topics. Paper edition (unseen), $15.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879239695
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 259
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Book 1 How to Do Some Particular Things Particularly or, The Revelations of a Fussy Man
Two Introductory Revelations 3
How to Eat an Ice-Cream Cone 5
How to Be Kindly 10
How to Organize a Family Picnic (and Keep It That Way) 12
How to Set an Alarm Clock 20
How to Make and Eat Milk Toast 24
How to Tip 28
How to Wash and Wax Your Car 30
How to Give a Dinner Party 31
How to Refold a Road Map 39
How to Cut Down on Smoking and Drinking Quite So Much 40
How to Do Four Dumb Tricks with a Package of Camels 48
How to Avoid Family Arguments 51
How to Daydream 52
How to Solve America 58
Postscript: Delight in Order 70
Book 2 How to Retire at Forty-One or, Life Among the Routines and Pursuits and Other Problems
Prologue: How I Happened to Quit Work 85
Chapter 1 Life Among the Routines
Prerequisites to Retirement 91
The "Problem" of Retirement 94
The Rationale of Routine 95
A Sample Comprehensive Day Plan 96
Mapping Out the Errand Routes 101
Having Things to Do, as Against Getting Things Done 104
Maintaining a Country Place, as a Routine 105
Maintaining an Old Sailboat, as a Routine 107
Work Work, as Against Leisure Work 110
Chapter 2 Life Among the Pursuits
Training for Leisure Pursuits 113
Some Specific Pursuits Considered (Correspondence, Crafts and Hobbies, Outdoor Activities, Travel, Social Life) 116
Pursuing "Interests" as a Pursuit 121
Writing, as a Pursuit 124
"Getting to Know Thyself," as a Pursuit 129
Pursuing Montaigne, as Against Pursuing Thoreau 132
Chapter 3 Life Among the Other Problems
Conversation with a Cleaning Lady 143
Beyond the Occupational Identity 147
"Leisure"-Class Leisure, as Against "Working"-Class Leisure 149
Two Sample Post-Occupational Identities 151
Toward the Leisure Ethic 153
Epilogue: What Finally Happened to Me 157
Book 3 How to Be Good or, The Somewhat Tricky Business of Attaining Moral Virtue in a Society That's Not Just Corrupt but Corrupting, Without Being Completely Out-of-It
Chapter 1 A Modern Good Man
Telling Good from Bad 177
The Scruple and You 179
Morality: Public, Private, and Personal 183
Chapter 2 Some Uses and Misuses of Virtue
Is Virtue Its Own Reward, or Isn't It? 185
The Righteousness of Busyness 192
Doing Good, as Against Being Good 196
Professional Ethics, as Against the Morality of an Occupation 198
"Professionalism" as a Machismo Con 200
Indifference, Considered as a Virtue 205
Chapter 3 The Somewhat Separate Question of Sexual Morality
The Ugly Head of Sex 208
History and Theory of the Mercy-F**k 210
What's Wrong with Adultery 214
Chapter 4 The Extricated Life, as Against the Involved Life
The Rationale of Involvement 219
Moral Choice in Modern Life 220
The Rationale of Extrication 224
Some Thoughts about Unhappiness 225
"Never Inquire What's Going On in Constantinople" 227
Chapter 5 An Intricate Ethics
Toward a Fashionable Morality 232
How to Develop "Principles" When You Have None 235
What Virtue Actually Is, and How Exactly to Achieve It 238
Of Masks, and Beerbohm's "Happy Hypocrite" 241
Of the "Line," and F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1929 242
Of Eccentricity, and Emerson's Aunt Mary 245
How Life Should Be, as Against How People Should Be 248
Self-Obsession, Considered as a Virtue 249
How Traits Should Be Elaborated 251
Obligation to Self, as Against Indulgence of Self 253
Moral Maturity, as Against "Moderation" and "Consistency" 254
Metaphors of Virtue 256
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