The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure

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Overview

"This guide points out the sorry state that conversation has fallen into - and then gives us the tools to rebuild." Taking lessons from philosophy, anthropology, and literature, Catherine Blyth uncovers the rules and some surprising secrets, with advice for navigating conversational situations from bedroom to boardroom, and hilarious tales of how it can all go wrong.
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The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure

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Overview

"This guide points out the sorry state that conversation has fallen into - and then gives us the tools to rebuild." Taking lessons from philosophy, anthropology, and literature, Catherine Blyth uncovers the rules and some surprising secrets, with advice for navigating conversational situations from bedroom to boardroom, and hilarious tales of how it can all go wrong.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

British journalist Blyth was once described as "the person you hope you'll find at the next cocktail party-or the person you'd like to be." The next best thing is a close encounter with Blyth on the printed page. Adopting a chatty, conversational manner to write about conversation, Blyth mixes personal anecdotes into a salmagundi of selected quotes from anthropology, history, literature, philosophy and pop culture to analyze and give advice on the dynamics of good conversation, not to mention the perfect riposte for every situation. She examines everything from small talk to pillow talk, from riotous raconteurs to crashing bores, from flattery to false smiles. The key is listening: "Good conversation is a team sport; pace and energy keep it alive." Blyth probes layers of language, humor as social engineering, baiting, lies, flirting, evasions and failed shoptalk, such as how "miscommunication lost Xerox the PC." Witty, eloquent and insightful, Blyth's book is a delightful encouragement to rediscover conversation as the best communication technology. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592404193
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/26/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 7.48 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Blyth is a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in numerous British publications, including The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Despite her marriage to a mischievous gossip columnist, she still manages to enjoy a thriving social life.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    More than a how-to book

    I liked this book because it discusses the importance of conversation as a glue that holds society together and helps give meaning to life. I think rethinking about and being reminded why conversation is important to civilization was the most important idea that I came away with. As a somewhat shy person, it also gave me some ways to think about how one goes about having a conversation. I really like this book and would recommend it to anyone.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    Strongly recommended--enjoyable and enlightening read.

    I found "The Art of Conversation" to be an incredibly informative as well as an entertaining read. Even the experienced conversationalist could pick up a few tips from the book, which is well organized--each chapter's lessons are formatted into numbered bullet-points. Ms. Blyth uses referenced sources along with her own insight to deliver one of the most useful and fresh "How-To" guides to an under-appreciated art form. My only complaint is that the language can be hard to understand at times, occasionally sounding a little too esoteric for a book written in a conversational tone. However, "The Art of Conversation" remains the best self-help book I've read in a long time, and I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in improving their conversational skills.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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