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December 23, 2011 > The Bookworm: "Social Q's" by Philip Galanes

The Bookworm: "Social Q's" by Philip Galanes

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Every year, you're faced with a quandary.

Missing the office holiday party is not an option. You have to go, no question.

But attending is filled with potential trouble. Will you, in the holiday spirit, say the wrong thing to the boss? What if your beloved makes a fool out of you? If the champagne flows, will regretful behavior follow?

Every year, it's a difficult decision: Go to the office party or plead death and dismemberment? Or just grab the new book "Social Q's" by Philip Galanes and be better prepared, year-round?

Long before you even started school, you learned social skills at your parents' table. They taught you "please" and "thank you," when to say you were sorry, how to play nice with others, and how to say "no" gracefully.

But are the old rules outdated in this new century?

No, says Galanes, but the first thing you need to know is to "forget everything you know!" People are not the same as they were decades ago, and some issues take further finesse to fix than they might have, way back then. Your personality and that of the etiquettely egregious are both new considerations. It all "requires a mountain of self-control."

Take, for instance, your annoying cubemate. What do you do if hygiene is, well, a little lacking? Or can you ask him to ditch the cologne bath every morning? What can you say to a boss who insists on telling you details about his personal life that you'd rather not know? How do you stop the too-casual, too-cool co-worker who insists on giving everybody too-ridiculous nicknames? And speaking of casual, there are Casual Fridays. What is totally verboten and what will allow you to keep the boss's respect while you keep your Zen state of almost-weekend?

In this book, you'll learn how to deal with office bragging and office groping. You'll find out how to say "goodbye" to a partner, both business-wise and personally. You'll learn what to do about after-office-party regrets and how to apologize for things you wish you could remember you did. And you'll see how a keyboard or keypad can get you into more trouble than you can possibly imagine.

Finding a few frustrating faux pas at the fax machine? Tired of tiresome co-workers? Or is the etiquette issue more with friends and family this season? No matter what oops you own, "Social Q's" can make things easier to handle.

With a good sense of humorous outrage and an even larger amount of gracious aplomb, author and New York Times columnist Philip Galanes helps his readers safely through the obstacle course of getting along in the twenty-first century. Galanes is Emily Post, only hipper; Dear Ann, only funnier; and your mother, only gentler.

I liked this book because it's light reading in a serious vein, and I think you'll appreciate its usefulness. If you need to tackle the kind of sticky work-social issues of which your grandparents never dreamed, "Social Q" is the book you want.

Read it, please. Thank you.

c.2011, Simon & Schuster
$23.00 / $27.00 Canada
259 pages

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