THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MANNERS, REVISED AND UPDATED TO ACCOMODATE TODAY'S HIGH-SPEED LIFESTYLES, SHIFTING VALUES, AND EVER-EVOLVING DEFINITION OF FAMILY.
Letitia Baldrige is universally recognized as the country's leading authority on executive, domestic, and social manners. She began writing on manners and protocol during her diplomatic service in 1949, and she has been hailed on the cover of Time magazine as "America's leading arbiter of manners." Originally published in 1989, her Complete Guide to New Manners has now been thoroughly revised and updated to incorporate the changing social conventions and enormous technological advances of the past fifteen years.
Baldrige was the first etiquette writer to advise extensively on the subject of manners in the workplace. With her legendary background in both the government and business worlds, she remains the prime authority on the integration of goals that often seem at odds with one another -- namely, family, work, and pleasure. Baldrige provides fresh guidelines on etiquette at work and in every form of communication, from letters to emails to cell phone calls.
She also updates the way we approach the traditional rites of passage -- weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies, gatherings large and small. Here are authoritative answers to the etiquette questions and issues involved in nontraditional family relationships -- stepfamilies, adult children returning home, elderly parents moving in, gays and lesbians in the family, dating for the newly single, and the myriad complications that spring from divorce.
Through it all, Baldrige does not forget the essence of manners: they are an expression of love and care, and they are under our control. New Manners for New Times is a comprehensive encyclopedia that will lead readers confidently and correctly through the maze of lifestyles, customs, business, and ways of relating to others in this new, complex millennium. But it is, above all, a very personal statement.
Manners "give us... a feeling that if we do the right thing and avoid the wrong thing, everything will be all right." But, notes manners expert Baldrige, they can also help us attain happiness. That's right; knowing how much to tip a hotel maid can help you achieve internal bliss. Baldrige explains: "When you're nice to someone else... that someone else is nice back to you, and suddenly two people feel good about themselves and each other, and spread their feelings." A stretch, perhaps, but still, an admirable approach to manners. Baldrige differentiates between etiquette and manners (the former is a set of behavior rules; the latter teaches one how to value another's self-esteem), and illuminates both. She covers relationships, rites of passage, entertaining, gift giving, difficult times and communication. Although it's a bit overwhelming at first, the work is broken down into reasonable categories. And there's certainly something to be said for a book that can explain the difference between various caviar varieties, tell you how to write a thank-you note and suggest how to bring up the subject of condoms while on a date. Baldrige, ever hip to today's customs, addresses modern realities such as late marriages and e-mail, and can be quite funny (perhaps unintentionally, as when she lists "complete turnoff questions never to ask a single person," such as "bet you're desperate to get married, aren't you?"). Throughout, she keeps her focus on "real manners," for example, "t's not worthwhile wondering who should go through the revolving door first, but it is worthwhile rushing to help an elderly or disabled stranger through the revolving door."