Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners

Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners

Master the Slippery Rules of Modern Ethics and Etiquette

By Robin Abrahams

Times Books, Paperback, 9780805088779, 288pp.

Publication Date: May 26, 2009


A witty, sophisticated guide to the new principles of modern social behavior, by a psychologist and popular alternative-etiquette-and-ethics guru

This is no rule book about forks and calling cards. As a child, Robin Abrahams was bitterly disappointed when her parents forced her to have a lemonade stand rather than a booth for dispensing advice. In "Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners," Abrahams, now a psychologist and the popular "Miss Conduct" columnist for "The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine," tackles the perplexing social dilemmas of our time:

- Is it polite to say "Bless you" to a sneezing atheist?
- Should a foreign person's name be pronounced in his native accent?
- Does knitting at a meeting display a lack of attention or superior multitasking?
- Can a restaurant these days still be so fancy that you cannot request a doggie bag with dignity?
- What's a nice vegetarian to do if Gypsies give her bread smeared with lard?

Bringing to bear the insights of psychology, Abrahams outlines eight steps to more graceful living that can be applied to uncertain situations-and for handling the inevitable mistakes-involving food, religion, children, pets, health, sex, money, and more.

With humor, compassion, and gusto, "Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners" delivers thoughtful and thought-provoking advice for everyone navigating the complex world of modern human interaction.

About the Author

Robin Abrahams is the “Miss Conduct” columnist for The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and writes the “Socially Scientific” column for the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research. A research associate at Harvard Business School, she has also worked as a stand-up comedian and holds a doctorate in psychology. She and her husband, Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Praise For Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners

“Abraham’s antidote for the deterioration of modern etiquette is elegantly simple…. This etiquette manual is winningly fueled by common sense, flexibility, and a consistent emphasis on mutual respect.”—The Boston Globe “Far beyond the usual ‘where-does-the-nut-spoon-go?’… simple etiquette just doesn’t cut it anymore…. [Miss Conduct’s Mind Over Manners] is more rumination than rules, and Abrahams is as likely to quote Edith Wharton as she is to cite the wisdom of Ali G.”—The Chicago Sun-Times “Witty as well as perceptive, [Abrahams] keeps the tone agreeably light as she dispenses practical advice on social interaction in an increasingly diverse and fragmented society…. Sensible counsel and etiquette for survival in our post-Emily times.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch