Book Review: Modern Manners by Dorothea Johnson and Liv Tyler

ModernManners

 Liv Tyler and Dorothea Johnson – Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top

And keeping in the Hollywood theme… Liv Tyler is more well-known as the daughter of Steve Tyler and a ’90s seductress (think Stealing Beauty and Aerosmith’s Crazy music video), but what most people don’t know is that she’s also the granddaughter of etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson. Or perhaps it doesn’t come so much as a surprise when you consider the fact that Tyler has always carried herself with poise and equanimity under the harsh celebrity spotlight (You can see how she was a total shoo-in to play the elf princess Arwen in LOTR). Now grandmother and granddaughter have come together to create Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top.

Modern Manners covers proper etiquette and manners in a range of settings from business to social to social media. There are tips on how to handle yourself while making formal introductions, networking events, at parties and other social gatherings, figuring out elaborate silverware at a formal dining situation, international or multicultural situations and even what to do when meeting royalty, statesmen and women, and other dignitaries. After all, as a quote by Jack Valenti in this book points out, “It’s better to know it and not need it than to need it and not know it.” (Random sidenote: this is also a favourite quote of mine from Graceling by Kristin Cashore, only on that occasion, the quote was pertaining to the teaching of self defence skills to a royal princess on the run!)

Some of the tips Modern Manners provides can seem quite basic and common sense, but it can never hurt to get a refresher course in social etiquette especially if you’re like me and can still feel pretty awkward in social situations at times.

Modern Manners is also a great reminder that manners, more than anything, is a reminder to be considerate and mindful of others. General courtesy, after all, is about treating people kindly and making them feel at ease. As Matilda says to Anne in Anne of Green Gables as she is fretting about etiquette ahead of an invitation to tea at the manse (a very grand and important occasion for the little redhead orphan), “The trouble with you, Anne, is that you’re thinking too much about yourself. You should just think of Mrs Allan and what would be nicest and most agreeable to her.” (Did you really think I’d let too many posts go by without at least one quote from L.M. Montgomery??)

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Well, this  marks the end of my self-improvement book review series! Hopefully, I’ll be able to add more reviews in the future so please keep checking back in for more. In the meantime, feel free to check out the other self-help books I’ve reviewed so far:

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