September 23, 2005

Under the B for Books:Choosing Civility

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As anyone who's read this blog before knows, books have a habit of finding me. More often at the public library than the bookstore, but they find me nonetheless. Sometimes, they catch my eye when I'm looking for something else, sometimes they literally fall at my feet, or on one memorable occasion, on my head.

So it's probably no surprise to anyone that about a year ago I found the etiquette section in my library. I may be the only person who would consider this great fun, but I've had a blast reading this stuff. Some of the books are old (like 50's and 60's old) while others have been published in the past 4 years. Some have been utter drivel and will or have been easily forgotten, but others have been quite thought-provoking.

"Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct" by P.M. Forni is one of the latter. Published by St. Martin's Press in 2002, it's not an etiquette book per se, more of an essential grounding for sharing this world in a more civilized way.

Some of the rules Dr. Forni shares seem incredibly basic (after all, other books do address subjects like "think twice before asking favors", and "refrain from idle complaints") but his examples illustrate the depth of the effect one's action can have on others. The book is deceptively small (only 208 pages in a book sized 7.5 x 5.3 inches) but it packs a great punch. It's certainly led me to consider my present world view more carefully.

FYI - Dr. Forni is a Civility and Italian Literature professor at John Hopkins University. He is also the cofounder of the John Hopkins Civility Project. For an excerpt, visit here.

1 comment:

Oreo said...

Hi! Here from Michele's again. I'll have to check that out....