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Lessons from the Land of Pork Scratchings: A Miserable Yank Discovers the Secret of Happiness in Britain [Paperback]

Greg Gutfeld
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 21 Jan 2008 --  

Book Description

21 Jan 2008
Greg Gutfeld was a high-achieving, slim but anxious New Yorker in therapy when he was posted to the UK to take up the position of editor of Maxim magazine. Once settled in London he had something of a cultural epiphany. Service and transport were poor and slow, food was soggy and came in tiny portions and the beer was warm. The British, he decided, viewed the world through a prism of dreariness but, despite this, they seemed to be more cheerful than his fellow countrymen, who expected to be happy on demand. After two years in the UK, Gutfeld was12 kilos heavier but a lot more content. The key to his new-found contentment lay in adopting the British attitude to life: he too had learned that having diminished expectations reaps its own rewards. His hilarious observations on British culture, rituals and peculiarities at all levels of society are an illuminating insight into the land of pubs and curry, where everyone is called 'mate' and people with pimples, wrinkles and greasy hair can get on primetime TV.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (21 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847370667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847370662
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bitingly insightful 24 Jan 2008
Although his American TV show seems to have a large--if morbidly humoured--fan base, I have read, I only knew of Greg Gutfeld from Maxim. He was entertaining in his TV appearances, but I otherwise thought of him as a blustery Yank who amused himself by being clever and shocking but had few other tricks to offer. Reading this book changed that appraisal. It's deadly funny and reads fast. It will make you laugh aloud at things you've seen your entire life but never properly processed--or at minimum never processed in the mentally disturbed yet spot-on manner Gutfeld did during his time here. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% Hilarious -- to this Yank chick 24 Feb 2008
I only finished the book last night, in part because I could not read it without laughing so hard I was in pain. I was literally crying with laughter, also screaming and writhing. I had to stop reading the book in public, because I looked like a freak. People on the bus were staring. I am serious. And I swear on a stack of Maxims I am not a friend of the author nor a Marketing shill nor on drugs. I am an American, married to a Brit. I have been lucky enough to visit England many times, starting when I was five-years-old. Gutfeld's writing style is genius. He's got the details down and he uses an economy of words. His rolling chapter transitions are seamless and awesome. I think anyone would enjoy this, but it's got to be best for any Americans who have been to England. Because how can a Brit fully appreciate how wonderfully bizarre they are to us?
I think if you've seen Gutfeld on TV, you haven't seen his true talent -- on the page, he has a laser-like wit. I am a slavish fan to his writing and hope he produces another book shortly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Sedge
This book is gold. Not only is it funny from start to finish - written at such a hurtling, twisty toboggan-ride pace that the belly-laughs-to-words ratio is something approaching 1:1 - but it's a special kind of funny. The rarest kind, in fact: heartfelt, warm, celebratory funny. This guy unreservedly loves British people - his enthusiasm for us is frankly embarrassing. The man is a walking UK Tourist Board. And coming from someone you assume to be a cynical 'yeah whatever buddy, hold the mayo' jaded New Yorker type, this is especially disarming. And he's spot on. I think he's really nailed what it is to be British, capturing that spirit of glorious helplessness ('sod it, let's go to the pub') in the same pitch-perfect way something like Peep Show or a Simon Pegg film does. I loaned it to a mate, who read it in a day and gave it back saying 'I have never read a book that's made me so proud to be British.' A bit Churchillian, but I agree - it's lovely to be reminded that, yes, we're funny, knockabout lot. A right bunch of silly sausages. Read it, if you want to feel that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 5 Feb 2009
Anyone who has read a Bill Bryson book will be disappointed with this one. The "Bill Bryson for the noughties" comment on the cover of the book is an insult to Bryson. The idea is fantastic - I enjoy nothing more than reading this kind of book - but apart from the many typos, it is not funny or overly insightful. I think Mr Gutfield could learn a lot from reading "Notes from a Small Island" - now THIS is a funny book about life in Britain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So... So Funny... 19 Dec 2009
If you have a sense of humour... please... please buy this book.
As a NZ person who has been here for years... It provides a great view on life in the UK... It's such an easy read as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not meant to be a serious travelogue.... 6 Feb 2009
An absolutely hilarious read easily polished off in a day. Yes, it's almost entirely about London and yes, it's almost entirely about drinking but it's quite apparent after about two paragraphs that this is not a serious take on British culture and to read it as such is missing the point entirely. Greg's writing is pacey and his humour is spot-on. If you read a couple of chapters and are disappointed it's not 'Brysony' enough then put it down and find something else. If, however, you want to asphyxiate yourself from laughing too hard then you've found the right book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good. 15 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In which New York expat comes over to London to work, and in between sleeping with our beer and drinking our women. etc, jots down the bookful of short pensees about the English presented here. It sounds awful, doesn't it? It's actually terrifically funny,and pretty insightful. About 300 per cent better than the usual 'living abroad' humourous memoir. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and very accurate 30 Nov 2013
By Scooper
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very funny book. If you've seen Gutfeld on Red Eye or The Five then you'll know what to expect.. What I didn't expect was to see the way in which he embraced our culture. Most Americans don't really get Brits and seem to leave the UK thinking that it's quaint but a bit s***. Gutfeld appreciates that being a bit s*** can help towards having a happy life. As an amusing series of anecdotes, this book probably nails British life as well as anything else which I've seen.

Any Americans contemplating visiting the UK for a length of time could really benefit from using this as a handbook and reference manual for enjoying their stay in London. They would at least learn how to eat peas properly.
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