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What Not to Say: Finding The Right Words At Difficult Moments Hardcover – 1 Nov 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (1 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297853023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297853022
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,632,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"a surprisingly insightful, touching and witty examination of friendship" (TLS)

About the Author

Formerly an Anglican priest, Mark Vernon is an Honorary Research Fellow in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Richard Batty on 10 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book to enlighten me as to some useful things to say at times of embarassing or difficult situations. I expected something of a good verbal manners book, as its title suggests. It turned out to be a philosophical journey through the author's favourite thinkers, and not offering a single phrase or group of words that might help.

I became aware of it after the Author was on Radio 4 recently where he was compared to the verbal equivalent of what Trinny and Susannah are to clothes - indeed even the title suggests this. The chapters and situations are clearly laid out, Love matters, family matters etc but never seem to give answers, only to pose questions to deeply ponder, supported by the thoughts of Nietzsche or Schopenhauer and the like.

Perhaps I bought this book expecting too little of it compared to what I received. I did not want nor did I expect a simple list of 'when in this situation say this' type of book. It is however for the serious student and would suit anyone wanting to study the philosphy and history of the right words at the right time as in that context it is a comprehensive tome.

If you simply want to console a bereaved friend without platitudes, or have a useful word to remove or lighten embarassment from a difficult situation then this is definitely not for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ethel the Frog on 11 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to mix an introduction to basic philosophy with a kind of "self-help" approach to real life problems. In both aims it is only partially successful. There is much food for thought here, as Vernon outlines some of the philosophical approaches of thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Descartes, Plato and even the psychoanalytical approach of Freud, as well as more modern thinkers such as Bertrand Russell and Jaques Derrida. As to giving advice on "life's tricky moments", this seems like a tacked-on afterthought to many chapters, particularly in the section on Making a Complaint, in which Vernon veers wildly off-course into a philosophical discussion of hatred!

This is too slim a volume to hope to encompass really wide-ranging arguments on the subjects it covers, however the approach is needlessly narrow in some cases and some of the observations and examples given come across as simply too "bourgeois" to be of use to a wide audience (the chapter on Work-Life Balance is a case in point here, as it includes an excruciating section about a friend buying a second home in France...!)

Have a look at this if you want a starting point in some basic philosophical theory, but don't expect any spectacular revelations.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure if I was a expecting too much from a short book covering many topics or the book just simply fails to deliver on it's title. I guess it could serve well as a quick toilet readers taster of philosophy but little more.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By freddy on 17 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will save u either going to put u'r foot in it ? and also sets a good selection of advice which can and does give that extra guidance So it needs to be in u'r book selection..
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