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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hugely entertaining autobiography ofa family in motion study, 20 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Cheaper by the Dozen (Paperback)
Set in the early part of 20th century this autobiography details in amusing anecdotal style the unusual upbringing undergone by a family of 12 children on the East coast of America. As the title indicates, it is the aim of their eccentric parents that no time or motion should be wasted such that, for example, their education includes learning morse code by reading it on the ceiling, the walls and being unable to complete normal everyday activities unless translation can be accomplished. This book is written with old world charm, understated humour and real affection. It is a book to feel good about and look forward to reading again and again.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A memorable family story, 1 Jun 2008
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Frank B. gilbreth and Erenstine Gilbreth Carey tell the charming and cheerful story of their parents, pioneers of time and motion study, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and how they raised a family of twelve children, applying their own theories of time and motion to make family life run more smoothly.

The delightfuly eccentric Frank Gilbreth came up with all sorts of time-saving ideas,like buying two gramophones to be installed in the bathrooms, so that the children could listen to French and German language records while they bathed. He hated to waste a moment of time, and since he thought mealtimes were a waste of time, he inisted that only subjects of 'general interest' should be discussed at meals.

'Dad was the one who decided what subjects were of general interest. Since he was convinced that everything he uttered was interesting, the rest of the family had trouble getting a word in edgewise.
"Honestly, we have the stupidest boy in our history class" Anne would begin.
"Is he cute?" Ernestine asked.
"Not of general interest" Dad roared.
"I'm interested" Mart said.
"But I" Dad announced "am bored stiff. Now if Anne had seen a two-headed boy in history calss, that would have been of general interest." '

The arrival of the fashion for bobbed hair and short skirts coincided with the Gilbreths oldest daughters being in high school, which naturally led to some friction in the Gilbreth household. Naturally the girls wanted to dress the way the other girls in school did, but:

'If people the world over wanted to go crazy, that was their affair, however lamentable. But Dad had no intention of letting his daughters go with them. At least, not without a fight.
"What's the matter with girls today?" Dad kept asking. "Don't they know what those greasy-haired boys are after? Don't they know what's going to happen to them if they go around showing their legs through silk stockings, and with bare knees, and with skirts so short that the slightest wind doesn't leave anything to the imagination?"
"What?" Anne asked eagerly.
"Never you mind. All I know is that even self-respecing street walkers wouldn't have dressed.."
"Frank!" said Mother.
The girls turned to Mother for support, but she agreed with Dad.
"After all, men don't want to marry girls who wear make-up and high heels." Mother said. "That's the kind they run around with before they're married. But when it comes to picking out a wife they want someone they can respect."
"They certainly respect me" Anne moaned "I'm the most respected girl in the whole high-school. The boys respect me so much they hardly look at me. I wish they'd respect me a little less and go out with me a little more. How can you expect me to be popular?"
"Popular!" Dad roared. "Popular. That's all I hear. That's what's the matter with this generation. Nobody thinks about being smart, or clever, or sweet, or even attractive. No sir. They want to be skinny and flat-chested and popular." '

of course, the Gilbreth girls eventually managed to wear Dad down and get their bobbed hair and silk stockings.

The story of the gilbreth family is still fresh and funny sixty years after it was published, and should lighten the heart of anyone who reads it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper by the Dozen - a good read from 10 to 50, 18 Dec 2002
By 
D. M. Wicke (basingstoke, hampshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cheaper by the Dozen (Hardcover)
One of the more unusual books to come out of depression-ridden America, and a true story. A time and motion expert and his wife attempt to raise twelve children, applying the principles he uses at work - against a background of the wall street crash and genuine "small-town" America. Fascinating and funny throughout; accessible to all ages (I first read it aged about 10 and it's equally fresh and interesting at almost 50); full of little insightful cameos - education, politics, business, psychology, the culture of the time. A great complement or even an antidote to the oversugary alternatives from that period. One of a series, too; Belles on their toes is just as good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What great luck to find this, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: Cheaper by the Dozen (Hardcover)
I know this book is totally out-dated, but I remember loving to read it as a child (the Danish translation), and now after so many years I wanted to read it in the original version. I was thrilled to find it and very, very pleased with the purchase transaction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great rip-roaring book, 8 Nov 2013
By 
Mrs B A Weller (WESTCLIFF ON SEA, Essex, GB) - See all my reviews
A great rip-roaring book. Such a pleasure to read. The tree story of the Gilbreth family of twelve child and their creating by their time and motion expert parents. Yes, he did drill them (humorously ), and he did grill them with enormous originality and verve but what can be seen in more than anything in this book is the unswerving love and loyalty between these unconventional parents and their 12 lucky off spring .
Cried a when the commander died and it was left to this remarkable mother to raise these remarkable children.
Can't wait to read the sequel.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars satisfactory, 10 Sep 2009
I was surprised with the speed this book was delivered from the US to UK as I was informed it would take 11-20 days, but only took about 5. Would use them again anytime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 July 2014
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Good value.
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