As I was interested in different action theories I had heard of Goffman through the dramaturgical model and I wanted to learn about his other studies because he has some really good theories. This book is good to read, you start reading something and then say to yourself 'oh yeah, people do that' In some places it goes on for quite a while on points , and seems in places to repeat things that have already been said. But It is a good read if your'e interested in this field.
I had always been interested in socio-linguistics, but this book was my first experience of sociology proper. I have read a lot since then and it is still the best experience. Nearly every page is entertaining to read, which is also due to the many vivid examples Goffman gives, and certainly all of it is interesting - qualities which only very few books of science that I have read have shown. With a particular interest in linguistics I of course especially enjoyed Goffman's remarks on conversational interaction. The book makes you look at and listen to the people around you from a completely new perspective - for some time after I had read it I caught myself walking along the street or riding the subway and involuntarily comparing what I saw to Goffman's analyses, finding them to be very much to the point. I do not give this book the highest rating because Goffmans terminology is often confusing and contradictory, and his reasoning is less structured than you would expect if you are used to scientific writing. However, this is in great part a result of Goffman's unusual, direct approach to the study of public interaction, which eventually makes the book so captivating and readable from cover to cover.
I bought this book because I am an architect eager to know more about human interaction. The book title was very appealing and I was expecting to read about the social organization of gatherings in public places, namely squares, theaters, libraries, schools, streets, etc.. Unfortunately the author merely speaks in a super theoretical level, always evoking either the mental hospital (where he finds the "true" behaviour) or etiquette books (dating from the 20's-50's).