In a piece on new books which “address etiquette for every imaginable awkward circumstance,” the New York Times have recommended Berman and Bernard’s Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life.

It’s a little misleading to call TREATING PEOPLE WELL: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life (January 9th, 2018) a self-help book. It’s really a charming memoir about being a social secretary in the White House, by Lea Berman, who worked for the George W. Bush administration, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for the Obamas. The book is divided into 12 lessons that describe the different facets of gracious behavior: self-confidence, humor and charm (with an emphasis on humor), consistency and so forth. Following their precepts will make you socially adept, which in turn will make you successful. But the meat of the book is in the funny and moving stories about what it takes to be the general of the White House’s social army; after all, those Easter eggs are not going to roll themselves. The grace-under-pressure lessons here are legion, whether it’s getting reluctant guests to leave without ordering them out (it’s a crowd-control maneuver known as the chicken walk) or refereeing two international interpreters vying for the place of honor next to their leaders while trying to shove each other off their chairs. Whatever your political persuasion, you will understand the meaning of “charm offensive.” [NYTimes.com]


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