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How to Lose Friends and Alienate People  a book by Toby Young

From: Red Jones
Category: Books
Date: 06 February 2005


I picked this up in the remaindered book shop in Notting Hill, liked the title, and thought even though it wasn't the sort of book I'd buy, might be able to kill a bit of time flicking through it. Enjoyed it enough to purchase it at half the recommended price.

It's kind of compelling, finished it in a day, there's something about a Youngish English man seeking his fortune in America that is very very easy to read for another youngish Englishish man on the make. The style is filled with a few too many ironic (or not) journalistic catchphrases ("clipboard Nazi" should only be used once in any book) and there is a hollowness in his self-knowledge, like a clever chap at school who never really gets over being smart. On the other hand, handily, Young is funny, and sympathetic in his dealings with the slightly too obviously caricatured Calvinist New Yorkers, and although there is a clumsy side to his sentimental and philosophical thoughts, the whole says well what is essential about modern life: conviction about crap is what you need to get to the top.Or to paraphrase Robert Musil around 60 years ago, those that succeed are the ones that actually believe in the stuff that clever people treat with a touch of amusement. Young is a not a man without qualities.

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