Has life on the digital sphere been making you feel like your manners and etiquette are in need of an updating? It’s likely you’re not alone. Publishers have apparently caught wind of a general clamoring for guidelines for navigating online lives with grace and two books on the subject were recently released: How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age and Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition.
Both are 21-century updates of beloved American classics: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, which first came out in 1936, and Emily Post’s Etiquette, first released in 1922. No doubt times have changed since then. Unfortunately, if one goes by Dwight Garner’s unfavorable and less unfavorable reviews of the two tomes — published in today’s New York Times’ front page — the books aren’t really up to task.
Garner excoriates the folks responsible for the Dale update, that would be Dale Carnegie and Associates Inc and Brent Cole, and refers to their work as a “retooling” that vitiates the expressive and “homespun” charm of the original. The authors of the Post update, all descendants of the original author, fare only slightly better. Garner says they “mostly repris[e] information to be found in earlier versions” and that the “volume is friendly but largely humorless.” Faint praise, indeed.
But if you’re clueless about proper online socializing, you might still want to take a peek at the two texts.