Did you know that even one rude comment in a life and death situation can decrease a surgeon’s performance by as much as 50%? That we say we don’t want rude politicians, but we vote for them anyway? Or that rude language can sway a jury in a criminal case?
Bestselling writer and broadcaster Danny Wallace (Yes Man, Awkward Situations For Men), is on a mission to understand where we have gone wrong. He travels the world interviewing neuroscientists, psychologists, NASA scientists, barristers, bin men, and bellboys. He joins a Radical Honesty group in Germany, talks to drivers about road rage in LA, and confronts his own online troll in a pub.
And in doing so, he uncovers the latest thinking about how we behave, how rudeness, once unleashed, can spread like a virus – and how even one flippant remark can snowball into disaster.
As insightful and enthralling as it is highly entertaining, F*** You Very Much is an eye-opening exploration into the worst side of human behaviour.
*This book was originally published under the title, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That. But we decided it just wasn’t rude enough…
|Ebury Publishing||Paperback||352||Ebury Publishing||Non-Fiction||May31st, 2018|
*My thanks to Ebury Publishing for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.*
Human behaviour- a mysterious phenomenon even to ourselves, humans! But Danny Wallace has done a tremendous piece of work writing this book and unveiling at least one of the aspects of our behaviour- rudeness- into an engaging, educational and occasionally hilarious read!
We seem more stressed, more time-pressed, tired, fed up, angry and put upon. We seem more resentful, envious, self-obsessed, rascist and, yes, sad. We think less, react more, and run and jump to conclusions just so we have one, where once we might have ambled to see what happened along the way. We are self-entitled, knee-jerking, know-it-all thunderdicks.
Danny Wallace, with this book, made me take a long hard look at myself. Reading F*** You Very Much made me think back and analyze my past behaviour. It made me twitchy and worried and horrified- how rude exactly had I come across in various situations? What if I was the equivalent of Patient Zero with my rudeness and made a ripple of rudeness spinning across space, in turn, ruining x number of people’s days? But it’s not just about me. This book also made me think about all these times when someone had been rude to me or to my friends and family. I was chasing that cause&effect- a hopeless mission, of course- and trying to see the start of rudeness. Pfft, how long is a piece of string?
Honestly, this book is not written in a style of: Sit down and I’ll tell you! with a big fat finger waved at your face… That’s why this book is great to read. I not once felt attacked personally, because let’s face it- we’ve ALL been RUDE! We have, because we all translate the levels of rudeness to our own terms and conditions, from our very personal point of views… it’s just who we are, humans!
Strangers are everywhere, all the time, working to their own standards. Fucking strangers!
The reason behind this book being written was unexpected, but not surprising. That reason- The Hotdog Incident (it will remain a mystery to you until you read the book, mwahahahaaa)- has happened to the majority of us. Most of us has been a version of Danny Wallace and yet it was THE Danny Wallace who took it upon himself to explore, investigate, get answers and reveal.
I laughed so much, out loud, many times throughout this book. I received so many, seriously- MANY-, examples from real life from all over the world on how some people have decided to fight rudeness. Some of these stories were awe inspiring! The people who did everything in their power to change the level of rudeness in a society, in my eyes, were better than any superhero imaginable!
The interesting realization, for me, during and after reading this book was that some of the statements Danny makes have been on my mind over the years, as I am sure the same thoughts have been in all of your minds, too… The fact that Danny put this all down into simple terms and examples in a really balanced manner, made it so easy to relate to and follow. So, while in Colombia and China and Russia people were applying their ways to fight rudeness, I think this book is Danny’s way of fighting rudeness, as well!
Because you know those TV shows that rely on rude content, the rude TV presenters? Yes, the ones that we REALLY enjoy watching? It’s never going to stop until we realize that as much as we don’t want someone to be rude towards us, we also have to stop enabling rudeness… It can be exhilarating to witness but there’s always someone on the receiving end.
Rudeness, once incredible, is now pitifully disposable. Obvious, Factory-made and a predictable part of a glut of unimaginative television commissions. Right now, in some brightly lit break-out area of an office in Dalston, a team of people with no socks on sit brain-storming ideas for judges for a new celebrity sushi-rolling show, and one of them’s about to say ‘and of course, we’ll need a rude one’.
Let me tell you a personal story… Please do feel free to skip over this… I was 16 and just started high school (high school might mean something different in different education systems; in Estonia high school is for 3 years and it’s the step in between your basic school and university). I got into one of the coolest high schools in Estonia- to keep this story short as I can, the school is one of 2 or 3 schools in Estonia that follow Swedish culture and teach Swedish language. As such in the school there was a tradition that every year a King or Queen would be elected (and their court and their court jester). All very cool and funky… However, the new years that started always got stick- not only as freshmen but from the Queen (it was a Queen when I was a freshie), as well. Every time the new students went in between classes and buildings, etc and met the Queen, they had to kneel. It did not go down well with me. Many played along for shits&giggles- it’s not like it was throughout the whole year, just a week or so- but even though I was a people pleaser without a backbone back then, I did not appreciate how being demanded to kneel to some snooty girl I didn’t even know made me feel. I found it rude- the Queen and the guard barking at the freshies to kneel in front of your Queen! I was like- wtf, you kneel, you twerp! I found it super rude! I did! You know what else this whole week with the Queen caused? For the following 2 years I did NOT like that girl at all. Even after a year when a King was elected (a lovely chap he was, may I add!), that girl always seemed to be prissy in my eyes. And maybe she was a lovely girl, you know? But I didn’t even care- she could have been holier than thou, but I simply did not want anything to do with her after that kneeling ordeal! In this case, what I saw as rudeness (while others played along) had a long lasting effect. It’s been 13 years since I graduated from that school and I STILL remember every detail about that experience and I STILL wouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt to that girl who played the Queen…
Anyway… If you have an example of rudeness that you want to share, do so in the comments. We don’t think of rudeness as something that might possibly have that big of an effect, but it does! And when we share our stories, perhaps the next time me, you, everyone will take a breath before being rude again… even if it’s a small rudeness, because we don’t know if that small, baby-rudeness will ruin someone’s day because they’ve already had a rough start and that tiny thing will push them over the edge, and when they go home they yell at their partner and make their kids cry!
F*** You Very Much is a fantastic book to read. Even if you’ve sworn off reading non-fiction because “it’s boring“… this book is NOT boring. It’s an honest account of our society and a fantastic learning curve for those of us, me included, who has not taken that extra few minutes to think about the nitty-gritty of rudeness. Everything has a reason and a consequence. I very much recommend this title.