Review published on August 7, 2018.
As rudeness is the thing I hate most, I felt compelled to read what was described as the surprising truth why people are so rude.
Wallace suggests we are the rudest we have ever been; unsurprisingly, the internet seems to have fuelled this via people seeking sensational clicks to earn a living, but also because people have an inflated sense of self worth. They fail to see how leaving messages online comes with a responsibility they have not realised, something I describe as the arrogance of certainty. Other opinions just do not feature on their radar as they type their scathing condemnatory remarks.
The book is extremely easy to read. It is hooked around Wallace’s own experience of rudeness when he waited an hour for a hot dog. It is in this sense reflective, honest and relatable – something that he cleverly weaves in throughout the book.
There are a lot of studies/references worked into the dialogue, but it is not academic in its delivery. The studies are of modest sizes that need to be replicated to build a more compelling evidence base, but at least the subject is being researched.
Whilst all emotions are infectious, the impact of rudeness is worrisome. Studies show it reduces performance by 50%. The effect of a rude encounter can impact all day, something I think most of us can relate to when someone’s deliberate rudeness has got under our skin, causing us a bothersome after-burn. The greatest worry was the impact it had on a medical/nursing team – which I will leave you to read, but being rude to clinicians in this study had devastating impacts on the delivery of safe clinical care– and how much do they endure from the public alone on a daily basis?!
The book is a rallying cry for civility and self-reflection – whether it can hit the neediest ears may be its biggest challenge – but definitely a worthy overview with reassurance that it is being studied so that we may be able to put future approaches in place to modify this most dysfunctional behaviour.
Sara Garland 3/2
Fxxx You Very Much by Danny Wallace
Ebury Press 9780091919092 pbk May 2018
AUDIO: Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked by Adrian Edmondson
It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs
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