The weekend saw a delightful four-star review in the Mail on Sunday by the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw to warm my cockles:

‘Some of the best ideas are the simplest, and there could hardly be a simpler or better one than this… This is a witty, charming and appropriately garrulous book, drawing on authorities as diverse as Aristotle, Cicero, Voltaire, Tommy Cooper and talk show host Tyra Banks.  It covers topics such as chatting up, talking at work, picking subjects, flattering, managing silences and dealing with those exasperating people who claim to be ‘shy’…  This is a book that shamed me into wanting to mend my own lumpen, non-conversational ways and pull my speech-related socks up.

It isn’t a how-to book as such, or an instruction manual… Instead, it’s an evangelical text, and a call to arms… This smart little book should be placed in every house, like Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms, to turn us once again into a nation of good talkers.’

But Toby Young may have got the better of me on Radio 4’s WORD OF MOUTH.  Broadcast next week, with the charming host Michael Rosen arbitrating.  Who won?  Let me know…


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