The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure

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Penguin, Dec 26, 2008 - Self-Help - 304 pages
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Reclaim the pleasures and possibilities of great conversation with this sparkling guide from the witty pen of an Englishwoman wise to its art

Every day we use cell phones and computers to communicate, but it's easy to forget that we possess a communication technology that has been in research and development for thousands of years. Catherine Blyth points out the sorry state of disrepair that conversation has fallen into-and then, taking examples from history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and popular culture, she gives us the tools to rebuild.

The Art of Conversation isn't about etiquette, elocution, or knowing how to hold your teacup with your little finger crooked just so. It's about something simple and profound: connecting. Conversation costs nothing, but can bring you the world, because it transcends the ability to talk to anyone. What transforms encounters into adventures is how we listen, laugh, flirt, and flatter. Blyth celebrates techniques for reading and changing minds, whether you're in a bar or a boardroom.

As Alexander Pope nearly wrote, "True ease in talking comes from art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance." When you have read The Art of Conversation, you'll not only know the steps, but hear the music like never before.

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Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Introduction
HELLO On Conversations Casting Couch
SMALL TALK BIG DEAL On Striking Up a Tune
PAY HEED On the Acrobatics of Attention
FIT SUBJECTS On Topics in Search of Good Homes
INTO THE GROOVE On Steering Controls
DO GO ON On Wrangling Boredom
HOW TO TELLA LIE On the Detection of Untruths
PILLOW TALK On the Languages of Love
THE FINEART OF FLATTERY On Love in Measured Doses Chapter 12 SHOP TALK On Conversation as Work
CHOPPY WATERS On Navigating Difficult Conversation
SHUTUP SHOP On How to Wage a Word
ARE YOU RECEIVING ME? On Stitching Conversation into Your Life

WIT TO WOO On Humor as Social Engineering

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About the author (2008)

Catherine Blyth is a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in numerous British publications, including The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Despite her marriage to a mischievous gossip columnist, she still manages to enjoy a thriving social life.

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