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SORRY, SORRY, SORRY

THE CASE FOR GOOD APOLOGIES

Essential protocol for those seeking to hone their apology skills.

How to apologize with grace and sincerity.

Since 2012, Ingall and McCarthy have been analyzing the art of the apology in contemporary pop culture, the news, and politics for their website, SorryWatch.com. This book is a synthesis of their research and the varying perspectives they have chronicled on the site. Even though “good apologies are one of the [life] tools we could all be deploying more,” write the authors, apologizing well is agonizingly difficult for many (most?) grownups.” In conversational prose featuring anecdotal examples, Ingall and McCarthy present six easy-to-follow steps for apologizing effectively. They analyze the many reasons why saying you’re sorry is such a difficult process and present instances where the dynamic power of a resonant “I’m sorry” can create positive change and deepen mutual understanding. They discuss the art of the public apology and how it became “fashionable” for politicians and public figures hoping to save face. They explain how to comprehend why a specific behavior was bad and how to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and they discuss how to initiate reparations. Throughout, the authors reveal surprising examples of good apologies as well as the neuroscience and psychology behind poor ones—in addition to the things never to say when attempting to right a wrong. Naturally, the bad apologies comprise the text’s juiciest material, and the authors present the five worst celebrity, corporate, and political apologies of all time—e.g., Mark Wahlberg’s vague 1993 apology for hate crimes he committed as a teenager; Harvey Weinstein’s ambiguous response to numerous sexual assault accusations; and Ellen DeGeneres’ issuing nebulous regrets about her toxic work climate. Ingall and McCarthy firmly believe that apologies “civilize” our culture; in making amends for a wrongdoing, they create a happier, more forgiving society, and they offer key teachable moments for children. Closing each chapter are achievable and proactive apology action items for readers eager to do better.

Essential protocol for those seeking to hone their apology skills.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781982163495

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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