New York Times columnist Galanes counsels calm and holding your tongue in sticky situations.
Making a drunken pass at the office Christmas party. Losing your cool with a cranky neighbor. Booting a fake friend on Facebook. Life’s littlest quandaries manage to sap masses of time and energy for most people. The solution, writes the author, is to turn the other cheek, take the high road and let it go. Hardly revolutionary or provocative stuff, but fans of Galanes seem to draw strength from the approach. Whether anyone outside his circle of fans will also appreciate this innocuous guide is debatable. The real-life conundrums are less than compelling, and the remedies are often no-brainers. Still, the author does provide some fun pseudoscientific devices to help the perpetually perplexed figure out the right course of action. There’s even an entertaining graph and tic-tac-toe board that at least give the illusion that your decision to dump the fiancée was, indeed, the right move. There are undoubtedly better books out there on the art of social interaction (even the prissy Miss Manners will do), but Galanes possesses an appealing, low-wattage charm. No one gets flamed or even singed for their social miscues--just a slight course correction courtesy of the staid and steady author.
Inoffensive advice for the even-keeled.