Photo Source // Emily Lovell
By: Emily Lovell, Associate Editor
I just finished reading a fantastic book by Danny Wallace called F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness and What We Can Do About It. While the title is a mouthful, the book itself is less than 300 pages. Wallace is also a comedian so it’s a pretty funny and engaging read.
Wallace argues that rudeness is contagious. We have encounters with rude people all the time: on the road, on social media, at work, at school, in grocery stores and restaurants, etc. And when we witness rudeness, we ourselves are more likely to be rude, or at least become intrigued by what causes people to be rude. In fact, it was a confrontation with the rude owner of a hot dog joint that compelled Wallace to write this book in the first place.
Throughout its pages, he explores rudeness from a variety of expert perspectives. Darren Dahl, Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Science at the Saunder School of Business in Vancouver, is one such expert. Dahl coined the term, “Pretty Woman Effect.” In essence, if someone selling a product treats us with disrespect, we are more likely to buy their product in order to “buy” their respect.
Historical anecdotes, as well as personal ones, also serve as Wallace’s evidence. For instance, Wallace tells of Antanas Mockus, one of Bogotá’s previous mayors, whose radical policies reduced littering, traffic fatalities, and homicides within the city. I would recount other examples, but I don’t want to provide any further spoilers.
Overall, I think that Wallace presents a convincing argument on a very relevant issue. Wallace argues that civility is vital for society’s functioning, and after reading F You Very Much, I can’t help but agree. Hopefully, your curiosity has been incited and you want to read this book.