Title: I See Rude People: One woman's battle to beat some manners into impolite society by Amy Alkon
Genre: Etiquette, stress management, modern society
Comments: I bought this book on impulse after reading Amy's column The sky's the limit when flying with feral children which perfectly encapsulated my horror at a case where an airline that had booted off a mother and child who had screamed so loudly that safety announcements couldn't be heard ended up capitulating to and compensating the parent who could not control their little darling.
Amy is smart and funny and has some great anecdotes about the lengths she goes to to protect her own personal space from rude, selfish, thoughtless people, indifferent bureaucracy and businesses and criminals unfortunate enough to rob her. The book is extremely easy to read and much of it is laugh out loud.
There is no doubt, however, that she can be a pain in the arse, obsessive to the point of ridiculous and she sometimes ends up venting her frustrations on the under-resourced employee who has little control over their employer's policies, procedures and priorities. In these cases I found myself losing sympathy for her, even though she was right to be angry and upset about a situation. It is very likely, however, that this is a cultural cultural clash - as an Australian I am often astounded by the self-centred perspective of many Americans, even those who are well-aware they are not the centre of everyone else's universe. Just like toddlers they need to be taught to consider how their behaviour impacts on others around them.