Also of interest...rules and conventions
by Therese Oneill (Little, Brown, $25)
“It’s hard to imagine a woman—or a teenage girl—who won’t love this book,” said Caitlin Flanagan in The Washington Post. Subtitled “The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners,” it’s intended to issue a wake-up call to every Jane Austen reader who moons over 19th-century customs, unaware of the wretched odors, diseases, and behavioral codes people once put up with. Greasy hair, open sewers, inescapable BO—Unmentionable builds “an ironclad argument for the modern era.”
by Dan Ariely (Simon & Schuster/TED, $17)
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has honed an authorial style all his own, and it’s “effective, instructive, and entertaining,” said Michael Skapinker in the Financial Times. His slim new book repackages some of the lessons of his 2008 best-seller, Predictably Irrational, while focusing on workplace motivation. Ariely’s point is simple: We all want to feel our work has meaning. But only his “characteristically engagingly written” case studies will help you see why that makes pizza a better motivator than a bonus.
by Jeremiah Tower (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $20)
Etiquette, at its worst, is simply “a way to tell everyone you’re rich,” said Annalisa Quinn in NPR.org. Though chef Jeremiah Tower isn’t that kind of manners guru, his new guide to dining etiquette “leans fussy” and reveals some blind spots. He counsels against centerpiece roses, for example, because “you don’t want them competing with your $125 pinot noir.” He has good advice for restaurant guests, though, and many of his tips seem “animated by a real belief” that we all can learn to be nicer.
The Daily Stoic
by Ryan Holiday (Portfolio, $25)
Ryan Holiday’s take on the philosophy of the Stoics is “a reduction of a reduction,” said James Romm in The Wall Street Journal. But that doesn’t mean his insights aren’t useful. In this collection of daily meditations, the author of 2014’s The Obstacle Is the Way repackages the wisdom of Epictetus, Seneca the Younger, and Marcus Aurelius—three Romans who borrowed their ideas from Greek forebears. Through repetition and focused effort, you too might master the art of living—“especially on business days.”