In this letter, I wish to encourage you to do something that is very important and that is crucial to your advancement in whatever field you enter into. Also, if you learn the principles of this subject, you will gain great peace of mind when dealing with people.
Here is what I want to encourage you to do: Learn “yourself” some etiquette.
Personally, I believe that etiquette is the capstone of a man’s education. For one should not only be smart in his head, but one should also be smart in how he relates to other people. A truly educated man certainly knows what he knows, but he also knows how to act in every given situation or occasion. Sadly, many schools do not spend much time on this very important subject.
What is etiquette anyway? According to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language — etiquette is:
Conventional requirements as to social behaviour, proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.
A prescribed or accepted code of usage in matters of ceremony as at a court or official or other formal observances.
My definition of etiquette is: doing that which is right, proper, polite and kind in dealing with our fellow human beings.
Unfortunately, most of us have never taken a course in etiquette. And very few parents have taken the time to teach their children the basic principles of good etiquette. If you are one of the millions who have not been taught, take heart! Below is a list of quality books that you can read and study so that you can educate yourself as to what to do when the time presents itself. You will not need to read the entire list, but, at least read one of these books or maybe even two. Also, get a small paperback book on the subject that you can keep close at hand, as a quick reference. Here we go. Below are the top six books on the subject of etiquette:
The Amy Vanderbuilt Complete Book of Etiquette
Revised and Expanded
By Letitia Baldrige
(Doubleday & Company)
A Gentleman at The Table: A Concise, Contemporary Guide to Table Manners
John Bridges & Bryan Curtis
(Rutledge Hill Press)
Miss Manners’ Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour
By Judith Martin
How To Be A Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy
(Rutledge Hill Press)
The Correct Thing: A Guide Book of Etiquette for Young Men
The New Emily Post’s Etiquette
By Elizabeth L. Post
I do not agree with everything in any of the books listed above, but any one of these books will help you get on the right track as to how to act.
Now, out of all of the books listed above, I would recommend your reading the one by Emily Post. I really like the down-to-earth tone of the book, as well as the humor of it.
In closing, my brother, let me say, please don’t get carried away with this etiquette stuff. Just learn the basic rules of how to carry yourself well and then be natural. And remember: keep it real!
Yours For Not Only Being Smart, But Looking Smart,
P.T.: Booker T. Washington said, “Do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
Coleman Young said, “Thinking your way through your problem is better than wishing your way through.”
Duke Ellington said, “Create and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.”