I have never watched Project Runway or any other show that Tim Gunn may be on (is he on other shows? I don’t even know). But I’ve seen him on the Daily Show and Colbert Report, and he seems likeable enough, so I approached his book with an open mind. Maybe it was a little too open…
Gunn’s Golden Rules:Life's Little Lessens for Making it Work claims to be an etiquette book. And, as I was reading the introduction, where Gunn says the etiquette he cares about boils down to “just be nicer,” I was completely on board (I may have even said, “Yes, yes, I agree!” aloud). And then came the book. It was a strange amalgamation of manners tips, Project Runway anecdotes, and catty stories of people’s rudeness, peppered with all too many catchphrases (“Make it work,” anyone?). Not what I wanted.
What bothered me most about Gunn’s Golden Rules was how terribly scattered it was; it jumped from one story to another without transition—it seemed like it might be Gunn’s cocktail party conversation. I would’ve cut Gunn some slack—after all, he’s not a writer—but the book was co-written. Yes, there’s a little “with Ada Calhoun” on the cover. If you bring in a writer to help you with the book, the writing had better be decent. Or just neutral, I would’ve been okay with that. I will admit, I sometimes feel a little hypocritical criticizing the writing of these books, as I know my writing on this website is not super. But then I remember that they are writing a book—if I were writing a book (instead of a blog), you can bet I would draft and edit much more thoroughly. So, on with the criticism, I guess.
Every so often, Gunn told an interesting story, and the book was a quick read, but even so, I’m giving Gunn's Golden Rules a 1/5. If it weren’t for the Daily Shill, I would have stopped reading about 80 pages in.
Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Tim Gunn
Buy the Book
Sad to be at work this week and next? I don’t blame you. But, perhaps I can help? Come back to the Daily Shill every workday between now and Christmas (assuming you don’t work on the weekend or the 24th) and read a new review. That makes it all better, doesn’t it? Wait, you’re telling me it doesn’t? Well, sorry, it’s all I can do.