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Post, Peggy, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, 2004.

According to Peggy Post, civility and courtesy are the glue that holds society together. And courteous people are empathetic, flexible, and willing to adjust their own behavior to the needs and feelings of others.

I agree with Peggy that a culture of courtesy could make life easier for all of us. When it comes to the workplace, however, I think that there are also pragmatic reasons for having a good grasp of etiquette.

If you know the standard rules of behavior, you’ll feel more confident and be prepared to go anywhere. If you behave with courtesy, your colleagues won’t be distracted by your annoying habits, and they’ll better appreciate the full scope of your talents.

With this latest edition of a classic work, Emily Post’s great-grand-daughter-in-law offers advice about how we should behave in hundreds of situations, from the office, to the neighborhood, to the Internet. Like the original 1922 edition, the book offers advice on how to manage formal situations, like weddings and dinner with the boss.

The book goes much further, however, to address common concerns of today’s world, like handling rudeness, road rage and office gossip. On the topic of winning friends at work, Post says that staying on good terms with your coworkers largely depends on what you don’t do during the work day. You must avoid, she says, problematic noise and smells, as well as offensive language.

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