Book Reviews

The code of good manners today (Codul Bunelor Maniere Astazi)

The code of good manners today (Codul Bunelor Maniere Astazi)

Published in Romanian by the Humanitas publishing company first in 1995 and then in 1999 and available in both paper cover and audio format, the Code of Good Manners Today is a Must Read book for all ages (and should be even re-read from time-to-time).


Jules’ Review

The Bible said

All things are allowed to me but not all of them are useful (1 Cor 6,12).

I have read this book in my childhood (paid most of my monthly state allocation to buy it (it was the equivalent of 14.5 RON = £3) but it was worth every penny.
The book is split across several chapters teaching you how to
– be a well behaved person
– take care of our appearance
– how to grow old and look good
– how to dress in-doors and out-doors appropriately for the time of day and the occasion
– how to say hello and introduce yourself (this is really important as I have seen people make complete fools of themselves when they first opened their mouths and also had the “infinite pleasure” of having one of the people I was interviewing dash past me, sit down on a couch like he owned the place and then say “hi there, I’m here for the job”)
– how to shake/squeeze somebody’s hand – beware men – crushing your opponent’s hand is not an option
– how to introduce yourself or who should introduce you in high society (or when talking to doctors, politicians and clergy)
– how to talk to strangers (and when)
– how to properly use the familiar terms of “you” (singular) and when it is appropriate
– the art of conversation – I have read a book just on this by Eric Watson called “The Art of Conversation” and I must say I can identify a specialist when I see one. Ms. Marinescu is one of them.
– when to gossip
– what to talk about
– how to behave when invited to someone else’s house (take of shoes, voice loudness, gestures)
– care for others (how not to be tactless)
– how to speak on the phone and when
– how to communicate through mail and e-mail and a few samples of correct addressing based on the destination of the mail
– how to throw a dinner party – everything from how to be a good host, how to set the table, what to serve on the table, who to invite and how the seating should be made. This specific chapter – I re-read it once a year as our family throws such parties before Christmas and after New Year’s day and they have been a smash hit since we started applying these rules.
– how to dress (what to wear at a dinner party), how to choose your shoes, dress and accessories
– how to behave in a mannered fashion in the day-to-day life (bus, train, in stores, at the restaurant, theatre, hotel, walking on foot in the city)
– how much to tip
– how to be a good partner – from dating to the silver and golden wedding. This chapter is especially good for people thinking about having a wedding and the advice present would make any mother-in-law blush from envy. There is no reason to be a “Bridezilla” today. Or worse, a Jersey Shore Type of a Bride. You can be classy, stylish and you will be remembered fondly by your guests years to come.
– how to be polite when traveling (in Romania or abroad)
– how to buy thoughtful gifts
– how to behave at a birth, marriage or death in the family

Favourite parts: The tiny jokes embedded in each chapter. For example:
Father o’Connor asks little Sean:
– “Do you pray before dinner, my child?”
– “No, my mother’s cooking is great!”

Least favourite parts: Today’s society has changed in specific terms when it comes to social gatherings (like flash mobs) and also in the way they talk (see Twitter, Facebook, Hi5). Some of the netiquette is a bit out of date and should be updated. Problem is – at her 77 years, our author might not release another update of this beautiful book.

Let’s hope they bring out the English version soon!

About the author

Aurelia Marinescu
21 February 1934

Aurelia Marinescu
Aurelia Marinescu

After finishing the university of Romanian Language and Literature in Bucharest, Romania, Aurelia had been teaching Romanian Language for over 25 years at the “Dimitrie Cantemir” Highschool from the Capital. Here is where she edited the first printed magasine of the high school and made the grounds for the “G. Calinescu” literary circle, which she lead with a true passion for over 20 years.
In 1995 the first edition of the “Good Manners Code” has been published and in 1999, the second edition. Following the extraordinary success the book had, Aurelia has been invited to do radio talks, TV interviews and magazine columns and articles, all about what should be civilised behaviour. By the time the third album was published, she was hoping that some day this volume would be included in school curricullum.