Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gunn's Golden Rules

Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work
by Tim Gunn

Sadly, as much as I adore Tim Gunn, I am not finding this book very inspirational.

He writes like the editor never gave it back and said "let's re-work this part." It rambles in different directions shamelessly. And I really believe that although he's saying one thing in the book, the anecdotes he's sharing actually say something else. I still adore his TV personality but I am feeling like he is a person that was stabbed with hundreds of little pins & needles throughout his life and has yet to forgive or forget a single one of them. He's all about "taking the high road." To me that means really letting go and moving on. I'm just finding that disappointing.

I felt the writing did get better the further I read and either he seemed to stay on track a bit better or I grew accustomed to his style of writing and developed a sense of how to follow him.

The book is of course, by title, Tim Gunn's rules for life. I think it's important to keep that in perspective because his rules fit him. It's not a one size fits all book of rules to live by. That said, I think he imparts many good lessons in the value of manners and etiquette. Actually, upon reviewing the titles of all his chapters, I can't disagree with any of his rules. I suppose my disagreement comes in their interpretations. One anecdote that sticks clearly in my mind involves showing up at a party with an uninvited/unexpected guest in tow. Yes, this would absolutely be verboten, particularly for a sit down dinner party. But in Tim's anecdote he was a guest, not the host, and he chose to jump up and relinquish his place at the party and go home!!

This particular story really disturbed me. I thought about the host, how he/she must feel to have Tim insist on leaving as the result of another guest's poor decision. I think it would put a negative feeling on the entire evening that could have been avoided if handled differently. I also would have wondered why he even chose to accept the invitation if he were so willing to give it up. I know I am putting a lot of my own feelings into the anecdote, but I think the polite thing to do would have been to allow the host and the guest/non-guest involved to "make it work."

There were other examples where I felt Tim was saying one thing and writing about acting another way. Perhaps I just don't find a gossipy "tell-all" book the right venue for "Ms. Manners."

I am sure I will continue to love Tim on Project Runway and other venues he surfaces in, but I may have a tiny bit less respect for him. Or not. After all, as with all of us, he's only human.

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