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Download The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure Audiobook, by Catherine Blyth Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (241 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Catherine Blyth Narrator: Catherine Blyth Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2008 ISBN: 9781440679407
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A wide-ranging, exhortatory look at the pleasures of great conversation, including strategies for how to bring it about, from the witty pen of an Englishwoman wise in its ways

In The Art of Conversation, Catherine Blyth eloquently points out the sorry state of disrepair that conversation has fallen into—and then, taking examples from history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and popular culture, she gives us the tools to rebuild. Her prose embodies the conversational values she promotes: It’s smart, succinct, self-deprecating, and light on its feet. 

The Art of Conversation isn’t about etiquette, elocution, or knowing how to hold your teacup with your little finger crooked just so. It’s about something simple and profound: connecting. In our distracted days, it’s easy to forget that each of us possesses a communication technology that has been in research and development for thousands of years. Conversation costs nothing, but can bring you the world. 

Blyth offers us a chance to revel in the possibilities of conversation. As Alexander Pope nearly wrote, “True ease in talking comes from art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance.” Okay, Pope was actually talking about writing, but Catherine Blyth has that skill as well. When you have read The Art of Conversation, you’ll not only know the steps, but hear the music like never before.

Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/2/2014

    " About midway, I kind of gave up on caring because it was kind of pretentious. But it made some good points. I skimmed through the last half. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Scott | 1/25/2014

    " Conversation advice for 14-year-olds. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey Osthoff | 1/24/2014

    " Some of the concepts do not apply particularly well to the cultural considerations of various areas of the United States. Overall this book gives cues to the most important aspects related to the art of conversation. however, the author attempts to be witty throughout the entire book and sounds like some of the bores that she tries to alert us of. I do recommend this book, but take some antacid first. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liisa | 1/22/2014

    " I preferred the art of marriage, but this was interesting too. Alot of good advice but I'm not sure how much I'll recall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 1/10/2014

    " For someone who wants us to talk to each other more, Blyth certainly doesn't seem to have a high opinion of her interlocutors. In rafting and kayaking there's something called "positive point": you don't point to the big rock, but the direction you want your co-rafters to go. The same would be useful here. Blyth's commonplace book of conversational anecdotes, both ancient and modern, keeps confusing rules, exceptions and bad examples. While it's fun to have a list of cruel snappy comebacks or caricature of people you should hate, it's hardly the sort of thing I think of when I think "art" and "neglected pleasure." She would do better off to leave her hang-wringing over Facebook and Twitter and think about why, exactly, she wants to talk to those around her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 nicole | 1/9/2014

    " Fantastic how-to on the intricacies of conversation with tons of historical and celebrity facts and quotes mixed throughout. Excellent bibliography at the end, too. Only complaint is that it was extremely British, so a lot of the slang and references she made went over my head. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachelle | 1/9/2014

    " Reading this book felt like reading a very rough first draft rather than a published copy. The writing style may work in a real-life conversation, but flounders as a book. It's verbose and difficult to follow as she bounces from one idea to another with little actual guidance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 1/7/2014

    " Excellent read. Highly suggested for anyone who wishes to (re)learn the value of solid conversation in any form. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jerry Smith | 12/26/2013

    " Some good advice, seems to fall between stools a little bit. Not sure if it was meant to be amusing or thought provoking, manages to be a little of both. Definitely worth reading, contains some tips for managing conversations better and how to deal with the various types of bore are a treat! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chelsea | 12/15/2013

    " I gave up about 50 pages in. Unreadable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sallie | 11/26/2013

    " Though I like what Blyth says and how well she says it, her 'tour' gets a bit lengthy and redundant. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Darcie | 7/13/2013

    " Interesting premise, poor execution. Practically unreadable! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Lieberman | 1/9/2013

    " Did not hold my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jestertim | 12/18/2012

    " Not as good as the cover might lead you to believe. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kimberley Johnson | 11/3/2012

    " Educational but hard to remember anything I read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lowell | 5/11/2012

    " The first book I ever returned to the store... after 30 pages! Reads too much like a US Weekly article. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrian | 11/16/2011

    " She knows what she's talking about. Problem is people don't listen anymore :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 5/30/2011

    " Excellent read. Highly suggested for anyone who wishes to (re)learn the value of solid conversation in any form. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sallie | 12/6/2010

    " Though I like what Blyth says and how well she says it, her 'tour' gets a bit lengthy and redundant. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jestertim | 11/23/2010

    " Not as good as the cover might lead you to believe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allyson | 8/21/2010

    " This was an interesting idea and the author had many interesting tidbits included, but her combination of annoying wit on display and boring recitation of themes made for boring going.
    I did not dislike it, but would not recommend it.
    Luckily it was a fast read through. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 brian | 5/25/2010

    " I'm still not sure whether to take this book seriously or not. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 4/2/2010

    " About midway, I kind of gave up on caring because it was kind of pretentious. But it made some good points. I skimmed through the last half. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lowell | 3/24/2010

    " The first book I ever returned to the store... after 30 pages! Reads too much like a US Weekly article. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 nicole | 1/11/2010

    " Fantastic how-to on the intricacies of conversation with tons of historical and celebrity facts and quotes mixed throughout. Excellent bibliography at the end, too. Only complaint is that it was extremely British, so a lot of the slang and references she made went over my head. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathy | 11/7/2009

    " Terrible. Couldn't get past page 30. Completely disorganized writing style, clunky sentences, one random non-sequiter after another. And why the hell is the word "reconfigured" on quotation marks on page 14? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 9/28/2009

    " Blyth is a nimble writer who explores the lost and dying art of conversation -- what makes it work, what doesn't.

    A quick, interesting read that will make you think about your next conversation. "

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