PJ Media

"Conversation is second only to sex, a lot less hassle, and it really matters."

So says author Catherine Blyth in her new book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592404197?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1592404197″emThe Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure./em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1592404197″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / I spent the morning reading this cute little book and came away with some interesting information about why modern life is bad for conversation. Despite saying she doesn’t hate technology, the author doesn’t seem happy with it, stating:br /br /blockquoteCompared to face-to-face, Internet communication is two dimensional….As distractions multiply, fewer receive our full attention, and nuances are neglected. We don’t look at the man selling us coffee, never mind shoot the breeze; we’re too busy fiddling with our iPod. I’ve witnessed wedding guests with more qualifications than they have chromosomes text-messaging during the vows. br /br /Developments, yes, but progress? …The nuances are no less valuable to us than they were to our forefathers, nor are the joys. Abandon them, and we miss out. /blockquotebr /br /In some ways, I agree–that to miss out on intimate conversations with actual people is not a good thing and can lead to feelings of isolation and despair for some. But small talk is not for everyone and sometimes it can lead an introvert to feel uneasy, bored or just alienated. However, Blyth says it’s important to overcome shyness and gives tips such “the more engaged we are, the less nervous we feel” to those of us with little aptitude for small talk. br /br /Overall, the book is quite good at teaching how to engage in good conversation–from a romantic talk with a partner (in a chapter on pillow talk) to how to wage a word war with those who insult you. It’s a good read.