* How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry


Great title, right? How to Stay Sane is a perfectly reasonable little self-help book that highlights some simple techniques to remain healthy psychologically. Nothing earth-shattering: know thyself, try something new every once in a while, develop close relationships — all humdrum stuff, nicely organized but nevertheless humdrum.

I did like her observation of an interesting cultural difference between the UK and the US: in the UK, privacy is very important so curiosity is avoided when meeting someone new (she calls it “negative politeness) while she finds that in the US it is polite to inquire (positive politeness). Her conclusion that this is caused by different levels of population density did not impress me but the observation was clever nevertheless.

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