I found this book to be really amusing when I read it, but now after seeing Toby Young on this past season of Top Chef, I think he just an unfunny douche bag I ll leave the original four star rating, but only because reading about a douche bag can be funny. I didn t expect much when I impulse bought this book at a used book store I recognized Toby Young s name from his appearances as an occasional guest judge on Top Chef, where I didn t like him much but appreciated his shameless bitterness, and I found the book title very clever When I finally got around to reading the book, though, I was surprised to love it.The story is a memoir from Young s journey through the New York City magazine publishing world in the mid 1990s I have little interest in NYC culture or print magazines, but I found Young s observations fascinating, with a real depth of analysis of a subject that could have been a silly collection of gossip To be sure, there is plenty of gossip here, with horror stories about life in the offices of a Conde Nast publication and observations from Oscar parties, but Young approaches his work with a surprising amount of sobriety and gravity He describes a particular magazine s goal as being something like smart people writing about stupid things, and that s what he achieves here.The dualities really create a positive tension that makes this book rewarding to contemplate after the fact Young doesn t fit in with some crowds because he shamelessly loves celebrity culture, and with others because he recognizes that this love is stupid and possibly harmful to society He indulges in immaturity in the vein of Tucker Max constant hangovers from booze and drugs, a callous encounter with an immigrant woman that will make you hate him almost as much as he momentarily hates himself, a prank with a stripper that made me laugh out loud but develops a truly impressive maturity through a relationship near the end of the book Through it all, Young is intelligent, articulate, and witty, willing to criticize others but refusing to humiliate anyone but himself I didn t expect to like this book, but by the time I hit the 2 3 mark, I had already purchased a copy of the follow up The Sound of No Hands Clapping A Memoir I highly recommend this book to fans of pop culture. In 1995, British journalist Toby Young got the phone call every Fleet Street hack dreams of an offer from Graydon Carter, the renowned editor of Vanity Fair, to fly to New York and work on the magazine Toby then proceeded to stuff up every opportunity that came his way, starting with his interpretation of the casual dress code as a pair of vintage 501s and a T shirt featuring a bare chested Keanu Reeves and the strapline Young, Dumb and Full of Come.I first read How To Lose Friends Alienate People in 2002 as I commuted to my new job in an organisation I came to refer to as The Ministry of Truth It was all I could do not to burst into horrified laughter right there on the bus Over a decade later, Toby Young s ghastly faux pas, complete lack of judgement, and drunken antics continue to appal.I re read How To Lose Friends Alienate People shortly after My Salinger Year, another memoir set in the New York publishing industry While the latter could be a career guide for young hopefuls do what you re asked but be prepared to take on challenging work, be discreet at all times, and be aware of the impression you re making , Toby Young s book is a how not to guide don t smuggle a strippergram into the office on Take Our Daughters to Work Day, don t slide smart arse remarks under your boss s door, and try to avoid being photographed doing lines of coke at work.Between his truly outrageous tales, Toby Young offers up interesting digressions on celebrity culture and academia in the late 1980s, and the importance of the New York media in determining the zeitgeistIf Vanity Fair announces that London is on fire, then, to all intents and purposes, it s on fire On the other hand, if London s so called cultural renaissance goes completely unnoticed by anyone outside the city, then the whole thing is a bit of a non event In the global kingdom, New York is the home of international court society He also muses on exactly what it takes to be successful at a magazine like Vanity FairI often wondered how it was that a group of such apparently sophisticated people were able to devote so much energy to producing an upscale supermarket tabloid How did they preserve their sanity while thinking up cover lines like Jemima and Imran The High Stakes Marriage of Pakistan s Camelot Couple Were they all on Prozac Toby answers this question in a footnote The answer is probably yesHow To Lose Friends Alienate People is much than gossipy recollections of Toby s time among the glitterati He shows enough insight, self awareness and wit to keep the reader on his side, despite his unspeakable behaviour In the last chapter, he recounts some of the spectacularly idiotic things he did, then pondersUp to a point, these episodes were simply the result of blind ignorance of not knowing, and not bothering to find out, the appropriate way to behave But some of my destructive acts seemed to be the result of the anarchic side of my character tripping the other side up, doing whatever it could to ensure I d never end up achieving the things I d set my heart on I can t help feeling that the terrorist inside of me was the British part sabotaging the American part The longer I spent in the States, the British I felt Like so many others, I thought that by moving to New York, I could re invent myself I could become an American It seemed entirely possible, too for about six months Then my Britishness started to reassert itself It was if I took a flight across the Atlantic and my nationality came by boat But perhaps the last word should go to the Director of Public Relations at Vanity Fair, quoted in the reviews at the front of the bookWe ve been looking through our files, and we can t seem to find any record of a Toby Young ever having worked here. In the accordance with Hydra principle I d link you but it got deleted.I d also like to say that I didn t get a notice that this review will be deleted.If we are deleting anything off topic, does this mean that those pre release, pre read reviews that are nothing but a pile of gifs expressing reader s excitement go to The one you chose to defend Honestly super difficult to read A white man from a first world country, talking out of his ass about the rise of political correctness, feminazis and how he never made it in New York because he just couldn t take the town seriously White mediocrity personified I hate giving up so it took me about 3 months to read it through 2 stars because it was funny sometimes. Why did I find Toby Young such an annoying twerp I very nearly didn t finish this book, a very rare occurrence His obsession with celebrity, parties and tottie just made me cringe but his analysis of the cultural differences between New York and London was very incisive and that is what kept me reading, as it was I read two other books in breaks when I d had too much of Toby. My fondest memory of this book was the day that I was reading it on the train on my way home from work A guy got on the train and sat down next to me He was reading How to Win Friends and Influence People Sometimes the planets just align. In High Flying British Journalist Toby Young Left London For New York To Become A Contributing Editor At Vanity Fair Other Brits Had Taken Manhattan Alistair Cooke, Tina Brown, Anna Wintour So Why Couldn T He But Things Didn T Quite Go According To Plan Within The Space Of Two Years He Was Fired From Vanity Fair, Banned From The Most Fashionable Bar In The City, And Couldn T Get A Date For Love Or Money Even The Local AA Group Wanted Nothing To Do With Him How To Lose Friends And Alienate People Is Toby Young S Hilarious And Best Selling Account Of The Five Years He Spent Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places And Steadily Working His Way Down The New York Food Chain, From Glossy Magazine Editor To Crash Test Dummy For Interactive Sex Toys A Seditious Attack On The Culture Of Celebrity From Inside The Belly Of The Beast, How To Lose Friends And Alienate People Is Also A Nastily Funny Read USA Today How to Alienate Readers, Too I bought this book because the title caught my eye, and the quotes on the cover were divine I ll rot in hell before I give that little bastard a quote for his bookJulie BirchillHowever, having read this all the way through I agree with the various nay sayers on the cover, and would like to hit Toby Young about the head with a hardcover copy of this memoir It would be safe to say Mr Young doesn t really get it When writing yourself as the cute, laddish fool firstly you have to actually be likeable, and secondly for fuck s sake never make the kind of zany little blunders that may for example risk your girlfriend getting raped Yes, you read that right.Toby Young presents all his brazen idiocies as lovable mistakes Perhaps to him they are To me, and I suspect most other readers, you need to warm to the protagonist awhole lot before you let him get away with half the shit that Young does And does repeatedly.You know that obnoxious, arrogant, knuckle dragging friend of a friend you probably have to deal with down the pub every now and again Well one of them s managed a media career, and thanks to this book you can now read the world from his point of view It doesn t make much sense than it did down the pub, but at least this one hollers less, and you can put it aside whenever he becomes to much.Don t get me wrong, it was educational, too I now know to not turn up to my first day of work wearing a t shirt that says Young, Hung and Full of Come The frustrating thing is that there is an intellect fighting to get out Some of his analysis of transatlantic differences are interesting and valid, as well as his analysis of the illusion of meritocracy it s just that these glimpses are so severely overshadowed by all his antics arrogance all round arsery that this book, as a whole, is best left alone.God knows how they managed to turn this into a romantic comedy with that nice Simon Pegg in it I suspect it involved some industrial cleaning to remove all traces of Toby Young s noxious personality. This book was a very light read and not too difficult to get through, interesting enough to keep me reading Beyond that I can t think of much positive to say Another British writer at least this one didn t use a lot of terms that were unfamiliar to me , male, and very opinionated, his biography reflects his experience in a very specific social setting in America in which he, self admittedly, acted like a pompous jerk In the telling he seems to work through his problems and become a better person in the end, but still has a chip on his shoulder where America is concerned I shouldn t take it personally because the social setting he was in has nothing to do with me and I would never be in this situation, but I guess I am just too patriotic for it not to affect me Another pet peeve that seems to be ever increasing in today s literature is the unnecessary overuse of profanity Unless you are using it sparingly and to show extreme emotion I find it repulsive I do realize that I am among the minority in this opinion so I won t tell you not to read it, but I caution you you might find this book a waste of time Oh, and it didn t make me want to see the movie either.
Toby Daniel Moorsom Young born 1963 is a British journalist and the author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the tale of his failed five year attempt to make it in the U.S as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, as well as The Sound of No Hands Clapping, a follow up about his failure to make it as a Hollywood screenwriter His obnoxious wit has earned him almost as many
- 368 pages
- How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
- Toby Young
- 14 January 2019 Toby Young