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Book Corner: Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct
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We have a choice about how we behave, and that means we have the choice to opt for civility and grace. – Dwight Currie   

Choosing Civility, by P. M. Forni, is a handbook that offers practical rules to help us recapture lost art of civility. Published more than 15 years ago, the 25 essential rules are more relevant today than ever. Each chapter provides examples of how to put a rule into practice and make your life—and the lives of others—more enjoyable and rewarding. Here are just five of the rules Forni covers in his book:

  • Pay Attention—When you pay attention, you do justice to the presence of others in your life.
  • Acknowledge Others—Acknowledge others’ existence, their importance to you, their feelings, and the things they do for you.
  • Speak Kindly—By speaking with kindness you will improve the lives of those around you. Your kind words can inspire others; at the very least, you will lift their spirits and make their day more endurable. 
  • Respect Other’s Opinions—Respecting other’s opinions requires us to recognize that other people are entitled to look at the world differently than we do, and that when they share their views with us, they can expect a fair hearing. 
  • Be Inclusive—Reevaluate your dislikes, spend a few minutes with someone you find uninteresting, and consider different values with an open mind. 
Other expressions of civility suggested by Forni include listen, apologize earnestly, and don’t shift responsibility and blame. Choosing Civility is a good book to keep on hand to refer to over and over again.


P. M. Forni teaches civility and Italian literature at Johns Hopkins University and was the co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project (1997–2000).

Source: The Johns Hopkins Civility Project

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