Cover image for How to lose friends and alienate people
How to lose friends and alienate people
Young, Toby, 1963-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Da Capo Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
xxvii, 340 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN5123.Y66 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN5123.Y66 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In 1995 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 then, Anna Wintour now-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 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. But it's more than "the longest self-deprecating joke since the complete works of Woody Allen" (Sunday Times); it's also a seditious attack on the culture of celebrity from inside the belly of the beast. And there's even a happy ending, as Toby Young marries-"for proper, noncynical reasons," as he puts it-the woman of his dreams. "Some people are lucky enough to stumble across the right path straight away; most of us only discover what the right one is by going down the wrong one first."BEFORE PUBLICATION: "I'll rot in hell before I give that little bastard a quote for his book."-Julie Burchill AFTER PUBLICATION: "A relentlessly brilliant book-a What Makes Sammy Run for the twenty-first century...the funniest, cleverest, most touching new book I've read for as long as I can remember."-Julie Burchill, The Spectator

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Inspired by Hollywood classics such as The Front Page, British writer Young longed to move to New York and work as a journalist for a glossy magazine, hobnobbing with the rich and famous. He jumps at the chance for a tryout with Vanity Fair magazine and eventually lands a tenuous position. But he's disappointed to learn that, compared with British reporters, American journalists are sycophants, slavering over celebrities and cozying up to publicists. Still, because he is so enamored of New York, he thoroughly enjoys his stay. Eventually, however, his admittedly juvenile pranks and failure to adapt to the culture, as well as his excessive drinking, end his career at Vanity Fair. Now on the fringes, freelancing for British publications, he manages to offend the powerful media couple Tina Brown and Harry Evans, triggering a lawsuit that is later dropped. But the contretemps actually helps to boost his career. This thoroughly humorous memoir provides a scathing portrait of the egomaniacal world of New York media and an insightful look at modern American celebrity culture. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

Seemingly unable to keep from offending everyone he comes in contact with, British-born Young is a misfit in the New York publishing world. He isn't attractive (he calls himself a Philip Seymour Hoffman look-alike, but with bad teeth), he's socially inept without alcohol and, most importantly, he's consumed with the desire to "be somebody." His memoir is a hilarious and scathing insider's view of the world in which Young wishes so badly to fit. Hired by editor Graydon Carter to work at Vanity Fair ("Basically I forgot to fire Toby Young every day for two years"), Young is shocked to find that his journalist colleagues are more awed by celebrity than news and are more likely to cuddle up with publicists than with a smoke and a shot at the local watering hole. The saving grace of Young's tale of his own downward spiral is his ability to lambaste himself along with the New York publishing world. Young's crisp reading of this memoir is highly entertaining and bitter, yet guileless and funny. His hilariously screechy imitations of some of the female heavy hitters of the publishing world (such as Tina Brown and Peggy Siegal) bring out his knack for hyperbole and his boyish, prankster style. Simultaneous release with the Da Capo hardcover (Forecasts, June 10). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved