I have always enjoyed learning and reading about etiquette -- both social and business. I have collected numerous books over the years on the subject. Some I have purchased new. Some I have been delighted to find at estate sales. Others still I have been so pleased to have received as gifts. I treasure them all.
If you are just getting started on building your etiquette book library, I recommend launching it with these five:
Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life
Written by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard, two former White House social secretaries, this book illustrates important points of etiquette through stories of their service in the White House. You will expand your knowledge on manners and civility, all while getting a glimpse behind the scenes of the most famous house in America. The fact that it is bi-partisan (or maybe I should say non-partisan?) is a plus. Lea Berman worked in the George W. Bush administration and Jeremy Bernard served under Barack Obama. I have given this book as a gift numerous times.
Emily Post's Etiquette
The original Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, by Emily Post, was published in 1922. While no longer penned by Emily Post herself (she passed away in 1960), this book is updated regularly by members of the Post family who operate the Emily Post Institute. Now in its 19th edition, it will answer all of your questions from finger bowls to party invitations to condolence notes to e-etiquette to workplace comportment to what to wear for any occasion. It is a must-have.
All in Good Taste
From Kate Spade New York, All in Good Taste is a beautifully designed book chock full of practical information along with delightful recipes and ideas for entertaining. It's fun to read. It's fun to look at. It even has a ribbon bookmark. You'll want to read it more than once. I did.
Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top
Written by Dorothea Johnson (founder of the Protocol School of Washington) and Liv Tyler, this guide offers advice on subjects such as proper greetings, business attire, different styles of dining, and travel etiquette. The artful illustrations complement the text beautifully.
The Blue Book of Stationery: The Definitive Guide to Social and Business Correspondence Etiquette
From the fine stationer, Crane & Co., this is your go-to for written correspondence. Now in its third edition, you will find everything from the basics of what type of paper to select for your stationery to how to compose an invitation to how to properly address correspondence when it comes to titles and honorifics. If you are building, or adding to, your stationery wardrobe The Blue Book of Stationery will be of invaluable help.
After writing this post, I now want to sit down and pore over these favorites again. Do let me know what some of your favorites are. I'm always adding to the collection!