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Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty (Book) Review

 
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Page Count: 272
 
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4/ 5


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Readers who aren't a fan of twitter may not like the format.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty is an amusing book, and it’s a great quick read that should appeal especially to twitter addicts. That being said, if twitter isn’t your thing, the style of the book may turn you off a bit, as it is basically just a twitter column in book form.

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Posted October 5, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Ah, the ancient art of the humblebrag–a time honored way to toot your own horn comes under fire from the guy who coined the term in Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty.

Even if you haven’t heard the term, you are certainly familiar with the execution. Most everyone knows that you can’t really get away with straight up bragging more than once in a great moon (and even then you have to have a pretty good excuse). But if you take that brag and couch it in some self deprecation so that it *sounds* like you aren’t really bragging….then you, sir, are humble bragging.

There are few places where humble bragging has taken off quite like social media. Facebook statuses and tweets are the perfect platform for people to share every accomplishment – big or small – with the world……humbly, of course. It is easily accessed, with a captive audience and near instant feedback. What could possibly go wrong?

When Harris Wittels noticed, back in 2006, how prevalent the humblebrag was becoming around him, he just couldn’t stop seeing it all over twitter. From celebrities to unknowns, everyone was tooting their own horns with the requisite dash of humility thrown in for decorum’s sake. It was he that coined the term “humblebrag”, and he started up a twitter account (aptly named @humblebrag) dedicated to retweeting the scores of humblebrags showing up online.

Wittels says that the whole thing started as sort of a joke, something he laughed about with his coworkers on Parks and Recreation, where he works as a writer. But the whole thing really took on a life of its own, and soon people were submitting all kinds of brags from friends, family, and the world at large. The anonymous joke twitter account soon became a way to call others out on their often serial habit of humblebragging.

If you’re still a bit confused as to what actually constitutes a humblebrag, Harris Wittels defines it this way in the book: “A specific type of brag that masks the boasting part of a statement in a faux-humble guise. The false humility allows the offender to boast about their “achievements” without any sense of shame or guilt.” Wittels gives all kinds of examples in the book, mostly from twitter, where people do things like bragging about signing so many autographs that their hands hurt, or how awful it is to be beautiful.

Of course, people know it isn’t socially acceptable to come right out and say “Gosh, I am really hot.” But somehow, the act of adding in a little negative makes it okay in their minds. “Oh my gosh, you guys. You don’t know how much work it is to look like this every day.” You see what they did there? Still telling everybody they think they are gorgeous, but wrapping it in a complaint….as if they don’t even realize they are bragging. And now that you know what a humblebrag is, you’ll start noticing them everywhere – perhaps even in your own life.

The format of Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty is basically posting twitter updates (oftentimes with an explanation of who the person is), and then making snarky comments about their humblebrag status. For twitter addicts like myself, it’s the perfect blend of tweet and book, and it makes for a book that is easily picked up for just a page or two at a time.

Humblebrags are not solely the property of twitter though, so there are some other humblebrags added to the book for perspective, including a chapter filled with historical humblebrags from such notables as Napoleon Bonaparte. And since we all know that there are few humblebraggers that ever hit the quality and quantity of celebrities, there is also a chapter featuring humblebrags from acceptance speeches. Oh famous people – it’s so cute how you pretend to be modest!

Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty is an amusing book, and it’s a great quick read that should appeal especially to twitter addicts. That being said, if twitter isn’t your thing, the style of the book may turn you off a bit, as it is basically just a twitter column in book form. Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty is available on Amazon now for $10.98.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)