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Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living

A Handbook for the Damned Human Race
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 4 hrs and 23 mins
3 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

Irreverent, charming, and eminently quotable, this handbook - an eccentric etiquette guide for the human race - contains 69 aphorisms, anecdotes, whimsical suggestions, maxims, and cautionary tales from Mark Twain’s private and published writings. It dispenses advice and reflections on family life and public manners; opinions on topics such as dress, health, food, and childrearing and safety; and more specialized tips, such as those for dealing with annoying salesmen and burglars.

Culled from Twain’s personal letters, autobiographical writings, speeches, novels, and sketches, these pieces are delightfully fresh, witty, startlingly relevant, and bursting with Twain’s characteristic ebullience for life. They also remind us exactly how Mark Twain came to be the most distinctive and well-known American literary voice in the world. These texts, some of them new or out of print for decades, have been selected and meticulously prepared by the editors at the Mark Twain Project.

©1991 1997, and 2001 by Richard A. Watson and JP Morgan Chase Bank as Trustees of the Mark Twain Foundation. 2004 by the Regents of the University of California (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

“This wonderful book illustrates precisely why we can never have enough Twain. His humor is timeless, his wisdom about all things without equal.” (Ken Burns, American director and producer)
“This is a masterfully edited compendium that does Twain proud. It captures the note-taking, aphorism-creating, angry-letter-writing essence of Twain’s brain in a way essential, I think, to understanding the man, and by extension, the history of the United States and the nature of life on Earth.” (Dave Eggers)
“This book is a delightful read all the way through.” ( San Francisco Chronicle)

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  • MR
  • 11-07-13

dull, dull, dull

I like Mark Twain but got nothing from this, it just sounds like a cantankerous old man writing little columns for newspapers.

stick with the books!!

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  • Sylvia
  • 15-03-15

Some of Twain's funniest advice/opinions!

What did you like best about this story?

I have read almost all of Twain's books over the years. What I so liked about this one is that some of the best snippets are taken from his many and varied writings and presented under the tongue-in-cheek title of "Helpful Hints for Good Living". Much of the book is amusing in the very least and outrageously funny at times!

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

Gardner's reading is a bit quick at times. It is not what I would call restful. But then, it is fitting for the subject matter. I feel as though Twain might have narrated that way too.

Any additional comments?

If you like Mark Twain, you will like this collection. If you are unfamiliar with Twain, this may give you some idea of what his various books are like as you hear selections from them.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Gary
  • 13-04-14

Good Living, Good Listening

Any additional comments?

Bravo to the academics who collated and collected Twain essays for this piece, and bravo that it finally has become an audio book. Twain's mellifluous linguistic prestidigitation benefits greatly from oral application, and this engaging dispensation satiates and satisfies both in intensity and dosage. Apply liberally.

4 people found this helpful

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  • tracy
  • 23-09-13

Mark Twain is Hilarious!

Mark Twain is insightful and funny and no matter how much time passes his work will still be relevant. He just gets people, and he knows how to take everyday stories and bring out the humor in them. I loved it!

29 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 09-05-14

good read, not for listening

What disappointed you about Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living?

Would be a great reference book for quotes, not really a book to listen to.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Scott
  • 10-04-14

A real hoot!

From now on, whenever the damned human race drives me crazy, this the book I'll be reaching for.
These here Mark Twain scholars have put together a delightful collection of anecdotes, stories, wit, and wisdom from the pen of the man himself. No one else could have written this stuff. It's funny, irreverent, insightful, and cantankerous. Real fun.
Plus, they got Grover Gardner to read it, and ya' can't do better than that.

6 people found this helpful

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  • A. Yoshida
  • 11-04-14

Silly and funny

I didn't realize that Mark Twain had such a witty and whimsical writing style. The book is filled with random stories of seeing life from a different perspective (not really a handbook). It contains silly suggestions like "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." It's an entertaining little book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Teaching Aloha
  • 25-06-16

Classic humor

The reader was fantastic and you can't beat the timeless classic comedy of Mark Twain.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 27-08-15

LOVE Twain, just not this

Any additional comments?

I love Twain and one quip can make the whole listen worthwhile. All in all, I really struggled to finish this one which surprised me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gregg
  • 06-04-14

Horrible, horrible, bad, bad, bad

I'm a huge Twain fan, but not of this audio "book". This is a compilation of Mark Twain's writings put together by a bunch of editors. Purchased on special for $1.99 I feel ripped off.

11 people found this helpful

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  • LRG
  • 10-08-19

Hilarious American

Twain's never let me down when I'm looking for laughs. From the subtle satire or the ridiculous ramblings it was a pleasure hearing the opinions on varied topics. Great to lift me up when I'm crawling along the Highway headed home. Keeps me sane.