Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy: And Other Rules to Live By.

Posted: April 6, 2020 in Book reviews

81UzB7eGNYLBy David Mitchell

Mitchell’s previous book was titled Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse and since then everything has got worse (Brexit, Trump etc) I’m not sure this can entirely be laid at Mitchell’s feet, but in this collection of previously published Observer articles David tries to make light of, and in many cases attempt to come to terms with, many of the things that’ve happened in recent years; Scampi, politics, the Olympics, terrorism, exercise, rude street names, inheritance tax, salad cream, proportional representation and farts are all touched upon.

I’ve been a big fan of Mitchell and Webb for years, and it’s fair to say a slightly bigger fan of Mitchell (sorry Robert) who I find much common ground with, we’re both historians who’ve probably read more history than we di at university, we’re both centrists and both pedantic buggers. There are many differences obviously. I can drive, he can’t (in your face Mitchell) while he’s married to a woman who’s won millions playing poker (that driving doesn’t look so good now).

By it’s very nature this is an eclectic collection of thoughts and ideas, and as with any such collection, some stick and some don’t, but on the whole most are mildly amusing at least, and many are very funny—and it does help to have Mitchell’s voice in your head as you read them because his dry, pedantic delivery just makes it even better.

Thankfully I hadn’t read too many of the Observer columns used here, but I’ve hears some people who have were disappointed that  this wasn’t new stuff, but given this is made clear from the blurb I’m not sure why people still went ahead and bought it? There is some new stuff, but it’s limited. An introduction and some follow up comments on some of the things he wrote about years ago.

An interesting collection and well worth a punt if you’re a fan of David Mitchell.

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