BOOK REVIEW: How to Lose Friends & Irritate People by Laszlo Wanky



How to Lose Friends and Irritate People by Laszlo Wanky

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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Wanky pays an homage to Dale Carnegie’s seminal self-help book by calling it, “a book for its time–that time being one in which people were lonely, pathetic, and didn’t understand social networking.” The author’s central premise is that we live in very different times, and today people are inundated by Facebook friends they neither like nor find interesting. Furthermore, Wanky goes on to argue, gone are the days when likable people are  liked. We live in an era in which douche-bags and drug-addled celebrities are gods among men. The book offers many headline examples, such as how Miley Cyrus’s career crashed as the sweet and admirable Hannah Montana, but then she caught her second wind by adopting the persona of a meth-addicted prostitute.


Roughly half of the book is dedicated to how to find success in defriending unwanted virtual amigos. Wanky suggests that the usual tactic of subtly “un-adding” people almost always fails because people are too “wussified” to make it stick. The only effective strategy, according to the author, is to trick others into removing you from their list of pseudo-friends. Be forewarned, however, being uninteresting and annoying is not enough–one must be spectacularly despicable. This is hard for most people–whom Wanky calls “the sychophantic masses”–because they slobber over being liked. Wanky devotes three chapters to helping people get over their love of being liked. The most cogent of these chapters is, “Kim Jong Un or Gandhi: Who Ya Wanna Party With?


The aforementioned chapters also help set up Part II of the book, which explains how one can put a skyrocket on one’s career by borrowing the techniques of the likes of Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Piers Morgan. Wanky shows how, like these individuals, one can be thoroughly unlikable while having people hang on your every word.  Again, three chapters form the core of this part of the book. They are: “Loud = True”, “Bombastic Fact Picking for Beginners”, and “Your Hairstyle Makes You Sound Stupid.”


I’m not going to pretend that Mr. Wanky’s language is fluid or graceful.  The author’s prose is colloquial… at best. A typical sentence–seen in chapter 8–is, “If ya wanna get with the boom-chiggy-booms, you gotta shout those fart-monkeys down, cause if they hear ’em they’ll all be like, ‘who’s the fart-monkey now, bitch, who’s the fart-monkey now?'”


The book’s strengths include its incredible brevity. Weighing in at only 26 pages, four chapters consist entirely of 27-syllable haiku. It also features fine graphics such as a picture of a “fart-monkey” that any grandmother would be proud to stick on their refrigerator. (The color choices were bit odd, but Wanky was clearly limited to the 16-color box of Crayolas.)


I’d recommend this book for anyone who doesn’t like friends and who really despises people’s indifference toward them. I have no doubt that by following Mr. Wanky’s recommendations, one can become a thoroughly loathsome individual in a matter of days.


Lastly, Happy April Fool’s Day.