‘Just imagine how much easier life would be if you knew what you were doing. Wouldn’t it be great to have clear, precise instructions for all those things you normally mess up? Here, for the first time in a perfectly portable paperback, are the essential rules for handling life’s unavoidable little problems – handy, practical tips such as: what to do with your arm when you’ve failed to hail a taxi; how to share a romantic bath while avoiding the taps; how to give clear directions to a place you’ve never heard of; and the politest place to look in a full-length mirror. “Never Push When It Says Pull” will help eliminate minor social embarrassment, ease social intercourse, and prevent night sweats.’

Never Push When It Says Pull (which will hereafter be referred to as ‘Never Push’ for economy’s sake) is another charming little book with which you can kill a short amount of time. It is considerably longer than All My Friends Are Dead, (it has 279 to All My Friends Are Dead’s 96) but it is (unfortunately for colour-loving morons like me), completely unillustrated. It does, however, provide something invaluable for the Socially Awkward Man: small rules for little problems.

Written in a similar style to the gripes of one of the Grumpy Old Men, Never Push tackles such weighty topics as: how to use a library, how to queue, how to do am-dram and how to give clear directions. While I wouldn’t take the instructions Browning (no relation) gives as canon, he does capture all of the unintended humour of everyday life in his writing. I defy you to read this and fail to recognise at least one moment of your life on the page in front of you.

So, a small book of small rules for little problems: Never Push is full of wry observations about the more awkward social situations (particularly giving directions, which is something I refuse to do, on account of having very little sense of direction- most of that being backwards anyway). It’s a fun read if you don’t take it too seriously, which, considering Browning’s style of writing, probably won’t happen anyway.

Published by Mark Brassington

Father and Husband. Works in Corporate Banking. Loves Books, Comics, Cycling, Music, Games, going to the Gym and Writing.

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