Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Mr Jones’ Rules for the Modern Man

Mr Jones’ Rules for the Modern Man: Dylan Jones, 13—25 August, 2011.

My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊

Here are Mr Taylor’s Rules for the Modern Reader of the Above Book:

  1. Think of someone in a job which is less glamorous/lower paid/less senior than your own and practice your sneer in advance. It will make it easier to do on demand while reading.
  2. Have the following on standby: your (probably very) little black book, your cheque book (for gazing at), a mirror (ditto) and something with a designer name on it.
  3. Book yourself some therapy lessons in advance and repeat the words ‘I am inadequate’ as often as you like.
  4. Make provisions for the drooling in admiration at Mr Jones (from Mr Jones on the back flap, not from you).
  5. And don’t.

They tell you never to judge a book by its cover. This book’s cover is brilliantly designed for its subject matter, has ringing endorsements from Simon Cowell (who I like) and Jeremy Clarkson (who I don’t) and makes Dylan Jones sound like he’s worth listening to. But, like the photo of a dish on the packaging of a cheap ready meal, it doesn’t quite turn out like that.

Let’s get the so-called rules out of the way first. There’s a wide range, from the serious to the silly, and some are actually quite useful. ‘How to jump-start a car’, for instance, is probably something every man should know how to do. I didn’t, and now I do, and it’s the sort of rule this book was right to include. ‘How to ask for a pay rise’ raised a good point – why would your boss pay you extra for doing your job well, when it’s what you’re paid to do anyway?

On the other hand, ‘How to stop a fight’ was ridiculous (Hug the guy? Really?), ‘How to buy a second-hand car’ failed to make any mention of how to haggle, and as for skiing advice from a man who can’t ski… Other tips, such as ensuring you have had meaningless sex with a minor celebrity by the age of 30 and ‘How to behave at a lap dancing club’ betray Jones’ view of ‘the modern man’ as being little more than an overgrown modern boy. I’m not sure I agree with his definition.

But my biggest problem by a long way with Mr Jones’ Rules isn’t the rules. It’s Mr Jones.

Dylan Jones is obviously very satisfied with his lot. He seems to have it ‘together’ to be able to give such presumptuous advice. Almost every rule has some mention of his designer clothes, his fancy car, expensive hotels, expensive restaurants, expensive cologne, bespoke suit, Rolex watch, pricey golf clubs… He is also a serial name dropper. No anecdote is complete without throwing in a few stars he’s rubbed shoulders with, like Jonathan Ross (twice), Jeremy Clarkson (him again) or even Tony Blair. He might think it makes him sound impressive, but if he needs to cling to a polite nod from A-listers who probably doesn’t know who he is to give him credibility, his opinions suddenly seem less inspiring.

Other annoying habits include persistent use of one-word sentences to emphasise a point. Constantly. (That was an example). Used sparingly, yes they add emphasis. Used on a per-page basis, it gets annoying. If the word is important, use it in the actual sentence, and if it isn’t, don’t. He’s also obsessed with reminding us at every opportunity that he is editor of GQ. In fact, I expect the magazine paid him commission to name it, refer to it, cite excerpts from it and allude to it at every conceivable opportunity, no matter how unnecessary or forced. It’s probably printed on the paper of recycled issues.

Basically, I started the book having never heard of Dylan Jones and finished it wishing I still hadn’t heard of him. His tone is the most pompous, arrogant, self-obsessed I have heard in a long time. Certainly, I’ve had to plough through books with boring plots or poor writing, but never – I mean never – have I ever had to resist the urge to abandon a book purely because the author himself is personally getting on my wick.

I like the drawings – they break up the page and make it look interesting – but they lost their charm after they used the same “Mr Jones” name card about five times and the two glasses about four. It just made it look like cheap clip art and lacked imagination. Surely the editor of the most successful upmarket magazine (we’re told) would have noticed the repetitive drawings?

What would have made the book better is to have each section written by an expert in the field. An etiquette expert, a health expert, a management expert and so on. I find it hard to believe Jones is an expert of all fields, and this falseness makes what he does know about it ring just as hollow.

I learned two things from this book. First – David Cameron duets in karaoke, and this indicated to Jones he may one day form a successful coalition government (if you take ‘success’ loosely, a fair insight for a book published in 2007). Second – if the modern man really is the one described in Jones’s book, I hope I never, ever meet one.


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This entry was posted on August 25, 2011 by in 2 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare