Q&A with Megan Doherty, author of How Not to Be a Dick | Books for Dudes

I read the 100% Win! that is, How Not to be a Dick and was fortunate enough to score some As to my Qs from the book’s author, Meghan Doherty.

How Not to be a Dick is manageable, fun, and engaging—in other words, “dude-friendly.” Did you write this for dudes in particular?
I use the term “dicks” as slang for being a jerk and feel that people can be dicks to each other regardless of gender. I kept things gender neutral throughout the book, so people will understand that dicks come from both sides (sorry, I had to go there).

Did a particular event or person inspire you to write How Not to Be a Dick?
Actually, I had a very passive-aggressive boss, who was not the best communicator, which made the work environment more tense than it needed to be. One night I came home really late from a particularly rough night at work, and wrote an email to my editor at Zest Books, “How’s this for a book idea: ‘How Not to Be a Dick!’” And we did it!

The book identifies and covers those personal experiences that everyone has; how much of the coverage did you actually live?
I picked the most universal issues that affect people day to day: work politics, fitting in at school, road rage, like that. Having been a bartender I’ve had a lot of opportunity to listen to people generally vent and talk about how they feel. Add to that my friends’ stories and my own experiences, I’ve found that there are a lot of disappointing behaviors out there that we can all relate to, such as that guy we all hate on public transportation who has his legs spread so far apart he takes up three seats. In your head, you’re like, “Sorry, dude, no one needs that much room.”

Has there been a reaction to How Not to be a Dick from the Society of Certified Etiquette Trainers? How about the guys over at the International Society of Protocol and Etiquette Professionals?
I wish the wonderful etiquette mavens of both organizations would invite me over to tell me their thoughts over afternoon tea. We can discuss social cues and the disastrous repercussions of social media over glasses of scotch and well-picked cigars while an old hound dog rested at our feet. That would be amazing!

How Not to be a Dick is intended for “young people” and contains cultural references to things (e.g., airbnb, catfishing) that old timers might not understand.
Well, technically the book is meant for “young and new” adults—say ages 18-plus. So it gave us a great opportunity to talk about current issues—such as SnapChat and bullying—and still reference Willow, a definite win for me.

Is your family all proud and stuff?
My parents are very proud! My dad, a true salesperson, has been personally advertising How Not to Be a Dick nonstop as everything from a good gift to a fantastic coaster and quick fix for an uneven table. My dad is the coolest.

How’s the whole “I-have-a-book” thing going?
It’s bizarre—and fun! I get to go into Times Square and do dumb things like bringing my Peanuts–style booth and asking people questions about dickish behavior. People play along! I also get to have a book release party. You’re all invited, of course!

What’s next?
I have another book in the works about my love of television. Besides that I just want to be on The Colbert Report and meet Nicolas Cage. A girl can dream, right?

If you could do one in life thing differently, what would it be?
Be more organized. Sometimes my work space becomes a chaotic mess. I learn from my mistakes and definitely want to address that. I wrote it in my book, so I have to do it now!

There’s a cute dog in the book—yours?
Yes! Her name is Polly. She’s really into string cheese and napping right now.

BFD then subjected Doherty to an intense psychological battery of questions:

You get to have dinner with anyone living or dead. Who and why? Tina Fey, because, TINA FEY.

Which Muppet would you be? Oh my god, I love this question! My answer might be a little controversial because he’s a newer Muppet, but I would definitely be Bobo the Bear. He hangs out in the background, then has the most amazing one-liners.

You’re a tree, what kind?
Definitely a Redwood, so I could be all, “Back in my day, there were DINOSAURS, and I totally know how they got wiped out, for real, but I can’t tell you, because ‘I’m a tree.’” Also, Ewoks would build homes around me.

You’re an animal, what kind? A dog so I can share a piece of string cheese with Polly, Lady and the Tramp style—wait, that’s weird.

Meghan Doherty,writer and illustrator of How Not to Be a Dick from Zest Books, created illustrations for Super Pop!, has written for the Brooklyn-based web magazine, Brokelyn.com, illustrated for film and created websites and posters. She lives in Brooklyn and attends Pratt Institute (training to do pratfalls). She lives with her boyfriend (so don’t get any ideas, Chumly) and her dog, Polly. Doherty also used to work as a bartender and has heard more dickish stories about people being dicks to each other than you can imagine; her Tumblr blog is http://meghandohertystuff.tumblr.com

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Douglas Lord About Douglas Lord

Douglas Lord has been reviewing books and audio for Library Journal since the earth was a molten mass. He is an Ironman athlete blessed with a family that sometimes finds him funny and puts up with him constantly reading aloud from advanced review copies. Books for Dudes focuses on books for curious, fun, time-crunched men.