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La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life [Format Kindle]

Elaine Sciolino
3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

The hidden truth about the French way of life: it's all about seduction--its rules, its pleasures, its secrets

France is a seductive country, seductive in its elegance, its beauty, its sensual pleasures, and its joie de vivre. But Elaine Sciolino, the longtime Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, has discovered that seduction is much more than a game to the French: it is the key to understanding France.

Seduction plays a crucial role in how the French relate to one another--not just in romantic relationships but also in how they conduct business, enjoy food and drink, define style, engage in intellectual debate, elect politicians, and project power around the world. While sexual repartee and conquest remain at the heart of seduction, for the French seduction has become a philosophy of life, even an ideology, that can confuse outsiders.

In La Seduction, Sciolino gives us an inside view of how seduction works in all areas, analyzing its limits as well as its power. She demystifies the French way of life in an entertaining and personal narrative that carries us from the neighborhood shops of Paris to the halls of government, from the gardens of Versailles to the agricultural heartland.

La Seduction will charm you and encourage you to lower your defenses about the French. Pull up a chair and let Elaine Sciolino seduce you.


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 941 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 351 pages
  • Editeur : Times Books (7 juin 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004VMV4K8
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°151.865 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I live here in Paris for 7 years now and I find maybe this book is great for a foreigner but It's just ok for a parasian, some interesting facts (ex: about Eiffel tower) but not really about seduction, maybe a little mis-titled
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  75 commentaires
88 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 some interesting stories and ideas 5 mai 2011
Par mikemac9 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
It's been said it's difficult to see the warts and wrinkles of your own culture until you travel, exposure to other cultures being an eye-opening experience. Since I can't travel as much as I like I enjoy reading books by those living abroad. In this book Elaine Sciolino attempts to explain virtually everything we see as different about French life and culture thru the lens of "seduction". While there are some rewarding parts to this book I came away with the sense the book illustrates the maxim "to a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". If you water a term down enough it can encompass almost everything, but I didn't come away from reading this thinking that I'd learned what makes French culture distinctive nor would I ever quote her idea to friends in conversation the way one might mention the thesis after reading "Blink" or "Checklist Manifesto".

Furthermore Sciolino is not just any American living abroad, but someone who was a prominent journalist. The last third of the book capitalizes on this past to get interviews with current and former heads of the French government. Sciolino weaves the book theme of seduction into this portion as well but it seemed a bit disjoint from the rest of the story. While books by Americans living for an extended time in France by Polly Platt or Adam Gopnik describe life from a vantage point that many people could envision as at least plausible for themselves too, sitting down with heads of the French government is not an experience many of us see in our future. For my money, I thought I got more out of the books by Gopnik and Platt than I did from this book.
59 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Love love love the book!! 8 mai 2011
Par Elizabeth - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The author begins by writing, 'Séduction and séduire (to seduce) are among the most overused words in the French language. In English. 'seduce' has a negative and exclusively sexual feel; in French, the meaning is broader. The French use 'seduce' where the British and Americans might use 'charm' or 'attract' or 'engage' or 'entertain'. Seduction in France does not always involve body contact. A grand séducteur is not necessarily a man who easily seduces others into making love. (page 5)

As the author refreshingly notes, French seduction is bound tightly with what they call plaisir or the art of creating, and relishing pleasure of all kinds. It's why I have always seen France as one of the most sensual countries in the world, but different and even difficult. From their food, art, music,architecture, gardens, and clothing designs. Which the author writes about in other chapters like 9 and 10. In chapter 3 It's Not About the Sex the author brilliantly explains that the French, like in Georges Clemenceau's (former Prime minister, doctor and journalist) 1898 book, Les plus forts, noted that 'the most beautiful moment in love is when I climb the stairs'. Thus the anticipation.

Every American would be wise to read chapter 7 Make Friends with Your Butcher because the author is spot on in how loud American tourists can be. 'Parisians are going about their daily business, commuting, shopping, running errands. All is quiet. If there is talking, tones are subdued. The subway car opens--or the walking traffic reaches a corner--and a group of American tourists appears, talking and laughing in voices that shatter the calm. Suddenly they come so close to a Parisian that they are nearly touching. The Americans smile, reaching out with what they perceive as the most natural gesture of kindness. but the smile is not returned. It is greeted with a blank stare, or even worse a scowl', 'What has happened is a disconnect in manners, unusual in any foreign country, but a particular hazard for Americans in France'. 'Americans are accustomed to smiling at strangers; the French--particularly the Parisians --are not. That helps explain why some Americans find Parisians rude'. The author then continues to explain why if you make friends with your butcher you will find someone whom you can trust who will actually smile and be nice to you. But you have to become friends first.

Her comments about the French and money made me smile. Mainly because I don't even know the name of one French billionaire. She notes on page 129, 'In L.A., when you drive a red Ferrari, people look at your car with envy; in Paris it gets scratched'. The Italians are much more like Californians when it comes to nice cars! She then writes that the French say 'You Americans dream of getting the other guys job; in France, you resent the guy who has the job and think he doesn't deserve it'. 'Conspicuous self promotion is also suspect, and the French can be confused by Americans' insistence on 'selling' themselves in the business world'. Like the Japanese haven't become big in high tech,automobiles by not doing the same? Maybe the reason France isn't a key financial hub, is because about the only thing they have the rest of the world wants are wine, some speciality foods and little else.

Chapter 14 The Civilizing Mission is a gem. The story of Bernard Kouchner co founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), American Ambassador Richard Hollbrooke and then U S Secretary of State Madeline Albright is worth the price of the book. Talk about seducing/charming someone who in 1999 didn't want you to become the United Nations chief administrator for Kosovo. And how he changed her mind.

This is just a little about this great, fun book.
41 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Seduced by the French 14 juin 2011
Par Arthur Digbee - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Sciolino is an American reporter for the New York Times and other elite outlets, and a long-term resident of Paris. In this book, she wants to argue that the central characteristic of the French people is "seduction" - not merely romantic, but also as a technique in business or advertising, as a mode of conversation, as a characteristic of film and television.

The book provides a window into how Sciolino's social circle thinks about fashion, food, and daily life. But I found it frustrating. She cherry-picks, using encounters with particular individuals as the basis for generalizations about the entire nation - - a feature of NYT reporting that also frustrates me. For example, Sciolino often assumes that if the French do it, it's distinctively French. The French sometimes say "not bad" or "not terrible" to mean "good." Apparently, no other people do this.

Her limitations are nowhere more in evidence than when she discussed Nicholas Sarkozy, who was elected President by a majority of the French even though he's not very French himself. Apparently, Sarkozy is really more American, even though he's French. Perhaps because he's Hungarian. This is why no one voted for him when he won the presidency.

Given her preferred form of research, Sciolino doesn't think in terms of getting to grips with the real France. Nor does she seem aware of evidence that might challenge her thesis. For example, France provides major profit centers for McDonald's and Disney, two quintessentially "American" brands. Do they seduce the French? If not, why not? If so, why? And does that make them French? Does this mean that Americans are better at seducing than the French are?

She never interviews retail clerks in department stores, factory workers, or bus drivers. When she visits a factory, it's a struggling lace factory, not Peugeot or a machine shop. She does not interview immigrants. She does not visit a Carrefour. She only wants to talk about her image of France, not France as it really is. In short, she gives us a view of upper-class Parisians, and not "the French."

Indeed, if you look closely this is not a book about France but a book about Paris. Sciolino occasionally lets slip that matters are different in the countryside or in regional cities. What's left then is a fashion-conscious city not unlike New York, but where they speak French. As an adopted New Yorker, she loves it.

Despite her book's flaws, Sciolino writes well. The book reads well, and can be entertaining.

How very American.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 There's such a thing as overdoing seduction 23 mai 2011
Par Tigger - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Interestingly, this book left me feeling as ambiguous about its subject - French culture and society - as I was before I started reading. I've always been drawn to certain things about France: the beauty of its landscape, the richness of its history, its melodic language, and the people's reverence for all things artistic, from literature to painting to architecture. Sciolino's in-depth study of the country and its inhabitants reaffirmed all that, which was satisfying, but it also confirmed my other views about the French, at least on a superficial level - that there is tendency towards laziness, gluttony and phoniness; that the women cling to the only thing they seem to value about themselves - beauty - and the men are slightly effeminate and faithless (I've never understood the stereotype of the French super-lover; the image is really unattractive to me for some reason, like Pepe LePew). Also, they're obsessed with food in a way that's just unseemly. Americans may be the fattest people on the planet, but at least we don't get orgasmic about our chili cheese fries. We just shovel it in and go about our business; the French can spend hours composing poetry over a dirt-crusted mushroom. Socially, they seem to value complicated, snobbish social rituals that come off pretentious to this uncouth American's ears.

There are a few areas I think the French have it over on the Americans. For instance, there is an idea that American men are not allowed to compliment and appreciate - in a gentlemanly fashion - women for fear of accusations of harassment and sexism. That's true, and it's a shame. I believe that most women, including myself, appreciate genuine and polite admirations from men, and we could all use a few more compliments anyway. I've also, with time, become averse to the way Americans tend to share very personal details about themselves with one another before there's really a relationship formed enough to warrant that. That can be blamed on the Internet too, though, for creating a false sense of intimacy, so that's not singular to America.

Overall, Sciolino is very knowledgeable (she's lived in Paris for years) and fair in her examinations. You won't necessarily learn anything new, but it's an interesting read.
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The view from the 7eme arrondissement... 6 juin 2011
Par John P. Jones III - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
... and the tennis courts of the Ile de Ré.

Elaine Sciolino is a reporter and a former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times. Like others before her with a similar vantage point, notably Richard Bernstein, who wrote Fragile Glory: A Portrait of France and the French, she captured her observations by writing this book, which primarily addresses the difference between French and American societies and cultures. Bernstein balanced Paris with "La France Profonde," literally, "deep France," the life of the villages and the countryside. Sciolino book is far less balanced, and although subtitled "How the French Play the Game of Life" she is actually referring to how the French ELITES play the game of life, "tout le gratin," as they say. Her observations reflect her perspective, and definitely her contracts, from the "old money" 7th arrondissement. The "banlieues," the grim suburbs of HLM's (soulless concrete high-rises) filled with much crime and despair, make only a cameo appearance at the end of the book, and although she and her husband watch their daughter's soccer game from the sideline, she apparently never asks the other dads (the proverbial "soccer moms" are still a formative concept) their opinion of the role of "seduction" in French society. Her reticence reflected some wisdom.

Her book is written around a paradigm of "seduction," which carries and reflects a sexual connotation throughout, but as she also explains, it transcends the normal connotations in the English language, and also means "charm" and "attraction." I consider it a most valid concept in helping to explain some of the tangible differences between the French and the Americans. At times though, I think she overdoes it, and simplifies her thesis, stretching many human interactions onto the same Procrustean bed, always labeled "seduction."

Admittedly I'm a Francophile, and have quietly savored the pleasures of France, with the emphasis on quiet, a point she rightly makes, is often lacking in our compatriots who visit there. She is an intelligent observer, and some of Sciolino's anecdotes will be repeated in convivial situations, like the one about Stephanie Cardot being quizzed, and receiving training on sexual harassment from the HR department of a firm in NYC. Cardot is a hopeless failure... well... at least from the perspective of the HR department. Tangible incidents like those do underscore, and are so illustrative of the real differences between the societies. Throughout the book she catalogues the "seductions," in the English language sense, the philanderings if you will, of French Presidents from Sarkozy back through Chirac, Mitterrand, d'Estaing, and she even suggests that the indomitable DeGaulle might have celebrated a French military victory in that fashion. Other experiences of the "gratin" are also chronicled, but the author states several times that she has only an "observer" status in such action, thus lacking first-hand experience.

Though the philanderings can be tawdry, with "long-suffering" wives in the background, Sciolino devotes more than half the book to the more abstract and conceptual forms that help oil human interactions, and even obtain tangible objective. Noteworthy anecdotes involved Bernard Kouchner (co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres) "wooing" Madeleine Albright on Kosovo, and former French Ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte's efforts to "woo" Americans after the "spat" on the Iraq War, by awarding the Legion of Honor to 100 American veterans of the Normandy landings of 1944.

The downside of the view from the 7eme is that her close association with those in power inevitably result in the natural tendency to be more "understandable," and certainly not to ask any difficult questions. It is one standard criticism of the "main stream media" and I have noted it before, specifically in Robin Wright's book Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East. Wright was invited for her 4th time to accompany Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the plane, so it is not surprising that Abu Ghraib is not even mentioned in her book. Sciolino is also invited on the plane, one belonging to the French Ministry of Defense. It is a "grueling" two-day trip to Afghanistan, but she rides on "buttery leather seats." On the way back, she is invited to the front, to share a four course meal, which she describes in detail. Omitted entirely was why they went to Afghanistan, and what they saw there.

Events have overtaken the author, as well as the publisher, who will officially release this book tomorrow. The "event" is Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK). The reader will naturally scrutinize what the author has written about him all the more now. The author does mention his philandering ways, and how that might not be suitable for an institution with Anglo-Saxon (read: puritanical) roots like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and she even quotes from the Libé reporter Jean Quatremer that DSK could be: "Too insistent, he often comes close to harassment." But what about rape, or attempted rape, and how many times has he got away with it? At the time the DSK scandal broke, we were having dinner with a French physician, and her daughter, both from "La France Profonde." Their reaction was sharp, without equivocation: "dégueulasse" (disgusting, with a stronger connotation with filth than the English literal meaning). And they had even more contempt for Bernard-Henri Levy, who Sciolino quotes approvingly on several occasions, for his attempts to defend DSK, and rationalize his behavior.

Like what was happening in Afghanistan, the use of power, and outright force in fulfilling the "seduction" is what is largely missing in the book. It is a critical flaw of an establishment reporter. The glass is more than half-full, and that extends from the "willingness" of women to be seduced to the workers in Calais, who only have to "embrace the tenets of a globalized world that demands technological advancement, physical mobility and psychological fluidity." Lawdy! No lessons learned from the economic collapse of 2008, for sure, are reflected in the author's thinking.

Loved the walks in Paris, even the dinner party, and numerous anecdotes, but it is a view "from the top", and the boat is not rocked. 4-stars.
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