Robin Abrahams
Author and Columnist


Robin Abrahams writes the popular “Miss Conduct” social advice column for the Boston Globe Sunday magazine and also maintains a blog on the Globe’s site. Her book Miss Conduct’s Mind Over Manners focuses on the challenges of etiquette in a diverse society, and was published by Henry Holt/Times Books in spring 2009. She does a biweekly segment entitled “Mind Over Manners” on the Peter Blute Show on WCRN 830 AM, discussing current events and modern mores, and conducts online chats twice a month on www.boston.com.

 

A Cambridge resident with a Ph.D in psychology from Boston University, Robin has worked as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and writing. She is married to Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes which are given annually for achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.

 

Robin is a dynamic speaker and has given talks for the Neiman Conference on Narrative Journalism, the Women’s National Book Association (Boston chapter), the New England Science Writers’ Association, Combined Jewish Philanthropies Women’s Division, and more.

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Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners
Master the Slippery Rules of Modern Ethics and Etiquette
Times Books

A witty, sophisticated guide to the new principles of modern social behavior, by a psychologist and popular alternative-etiquette-and-ethics guru This is no...

That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It: Why We Read, and Tell, the Stories We Do: This popular talk is based on Robin’s dissertation on cognitive models of literary genre, and the interaction between personality and genre—in short, why we read, and tell, the stories we do. Robin has extensive experience in many kinds of communication—from standup comedy to teaching to corporate memo-writing—and can help communicators in any field gain greater control over their messages.
Jewish Values in "Miss Conduct" (Alternate titles: My Mom and Maimonides; Jew by Choice, Yenta by Birth): How Robin became Jewish, how she became an advice columnist, and the relationship between the two. How her Jewish values and experience inform her answers as Miss Conduct. This entertaining yet thought-provoking talk is illustrated with questions and answers from the "Miss Conduct" column and ends with questions from the audience.
Shy Snobbery: How Modern Life Increases Social Anxiety and Self-Centeredness: Psychologists have agreed for many years that rates of social anxiety (shyness) are increasing. Robin's background in psychology and experience as "Miss Conduct" have provided her with a unique perspective on what makes people shy—and why. This entertaining and thought-provoking talk suggests three social reasons for increasing shyness, three psychological responses to modern-day pressures, and three things that people can do to help themselves overcome shyness.
Dealing with Diversity: How to Live in a Complicated World: This talk is based on the upcoming book, Mind Over Manners: Etiquette for a Diverse Society. The focus is not so much on demographic diversity, but of diversity of values, priorities, and life experiences. What courtesies do parents and the childless, pet owners and the dog-phobic, vegans and omnivores, the healthy and the sick, owe each other?
Surviving the Holidays: A seasonal talk, based on Robin’s popular feature of the same title published in the Boston Globe Magazine in December 2006. She addresses the so-called War on Christmas, “Happy Holidays,” how to cope with unrealistic expectations (others’ and one’s own), and making the holidays fun rather than a chore.

Robin is also available to moderate or serve on discussion panels, MC events, or do customized talks and training.





Praise for Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners
“Abraham’s antidote for the deterioration of modern etiquette is elegantly simple…. This etiquette manual is winningly fueled by common sense, flexibility, and a consistent emphasis on mutual respect.”
The Boston Globe

  “Far beyond the usual ‘where-does-the-nut-spoon-go?’…  [Miss Conduct’s Mind Over Manners] is more rumination than rules, and Abrahams is as likely to quote Edith Wharton as she is to cite the wisdom of Ali G.”
The Chicago Sun-Times

  “Witty as well as perceptive, [Abrahams] keeps the tone agreeably light as she dispenses practical advice on social interaction in an increasingly diverse and fragmented society.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch