By Troy Patterson
July 12, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

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HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE Toby Young (Da Capo, $24) Young drops a lot of names in his memoir of media life, most gratingly those of Ben Hecht, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Edith Wharton, all trotted out to ennoble a blazingly vacant tale. In 1995, the English journalist took a job at Vanity Fair and moved to Manhattan. Despite his dismay at the vanity he discovered — Hollywood types can be shallow! fashion editors, too! — he engaged in a rigorous campaign of social climbing. The VIP room at the Strange Days premiere party was, for the author, ”Mount Olympus.” The book is one long joke about Young’s prodigious ineptitude, a trait that extends to his prose. He does not think it hackneyed or hyperbolic to call Page Six, the New York Post gossip column, ”the thing most New Yorkers turn to when they sit down for their first bagel of the day.”

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

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