“An odd and satisfying blend of philosophy, self-help, and, improbably, charade
game theory. Misha Glouberman wins you over with a simple and
good-spirited reasonableness that leaves you feeling uplifted by the power a voice
of common sense can still have in the world. The Chairs Are Where the
People Go reads like the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin as told to David Byrne.”
—JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN, contributing editor to This
Life and author of Lenny Bruce Is Dead
ow should neighborhoods change? Is wearing a suit a good way to quit smoking? Why do people think that if you do one thing, you’re against something else? Is monogamy a trick? Why isn’t making the city more fun for you and your friends a super-noble political goal? Why does a computer last only three years? How often should you see your parents? How should we behave at parties? Is marriage getting easier? What can spam tell us about the world?
Misha Glouberman’s friend and collaborator, Sheila Heti, wanted her next book to be a compilation of everything Misha knew. Together, they made a list of subjects. As Misha talked, Sheila typed. He talked about games, relationships, cities, negotiation, improvisation, Casablanca, conferences, and making friends. His subjects ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. But sometimes what had seemed trivial began to seem important—and what had seemed important began to seem less so.
The Chairs are Where the People Go is refreshing, appealing, and kind of profound. It’s a self-help book for people who don’t feel they need help, and a how-to book that urges you to do things you don’t really need to do.
“Sheila Heti is the patron saint of raconteurs. Misha Glouberman is a raconteur.
The result is a compendium of riffs on a variety of interesting subjects. Misha
stays serious throughout. Sheila stays calm. The result is very funny."
—DAVE HICKEY, author of The Invisible Dragon and Air Guitar
“A clever, thoughtful commentary on modern urban life, illuminating everything
from how to deal with annoying neighbors to how to run an improv class.”
—PHILIPP MEYER, author of American Rust
“The book initially seems a series of exercises in studied naiveté. Then
Glouberman admits to waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks
about the charades class he’s developed and taught for years, and the
tone changes. You, too, start to remember the difficulty and the crucial seriousness
of impracticality, of relearning unpracticed behavior, and of life itself.”
—SARAH MANGUSO, author of The Two Kinds of Decay