With the current state of society, Steven Selzer sometimes wishes he could travel back in time.
Since that isn’t an option, he decided to update his book.
Selzer, a retired attorney who lives in Frederick, just released an updated copy of “Civility: George Washington’s 110 Rules for Today.” The book was initially published in 2000 by Andrews McMeel of Kansas City, Missouri.
Selzer, in partnership with the Curious Iguana, is hosting a book launch at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Red Horse Steak House in Frederick. He calls the book a complete revision that incorporates social media etiquette and other lessons he’s picked since the first edition.
“I hoped I’ve gained a little wisdom in the last 19 years,” Selzer said.
As the title states, the book centers around the first U.S. president’s 110 rules to live by. He is believed to have written them at age 14, though Selzer said some historians believe the rules actually originated from the French Jesuits and were written up by Washington for a school assignment. What really matters is that Washington lived by the rules, Selzer said.
He was inspired to initially write the book after researching the rules and realizing how irrelevant some of them seemed in the present day. Selzer said he was especially concerned with how people were treating each other in direct contrast to Washington’s perception of civility.
For Rule No. 1, Selzer said Washington stated that actions done in the company of others should be done with respect to everyone present. People fighting and mocking each other on social media goes directly against that rule, Selzer said.
Washington had a general perception that constructive criticism should be done privately in a low tone, he said.
“Civility goes so far beyond good manners,” he said. “It’s how we treat each other.”
Another rule that particularly resonated with Selzer states that people do the right thing rather than the thing that is the most convenient or personally beneficial. Selzer said an example of this is using a waste bag while taking a dog for a walk.
One rule that Selzer said he struggles with is that he is personally very impatient. He said sending emails can make it tough to stick to the rules since tone can get lost in electronic communication.
“That creates a lot of problems,” said Selzer, who suggested that business discourse be kept brief and meaningful.
“Say what is important and hear what is important back,” he said.