All You Didn’t Know You Need to Know

How will you ever crunch every cultural tidbit you need to know to come off as chic as your pre-Anne Klein Isabel Toledo dress? Nancy MacDonell provides the Cliff Notes with her sophomore guide “In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool.”
What is great about this new pocket volume is that it doesn’t try to please everyone by offering the greatest hits of all time. Instead, it spells out what five or 10 people, places and things you need to be in the know about if you’re navigating a world where the currency is being able to name drop the 1969 film The Damned or Carla Sozzani or Tetsuya’s in Australia.
The snappy read splits among culture, fashion and lifestyle. And at-a-glance-sidebars demystify musical genres from glam to mashups; break down how to accurately pronounce Moleskin, Le Corbusier and Andre Balazs; and spell out who is the living designer behind the iconic labels.
So many of these kinds of guides try but invariably don’t pull it off, generally because the authors are outsiders trying desperately to be part of the It crowd. Now an editor at, Nancy has been a contributor to British Vogue, Nylon, Elle and T, and she undeniably knows her stuff.

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