Firoozeh Dumas is the author of Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent. She is fabulous at cocktail parties.
My husband's idea of hell is a cocktail party. Having to impress total strangers in under three minutes with just the right banter is enough to make him stay home.
As an engineer, he never mastered the art of shallow conversation, which I — a humanities major — specialized in. It's just a matter of knowing a little bit about a few relevant topics and having a good fake laugh. I can't help you with the latter, but all you need are these three books, and you will look bright and suave all the time, regardless of the topic.