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About The Book

“I’m sorry, but Sorry, Sorry, Sorry means that you no longer have an excuse for delivering anything other than a pitch-perfect apology. Ingall and McCarthy break down thorny questions…with grace and humor.”Peggy Orenstein, bestselling author of Boys & Sex, Girls & Sex, and Cinderella Ate My Daughter

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that terrible apologies are the worst. We’ve all been on the receiving end, and oh, how they make us seethe. Horrible public apologies—excuse-laden, victim blame-y, weaselly statements—often go viral instantaneously, whether they’re from a celebrity, a politician, or a blogger. We all recognize bad apologies when we hear them. So why is it so hard to apologize well? How can we do better? How could they do better?

Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy show us the way. Drawing on a deep well of research in psychology, sociology, law, and medicine, they explain why a good apology is hard to find and why it doesn’t have to be. Alongside their six (and a half)-step formula for apologizing beautifully, Ingall and McCarthy also delve into how to respond to a bad apology; why corporations, celebrities, and governments seldom apologize well; how to teach children to apologize; how gender and race affect both apologies and forgiveness; and most of all, why good apologies are essential, powerful, and restorative. A good apology can do so many things—mend fences, heal wounds, and bring more harmony into ourselves and our society at large.

With wit, deep introspection, and laugh-out-loud humor, Ingall and McCarthy’s guidance will help make the world a better place, one apology at a time.

About The Authors

Photo © Deborah Copaken

Marjorie Ingall, who goes by “Snarly” on SorryWatch.com, is the author of Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children and The Field Guide to North American Males, and is the coauthor of Hungry, with plus-size model Crystal Renn. A former columnist for Tablet magazine and the Forward, she is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review and has also written for New York magazine, Town & Country, Ms., Glamour, Self, Elle, and Sassy (yes, that one). She lives in New York City.

Photo by Jennifer Hale Photography

Susan McCarthy, who goes by “Sumac” on SorryWatch.com, is the coauthor (with Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson) of the international bestseller When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, which has been translated into twenty-one languages. She’s also the author of Becoming a Tiger: How Baby Animals Learn to Live in the Wild. Publications she’s written for include Parade, The Guardian, WIRED, Smithsonian magazine, Outside, and Salon. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing and in Mirth of a Nation: The Best Contemporary Humor. She lives in San Francisco.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (January 10, 2023)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982163495

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Raves and Reviews

"The authors reveal surprising examples of good apologies as well as the neuroscience and psychology behind poor ones—in addition to the things never to say when attempting to write a wrong....Essential protocol for those seeking to hone their apology skills." —Kirkus Reviews

“I’m sorry, but Sorry, Sorry, Sorry means that you no longer have an excuse for delivering anything other than a pitch-perfect apology. Ingall and McCarthy break down thorny questions—how to apologize, when not to apologize, why good apologies are so vanishingly rare, how to accept and reject apologies, how gender and power affect forgiveness—with grace and humor.” —Peggy Orenstein, bestselling author of Boys & Sex, Girls & Sex, and Cinderella Ate My Daughter

"Sorry, Sorry, Sorry is an absolute delight—philosophically deep, crisply reported, and funny as heck all the way through. It'll make you want to get better at apologizing.” —Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think and Coders

“Saying ‘I’m sorry’ thoughtfully and effectively — and teaching our kids to do the same — can sometimes feel impossible. The tools Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy provide us in Sorry, Sorry, Sorry are invaluable. Using bad apologies as a how-not-to, plus good ones that have genuinely repaired wounds, this book is a must-read for anyone looking for a guide to doing better. I’ll be recommending this book to everyone I know—parents, friends, stewards of the world; we could all take a page out of this timeless guide to healing the world.” — Michele Borba, Ed.D., parenting expert, bestselling author of Thrivers & Building Moral Intelligence

“Look, it's one thing to be wise. It's another to be wise and useful. But to be wise, useful, and screamingly, brilliantly, hilariously funny? I'm sorry, it's too much. It's just too much.” —Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

"Apologize and forgive: every person has these superpowers enabling a future without hate, anger, or retribution. Yet half-hearted or failed apologies compound hurts and insults. This smart and lively book offers invaluable guides to giving real apologies and to the critical roles of gender, race, and power relations in social expectations and results. Read it, or be sorry!" —Martha Minow, Harvard University professor and author of When Should Law Forgive? and Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence 

"I was hooked from page one by this hip, funny, uncompromising, and unapologetic dissection of good and bad apologies and why they matter. While the authors’ precise and deep intelligence may make us flinch with recognition over our own screwed-up sorrys, the reward is to be deeply changed in some fundamental way. In the end, this witty, utterly human book is a timely guide to a moral future." —Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. author of The Dance of Anger and Why Won’t You Apologize?

“How do we decide what apologies we should give others? And how should we think of the role of apology in our friendships, families, and society? Sorry, Sorry, Sorry allows us to make genuine, reparative apologies that connect us to each other and avoid business and relationship disasters. What’s not to love about saying sorry, if you know how to do it with grace?” —Farai Chideya, host of Our Body Politic and author of The Episodic Career

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