Sorry, Sorry, Sorry Cover

Sorry Sorry Sorry: The Case for Good Apologies

“Essential… this book, at its core, could change lives.”


“Essential protocol for those seeking to hone their apology skills.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“An accessible and well-informed resource for navigating difficult conversations.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Sorry, Sorry, Sorry is an absolute delight—philosophically deep, crisply reported, and funny as heck all the way through.”

—Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think

We’ve all been on the receiving end of bad apologies, and oh, how they make us seethe. Even when we don’t personally know the person apologizing, a terrible public apology —excuse-laden, victim blame-y, weaselly—often goes viral instantaneously. All of us recognize lousy apologies when we hear them. So why is it so hard to apologize well? How can we do better? How could they do better?

Drawing on a deep well of research in psychology, sociology, law, and medicine, Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy, creators of the apology watchdog site SorryWatch, 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 delve into how to respond to a bad apology; why celebrities, corporations, 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.

More advance praise:

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?

“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, author of Thrivers and Building Moral Intelligence

“I was hooked from page one by this hip, funny, uncompromising, and unapologetic dissection of good and bad apologies and why they matter…. 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?

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

Published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. Available January 10, 2023 from your favorite independent bookstore, from, from Barnes & Noble, from Books-a-Million, or from Amazon. Or ask your library to order a copy! We love libraries!