I first heard of Lenny Bruce in a little TV show called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. In it, Luke Kirby did a great job portraying this smart, articulate, funny, charismatic comedian who can't stop feeling despondent about the world around him. And later in the series the character starts drinking excessively and, instead of being funny, reads court transcripts in comedy clubs, transcripts of his own trials, a direct consequence of persecution from authorities.
Well, dear reader, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People has the same structure. The first half is autobiographical, the second is court transcripts and descriptions of the injustices the authorities have piled on him. And it's wasn't in his head either, as his was the first posthumous pardon in New York history. They really did a number on him. But that part just isn't funny or entertaining or truly educational. So high marks for the first half, low for the second.
Also, if you are looking for a funny book, this ain't it. There is something about biographies of people born before 1950: they are more raw, more honest, more full. So is this one, and you read of the weird, wonderful and terrible that Lenny did, during the war and after. How he was always a sensitive person and thus pretty cautious around other people. But he yearned to love and be loved, so occasionally he was trying it out and getting screwed every. single. time.
I mean, I immediately connected with the guy. What intelligent person didn't look at the world as it is and despaired? Only most people get beaten down, they "grow out of it", trained to accept every absurdity, atrocity and abhorrence. Not Lenny. He continued to not believe that the world could be like that and would do things like those and continuously exposed and criticized hypocrisy. So if you planned to read a light comical book, you get instead the (short) life story of a guy in a permanent state of "Are you kidding me?!". This book is not about the comedy, but about the life that lead of one Leonard Alfred Schneider.
Bottom line: I liked it and I think you might, too, but I can't recommend it. The person Lenny Bruce must have been a lot more interesting than this book.