I think people don't like brussel sprouts because they had bad sprout experiences when they were little.
My mum is a fantastic cook and never made us eat anything we didn't want to and I was still freaked out my sprouts when I was small. They were always just boiled, very plain, perhaps with butter on and were quite big for little mouths. If they were a bit hot, you'd ram one in your mouth and it would explode, boiling and bitter. Not really that nice.
But, like most people, I have a huge amount of residual affection for sprouts, nevertheless. The trick is clearly to find a way to make them a bit more interesting.
Chucking all sorts of stuff over it - bacon, chestnuts, herbs - is the answer and my favourite topping is garlic and chilli. Singapore Garden, every north londoner's top singaporean rezzy http://www.singaporegarden.co.uk/ does Chiew Yim brussel sprouts, where the sprouts are dipped in, I think, batter, then deep fried with chilli and garlic. And they are outstanding, one of the best things on SG's menu.
I don't deep fry my sprouts, because I want to see my 30th birthday, but sauteeing them with the chilli and garlic works just as well to give the general cabbagey atmosphere a bit of a kick. And the marvellous thing about sauteeing a sprout is that you can cook them the night before if you're doing a big lunch/dinner.
It's essential, to make the sprouts a more manageable mouthful for adults and children alike, that you cut the little buggers in half before you fry them.
Chilli brussel sprouts
Boil your sprouts in salted water for 3 mins. When cool, chop in half.
Heat some butter, dripping or veg oil (or whatever you like most to fry with) in a pan and add the sprouts.
Then add your chopped garlic and chilli and swoosh round the pan for about 5-8 minutes. Keep the pan on a medium heat so that neither the garlic nor the sprouts burn and taste even more bitter than God intended.