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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!
Remember everything your mother told you. Stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back. Be outgoing. Smile. If you've forgotten these lessons, this is for you. It's not what you know, it's who you know - and what they think and feel about you - that makes all the difference in your career. Be human. Ask for favors. Ask for information. Pitch in. Have a sense of humor...
Published on February 29, 2004 by Rolf Dobelli

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stretching Good Material
Deborah Benton is a serious student of what makes successful business people successful, and her book 'How to Think Like a CEO" reflects the seriousness and depth of her work there.

This book, on the other hand, is a very long hike for a very small picnic. She has essentially re-worked very familiar ground for her into a book that simply doesn't have enough to...
Published on December 13, 2006 by James McCarthy


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stretching Good Material, December 13, 2006
By 
James McCarthy (Altadena, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Deborah Benton is a serious student of what makes successful business people successful, and her book 'How to Think Like a CEO" reflects the seriousness and depth of her work there.

This book, on the other hand, is a very long hike for a very small picnic. She has essentially re-worked very familiar ground for her into a book that simply doesn't have enough to say to fill its length.

There are times, for example, when while reading, one realizes that the last paragraph has been nothing but semi-connected quotes from people in the large archive of Ms. Benton's interview files. It doesn't really go together and it doesn't really make any new points.

I would strongly recommend 'How to Think Like a CEO' but I would definitely not recommend this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!, February 29, 2004
Remember everything your mother told you. Stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back. Be outgoing. Smile. If you've forgotten these lessons, this is for you. It's not what you know, it's who you know - and what they think and feel about you - that makes all the difference in your career. Be human. Ask for favors. Ask for information. Pitch in. Have a sense of humor. Speak slowly and listen carefully. Author D.A. Benton's presumably deep, probing interviews with 500 executives convinced her that charisma isn't inborn. She believes that everyone can learn to be charismatic. Just follow the six steps that can turn even the most repulsive excuse for a manager into a charming, charismatic executive. So, read this and practice. There's no harm in it, and it might do some good. However, while recommending this basic manual, suspects that the nature of charisma is a bit like the way a jazz musician explained the nature of jazz - if you have to ask what it is, you'll never know.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let your light so shine before men....", July 28, 2003
The word "charisma" is derived from the Greek word "kharisma," meaning divine gift, and used in reference to someone who has an exceptional ability to attract the attention and devotion of substantial numbers of people. Throughout history, some despicable people (e.g. Adolph Hitler) have demonstrated the power of charisma but we tend to explain it, rather, as a positive, desirable quality, associating it with those whom we admire, respect, and trust (e.g. Mohandas Gandhi). In this context, of special interest to me is Jim Collins' assertion that many of the CEOs of the good-to-great companies he studied are not charismatic.
According to information provided by Princeton University Press which published Search for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Corporate CEOs, Rakesh Khurana shares what he learned from a rigorous research of the hiring and firing of CEOs at over 850 of America's largest companies and from extensive interviews with CEOs, corporate board members, and consultants at executive search firms. "He explains the basic mechanics of the selection process and how hiring priorities have changed with the rise of shareholder activism. Khurana argues that the market for CEOs, which we often assume runs on cool calculation and the impersonal forces of supply and demand, is culturally determined and too frequently inefficient. Its emphasis on charisma artificially limits the number of candidates considered, giving them extraordinary leverage to demand high salaries and power. It also raises expectations and increases the chance that a CEO will be fired for failing to meet shareholders' hopes. The result is corporate instability and too little attention to long-term strategy."
All this is shared to create a context for comments on Benton's most recent book. In it, she offers a six-step process to develop "executive charisma: Be the first to initiate; expect and give acceptance to maintain esteem (yours as well as others'); ask questions and ask favors; stand tall, straight, and smile; be human, humorous, and hands-on; and finally, slow down, shut up, and listen. Obviously Benton agrees with Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich) and Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) who affirm the same values, as do more recent authors such as Jim O'Toole, Stephen Covey, Daniel Goleman, John Maxwell, and David Maister.
Merely listing the six steps in no way detracts from Benton's thorough analysis of each. She correctly insists that all should be developed sequentially; they are separate but interdependent. For that reason, their full development should be carefully integrated. As my reviews of her previous books indicate, her titles can be somewhat misleading. For example, when explaining how to think and act like a CEO, she is NOT suggesting that if you read those two books, you will become a CEO. The same is true of the title of this book. Benton does not suggest that by reading it you will become charismatic. If I understand her correctly, her purpose rather is to suggest how to increase what is generally referred to as "personal magnetism": that is, becoming more attractive to others by earning their admiration respect, and trust. My own experience indicates that charismatic people have an inherent authenticity in terms of their beliefs, values, and behavior. Charlatans also have some glitter but lack integrity and are inevitably found out.
One other point I wish to stress (on Benton's behalf) is that she did not write this book only for executives unless the word's meaning is extended to include anyone who takes action (executes) and/or calls upon others to do so. Benton's six-step process has obvious relevance to the world of commerce but also to education, athletics (especially youth sports), public service, healthcare, and (yes) religious organizations. There seem to be two quite different forms of charisma: cosmetic (of short duration such as a sparkler) and organic (of extended duration such as the bunsen burner). The former is expedient. The latter is authentic. The real deal. The right stuff. Call it whatever you will.
Not everyone can develop a dazzling personality but, as Benton asserts, everyone can become worthy of others' admiration respect, and trust. And that is as true of the CEO of a major corporation as it is of the volunteer who coaches that CEO's daughter or granddaughter on a youth soccer team.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to Make Friends with Influential People, April 21, 2005
D.A. Benton's Executive Charisma is a basic book on working your way to the corner office via popularity contest. There is a lot of common sense stuff in this novel, so much so that it begs the question "How did my VP, Director, Manager, Supervisor, get his/her job?" Clearly charisma is not a prerequisite to climbing your way up the corporate ladder in 98% of companies today. Maybe this book should be mandatory (prerequisite) reading for managers.

Although I enjoyed this book, I have to say that it is highly superficial, perhaps purposely, and does not address any one area in great detail.

DA Benton outlines the "Sacred Six Steps" to becoming an outstanding leader as:
- Be the first to initiate
- Expect and give acceptance to maintain esteem
- Ask questions and ask favours
- Stand tall, straight, and smile
- Be human, humorous, and hands-on
- Slow down, shut up, and listen

All in all a good basic read for leaders or those aspiring to project their ability. And god knows that we need more people in the workplace who are willing to project their ability????

I long for a book on leadership that details how you become a great leader by being capable, producing measurable results, coming up with great strategic ideas, and making friends with those that you truly like and not just those that have influence over your career.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaders lead - and this book tells you WHY and HOW, July 16, 2003
Debra Benton once more provides an insightful and meaningful tool that helps demystify what it takes to be not only an effective executive, but a leader in the true sense of the word. Drawing from her own experience, and a wealth of personal and business contacts that include some of the most powerful and influential CEOs in America, Debra's advice passes the only true test: it works. I think I understand something about leadership, but this work puts it into full perspective, reminds me of what is important, and best of all, extends into every facet of daily life. It is one of only a very few 'how to' books that I would pass on to my colleagues, business contacts, family, and friends. Her writing is clear and exemplary; her subject learned and the delivery so very effective: a short read for long results.
Michael Dessoye
President & CEO, Advanced Enterprise IM Solutions, Inc.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too little valuable materials for a book, June 23, 2003
By A Customer
This book is not worth buying, unfortunately.
The 200+ pages can be easily and adequately illustrated in just one or two pages. The author was trying to beef up the book by sprinkling it with both relevant and irrelevant quotes. She keeps repeating herself and go on-and on even for a very simple point. And, those points were already covered in the previous books.
Benton wrote a couple good books in the past. This is not one of them.
My recommendation to the author is: please do more research and write a book with more "meat". Readers are sharp - they can tell whether the author has done his/her due-diligence in preparation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing stuff!, July 16, 2003
By 
Kevin King (Longmont, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This book is unquestionably the best organized, to the point, and clearly stated book Debra has written. In this book, Debra offers the "keys to the kingdom" for maximizing personal presence. Folks who take the time to learn and use the material in this book will undoubtedly finish the book a better person than when they started. Considering the positive feedback that I myself have received since applying the techniques in the book, there's no question of its immense value.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploit Your Charisma, Your Personal Key to the Top, February 18, 2004
If you are an executive, or aspire to be one, read this book. Debra Benton simplifies the mystery of charisma into six practical, proven steps that anyone can immediately apply.

"Executive Charisma" is full of time - tested advice from the top business leaders of our time. It is a fast read, perfectly suited for busy people committed to life-long development.
As a practicing executive, I witness first-hand how top leaders relate to others on a daily basis. Those who know how to access and apply the 'soft' leadership skills are the winners, period. No matter how bright and classicaly educated a leader is, those who rise to the top have mastered the art of charisma.
Read Benton's book and learn how easy it is to turn up the juice on your executive charisma.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good compilation of common sense ideas, April 30, 2011
By 
Rajiv Puranik (California, USA) - See all my reviews
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While there is no new "game changing" idea in the book, it is a good compilation of no-nonsense, practical ideas. Also, I like books that are less than 200 pages long. This book qualifies. The chapters are definitely single sitting reads, so it is easy to read this book is steps without losing continuity.
I am withholding 1 star (ideally I'd have given it a 3.5) because I did ask myself "Is this it?" after finishing the book. May be few months from now I will feel that that is indeed the case, but for now I was looking for insights I had not seen elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be all that you can be, August 28, 2007
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This review is from: Executive Charisma: Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership (Paperback)
Benton's advice is very much in line with Napolen Hill's and Dale Carnegie's: be friendly and give acceptance to maintain esteem; ask questions and favors; show weakness, be human; slow down, shut up and listen. The author expands on each of these points and more, and provides great overview and examples on every topic. It's a great refresher, and a well-written book.
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Executive Charisma: Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership
Executive Charisma: Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership by D. A. Benton (Paperback - October 17, 2005)
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