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The Hard Truth About Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They'd Learned Sooner Paperback – January 22, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061284149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061284144
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Whether near the beginning or end of a career, Klaus (BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It) sees future professional growth dependent upon identifying and correcting self-sabotaging interpersonal behavior. Klaus illustrates each behavior's professional importance with stories from her work as a career coach. These soft skills run the gamut from handling critics (including one's own internal critic) to bragging. Her practical advice is delivered in the conversational style of a one-on-one session with a personal coach. The learn-by-example counsel may be helpful for those entering such situations as annual performance reviews—whether giving or receiving them—and public speaking. The volume is recommended for those who are in need of a more personable approach to rising up professionally. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“[Klaus’s] practical advice is delivered in the conversational style of a one-on-one session with a personal coach.... The volume is recommended for those who are in need of a more personable approach to rising up professionally.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The authors offer 54 important workplace lessons...[and]...offers important insight for careermanagement which will be helpful to a wide range of library patrons.” (Booklist)

“This is a good book to read with a notebook at your side, in case you spot anything you’ve been doing to hold yourself back in the workplace.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

More About the Author


You may have seen Peggy Klaus on Nightline, the Today Show, and 20/20 or read her advice in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, and O magazine. You may know her as the "brag lady" or--as one newspaper called her--a "bragologist" because of her popular book, BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It (Hachette Books Group, Hardcover 2003, Paperback 2004). Or you may know Klaus for the soft skills savvy she promotes in her second tome, The Hard Truth About Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They'd Learned Sooner (Collins, January 2008).

For more than a decade Klaus has provided communication and leadership training programs, keynotes, and executive coaching at leading corporations and organizations worldwide. Her client list reads like a who's who of Fortune 500 companies, including firms such as JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, Computer Associates, Chevron Corporation, Deloitte, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, The National Football League, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, American Express, Mattel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Kaiser Permanente, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, among others. She reaches thousands each year through her workshops, keynotes and executive coaching.

With advanced degrees in drama, speech, and theatre from London's Royal Academy of Music and the Drama Studio, Klaus began her career as an actor and classical singer. She then moved to Hollywood to become a producer, director, and coach who worked with actors, comedians, musicians, and broadcast news talent for productions at Paramount Studios, Warner Brothers, ABC, CBS, and NBC TV, among others.

In the mid 90's, Klaus started getting panicked calls from friends on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley asking for help with their presentations at industry and press conferences, client meetings, and congressional hearings. Applying the same performance and communication techniques that she used successfully with stage, television, and film performers, Klaus left Hollywood behind to start Klaus & Associates. She quickly earned a reputation for teaching business professionals how to bring their best, most authentic and dynamic self to every situation.

Taking her message from the boardroom to the classroom, Klaus has lectured to students and faculty at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business, Boalt School of Law, and the Harvard School of Public Health & Sciences. She has also served as lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and School of Public Health; Wharton's Executive MBA Program; the University of California, Davis MBA Program; Pepperdine University School of Law; and Smith College's Executive MBA Program. Klaus currently sits on the board of the Young Women's Leadership Network and has served as a member of the Women's Leadership Board of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco Board, and on the SAGE Scholars Advisory Board at the University of California, Berkeley.

Following her passion for working with youth, in early 2004 Klaus launched BRAG! Connections, a unique program in which teen girls are paired with professional women to learn and practice networking and self-promotion skills. Continuing her work with youth, she developed the educational curriculum, Soft Skills 101: Lessons for Teens on Getting Ahead at School, at Work, and in Life.

When she is not coaching, training, lecturing, making television appearances, or giving keynotes in the US, Europe, and Asia, Klaus can be found in Berkeley, California, where she lives with her husband and their adorable pup, Ernie.

Customer Reviews

This book is spot on about being the "hard truth" about soft skills.
Kelly Davies
I have been highly recommending Peggy's first book, Brag!, ever since I attended one of her workshops in Palo Alto a few years ago.
Denise Brosseau
As a result, the book is very easy to read, but it's not very instructive.
Bob

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

226 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Bob on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is extremely heavy on anecdote. Nearly every page has one or two "real life" examples illustrating the author's points. As a result, the book is very easy to read, but it's not very instructive.

If you are impressed by the abundance of 5-star Amazon reader reviews, you shouldn't be. Many of them look like shills: they're heavily clustered at the start of the book's availability; the reviewers have no other reviews; many mention the author by her first name and describe her personality rather than the book itself. It's really sad that so many authors, publishers and agents feel they are entitled to "game" the Amazon review system.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By B. Bryner on May 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
More or less a book about being nice at work. More of general guidelines as opposed to structured advice on learning to deal with people. Perhaps a good launch pad, but a little thin in content.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Rick Wingender on December 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a good book, but definitely not definitive. I'd consider it more of a "primer" than anything because it doesn't go into great depth or detail. It's only 175 pages so I got through it in two nights; it's a very easy read. Most of it seemed like refresher (which I admittedly needed) from other books I've read or training I've taken. Another reviewer wished she'd had this as a college graduation present - actually, this would be a good book for anyone just starting their first job, simply to create awareness of the importance of soft skills. Since finishing this book, I've started reading "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics", which goes much deeper into the topic, and so far, I'd highly recommend it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By King Solomon on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great. It provides real life issues and stories as examples. Unfortunately it does not really provide much of solutions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jaewoo Kim VINE VOICE on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recommend this book for those who are just starting their careers. If you don't know already, soft skills are critical to anyone's career success. Without it, your opportunities will be limited.

The book is about career management more than just soft skills.

This book goes over all the how to manage your career. The author justifiably emphasize that it is everyone's responsibility to keep his/her skills updated. The company will not do that for you.

Some of the soft skills covered are basic such as communication and listening, and how to deal with politics, your boss, and your enemies. I wouldn't say there are breakthrough ideas in this book. But just a good solid coverage of the basics.

Pros:
1)Good coverage on how to manage your career.
2)Good coverage on how to manage your boss, allies, enemies, and most important of all, yourself.
3)Good coverage of in-and-out of corporate politics such as Do's and Don'ts.

Cons:
1)Basic coverage and doesn't cater to the those who are more advanced in their careers.
2)The book has lot of breadth but not necessarily great depth.
3)you can't really learn soft skills by reading a book. You need to apply the concepts in this book on a regular basis, and that's when the real learning happens.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By blair on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pros: a fast read. a very good handbook for college grads who work for big corporates. a lot of the points made in the book are apparent to most people, but a lot of people tend to forget these rules in reality. it is a good reminder to have before embarking on a career.

cons: same as many reviews here, i do find many anecdotes in the book redundant. after all, Peggy is a real life consultant than a writer. so the book overall is not effectively written. also, i find it annoying that the writer implies to sell her consulting service between the lines of the content. Such as talking about how all the big company employees/managers go to her for advice in case of a dilemma.

I gave it four stars because overall the content/selection of the topics of the book is much better than similar self-help books on the market right now. they are good points made in the book that every career starter should grasp before entering the workplace.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Hankins on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with the same boring and bland advice you can find on countless blogs written by amateur writers. It's mostly common sense filled with endless anecdotes about people and how they used this advice. It's a frustrating read because it has potential, but it's just not well-written. Did I mention the endless anecdotes?
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. L. Meyer on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Peggy Klaus has an uncanny ability to lead us toward dissecting our shortcomings and self-destructive behaviors. Like the best of life coaches, she is benevolent and practical in analyzing workplace situations and suggesting behavioral strategies. This book will benefit everyone from the CEO, to the manager, to support staff, to teachers, to shop owners, to freelancers, etc... as it is really about interrelating even away from the office. I came away from this book with a list of easily assimilated action steps to incorporate into my working relationships. Klaus' use of case studies and alternate scripts makes this all the easier to think through and project into our own scenarios.
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