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Useful, but limited if you aren't networking or looking for a promotion
on June 10, 2008
I borrowed this book from a friend. I was both impressed and turned off by it on many different levels. I have no interest in navigating the shark filled waters of corporate America or the yacht club and this book seems to be geared for those seeking entrée into that world. Of the 92 tips, the majority focused on working parties like a politician, making people think you like them when you secretly find them to be bores and pandering to native human egocentricity. Basically, it's a how-to guide for people who want to learn how to be charming and fake, without seeming to be fake. All very useful for ambitious corporate folks, entrepreneurs seeking financial backing, and even musicians looking to get a record deal, no doubt, but not very useful for average people looking to improve their social skills among friends.
For instance, the publisher's blurb on this site brags that the book shows you "7 ways to establish deep subliminal rapport with anyone". What they don't specify is that the author only shows you tricks to SIMULATE rapport with that person. This book is mostly about creating a complex, flexible illusion.
Although the author had many useful tips (I made myself a list of the 19 excellent tips I want to remember and incorporate into my own life) and her writing was very entertaining, I found myself thinking - "I'm glad she's not my friend. She may be a cool cat and a charmer, but she's also plastic."
So I'm giving the book a mixed review. Be aware of why you are buying it. If you want tips on how to network (a necessity for many people to succeed in their field), this book is probably nothing short of brilliant. She's keenly observant and gifted with the ability to analyze behavior and articulate it in an easy to understand manner. This book may very well be a life saver if you are trying to survive in a world that essentially runs by the rules of politicians and bureaucrats, where the ability to play the game is what counts. When you are surrounded by fakes, sometimes your best option is to learn how to put on your game face. The author does deliver the goods on this, in fine style.
If you want to improve your relationships with family, friends and romantic partners, where the creation of a facade is of no real value, this book does have something to offer you, but it will be limited. You'll find yourself trudging through entire chapters on how to sell people widgets by handing them pictures of your dog, or how to get a dead bore to tell his favorite "I'm so cool" story to your friends at a party so you can sneak off for better company without him realizing you've ditched him.