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Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All Hardcover – March 1, 2012


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Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All + Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others + Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844624
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bernard T. Ferrari is the chairman and founder of Ferrari Consultancy and a twenty-year veteran of McKinsey & Co. as a leader of its North American Corporate Finance and Strategy Practice and the firm's Health Care Practice. Prior to his career with McKinsey, he was a surgeon and chief operating officer of the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
I wrote the book, "Just Listen," and was excited and not disappointed to read Power Listening.
Mark Goulston
This book is an excellent source for developing a listening skill set and should be required reading for all professional sales people.
Scott Hoffman
This is one of those rare business books that applies at least as much in one's personal life as professional life.
Steve Curtin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain suggests that there is much of value to be learned from those who are primarily introverted by nature and/or preference. For example, when engaged in conversation, they listen intently and purposefully to what another person has to say. In this book, Bernard T. Ferrari explains how to master "the most critical business skill of all," one that I believe is also the most critical social skill of all. "The key to good listening is to develop a filing system in our heads, and to ask questions that get those folders and cabinets adequately filled." Ferrari devotes a separate chapter to each of the following categories of situations in which feedback is obtained:

o Get to the mandate: Focus on the question to answer, the problem to solve, etc.
o Understand the plan: How to get from A to B (small picture) and from A to Z (Big Picture)
o Know who is on the team: Who will do what by when? With whom?
o Be aware of how you are executing: What is working, what isn't, and why?
o Be mindful of the personal: Take defining characteristics of each source into full account.

I agree with Ferrari that in a business setting good listening is a critically important (albeit strenuous) activity, one that must be purposeful, under control, with total focus and engagement, and most active at the front end of decision making. As for poor listeners, Ferrari identifies and discusses six familiar types: the Opinionator (often wrong, never in doubt), the Grouch (everyone else is wrong), the Preambler (wind bag filled with digressions), the Perseverator (self-serving blah blah blah), the Answer Man/Woman (hair-trigger problem solver), and the Pretender (really could not care less).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott Hoffman on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I believe that the power to truly listen to people is the most important skill you can develop, for business and for life. This book is an excellent source for developing a listening skill set and should be required reading for all professional sales people.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marlene Moleon on March 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In Spanish some experts make a distinction between hearing (oir) and listening (escuchar).
I've read before about learning to listen to resolve conflicts, but this is the first time I read about the importance of listening focused on business. This is an excellent book that I recommend.
Quote: "Listening can well be the difference between profits and loss, between success and failure, between a long career and a short one. Listen is the only way to find out what you don't know, and marks the path to making good decisions, arriving at the best ideas. If you aspire to be better at your job, no matter what it is, listening may be the most powerful tool at your disposal".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim Thompson on July 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
To actively and empathetically listen is critical in any important interpersonal situation; social or professional. We are so busy today that this kind of listening is becoming a lost art. Bernie has brilliantly outlined in very practical terms how each of us can become a better listener. He gives numerous examples and illustrates helpful techniques to improve listening skills. He also points out the pitfalls that hinder us from being effective listeners and partners. This book is a must for anyone who wants to be a better listener.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Curtin on February 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any book that reinforces the importance of affirming your conversation partner (referred to as CP throughout the book), practicing the 80:20 Rule whereby you aim to talk about 20 percent of the time while your CP talks about 80 percent of the time, and becoming Master of the Question (using a portion of your speaking time to pose questions in an effort to draw out your CP) is a worthwhile resource. Also, really enjoyed the unique background and associated anecdotes from B. Ferrari, a McKinsey-trained consultant, COO, and surgeon. This is one of those rare business books that applies at least as much in one's personal life as professional life. Good stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Maslanka on July 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book is nice and short with a minimum amount of useless throat clearing. The chapter on how to decide if you need to interrupt what someone is telling you is excellent, with a useful series of questions to ask yourself:do I need clarification;do I need to parse an issue to focus on a certain aspect;is there a counter argument we should discuss now. Throughout the book, he teaches us the power of a question, whether at a mortality and morbidity conference at a hospital(the author was once a surgeon) or when developing a mandate(ie mission statement) for your company. His big idea:you already know what you think, presume that you will learn something you did not know if you listen to others and presume positive intent from them. Take a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Goulston on September 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I wrote the book, "Just Listen," and was excited and not disappointed to read Power Listening. If you want to be more successful in your professional and personal life you would do well to read this book. Bernie's background from surgeon to lawyer to businessman to consultant stands him and this book in good stead as a terrific reference if you want to improve your communication skills. His sections on: "Listen Up!" and "Sorting the Chaos" are terrific ways to orient and then focus yourself to get the most out of your relationships, one conversation at a time. I highly recommend, "Power Listening."
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