Most helpful critical review
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A Helpful Framework
on January 22, 2012
Michelle Tillis Lederman, the author of The 11 Laws of Likability, is the founder of Executive Essentials, a company that provides executive coaching among other services. Lederman writes this book out of a stunning realization she had -- wanting to be liked is a good thing. In fact, Lederman argues that networking is nothing more than being your authentic, likable self.
One of the strongest chapters in this book focused on likability in conversation, and it dealt with details like body language, curiosity, and open-ended questions. I particularly like Lederman's suggestion that we ask "How come?" instead of "Why?" because the latter automatically puts the listener on the defensive.
I appreciated how well Lederman mixed suggestion and story, teaching and illustrating. The interspersed stories were great for sparking thought and reflecting on how each chapter applies to my own life. The book is helpful for giving the reader a mental framework in which to understand networking, but it is weaker when providing specific suggestions for how to network.
I thought the chapter on the four personality types fell flat. There are already a host of personality tests, familiar to most, but the author chose to label people Straight Lines, Circles, Zig Zags, and Angles. I struggled to remember which was which, and I wish the author had stuck to a more popular system -- like the Myers-Briggs categories.
There is also a lengthy section defining terms used on various websites, including Facebook and Twitter. While those definitions might help some older readers, I found them self-evident and unnecessary.
I recommend this book particularly to introverts who wish networking came more naturally to them. This book provides a new understanding and new suggestions that are particularly helpful to those who fear networking, and it will be a great resource. Lederman's contribution to this genre is her focus on likability and building relationships, pulling networking away from its sterotypically mercenary connotation.