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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
On a scale of 1-10, Tim's book is an 11. Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" gave us the macro message: "Be Likable". Tim Sanders explains the micro details of how to actually "BE" likeable.

As a business consultant, I'd rate myself these days as a 6 moving toward 7. Ronald Reagan was probably a 10 or 11; Merv Griffin is right up there, too.

As a young man raised in a toxic environment, I was probably a 4 on the likeability scale. For many years, beginning with "How to Win Friends ...", I read everything from Freud and Jung to Games People Play and Transactional Analysis. As a loner, I took engineering courses and was "respected", but not socially successful.

After much "psychological bootstrapping", I got my first sales job at the relatively late age of 33, selling expensive, complex electronic test systems. Looking back on those times where I lost a job, alienated a co-worker or upset my wife, I realize now that I sorely needed a book like Tim's.

"The Likeability Factor" is more than just a book; it is like a Scouting Manual - a handbook for those of us who want to tie more social knots with people far and near, and enjoy the improvement in our lives that its tools make possible. It shows us, step-by-step, exactly how to leave behind the isolative and counter productive emotions of Anger and Apathy and move toward a life of filled with Empathy and Enjoyment.

On page: 42, Tim sums the problem of being "unliked": "Being unlikable is like expelling toxic waste into your social life". Then, in Chapter 6, he begins our education in "Likeability".

In a perfect world, this handbook would be spiral-bound and handed out as required reading in every school and company. Or perhaps it should be kept in secret vaults and cost $50 on the black market - so that young people would move heaven and earth to get a copy, then read and discuss it into the wee hours in coffee houses and dorm rooms. (;-)

John Schuler

Portland, Oregon

June 28, 2005
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2007
Tim's first book, Love is The Killer App, is one of the most influential books I've read in the past few years. The Likeability Factor is another winner from Tim Sanders.

The big idea of this book is that being likeable is extremely important because:

"The choices you make don't shape your life as much as the choices other people make about you."

People make choices using the following three steps:

1) Listen - people can chose to listen to you

2) Believe - people can chose to believe you

3) Value - people can chose to value what you offer

Likeability affects all three.

There are four elements of likeability:

1) Friendliness. Friendliness is the threshold of likeability

2) Relevance, how you connect with another person's wants or needs

3) Empathy (not sympathy)

4) Realness or authenticity. Lack of realness, like lying, hypocrisy, or insincerity can suck your L-factor down.

The second half of the book covers raising your L-factor. While I will probably not get a leather "L-factor Journal" and carry it with me at all times, or repeat my "friendliness mantras" every morning, I found this part of the book the most fascinating. The exercises to raise your L-factor are not simple, and require quite a bit of introspection. I'm not remotely a soft skills touchy feely guy, but I really enjoyed the last part of this book.

If this book has a downside, it's that I was already sold on likeability being important. Tim cites many examples and research in the beginning of the book, and it was like preaching to the choir for me.

I like it, I'm glad I read it, and I recommend it. I will doubtlessly re-read parts again, and may even do many of the touchy-feely exercises!

You can check it put in more detail at Amazon:
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2009
This book is divided into two parts; the first half is about why the 'L factor' (likability) is important and the second half is about raising your L factor.

The introduction starts off with this radio dude, 'Mikey', who is really miserable about his life, everybody hates him, and he's about to lose his job. Enter the author. He tells Mikey about how likability is important and how he should be less negative. After following the author's advice, his life becomes a halcyon wonderland. OK, kind of a cliche story, but I kept reading anyway.

It got worse--the author has a very boring style of writing. This is the format of the book: x study shows likability helps with y trait/ anecdote about sad person who lacked y trait/ sad person learns about the L-factor and then gains y trait/sad person is now happy person.

It's hard to avoid this format when giving citations, but I felt like I was reading a English 101 paper where one gives a citation and then expands on it, over and over again. After the first 100 pages, every reader should get the point that being likable will improve your health, marriage, job, kids, oreo addiction, etc. People are reading this book to find out HOW to be more likable; the WHY of it is secondary, and should have been a much smaller section of the book.

FINALLY, we get to the second part of the book, which is supposed to be about becoming more likable. But this part is bogged down in so many anecdotes and citations that it is hard to filter through to find meaningful information. The key things which are noted in the last part are that to be more likable, one should be friendly, relevant, empathetic and real. But these points were written in such a convoluted fashion that it was a strain to even enjoy reading it.

Likability and attraction are both truly fascinating topics, but the poor presentation of the subject in this book makes this an extremely boring read. Best to read the summary on the back of the book, and find an alternative book.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2006
The author is absolutely correct. Likability is an essential trait to success.

I think most of us would say that good friends are a valuable and cherished part of life. Doesn't our likability determine our ability to make friends? Likeability also determines our marriageability--somebody has to like you for them to have a chance to fall in love with you, and they must fall in love with you, I should think, to want to marry you.

On-the-job, likability is also essential. How well we are liked by our coworkers determines how much we enjoy being around each other, and for people we are around for eight hours a day, this is important. Being liked by our boss or supervisor is as important as how well we can do our job. If somebody likes us, they'll tend to overlook the small day-to-day mistakes we make. If they don't like us, we can hit everything right on target and it just won't matter. I have seen employees try to get a new co-worker fired simply because they did not like him or her. I think the author has done a valuable public service in documenting the studies that underscore the importance of being liked.

What is likability, though? That is a hard question to answer. Various authors have attempted to do so down through the years from Dale Carnegie onward. Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP) called likability "rapport" but horribly oversimplified the process of becoming liked by claiming that simply mimicking or "mirroring" another person's gestures would induce it.

Then there is the old poem that goes:

"I do not like thee, Doctor Fell
the reason why I cannot tell,
but this I know and know full well
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell."

This poem, while humorous, is also startlingly insightful. People often do not know why they like or dislike somebody. Defining why somebody is liked or disliked is incredibly difficult. I have seen people become disliked in as little as five minutes and after a brief conversation.

Of course there is the obvious: insulting people is not likely to make one well liked. Various tips for being well-liked are good listening, smiling, being pleasant, showing interest in what the other person has to say, and being friendly. Ah, but that last point is the rub! How do you define "friendly?" Being a good raconteur is of course, useful in becoming well-liked. But are good raconteurs born or are they made?

Another impediment to being liked is shyness. People who are shy are often misinterpreted as being unfriendly, but there is more to it than that. There are a great many mannerisms that often accompany shyness that can serve as an impediment to being liked. Unfortunately, some of these mannerisms are unconscious; the person exhibiting them may not even be aware of them. For example, eye contact is an important factor in being well-liked. The shy person may not make good eye contact and may not even realize it. Nervous fidgeting, tension in one's jaws, and various vocal traits are all mannerisms that can make other people feel uncomfortable. Just as an angry demeanor will often raise other people's blood pressure, an uncomfortable manner can make other people feel uncomfortable around you.

Unfortunately, these unconscious traits are not explored by the author. True, it would be hard to find studies that measure something as elusive as eye contact and its relationship to being well liked, but such subconscious mannerisms are certainly an important factor. Perhaps it will be up to another author at some future date to adequately explore these subconscious factors.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2005
I bought this book for insight and someone else's well-thought out perspective. What I got was obvious advice, drizzled on at the end of 100 pages of fluff. I say 100 pages, because the first 100 pages are dedicated to explaining why likeability is helpful to you, me, and everyone else in society. If we didn't already know this, we wouldn't be interested in the book, now would we? The next 100 pages essentially says be friendly, revelant, and that brings about 'realness.' The only 'realness' I see here is that there is the lack of intriguing insight.

The bottom line is if you're a rude social outkast, then this book might be for you. If you're looking to actually learn something beyond the rudimentary, basic, advice of 'be friendly,' will not find it in 'The Likeability Factor,' which ironically is only mildly likeable as a book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2005
I loved this book - for one simple reason. Sanders has written a new book that is needed like rain on a dry desert. Good people need to be reminded that being likeable matters and how we treat each other in business is not just good manners and being considerate - it is also GOOD business. We can be happier and healthier by being likeable; and surrounding ourselves with likeable people. Tim Sanders is reminding us that the old ways of respect, caring and being likeable are admirable traits. In the near future - books like this will be remembered as the beginning of a quiet renaissance inside the business world.

Why isn't this book and others like it - appearing as a a daily column in a national newspaper? Sort of like "good biz news for the day" to be posted on the water cooler or the white board....

I like the way Sanders outlines these ideas in a clean style with excellent research to support his ideas. The citations and research makes convincing reading. An easy intelligent read. This big world needs more messages such as this 2005 book. A simple message that needs repeating. Keep writing, Tim Sanders!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2005
C R A C K . . . That's the sound of Tim hitting it out of the park again!

I'm a huge fan of Tim's first book, Love is the Killer App, and couldn't wait to get my hands on the Likeability Factor. There aren't many non-fiction business or self-improvement books I haven't read, and I'm always a little skeptical. If I can get one new idea or strategy from a book it's worth it for me to read it. Well, having read the Likeability Factor, I can tell you there are tons of new ideas I'm taking away.

The premise is deceptively simple . . . the more people like you the more successful you will be in business and in relationships. The real genius is Tim's thorough breakdown of the different components that make up "likeability." Rather than approach it like a textbook, he gives insightful real-world examples and stories.

Chapter Six is an absolute goldmine and worth a hundred times the cost of the book. Tim shows you step-by-step how to become more likeable. I loved the "My Personal History" exercise.

I can't wait to read whatever Tim's working on next!
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2005
"The Likeability Factor" is a solid follow-up to Tim Sanders' "Love Is The Killer App," which is one of my all-time favorite business books.

While Tim's first book provides a great philosophical context for living your business life, "The L-Factor" provides you with advice for becoming more self-aware inside and outside the workplace.

Loaded with data and how-to advice, this quick-and-easy read will first convince you that nice people can indeed finish first and then give you some practical exercises for improving your likability.

But be warned: Don't try this at home unless you're truly committed to becoming more likeable. Otherwise, you'll lack the "realness" Tim espouses and people will see right through you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2005
The Likeability Factor is a great look at likeability's role in business. Tim Sanders does a fine job showing how being a source of joy AND solutions in others lives will enrich them, and you, both personally and professionally. Sanders also takes on the Machiavellian notion of fear as the ideal motivator, and in doing so challenges a lot of management styles I've encountered in my young career.

The first few chapters are my favorite part of the book. Sanders offers compelling reasons to become more likeable, including some surprising ones (like better health), and backs them up with references to actual studies and some hard data. This helps to distinguish this book from more self-help oriented titles, and makes it a more legitimate fit in the business section at a bookstore.

While I like Sanders book quite a bit, I found myself skimming the latter portions. Once Sanders starts offering ways to be a better listener and such, the book feels like a retread of other books. If you're like most people I know, you've read some self help or communications books that offer similar tips: look for nonverbal signals to reveal a person's true intent, focus on empathetic listening etc. This isn't to say Sanders flounders here (his excersises are very good for those who want to improve in those areas), just that it's been said before in other places.

All the same, I would recommend the book, especially if you haven't read something along these lines before. But also get a copy of Carnegie's book, if only for some context.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2005
I really loved this book! This is a book that I've needed for many years. I grew up as a science nerd, studying science and math and technology instead of people. Now, years later, I'm struggling to make up for all the things that I didn't learn about people during high school, while I was studying science. As Tim states early on in the book, our lives are determined largely by other peoples choices about us, such as who to hire or promote.

I was a big fan of his first book. "Love is the Killer App", so I bought this book as soon as I heard it was out.

Like "7 habits", or "How to win friends and influence people", this is a book that you have to treat as a workbook and work through it to get real results, so don't expect good results unless you come to the book willing to work.

One of the goals that I have set for myself after taking the Dale Carnegie class is to become the kind of person that everybody likes, and Tim has told me what I need to do to get there. Thanks, Tim!
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