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I read a lot. Everything. Physics books, math, autobiographies, novels, self help, philosophy, religion, medical books. Dozens of books own writing, psychology, human interaction. I write a lot. Poetry, medical journal articles. I teach. I'm an international speaker. I do architectural design. I paint. In short, basically, I know a lot. I do a lot. I teach a lot. So, I think I'm qualified to write this review.
The title and subject matter of this book is enticing, intriguing, important. I read the first 30 pages...or, rather, I suffered through the first 30 pages. Then I picked random chapters to read. But this book is so incredibly poorly written that reading it is painful. Style? There is no style. Grammar? Eh. Sentence structure? Mind numbing. A page turner? Only to close the book.
With so many great reviews, I am sure there is useful information here. I am sure others find this book very useful. But, this is some of the least engaging, most poorly written, uninviting mishmash of sentences an author could throw into a blender and pour out onto the pages of a book. The author may understand interpersonal communication, but she sure needs a coach when it comes to communicating via the written language.
I simply couldn't bring myself to read it. I sent it back.
The book is 312 pages. There are 267 uses of the term "LAB" in the book! This is their Language And Behavior business. I bought/downloaded it, then ended up deleting it because they refer to themselves and their clients who bought their program constantly in this book. It's essentially a literary infomercial for their services. Any new information not about them seems to be to validate them.
I bought this on kindle because it was on sale for $2. I regret paying even that much for it.
This book is simplistic to the point of comedy. It's full of capitalized words like "Criteria" and "Context", which give the appearance of a formal/technical terminology, but the author doesn't actually give them any meaning beyond their everyday usage.
The real problem with this book though is that it offers all these labels and techniques as prescriptions for such absurdly basic scenarios that you would sound like a child or a cult member if you used formal communication technique to address them in the real world. And if you tried these techniques in realistic complicated situations they would fail miserably.
Here's an excerpt:
" Knowing how to uncover and work with Criteria can give you a means of deciding what is more important and what is less important in a given Context. You can do this for yourself or with other people. I'll demonstrate with Simone. This technique is called making a *Hierarchy of Criteria*.
SRC: Simone, you had a number of things that were important for you at work. Let's list them. Simone: A challenge, something that allows me to utilize my present skills and develop new ones, good remuneration, and working with people.
We have four Criteria here and we do not yet know which are essential, optional, or the most important for Simone. I, as the listener, may think one is more important than another for her, but that would be hallucinating.
SRC: Simone, imagine for a moment that I have a couple of jobs that might fit your needs. In this hand over here (holding out my left hand, palm up), you will get a job with a challenge. And in this hand, (holding out my right, palm up, hands wide apart), this job allows you to utilize your present skills and develop new ones. Which one attracts you? Simone: A challenge.
If you observe carefully (which is a challenge to illustrate in a book) you can often see the choice being made before the person says anything. It is important to keep your hands wide apart so the person will perceive two separate choices. I do not know exactly how Simone is processing this choice, but by putting each option in a different hand, I am creating something more real or tangible for her. "
Do we really need a formal technique with a formal name ("Hierarchy of Criteria") for what amounts to asking someone which of their wants is most important?
In the real world communication is difficult because people don't have simple, well articulated, hierarchically ordered preferences. If this hypothetical Simone character can answer these questions so readily, without any caveat or clarification, then why don't we start by simply asking which criteria is most important to her? How about that?
Systems like this don't actually facilitate effective communication. They give adherents the illusion of communicating effectively by maneuvering conversation partners into contrived formulaic responses. Sure, some people might actually feel more safe with the comfortable predictability of this communication style, and for those people that's fine. But if you attempt to apply the techniques in this book broadly in your everyday life, a lot of people are going to react negatively towards you...and using the techniques in this book to try to suss out why they are reacting negatively is only going to make things worse.
This is not a book about influence, it is a book touting the persuasive power of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)-a completely discredited pseudoscience. NLP practitioners are big in the Human Potential movement, since the principles of NLP are grandiose and full of impressive terminology. I probably can't pan any of the NLP Gurus out there, but do the research folks, before buying.