Title: ”Secrets of the people whisperer”
Author: Perry Wood
Publisher: Random House
Reviewer: Jonathan Senior
Subtitled, “Use the art of communication to enhance your own life and the lives of others,” I initially feared that this would be one of “those books” where all you have to do is simply read it and not only would your own life change but also anyone you happened to meet would also live forever.
Unfortunately, life is not like that because as a wise man once said, “If it’s easy, then it’s easy for everyone”…
The book itself is divided into 12 shortish chapters which are reasonable easy to read – no touchy feely stuff but some profound observations on life (P.61 “It is important to arrange our words before they come out of our mouth, rather than throw a load or words out…which we then try to arrange into something sensible.”) Perry does advise us, as with a lot of books of this genre, to read each chapter individually and contemplate rather than rushing through to the finish.
However, in order to have some lasting effect on the behaviour we exhibit, Perry laces each chapter with a series of “Things to do”. These are behaviours we should watch out for, be aware of or just tasks to do. This is where the real hard work is – to actually take some action. A particularly nasty one I suspect for many people is to record your own voice and listen to it until you are entirely comfortable with it.
One particular favourite of mine was chapter 8 – “Create healthy boundaries” where he talks about “stuff.” When I went to school and college, difficult people were called …difficult people, now they have “issues.” Perry gives us a useful guide to dealing with people with “issues” and 21 suggestions for dealing with conflict. A further practical suggestion is to imagine you are a fly on the wall watching yourself and the other party arguing.
On the downside, and a really minor point, the annoying habit of insisting on including a number of comments in brackets (all with a ! mark after them !). The points are well enough made without needing to over emphasis them (!).
A further suggestion would be to include a list of further reading or websites to consult.
On the whole, a good read and with all the “Things to do” probably a good six months to a years work. Some very innovative suggestions at dealing with familiar problems and I’ll probably read it again and make the author very happy by actually trying to do some of the “things to do.”