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text 2015-08-31 21:55
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships - Leil Lowndes

I was scrolling through Hoopla's recommended audiobook section when I accidentally borrowed this. (My clumsy fingers are always getting me into trouble on touch screens.) Since it was only three hours, I decided to listen to it... what an odd experience. I can't say I'll be seeking out any more self-help books-- and I'm going to try to avoid accidentally downloading them, too.


After listening to this, I found myself considering the line between purposeful communication and straight up manipulation. A lot of these tips were common sense, just plain silly, or felt a little too forceful in their plotting. I think the real #1 tip for good communication is to relax and listen, treat everyone like a person, and you'll do just fine.

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review 2012-11-29 00:00
How to Be a People Magnet : Finding Friends--and Lovers--and Keeping Them for Life
How to Be a People Magnet : Finding Friends--and Lovers--and Keeping Them for Life - Leil Lowndes The book does offer some really good advice. I don't agree with everything the author has to say about relationships and how to manage them but I will definitely put to use some of the things from the book.
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review 2011-10-15 00:00
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships - Leil Lowndes I seldom read these sort of books, but I think this one is really really good. It's the kind of book that you can save for reference and read a little tip from every few days. There are many little gems densely packed into this book - some of it is common sense, some of it is eye-opening, but even if you already know everything this book tells you, it serves as a very effective reminder.
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review 2011-07-01 00:00
How to Be a People Magnet: Finding Friends and Lovers and Keeping Them for Life
How to Be a People Magnet: Finding Friends and Lovers and Keeping Them for Life - Leil Lowndes I begin to understand the annoying social tendencies of some people; from now on, when seemingly-insane strangers start talking to me incessantly at parties, making too much eye contact, and looking for reasons to brush up against me, I will understand that it's not psychosis on their part (probably) but has come from reading How-To books like this one.
Honestly, this book scared me a little as well as offended. I talk about being a stalker, but good grief, I don't even hold a candle to this woman.
I know she's trying to be light and flippant, getting her message across with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. However, I felt she came across as judgmental and self-centered and that put me off.

Some of the things she said that made me raise my eyebrow and I realize these are taken out of context but even in context, they're still odd quotes:
"Be sure to discharge a little blast of joy into everyone's life"
Um...are we talking giving raspberries here or full on airhorns?
"Our auras our touching"
No. This is never something that should be said outside of holistic therapy. It just sounds creepy.

In addition, I was weirded-out by much of her advice, such as:
Pretend to know everyone at a party where you know no one. Smile and wave to strangers across the room like they're your friends.
Why? Why would you do this? If I was hosting a party and I'd invited a person I knew didn't know anyone there and they arrived and started smiling and waving at everyone, I'd hide the alcohol, worried that kidney damage would be an inevitable outcome, because obviously this person drinks way too much. I get the concept: Don't act afraid. Be confident. But I'm thinking maybe drop the wave. Smile at people who look at you, but that's good advice in most settings anyhow. Maybe not dark alleys at night in crowded cities, but otherwise, smiling never hurts. Smiling and waving at strangers makes you look insane or overly-eager (unless you live in a small town, in which case you have to smile and wave at everyone who drives by. In that situation, though, it's assumed you/your family knows the driver/driver's family so you're not really strangers)
When talking to someone, make sure you make extended eye contact, don't allow any awkward silences but fill up space with enthusiastic talking, instead, and find reasons to lightly touch the other person.
GAH! I am going to start carrying mace! In flirting circumstances, this is fairly typical but she wasn't talking about flirting. She was talking about meeting any, ol' new person. If someone did this to me, especially someone I don't know well or at all, I'd find that person highly creepy! Friends do this regularly, but friends have permission to do this. You're supposed to make lots of eye-contact with your friends. You're supposed to initiate little touches because they're intimate and help keep the bond between you and your friends strong. But doing this to the person who is standing in line behind you at the grocery store? There's a good chance you'll have security called on your weird butt in moments flat.
Give lingering hugs and always take that extra few seconds to say "thank you" to people.
I agree that really meaning what you're saying, that really making an effort to show you mean what you say, is great. But at this point, everything she wants the reader to do is making me feel uncomfortable and gross, so the eye/hand/mind-meld contact while saying, seriously, solemnly, "THAAAAAANK YOOOOOU" is just more weirdness. And then the lingering hug? Again, with people you know and like, this is great. As a greeting or parting with someone you just met? Not so great!
And telling men to say to women who didn't like a movie (again, this is out of context but the end result is the same), "I'm sorry the movie was such a bummer but being with you made it beautiful" and following that up with the assurance that "Yes, women love that kind of poetic soul" should come with a giant caveat. SOME women love that kind of poetic soul. Maybe young, romantic women who have never had a broken heart. Or perhaps women raised in an era where this type of statement was heart-felt and came from the lips of Jimmy Stewart. I think a lot of women - at least me and most of the women I personally know - would roll their eyes at this type of statement, or at least laugh and not with "Ah ha ha ha, you're so cute" but more "Eh heh...I can't believe you just said that." What if a woman is trying to figure you out, Mr. Man who just shut her down by telling her being in her company is beautiful? What if she wanted to find out if you could hold a conversation? A debate? Maybe she's testing to see if your tastes are similar. Maybe it's a legitimate complaint and the movie was horrid and a waste of an hour and a half! Does that not deserve validation? Can a guy not say, "It sucked! Let's go get some ice-cream and talk about the ten miserable things that would have been more fun than that movie!" A guy can't laugh and say, "I actually thought it was AWESOME. I'm going to tell my friends to see it...but maybe not with their dates. What should we do now?" The whole "I'm sorry you didn't like it but just being with you made everything fine" line makes it sound like he's blowing her and her opinions off, either shutting her down because he doesn't like whiny complainers or shutting her down because he can't be bothered with her opinions. I wouldn't call that guy back, that's for sure(I would call the ice-cream guy back, though. Guys who like ice-cream tend to be pretty cool...no pun intended)

I have to say that though I found a lot of the quotes and advice to be questionable, I was reminded to smile more, to be sincere in my thanks and compliments, to think of others in general. I won't do it her way because I don't want to appear a complete lunatic creeper, but I will remember to do it my way (and maybe still appear a complete lunatic creeper...but a sincere lunatic creeper!)

Despite the good reminders, I was nearly offended by the feeling I had that this woman is not nice. Sure, she has a happy, chirpy (over-the-top) voice with lots of emoting and inflecting. Yes, I know she's trying to be funny with her little quips. However, I felt she too-often put the rest of the world down, almost as if she felt everyone out there is a lesser being. She talks about a "crabby, old man", using all sorts of epithets to describe his apparently-sour mood. When her story resolves with him going ga-ga over a baby, she does not change her way of describing him. He is still a crabby old man...just one who cannot resist a cute, smiling baby.
Maybe he's not a crabby old man. Maybe he's had a stroke that has paralyzed his face and he has a difficult time smiling. Maybe he just has a severe countenance but is very kind and wonderful. Maybe the attention he showed to the cooing infant should have made her realize that he's another human with normal days, good days, and bad days and reacts just like the rest of us do. In fact, I suspect that's what she was trying to get at but I felt she missed the mark by continuing to shovel on the sour-mood adjectives.
Had that been the only example of giving someone a negative description - on purpose - it would have passed unnoticed. However, she is quick to talk about the high school popularity queen who has, so tragically, become a bitter, fat, haggard woman in line at the grocery store. It's so sad and the author feels such pity for the poor woman who was once so popular (though mean).
And her dweeb and nerd friends. Unless you're a dweeb or a nerd...or a geek or a freak or whatever, calling someone else a dweeb or a nerd is rarely a compliment. She loves those terms, though...almost as they're terms of endearments for her socially-awkward friends, the ones only she has the good graces to tolerate, whereas normal, healthy, non-dweeb/nerd society would shun them. In fact, she issues a clause for us to live by: "Clause 24: Befriend a Nerd. I'll open my eyes, look around, and find someone WAY less cool than I am or someone who is not as accepted by my peers as I am. Then I will reach out and genuinely befriend them. I'll let some of MY stardust rub off on THEM." My, how magnanimous. I'm dazzled.
I am sure this is meant as another cute little tongue-in-cheek quip. But after all the other almost-bullying things she said throughout the book, this just rubbed me the wrong way. She does this type of thing far too often and it comes across as being "you are all so beneath me, but thankfully, I am a wonderful, glamorous person and I shall acknowledge and embrace (lingeringly) you!"
It's probably not what she meant, but that's how I heard it...straight from her mouth.

All in all, I think I got what I needed from this book (the aforementioned reminders to remember to try to be nicer) but I don't think I ever want to meet the author. Not only would I be worried about being manhandled, she came across as being someone who needs to work on her acceptance of others instead of focusing on winning their acceptance. In that light, I have to take what she says with a grain of salt - it's more important to her to gain value from what others think of her than it is to me, thus, her methods offer me very little in the way of making friends and creating lasting relationships.
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