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GHOST RULES

UNSPOKEN SECRETS TO GETTING AHEAD

From interns to CEOs, this sage manual will improve professionals’ communication skills, confidence, and careers.

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A guide offers advice to help readers take control of their careers.

Advanced degrees and technical skills are often touted as the keys to professional success. But, as Oldford explains, reliance on the wrong types of achievements can cost readers time and money on the road to promotions. Meanwhile, the real secrets to accelerating a career are often the unspoken benchmarks against which performance is measured. Referring to these tenets as “Ghost Rules,” the author reveals the hidden path to success in a concise and insightful guide. Covering an assortment of relevant professional topics, Oldford provides wisdom for maximizing workplace visibility, receiving appropriate credit for achievements, managing time effectively, and developing a signature brand. Based on the author’s own experiences, the book is thoroughly practical and occasionally unexpected. Challenging readers to think carefully about the purported benefits of remote work, company hopping, and advanced degrees, he advises professionals to examine the specific benefits of their choices before blindly following trends. And while some of his advice—such as the importance of punctuality—may seem obvious, the author’s recommendations should yield results if consistently applied. Offering a sharp contrast to complex and theoretical business guides, Oldford’s manual is easy to read and ready for immediate application. Designed to be broadly relevant for all stages of the workforce journey, the book intersperses suggestions for day-to-day success with tips for mapping out a professional future, recognizing a stalled career, and determining if it’s really necessary to find a different company to join. Moreover, the author presents step-by-step instructions on the creation of a “Career Management Document,” daily stakeholder reports, “Career Accomplishment Worksheets,” and other materials that will give readers a competitive edge. A useful companion to other professional resources and worthy of successive readings, Oldford’s guide provides readers with a tool that will help them achieve their career dreams.

From interns to CEOs, this sage manual will improve professionals’ communication skills, confidence, and careers.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 979-8788975696

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2022

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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