An entertaining mix of canny advice and brash inspiration.

YOU DON'T ASK, YOU DON'T GET

PROVEN TECHNIQUES TO GET MORE OUT OF LIFE

Ask in the right way and ye shall receive—raises, discounts, nights out with the boys, you name it—according to this sprightly self-helper.

Williams, a saleswoman and life coach, feels that people aren’t getting what they want because they’re too reticent, shy or fearful of rejection to pipe up and demand it. So she presents this treatise on the theory and practice of making requests, which amounts to a grand tutorial in pointed communication. The author teaches us to suss out the hidden “What’s in It For Me” motivators, from financial gain to altruistic glow, that make others accede to requests. Readers also learn to insinuate positive expectations into the request, to mirror the recipient’s mood and body language, to rationally deflect objections and, if that doesn’t work, to move beyond the realm of reason (“if you feel the tears coming on, let them out!”). We learn the subtle art of the “non-request request,” the very unsubtle art of manipulating a husband into compliance—promise him sex—and a sure-fire trick for taking your plea right to the CEO: tell his screening secretary that “he wouldn’t want anyone else to know why I’m calling.” There’s much practical wisdom here on everything from wringing the best deal out of a car salesman or mortgage lender to asking a motormouth coworker to shut up, but at times there is an over-the-top fervor to the author’s advocacy. Williams tells readers not to feel entitled, but the lengthy sections on retail bargaining tacitly prescribe a lifestyle of relentless wheedling—“Will you accept this expired coupon?”—that borders on recklessness: you should only follow her suggestion to “add to your restaurant experience by making atypical requests” that go “outside the box” if you want to incur the wrath of your food handlers. Still, taken with a pinch of common sense, this is an insightful, insistent how-to guide.

An entertaining mix of canny advice and brash inspiration.

Pub Date: April 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-0984439409

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Good Day Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2010

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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