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.