A combination of autobiography and motivation manual explores relationships at the heart of life and business.
Debut author Strohl delivers a disarmingly straightforward and personal book about his plan to “improve the world, one relationship at a time.” He was born in Burlington, Iowa, and raised in Kansas as the son of a Methodist minister, who advised him that “you never make yourself look better by making someone else look worse.” Strohl graduated from Southwestern College in Kansas and spent 47 years working in Customer Service for AT&T before retiring to become a business consultant. In a series of short chapters written in clear, accessible prose, the author provides overviews of a number of well-known self-help books like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and elaborates on the lessons he’s learned from a lifetime of dealing professionally with all types of folks in all kinds of capacities. He looks back on his long career and relates that there were hardly any bleak days in that tenure—and that most of those were caused by bosses. This accounts for the volume’s concentration on workplace advice, including how to get along with supervisors without being sycophantic. “Do you have to embrace them or lavish them with artificial compliments?” Strohl writes. “No, you merely act respectful to them and deal with them as you need to for the successful accomplishment of your task or job, and then hope the relationship is not life-long!”
Topical elements enter the author’s narrative and are handled with considerable diplomacy. Looking at the divided states of America that he sees all over the news of the day, he stresses the basics of forming relationships as the basis for a decent society, particularly when it comes to leading others. His advice: ask for input, criticize gently, offer to help, never gossip, never talk down to people, and never yell or use angry language or threats. “Now many of you may be saying that these are very simple and understood methods and attributes so there is nothing new here and I would agree,” Strohl writes. “But then I would add, ‘Why is it these simple things aren’t being put into practice?’ ” The lessons of these chapters emphasize that simplicity. The author stresses that friendly, courteous communication is the fundamental key to fostering relationships of all kinds, urging his readers to be honest, nice, and respectful and underscoring the potential rewards: “It is very basic, simple day to day communication that anyone can initiate. But it pays dividends far beyond the effort necessary to do it!” Strohl’s observations about the crucial value of healthy relationships are fleshed out and given a good deal of warmth by personal anecdotes drawn from his life and career. Readers—and especially personnel managers—should find great value in these pages.
A worthy personal guide that calls for healthier and more mindful relationships in all areas of life.