Monday, 23 July 2012

Book Review

Welcome to the July edition of my Personal Development Book Review.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away from Amazon.

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking

by Susan Cain

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

As both a Quaker and a bit of an introvert, I have found this title particularly inspiring.  Here is what some other readers of this book have found:

"Simply put, this book was amazing at opening my eyes and realising just who I am. I'v realised that I've spent my life fighting to be more extroverted when instead I should accept myself and maximise on that."
-    Bob (UK)

"Quiet is a book I would recommend to anyone, regardless of whether you're an introvert or an extrovert. I think that introverts like myself will feel better about our personalities and will see that the way we operate can be a strength rather than a social liability, as many of us have been conditioned to believe. And I think that extroverts can learn that introverts aren't necessarily socially backwards or cold, but people who often feel awkward in our own skins because we see and admire the outgoing traits of extroverts but may have trouble emulating them. This book simply works on so many levels: from the corporate world to the world of education and right on down to a personal level.
-    Bookphile (USA)

"I love this book - it's all about my life. I learned at an early age how to turn on an extrovert personality and engage to be successful, and then retreat into a solitude to close out all sounds and activity to regroup.

This world is sometimes so loud, I think everyone should read this book and find a part of themselves here."
-    Ebeth (Ohio)

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

"This is a book you can read as a self help book, or just as a inspiring book filled with true stories about people that quite literally rewired the habits of their own brains and others that effected change in mass groups of people using the power of habit. If nothing else its interesting. "
-    Mini-moo

"I found this book to be a good read that kept you wanting to know more. The author really does an excellent job teaching about how habits are made and how they can be changed. The examples he gives make the reading interesting and applicable. He gives examples of how habits can be used for the positive (to improve companies, help the brain damaged, help smokers quit) and for the negative (to promote "special rights" for the homosexual agenda, cause a man to murder in his sleep, and lead to a deadly fire in the London underground). It's a recommended read for those wanting to dig deeper to understand habits. "
-    J McDonald (Ohio)

"This is a very up to date and intriguing piece of research which will help me with my weightloss group work."
-    hippychic (London)

Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception

Philip Houston, Mike Floyd & Susan Carnicero

Imagine how different your life would be if you could tell whether someone was lying or telling you the truth. Be it hiring a new employee, investing in a financial interest, speaking with your child about drugs, confronting your significant other about suspected infidelity, or even dating someone new, having the ability to unmask a lie can have far-reaching and even life-altering consequences.

Identify the signs, ask the right questions, get to the truth - "Spy the Lie" is a fascinating study of deception and a comprehensive lesson in how to identify and combat it. Featuring case studies based on the authors' real-life experiences in the field - involving 'turned' assets, KGB moles and criminal government officials - it reveals the methodology developed and used by the CIA to detect deception in the realms of counter-terrorism and criminal investigation, and shows you how you can apply these techniques in your daily life. Whether hiring a new employee, investing money, knowing whether your boss is being straight with you, or finding out what your kids have been up to, this ingenious book will enable you to identify deceptive behavior in all its forms, and show you the techniques that will help you reach the truth.

"'Spy the Lie' provides insights from highly experienced practitioners of deception detection. Readers will not only learn useful perspectives on detecting deception, but to also be aware that lie detection is usually not easy and requires an open mind and strategy.

The primary obstacles that gets in the way of detecting deception are the belief that people will not lie to you, along with a bias that people are innocent until proven guilty and being uncomfortable judging others. The authors begin by suggesting one look for deceptive behavior within five seconds of a question, as well as for a cluster of such behaviors - a single 'suspicious' behavior may mean nothing.

Most of 'Spy the Lie' is taken up with specific suggestions on what to look for. For example, failure to understand a simple question is a deceptive behavior. Another - deceptive persons sometimes respond to an allegation with a truthful statement that casts him/her in a very favorable light such as giving Bibles to the homeless. Truthful responses tend to be direct and spontaneous, and the person is alert and composed. Unfortunately, untruthful persons can also show these behaviors - especially if prepared.

Failure to directly answer a question, directly respond with a denial, repeating the question, making general statements in response (eg. 'I would never do something like that'), non-answer statements, inconsistent statements, and going into attack mode are all indicators of untruthfulness. Other such indicators include procedural compliance, trying to butter up the questioner, involving religion (eg. 'I swear to God'), selective memory, and smiling in response questions about a heinous crime are other indicators.

Questioners can sometimes be too specific - eg. asking questions about a '12-year affair' when it was only 11.5 years long. Presumptive questions, such as 'What happened at Nicole's last night?' are preferred over leading questions - 'You were at Nicole's last night, weren't you?' The best question - 'Is there any reason any of the neighbors will tell us they saw you in the area last night?' (Broader is better, not limited to the next-door neighbor as the suspect may know he/she wasn't home.) The authors also advise against bluff questions such as 'We have someone who says he saw you in Nicole's neighborhood last night.'

A suspects lack of eye contact, closed posture, general nervousness, and preemptive responses are not good indicators of untruthfulness per the authors. The authors suggest sitting interviewees in a chair that has wheels, rocks and swivels, and even movable arm rests. This allows nervous body impulses to be seen.

'Spy the Lie' ends with suggested question lists for several situations, as well as including a number of actual questioning situations involving well-known cases. "
-    Loyd E. Eskildson

"The authors deliver an instructive, informative, and practical guide as to how you can detect lies. An interesting essay presents a follow-up detecting process on deception. Imagine conducting an interview, confronting your soul-mate on issues or speaking to your child about drugs, and being able to reveal the truth. This captivating book provides useful tools on how to tell if someone is lying or telling the truth. To have the ability to unmask a lie is not only amazing, but can be extremely effective in life-altering consequences. Entertaining and Highly Recommended!"
-     Geraldine Ahearn

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