Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review of "Compelling People" by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut - The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential

I found this book to be well researched and well written.  It builds upon the basic premise that we make instantaneous and subconscious decisions about people we meet.  In the first few seconds, our brains make a quick calculation about whether a person is strong or lacking in strength, and about whether the person is warm and well-intentioned or not.  As a result, we place individuals in one of four categories: strong and warm, strong and cold, weak and warm, or weak and cold.  It is in this first category -  the rare combination of strength and warmth - that we find people who are charismatic influencers. People like Oprah Winfrey or Bill Clinton.

The book is full of reports from recent research, as well as anecdotes about how we evaluate others, and how we can best present ourselves so that others will evaluate us in the best possible light. The proof of the pudding is that since reading this book, I find myself consciously checking the strength/warmth equation of people I meet, as well as monitoring whether I am intentionally giving off signals of strength and warmth.

I found the book to be intellectually provocative, and a practical guide to how to be perceived as a person of influence.  It would be a valuable addition to the library of anyone who is a leader or who aspires to a leadership role.



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