Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Charming Your Way to the Top

This book struck me while looking thru the books on neomanagement at the library. It was a good fluffy nonfiction read and I read it in a couple three hours. I have become interested in the topic of personal skills, or as the author (Michael Levine, Hollywood PR Guru) would say, "charm," since I started working with my boss who milks charm for all it's worth. Since we have similar personalities, my boss and I, I thought that it would be good to more explicitly try the approach since it seems to work so well for her.

So this book does help codify some of the things that I have observed. While he offers no data or designed research to back up his points, he does have plenty of anecdotes from his years of work in the field. Basically, the approach is simple, and he admits as much: if you are consistently charming, you will have a better chance of success in your undertakings.

He claims, I believe rightly, that charm is a skill that can be fairly easily learned. Further, he says that the bar is set very low by our rude society, so that it's easy to shine. He talks a lot about sending people thank you notes, which he says no one does anymore (and I'm sure he's right). I think the thank you note is kind of a metaphor for going the extra mile and since it's uber-concrete, it is referred to often. But the point is taken: go the extra mile, sincerely care about people and let them know. Then you can leverage your other skills the best way possible. So he's not saying that you can get somewhere if you're an empty-headed dolt. He uses the interesting example of Thomas Edison, who apparently was lacking on the social skills. He points out that indeed, Thomas Edison got to the top, however, if that is how smart you have to be to get there on smarts alone, not many of us are going to make it.

By Michael Levine
ISBN# 159228440X