Real Influence: A book review by Bob Morris

Real InfluenceReal Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In
Mark Goulston and John Ullman
AMACOM (2013)

“Letting the other chap have it your way.”

One evening long ago while I was in Washington, a friend there invited me to accompany him to a reception at the British Embassy and during a conversation with one of the deputies, I asked him to define diplomacy. He replied, “Letting the other chap have it your way.” I remembered that observation as I began to read this book. The subtitle of Mark Goulston and John Ullman’s book is “persuade without pushing – gain without giving in.”

They carefully organize their material within seven “Sections” and devote a separate section to each of step of model (Sections 2-15, Chapters 4-15) for “becoming wildly successful by being both influential and ‘influenceable’” and if not “wildly successful,” each reader will at least become far more effective when attempting to influence others or evaluating others’ efforts to influence them. The fifth of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people is, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In all relationships between and among people, the importance of effective em>listening cannot be exaggerated.

There are four mini-case studies provided in Section 7: The Fuzzy Pet Foundation, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Heartfelt Leadership’s Recoupling Therapy (Mark Goulston), and BNI (Ivan Misner). Here are other passages of also interest and value to me, listed to suggest the range of subjects that Goulston and Ullmen explore with rigor and eloquence:

o The “Blind Spot” in Our Brains (Pages 10-14)
o The Habit Handicap (22-24)
o The Double Curse of Knowledge (28-31)
o The Connected Influence Model (39)
o Building Relationships the Zappos Way (71-72)
o Ray Charles’ Final Recording (84-88)
o Four-Level Listening (91-96)
o Turning an Angry Mob into an Appreciative Audience (124-128)
o The Seven Dwarfs Strategy (136-138)
o The Seven Most Important Words and Phrases for Engaging Across Cultures (145-149)
o Adding Emotional Value (174-178)
o Adding Practical Value (178-182)
o Bringing a Secret Out in the Open (194-198)
o Helping Others Find Their Great Outcomes (205-207)
o Bunt Signs (211-212)

Goulston and Ullmen make skillful use of several reader-friendly devices, notably dozens of mini-commentaries and boxed summaries of key points inserted throughout their narrative as well as quotations cited as a head note to introduce each chapter and then “Usable Insights” and “Action Steps” at the conclusion of Chapters 4-19.

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope of material in Real Influence but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of this volume. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and counsel that Mark Goulston and John Ullmen provide can be of significant value to them and, I hope, also to their organization.

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