This isn’t my first time reading The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane. I read it last year, but when our Leadership Training group at work chose this book to read, I was happy to pick it up once more. This time, instead of reading the physical book, I listened to the audiobook narrated by Lisa Cordileione.
Charisma is a skill. And being a skill, that means that Charisma can be learned and practiced. That’s the main point of this book. It defines charisma and gives helpful suggestions and even provides exercises on how to better improve your charismatic potential, thus improving other skills such as communication and leadership.
The pace and content can feel a bit dry at times, but it’s good information. I think this is a solid foundational text for self-growth and even mindfulness.
The Man on the Mountaintop is an audible original adaptation of a trilogy written by Susan Trott and performed by a host of narrators including Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones. The full cast performance makes this story/parable/tale of enlightenment quite engaging and sweet. It’s a comfortable reprieve from the past few books of harder, more abrasive types of self help.
The story is about an holy man who goes by “Old Man Joe.” Surprisingly, he indeed does live on the top of a mountain in a little hermitage, along with seasonal live-in monks. During the warmer months, people from all over the world come and hike the long path up the mountain and to the hermitage to meet the holy man and gain wisdom from him. The book goes through several pilgrims’ perspectives of meeting the holy man, before launching into a more cohesive story about the holy man’s personal journey to find a replacement for when he dies.
There are a few times where my own philosophies disagree with the wisdom that the holy man doles out, but overall, there’s a peace to this story that gives the reader (or listener) something to strive towards.
Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson, PhD is the next growth book I read this year. It’s a bit more of a “classic” self-improvement book, seeing how it first published back in 1993. Thompson himself, passed away in 2011, leaving behind a verbal judo legacy. This newest audio edition is narrated by Keith Szarabajka (Donatello the Prophet to you Supernatural fans).
Thompson lead quite a full life, or multiple lives, if you want to think of it that way. He was a professor, a cop, and then a professional speaker/consultant. He’s got the experience and know-how to back up what he says, and he doesn’t let you forget about it.
Ego aside, this book can teach valuable lessons on how to persuade and discuss difficult situations. It shows you how to both listen and speak more effectively and explains the real value of empathy. Thompson also gives a good thorough list of dos and don’ts when it comes to classic argument, so that you can communicate successfully.
Though heavily geared towards law-enforcement type situations, the general argument presented in this book is compelling and useful to the everyday. It definitely made me rethink my approach to communication in different situations.