The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon is probably the most sappy self-help book I’ve read so far, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Different folks need to different paths and scenery on their journey to contentment and self-actualization. I tend to lean towards the grittier, self-empowering, do it your own damned self type of growth, but this book definitely has an audience and place in the growth and empowerment world.
Gordon’s book is a lot more upbeat, and his whole argument is presented as a parable-type narrative. The main character, George, is having a rough time of it. His career is in the crapper, his marriage is suffering, and to top it all off, he has to put his car in the shop and use public transportation to get to and from work.
But his life begins to change soon after taking a few rides on the Energy Bus, driven by the aptly named Joy. She and the other passengers present George ten rules to help him be a more positive person.
It’s a fun, quick read (or listen) and can be inspiring.
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.
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.