Posts Tagged ‘practical’

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

March 30, 2011

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Author: Dale Carnegie
Title: How to Win Friends & Influence People
Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology
Publication Date: Original 1936; Revised, 1982
Number of Pages: 260
Geographical Setting: United States
Time Period: 20th Century

Plot Summary: This is the classic “how-to” book for understanding and improving communication between yourself and others, whether it be in the business world, or with a spouse.  Carnegie originally wrote this book at the end of the Great Depression, with intent to help inspire those he felt were bored by other ‘self-improvement’ books, and its last revision was in 1982.  With classic and timeless advice in dealing with difficult people and situations, persuading others with techniques to help you achieve success, the overall theme is reminding us to treat people with respect and courtesy. Carnegie provides countless examples of situations to illustrate his theories and offers real world advice on how people reading the book can use it in their lives.  Different sections include “Fundamental Techniques in Dealing with People,” “Six Ways to Make People Like You,” “How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking,” and “Be a Leader.”  Following each section is a concise recap with key points to consider and remember.  An index at the end of the book allows the reader to quickly look up by name, a particular example.

Subject Headings: NonFiction; Success; Persuasion, Psychology; Leadership; Business Communication

Appeal: fast paced, conversational, practical, introspective, self-improvement, persuasive, inspiring, useful, realistic, communicative, straightforward, influential, educational, earnest, psychology, leadership, classic, timeless

3 terms that best describe this book: communication techniques, business advice, human behavior

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

  • Think Like a Champion by Donald Trump is a collection of Trump’s most profound essays on dealing with business challenges, life struggles and his view on how to achieve success through what is called an “informal education.”
  • Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in life) by Cathie Black; Black is the president of the Hearst Magazine empire, and through this motivational book, shares her secrets to success geared towards women in business.  She discusses negotiating and leadership while describing ways to better achieve balance at home and work.
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, also the author of the bestseller, Blink.  In this book, he identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers with examples in business and popular culture.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  • Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra is a fictional account of the life of the Buddha, written for western readers, traces his spiritual journey while explaining how his experiences and teachings have changed the world and continue to influence every facet of life.
  • Playing With Boys by Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez is a story of three Latin-American women in their late twenties, including an actress, a suburban mother, and a music manager, and the tales of their success and failures of their relationships and business lives in Los Angeles.
  • Company by Max Barry is a fictional and humorous satire of the corporate world told from the perspective of Stephen Jones, who works at the the Zephyr Holding Building, and where he finds a company defined by its lack of clarity, a building numbered in reverse, and an invisible CEO.

–Jennifer Peterson

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read

March 30, 2011

Author: Pierre Bayard, Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman

Title: How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Geographical Setting: Paris, France

Time Period: Contemporary

Summary: Pierre Bayard, a professor of Literature at a Paris University, wants to assuage the guilt associated with non-reading.  Believing the guilt to be part of a larger fear of culture, he attempts to build the confidence needed to discuss books that you have not read.  He offers advice on books “you don’t know”, “have skimmed”, and “heard of” in different confrontations and then delves into psychoanalytical advice on behavior and confidence.  Along the way he mentions characters and writers he has come across, with footnotes that label his level of non-reading for the particular book, who exemplify non-reading including Oscar Wilde, Paul Valery, and Michel de Montaigne.

Subject Headings: Literature-History and Criticism-Theory, Psychoanalysis, Books and Reading

Appeal: humorous, thought-provoking, insightful, literary, candid, frank, witty, informative, satirical, philosophical, tongue-in-cheek, practical, lucid, subtle

Three terms that best describe this book: Witty, thought-provoking, and satirical

Three relevant works of fiction:

The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil: The man without qualities is a thirty-something who is not ambitious nor contemplative and is no longer passionate about the only aspect of life he once cared for, mathematics. The librarian, a proud non-reader, claims to never have read a single book in order to know about them all equally.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco: A post-modern take on a historical murder mystery set in a medieval Italian library that is based on Umberto Eco’s theory of Reader Response, similar to Bayard’s claims. The Inquisitionists are out to destroy a book that has the potential to ruin people’s lives.

Small World: An Academic Romance by David Lodge: Here is an entertaining look into the world of literary criticism.  Lodge’s characters, young academicians, try to find love at their yearly conferences, which are their break from work. An interesting look into the world of those who decide which books and acclaimed and which are not.

Three relevant works of non-fiction:

How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom: Bloom, also a Literature professor, promotes books and reading rather than satirically avoiding it like Bayard, but the subject matter and the authors opinions are the same: reading matters.

Literature and Psychoanalysis: The Question of Reading: Otherwise edited by Shoshana Felman: The definitive collection on the link between Literature and Psychoanalysis.

Falling into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature by David H. Richter: Richter examines why we read, what we read, and how we read.  He discussed these topics with students, critics, writers, and teachers and summarized his findings in this work.

-Mike Monahan