2 book reviews – What to do about tough relationships


If you’ve ever worked with others, you’ve probably experienced conflict – more or less, depending on how much natural talent you have for figuring other people out and knowing how to communicate with them in ways that don’t lead to problems. In my experience, that’s a skill some people have and some simply don’t. Certainly, anyone who survives in a big corporation has this skill to some degree. Many of us would never make it in that type of environment.

Authors of  the two books below write with confidence about ways they believe can help people improve and/or acquire that skill. Also, when asked, they both said they thought their techniques would work for relationships outside work as well – like your adult offspring, in-laws and grandchildren. They each offer some tips on navigating this most tricky part of life.

Common sense in business book

Book #1. What If Common Sense Was Common Practice in Business? Subtitle: Don’t expect Fish to Climb Trees, by Rex Conner.

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
Remind you of any of your experiences in the business world? Conflict with bosses has as much to do with losing good employees as does not knowing how to hire people with the right skills for a job. This book is about helping people recognize their own talents and skills and about helping bosses set realistic expectations and recognize how to make the most of their good employees. Nobody wants to quit a job if they can contribute, and nobody wants to fire someone who is capable of contributing.
This book shines a light on the realities of common sense violations and gives simple “how-to” solutions for applying changes in any size company. If you are not still in the business world, much of this wisdom can be applied to the challenges of parenting and grand parenting. It’s all about clear communication, developing a common language, understanding and minimizing subjectivity in work processes, reducing conflict between boss and bossed so you can keep the people you want – or keep your relationship with your loved ones healthy.
If you’re still struggling in the business world, or if you want some guidelines for better communication with your offspring or grandchildren, this book could be useful. Visit www.magerconsortium.com for more information.
Swayed: How to Communicate for Impact

Book #2. Swayed, by Christina Harbridge. The author, after transforming the practices used in debt collection processes, founded her own company to help others get more of what they want – in business and in life. Her book, set in a mixture of fonts that seemed a little confused and thus felt somewhat uncomfortable to read, makes its points with great vigor. You might almost feel like she’s yelling at you at times, but clearly she makes some excellent points. For example, you’ll learn her thoughts on:

  • Why nice works.
  • How to use emotional literacy in the corporate world.
  • Why kindness pays off surprisingly well in the debt collection business.
  • 3 ways to communicate better at work today.
  • How to get what you want without being ruthless.
Now, as grandparents, we certainly never intend to be ruthless with our offspring or our grandchildren, but sometimes we can come across that way if we havn’t thought enough about how to present our insights or ideas. If you’ve experienced the feeling of “Hey, I’ve got some wisdom to share” only to realize at last that no one wants to hear it, this book might give you a few tips on how to communicate better.
Most of the examples the author uses relate to business situations, and though most of us Boomers have joyfully left that milieu behind, she insists there are ways to apply her principles in any setting. Interestingly, she only reluctantly admits there are some people you just have to give up on. And while that’s not what we want to do with our grown kids, the book might help you learn when to just let things go.