My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As I’ve said already several dozen times, I received this book via the courtesy of a GoodReads drawing. Despite that repetitious and kind consideration, I give my unfiltered feedback below.
To further the probably unnecessary preamble, I feel it relevant to note that I’m not at all the self-help Dr. Phil type. I don’t typically subscribe to the sea of “fix your life” books that are available. This isn’t, of course, because my life is perfect but I estimate that the ways in which it is imperfect are not sufficiently of concern to warrant the reading of an entire book. These things take hours to read, after all! But, in the interest of flinging my net of interests to the furthest reaches of the literary genres, I signed up for this book just, as they say when at sea, for the halibut.
So to talk about this book properly one must do so in parts. The first section, about 100 pages or so, goes on at length to describe the people in this world who are, to put it as simply as possible, just plain jerkfaces. Dr. Phil calls them ‘BAITER’s but they can be summed up as those people who abuse the system to get whatever the heck they want. The good doctor provides a list of warning signs for detecting such people and also what to do about them once you’ve found them. In general I found the whole thing edifying but also not especially practical. I know that such people exist but I was at a loss to name anyone in my immediate acquaintance whom I would term a ‘BAITER’. For someone out there, this will serve as a valuable guide.
The next functional bit, about 80 pages as I count it, amounts to life coaching. It encourages the reader to be assertive, go after what they want, gives strategies to get it but reminds them that in so doing they shouldn’t fall into the category of people described in the first section. In other words, go after what you want but not at any cost whatsoever. It’s a delicate balance and the book acknowledges and describes that balance effectively.
After global encouragement about life, there’s a helpful and specific chunk about negotiation. This is really a subheading of section two but I think it deserves special consideration since it is a process that is so ubiquitous and misunderstood. If you read nothing else in this book, read chapter 6 (this is non-negotiable; well, really it is since everything’s negotiable, but I digress).
The book closes with a section on passing along all the things you’ve learned in the previous sections to your children. It describes at a high level some of the modern nuances of parenting and how to best deal with these given that the world has changed considerably since we were young-uns (as Dr. Phil might put it).
In summation, this isn’t generally the sort of book I’d normally go for but it has something to say to just about everyone. It’s not a book in which you hang on every word but somewhere in this thing you’ll find something that makes you look up, ponder, and stare briefly into the middle-distance in a thoughtful way. Organizationally the book helps with brief, topical chapters and specific quotes highlighted on each page. You’ll want to skim through to the bits that you care about, the book knows this and is organized in such a way to make that easy. One couldn’t ask for much more than that.