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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Book Review: You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy

Initially I wasn't that psyched about this book--I tend not to read anything that seems like it might be self-help. But one of my colleagues who read it said it really made him not only realize he didn't listen to his wife--which he already knew--but it explained to him why that's a problem. That hooked me. Also, as a sales rep, a huge part of my job is listening. And yet, another huge part of my job forces me to multitask whether I want to or not. So improving listening skills could be really helpful.

And this book has been really helpful! I have done simple things like when on a call, turn away from my desk and face the other direction so I'm not tempted by emails or my computer in any way. I have also really been trying to ask more questions, and have those be more open-ended questions. I was at lunch with an editor-friend, and she complimented my necklace, which was an old ring of my grandmother's I'd had remade. She mentioned she had several jewelry pieces she needs help with too but hadn't been able to find a good jeweler. Since I figured she wasn't going to come out to NJ for that, it seemed to me like that topic was exhausted. But then I thought harder, and I asked her to tell me about the pieces she had that needed help. And she just lit up! It was interesting, too, from a necklace that her father gave her mother when they were dating that had been badly restrung, to a literal string of unstrung turquoise she'd gotten after a family friend had died, to a Bakelite clip she was using as a pendant but was worried could easily be lost if it weren't welded together. I have done this a few times in the last few weeks, and these conversations are fascinating and I hope my friends feel more listened to and like I'm paying better attention. It's hard in the everyday to be able to put the various tips and tricks and lessons into use, but with practice, it'll get easier.

I truly think every human being can use this book. It will improve all your relationships--family, SO, business. And it doesn't read in a boring or pedantic or trite way--it feels fresh and helpful and has interesting stories that aren't dumbed down or dragged out. So glad I read it!

This book is published by Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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