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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My review of The Like Switch by Jack Schafer, PhD and Marvin Karlins, PhD

About the book:

From a former FBI Special Agent specializing in behavior analysis and recruiting spies comes a handbook filled with his proven strategies on how to instantly read people and influence how they perceive you, so you can easily turn on the like switch.

The Like Switch is packed with all the tools you need for turning strangers into friends, whether you are on a sales call, a first date, or a job interview. As a Special Agent for the FBI’s National Security Division’s Behavioral Analysis Program, Dr. Jack Schafer developed dynamic and breakthrough strategies for profiling terrorists and detecting deception. Now, Dr. Schafer has evolved his proven-on-the-battlefield tactics for the day-to-day, but no less critical battle of getting people to like you. 

In The Like Switch, he presents these techniques for how you can influence, attract, and win people over. Learn how to think and react like your favorite TV investigators from Criminal Minds or CSI as Dr. Schafer shows you how to improve your LQ (Likeability Quotient), “spot the lie” both in person and online, master nonverbal cues that influence how people perceive you, and turn up or turn down the intensity of a relationship. 

Dr. Schafer cracks the code on making great first impressions, building lasting relationships, and understanding others’ behavior to learn what they really think about you. With tips and techniques that hold the key to taking control of your communications, interactions, and relationships, The Like Switch shows you how to read others and get people to like you for a moment or a lifetime.

My review:

This book ended up being more enjoyable and interesting than I initially expected. When I first considered reading it I thought... "Hmmm...non-fiction. Well this will take me awhile." I ended up reading the entire book in a few weeks, which never happens with non-fiction books. But the subject interested me, so I tried it out. I am glad I did because it gave me some insight and made me more aware of non-verbal cues that I may be giving people when I am listening to them. I learned a lot of this body language info in counseling classes back in the 80s, but it was a nice refresher. It would be a great resource for people who have difficulty reading non-verbal cues, like someone with Asperger's Disorder.

The way the book is described it gives the impression that it's more of a how to book in order to get what you want from people, but it's really more of a, "Why won't this person talk to me?" Or, "Why do I have trouble making and/or keeping friends?" type of book. Yes, there are some parts that go into interviewing techniques, but anyone who has done an investigation or conducted hiring interviews might find these portions helpful as well. There are also many techniques shown that you can use to talk with someone about a controversial subject and still get heard.

I loved how the authors included pictures to explain some things like body language and what to look for. There are suggestions on what do do when dealing with anger and how to assess where to go in a heated conversation. There are even some sections that talk about verbal communication and non-verbal communication between couples, and about how to get your spouse to talk to you about a difficult subject so it's a win-win situation. There are references and resources at the end of the book so you can delve further into this subject matter if you want to. Overall, I found it to be a very helpful book.

You can find it for sale on Amazon HERE

Monday, December 22, 2014

My review of Between These Walls by John Herrick

About the book:

Hunter is a Christian. Hunter is the man next door.

Hunter Carlisle is gay.

At 26 years old, Hunter Carlisle has a successful sales career, a devoted girlfriend, and rock-solid faith. He also guards a secret torment: an attraction to other men. When a career plunge causes muscle tension, Hunter seeks relief through Gabe Hellman, a handsome massage therapist. What begins as friendship takes a sudden turn and forces the two friends to reconsider the boundaries of attraction. 

Along the road to self-discovery, Hunter’s secret is exposed to the community. Now Hunter must face the demons of his past and confront his long-held fears about reputation, sexual identity, and matters of soul.

A story of faith, fire and restoration, Between These Walls braves the crossroads of love and religion to question who we are and who we will become.

Publisher's full disclosure to readers: This novel of faith occurs within a true-to-life context of redemption, and contains adult language and content

My review:

John Herrick is a fantastic writer that knows how to draw you into a character's heart and mind. I always feel a connection to his characters. Given the description, I got the gist of the content. But the beauty in writing a story about internal conflict is that you can dig down deep and make the story go any way you want it to. And that's where the artistry begins.

The content gets a bit heavy at times, which means you almost have to digest it slowly to grasp the heart of the book. But I love novels that make me examine the hard things in life. There are no pat answers, and Hunter asks himself just about every question a man would consider in his situation. It's tough to wrap your mind around the concept if you haven't given it much though. I found the story to be well-thought-out and spiritually sound.

On the surface, the term "gay Christian" seems like an oxymoron. But it's really a story about dark, internal secrets and hiding our true selves from the world. It's a sin like any other sin. The heart of the story is about the struggle. About pretending to be something we're not and how it not only hurts ourselves, but others we love, when we bury things deep inside and let no one in.

What spoke to my heart the most in this story was the deep, emotional conflict Hunter had within himself. The author didn't emphasize Hunter and Gabe's sexual attraction, but focused more on their feeling drawn emotionally to something not really understood, but felt nevertheless. Feelings aren't sinful. God understands that we struggle, which is where grace comes in.

The truth is Jesus came to save us from our sins - both outward and inward. That doesn't necessarily make our struggles go away. Like with the Apostle Paul, who wrestled for the rest of his life with a "thorn in the flesh." God did not take it from him even when he begged for relief. Sometimes our struggles are a part of who we are. We don't know how they started or how they will end. It's all part of the journey we call life. The lesson is to lean on God through it all. Great story and highly recommended.

Between These Walls is available for pre-order on Amazon as an e-book and will be released in paperback format in early 2015. This is a book for my keeper shelf! Pre-order it today so you can get it right when it releases!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Isn't this a fabulous song?

There is just something about Powell's deep voice that moves me. Add some amazing lyrics and you have a perfect song.

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