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    Great brush-up read to sharpen social skills

    Reduce your stress level. Cultivate more meaningful relationships. Improve your work environment. So much in life can be enhanced by being mindful of your social skills. Gabriel Angelo tackles such ideas and practices with “Social Skills: The Modern Skill for Success, Fun, and Happiness Out of Life”. A fittingly long title for simple, but deep ideas. In this book I was seeking ways to increase my “business value” as Angelo calls it, through improved social skills. Chapter 10 provided tips in depth, but he covers this topic throughout. The bulk of applicable practices lie in the back half of the book, but the science behind the “why” is provided in an easy-to-read manner in the first several chapters. If you’ve ever taken entry-level communication or psychology classes, you’ll recognize a lot of the reasoning and it’s a quick brush up. These self-coach style books tend to speak over the head of novice readers. Often times, with new material (or subject matter), I’ll find myself re-reading sections at a time. Angelo presents the information simply enough for somebody unfamiliar to get through it quickly with masterful understanding. Even when discussing studies and the social skills more scientifically, it’s easily digestible. I must admit I started to glaze a bit when Angelo wrote specifically about topics unrelated to me. I am a father, but wasn’t immediately interested in reading about how children develop poor social skills, autism and Aspergers Syndrome (chapter 3). Chapters 4 and 5 also lost me a bit as the youth and adolescent development chatter continued. I can see myself coming back to these sections as my children reach those ages. Angelo jokes in chapter two about how simple it is to improve your social after laying out a list of 10 basics: “Sounds like rules you learned in pre-school?” That attitude in his writing helps hammer home how simply you can improve your communication and social skills. Simplicity comes at the cost of occasional anecdotal cheesiness, a tradeoff I’m willing to take. The point is never lost by Angelo trying to bog down an example. There’s a lot to be gained in the meat-and-potatoes found in the backend of the book, and through Angelo’s examples. Why are emotionally intelligent people successful? What do they do? How do they communicate and build relationships? What inspires people of different personality types? He tackles broad topics concisely, sites sources and dives into the application in section 3. These practices are easy to apply, more difficult to master. But over time, the awareness of these tools replaces poor habits. In my estimation, Angelo nails it.

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