When I was first offered an early copy of this book for review, I thought, sure! I mean come on -- it's Alan Alda -- it has to be entertaining, right?
Entertaining is not a singularly correct word for this book. Alda's book, IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU... is engaging, educational, enlightening, and entertaining. For my complete review, scroll down.
From the Publisher
Alda is an acclaimed actor, star of M*A*S*H, writer, and director, whose many years of interviewing guests on PBS’ Scientific American Frontiers led him on a quest to develop ways to help us learn how to communicate better. In his new book, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, and teaches us ways to build empathy, use improv games, storytelling, develop a mind-reading ability, and more, all in an effort to improve the way we relate and talk to others.
With his trademark humor and frankness, Alda digs into the heart of what it means to be a true communicator: being able to read another person so well, you know what they’re thinking and feeling and are able to be in sync with them. Alda has seen this kind of engagement facilitate real communication in a wide range of settings: within families, between lovers, at the office, between doctors and patients, and between scientists and the rest of us.
“Sit back and enjoy Alan’s scientific journey of communication”--Barbara Walters
“A distinguished actor and communication expert shows how to avoid "the snags of misunderstanding" that plague verbal interactions between human beings…. A sharp and informative guide to communication.”—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer, and director. He has won seven Emmy Awards, received three Tony nominations, is an inductee of the Television Hall of Fame, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. Alda played Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, and his films include Crimes and Misdemeanors, Everyone Says I Love You, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bridge of Spies, and many more. Alda is an active member of the science community, having hosted the award-winning series Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years and founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Alda is the author of two bestselling books, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned and Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself.
Alan Alda's book, IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU... is engaging, educational, enlightening, and entertaining.
Most importantly, it answers the question: What should I buy as a gift for everyone I know?
I will be buying multiple copies of this book to give as gifts for Father's Day, Graduations, Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, Weddings, and every other possible occasion that needs a gift given. Simply because the book, IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU..., will be a terrific tool for parents, students, public speakers, psychologists, and anyone else who needs to communicate well, which is all of us!
Alda's content focused quite a bit on the perspective of scientists and their need to communicate well, and the content fell a bit short when it dealt with business professionals and their needs. However, Zig Ziglar will always be the master of business and sales communication skills. So if you want to improve in that specific area, turn to Ziglar's books.
With that said, I've read a LOT of books and I've attended a LOT of seminars on how to improve my communication skills and this book by Alda is absolutely fabulous. I kid you not when I say that I will be buying multiple copies for people I know.
I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Here's an example of one of the exercises in the book:
[Thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a copy of this book for review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]