Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

Book Review: Power and Persuasion

I’ve been away for the last week and a half on vacation, and that’s provided me with a chance to catch up on plenty of overdue reading (if putting me slightly out of touch with recent news). One of the books I read during my time away was Michael Masterson’s Power and Persuasion. Previously, I reviewed another book from Masterson, entitled “Automatic Wealth for Grads,” my notes on which can be found here.

Who stands to benefit from this? If I had to pick a market, this book is targeting an audience with a lower level of base knowledge in regards to business leadership. If you’re an experienced business leader, I don’t see this book as being helpful, because you’ve probably already established how you work best, and will not find much in the way of new information or ideas. But, there are certainly many people who haven’t picked up many of the useful skills the book discusses, and would stand to benefit from this. Consider it an introduction class on real-world professional people skills; I frequently wish my school did more to directly push these management skills.

What is the book like? It is divided into sections dealing with a specific skill or function (e.g. public speaking, delegating, working in a team), and every chapter includes a numbered list of ways to develop and strengthen that ability. The divisibility this structure creates is helpful for those wishing to focus on specific areas, but can be overwhelming at times because of the volume of information - perhaps especially true because I was reading the entire book for purposes of review. If you do end up reading this book, I suggest looking at the contents and focusing on the small handful of chapters you think you will most immediately benefit from, and skimming other sections while you put the lessons learned into effect.

My main problem I have with the book is that it could have used additional proofreading and editing. There are a number of typos I noticed in the first 100 pages alone, and the writing style can be choppy and thus less than clear at a number of times. I read thousands of pages weekly, and I hardly ever see minor mistakes like this, so it’s confusing how they could have slipped past in such quantity.

What’s the ultimate value in the work? Masterson cites a number of examples from his own experience, but I always feel like they are unnecessarily vague. There could be more illustrative stories to round out the theoretical discussion, and the book is heavily coupled with references to numerous other books and academic papers. While there’s something to be said for condensing a wide range of works into more salient points, at times I felt like it might be more beneficial to simply read the work Masterson cites, if not entirely economical from a time perspective. Overall, this is a decent book for a person motivated to start learning leadership techniques, but far from a must-read.

This book is available from Agora Book Publishing.

Disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy to review.