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on 1 May 2010
I feel like this book was poorly titled, a more appropriate title would have been "How to talk your way to the top", because that seems to be the main goal for the author. Whether or not it would work is another matter.

Perhaps this book is better suited to an American audience, most of the suggested techniques are shortened to cliched phrases (including "Don't touch a cliche with a ten-foot pole" though to be fair I'm pretty sure the irony was intentional for that one), the book reads like a list of phrases which is really just a list of techniques. Some of these techniques would doubtless help some people, but as a whole the book does not really contribute anything to help a person change his life view, to gain the self esteem, or the confidence, that would enable someone to be comfortable enough with themselves to "talk to anyone". I'm of the belief that with confidence these techniques would all be entirely unnecessary

Regardless of whether you find that style of help useful, I'd still say that the book is wrongly titled. If you want to talk to anyone, to me that means you want to be the sort of person who can start up a conversation with anyone, be they a colleague, a passenger beside you on a flight, or the pretty girl you always see on the bus but don't know how to approach. This book seems more intend on trying to make you the sort of person who can impress the boss, or the wealthy or powerful, at a social event. To make you that sort of person who, regardless of actual ability, is always on friendly terms with their superiors whether they like them or not. You know the sort, all style but no substance? Well, that last bit is unfair, but it's probably true to say that this book has more to do with aiding ambition than it has to do with social interaction.
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on 26 June 2006
Y'all this book is awesome! It just gets better by the page. Most of the things written in it are things you already know but didn't necessarily consider important. It doesn't just tell you what they are but how to use it, and it also gives a few examples of the writer's personal experiences to enable you visualise where the idea comes from. If you're a shy person like me who's dying to comfortably talk to someone new you meet or are trying to get the attention of your friends and colleagues...then this is definately the book for you. Personally the rating here isn't enough to convey how good the book is, or maybe i'm just crap at communicating...but you'll never know if you do not read the book!
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on 5 January 2002
This book is an excellent manual of tips to use when talking to people. The book is very well laid out with short chapters which make it an easy read and a useful reference. What spoils this book is the author's condenscending tone and her obsession with categorising people as either 'big cats' or 'little losers' according to her perception of their conversational skills. Ms Lowndes has written a handy book but doesn't come across as at all likeable.
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on 30 October 2003
The concept and layout works well (despite some strange editing disasters and missing or misused words) and the ideas are explained and exampled well.
Personally, I found it quite irritating to read, though. The author has an odd obsession with making similies out of EVERYTHING, and filling every page with puns.
Its a good book to dip into and fits the purpose, but not really up to a good thorough reading.
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on 20 January 2003
This is a truly excellent book. It firstly tells you how to conduct your body language and then what conversational skills to use to get people to 'open up' to you and realise what an interesting person you really are! It doesn't aim on just one type of reader, anyone of any status can read and benefit from this book especially if you have those awful moments where you're introduced to someone and you have no idea what to say to them! It is written in a humourous and memorable way and whereas I used to dread social gatherings, now I can't wait till my next one so I can use my new found conversational skills!
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on 21 January 2005
I admit it, this contains great ideas and greats tools,
If you want something which will help you socialise during partys , weddings or meetings etc. then this is the book for you,
BUT it just doesnt give enough information how to talk to people of the street, waiting at the bus stop etc... the books provides advice for a setup where everyone has a common interest or aquiantance.
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on 10 November 2009
I bought this book hoping to discover some useful small talk techniques. How to draw things from other people that you can use to create conversation. This isn't covered in this book. This is a book almost exclusively about body language, not talking.

The insights aren't especially new or useful either - full of stuff like "smile when you first meet people".

The best thing about this book is that it is broken down into specific techniques with an illustrative anecdote which makes for easy reading.

The worst thing is that it is written in that sickly insincere "Oh my God, already" American style.
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on 2 April 2013
I find social chatting at parties and networking events quite difficult and was hoping for some advice about how to go about it. This book, however, is more concerned with "how to make people think you are great" - and by that she means being professional and a bum-kisser. She even (this isn't a joke!) suggests asking someone what they want written on their gravestone, so that you know what is most important to them - then storing that information for a couple of weeks and using it to compliment them on the thing they most want to be recognised for. Soooo manipulative!! I did it to my brother, turns out he wants it to say "he turned out all right in the end" on his gravestone. I told him he did turn out all right (so far - he hasn't reached the end yet), and now I'm his favorite sister, so it clearly works :P.

She also suggests wearing something odd at parties so that people have an "in" to a conversation with you, although in reality most people I know try to avoid the lady at the party with the pumpkin earrings, or the teddy bear brooch. If anything this book actually made me a tiny bit nervous, because of the way she judges everyone for putting a single step wrong - defriending friends who asked for a favour not-quite-subtly enough, or who called back potential clients too quickly. Anyone who doesn't use the techniques she advocates is referred to as a "big loser". Charming.

Overall, if you are hoping to a find a book to climb the career ladder this book might have some helpful advice (I'd still read it with a pinch of salt because lots of the advice is pretty tacky). If you don't have any burning desire for everyone you meet to think that you are a "BIG WINNER", but just have to go to parties sometimes and don't really like making small talk and would like a few tips, I don't think this is the right book for you. If you have any suggestions for what might be the right book please share!

P.S. Also, when you see someone don't just smile, let the joy of seeing them ripple through you. Try it. It's quite amusing.
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on 25 August 2009
The final two of her 92 "tips" are a good summary of the book:

"No matter how prominent the Big Cat behind the podium is, crouched inside is a little scaredy-cat who is anxious about the crowd's acceptance.
Big Winners recognize you're a fellow Big Winner when they see you leading their listeners in a positive reaction. Be the *first* to applaud or publicly commend the man or woman you agree with (or want favours from)."

"Any two people have an invisible scorecard hovering over their heads. The numbers continually fluctuate but one rule remains: player with lower score pays deference to player with higer score. The penalty for not keeping your eye on the "Great Scorecard in the Sky" is to be thrown out of the game. Permanently."

If those are good pieces of advice, and you are keen to hear more detailed descriptions of the same, this book will be helpful to you. The actual title is misleading. The book does not have tips on how to approach or open conversations with "anyone". Ms. Lowndes only really has certain specific kinds of people in mind as to who she wants to talk to, and very specific things she wants to obtain from her relationships. If you are in basic agreement with her, this may well be your book.
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on 16 August 2004
If your looking for a book specifically to start conversations with unknown people, then i do not recommend this book, but on the other hand if you went to an event or a dinner party, and there is some commonality betwwen the peole you dont know, this book does give nice little pointers to get you started on your way to getting to know people, it offers how to start conversations with people, gives topics to discuss, how to dress, its a good book, but in a datin environment such as bars, cluibs, resturants, not all its concepts will work.
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