Monday, October 11, 2010

Everyone communicates, few connect: What the most effective people do differently

Book Club... And Then Some!

Everyone communicates, few connect: What the most effective people do differently 


by John C. Maxwell

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

When I lectured to freshmen and sophomore students at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) for more than 22 years (over 80,000 students), about communication, I taught it as a life skill—an essential skill necessary for everything students wanted to do in their lives.  If they couldn’t communicate, they would find it difficult to cope at work, home, school, and in their relationships.  I felt the same way when I wrote the book, Communicating Effectively, now going into its 10th edition.  It is, indeed, these facts that drew me to Maxwell’s book in the first place.

As a side note: I was not—in my lecturing—what Maxwell described as a self-centered teacher, whose philosophy he described as:
            Ram it in—jam it in,
            Students’ heads are hollow.
            Cram it in—slam it in,
            There is more to follow.
I am certain there are some students of the many to whom I lectured, who feel—probably to this day—that that was exactly my philosophy!  You can’t, after all, win them all!

Maxwell has an informed and engaging approach.  He uses the methods in writing this book that he explains in the book itself.

Because of the practical, specific, and well-described suggestions he makes, people who have the desire to improve their communication skills will definitely improve.  Too often, I found during my teaching career, people believe they already communication well (if not well enough).  It is those same people who would/will find little need for this book, let along any book on communication.

Maxwell writes about the basic essentials of effective communication.  It is the foundation or cornerstone of effectiveness, and in today’s world where messages and information (along with the characteristics of effectiveness and accuracy) are absolutely necessary, and where being an effective leader is a given, this book offers surprising, rewarding, practical information for anyone interested in improving his or her communication skills.

Maxwell says it well: “If you are responsible for leading people or communicating with others, it is especially vital for you to find ways to recharge” (p. 91).  This book can be a vital aid in your re-charging.


Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform: A Memoir of World War II

by Edgar E. Willis

Book Review by Marlene C. Francis.

Edgar E. Willis has written an excellent memoir about his experience in World War II.  Called Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform (what a great title!), the book describes Edgar’s years and adventures in “the strange new world” of the U.S. Navy.  Edgar was a flight director on the battle cruiser Alaska which saw service in the Pacific, including the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  The book has chapters on those battles as well as stories about officer indoctrination and training, shore duty, standing watch, disciplining sailors, and dealing with apparently irrational navy rules and regulations.  This memoir does more than just describe what happened; it includes personal detail and Edgar’s own judgments.  For example, he describes and names the good captain who was as considerate of the crew as he was an effective leader, and the bad captain whose arbitrary decisions made life miserable for the sailors and who himself couldn’t even steer the ship straight (he was promoted to rear admiral and left the ship, to the relief of the crew).  Whether you know the author or not, you will hear his voice through his stories, some funny, some sad, all full of rich detail about navy life as experienced by an “unreconstructed civilian.”

I loved reading this book, and I am sure it will be enjoyed by anyone who served in the military during wartime, students of America’s role in World War II, and those interested in U.S. history.  High school and college students will appreciate the personal stories that bring alive some critical years of our country’s history.  The book is available on, and if you want more information about the book or about Dr. Willis, you can visit his website at

These books are available from Everyone communicates, few connect: What the most effective people do differently.  Civilian in an ill-fitting Uniform: A Memoir of World War II.

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