Best English-language books on improving one's social and conversational skills
October 24, 2009 1:24 PM Subscribe
What are the best English-language books in existence on improving one's social and conversational skills?
posted by cotesdurhone to Human Relations (8 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
A good friend of mine is intelligent, nice, and pretty-- but has somewhat low self-esteem, is fairly self-conscious, and has inveterately been awkward in various social situations, especially at parties and other larger social events.
She recently started graduate school, and has been complaining to me that her social awkwardness continues, hindering her from getting to know her fellow students and making connections and friends.
Her birthday is coming up soon, and as a present I wanted to give her a collection of 3-5 books that bode to help her build self-esteem, overcome social anxiety, and improve her social and conversational skills.
I spent a long time searching Metafilter and manifold websites for suggestions on the best books that address these issues as comprehensibly as possible. I've pasted the results below.
Though there are thousands of such 'self-help' books, which made the search a bit precarious, I couldn't find any that seem particularly good. The best of the lot, for various reasons, seem at best 'just decent'-- limited, reductive.
I can't help thinking that there must be better ones, maybe written long ago and forgotten, maybe esoteric, I must be missing. Otherwise, the genre seems to be lackluster. I'm curious to hear any recommendations.
“True ease in talking comes from art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance.” - Alexander Pope
-- How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie [doesn't teach how to improve self-esteem, or why/how to be interested in others]
-- Conversationally Speaking : Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness by Alan Garner [mediocre to decent reviews]
-- The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself With Style and Grace by Margaret Shepherd [mediocre reviews]
-- The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure by Catherine Blyth [below mediocre-to-decent reviews]
-- Messages: The Communication Skills Book & Messages Workbook - Matthew McKay
-- The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism by Temple Grandin and Sean Barron
-- COPING:A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WITH ASPERGER SYNDROME by Marc Segar -- //www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~alistair/survival/
Other books (but probably worse than the former)
-- The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skillsand Leave a Positive Impression! by Debra Fine
-- How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman
-- Self Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning
-- The Self-Esteem Companion by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning
-- Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante H. Gunaratana -- http://www.budsas.org/ebud/mfneng/mind0.htm [suspect]
-- Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts (audio) [suspect]
Overcoming Social Anxiety
-- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by John P. Forsyth
-- Daily Meditations for Calming Your Anxious Mind by Jeffrey, M.D. Brantley, Wendy Millstine
SIRC Guide to Flirting/ Advanced Guide
Website devoted to improving Social Skills [seems at least okay]
"Positivity BLog" [decent, okay]
Steve Pavlina Website [middling, poor]