How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. The title's a bit misleading: it's mainly about how to schmooze with powerful people to sell your products and services. It's kind of half a guide to social climbing, half a guide to presenting yourself well.
Does have a few interesting tips. Recommends recording all your calls so you don't have to ask people to repeat things, and can always look at the top of your game. Also points out that people are on the alert for fake cheer and has specific techniques to fake things more conveniently. For instance, it recommends that you answer the phone without particular warmth, but then greet who answers effusively as if you're pleased to meet them. Also suggests the "flooding smile", where you don't smile too much at first, but then give the important person a big, deep smile when you see them.
This book has a more blatantly manipulative tone than usual, with lots of specific tips. The books "How to Win Friend and Influence People" and "How to Work a Room" pay at least more lip service to the idea of sincerity.
Overall, a few useful things, but I think unless you're a salesperson who deals with CEOs a lot, you're better off with those other books.
Saw the pub opera La Fanciulla del West (or West End Girl) at the Kings Head Theatre. Very loosely adapted and cut-down version of the Puccini opera, translated to demotic, slangy English and relocated from a mining town to a sleazy Soho Internet cafe filled with East European gangsters. Has five, good, singers; but strips the orchestra down to a pianist and violinist, both working very hard.
Really liked it. The libretto isn't particularly witty, but it is very clear to understand, and raised a lot of laughs at the right moments by combining modern slang with classical style. I'm no great judge of opera, but the singers seemed very powerful and impressive to me.
Tickets are £25 full price, and available pretty late. That's pretty good value for an opera. Theoretically you can get cheap tickets to the bigger opera houses, e.g. £29 for the ENO at the Coliseum London, but you have to book very far in advance, and sit in the most distant seats. The £25 here gets you right up close and you can book a couple of days ahead.
Well worth seeing. We'll probably be checking out other things at the Kings Head too now.
Saw the Scott's Last Expedition exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Has a lot of artefacts and photographs from the famous trip. The cutlery and menus from the base hut were interesting: also has an actual egg from the Winter Journey recorded in the classic book "The Worst Journey in the World".
Good exhibition, worth a look if you're interested in the subject. Might be a bit dull if you're not.
So the work situation is that I'm going to lose my job sometime up to the end of September. My main product shuts down then: the theory was that I would be moved to the web side, but that's now being outsourced too.
The process is pretty glacial. We've now been told that the official "consultation process" is planned to start in July, so I'm probably not going to be kicked out till then. The redundancy package is pretty good, could come to 7 or 8 months pay tax free if I get pay in lieu of notice. However, nothing is very official so far, and they're careful not to commit to anything in writing.
I've been doing a bit of job-hunting, but not having much luck. I've had two interviews now, but didn't get either job.
Economics. Economic sim shows inequality will steadily rise even with equal skill and patience. Rise in self-employment is no cause for celebration. US is not a small business country, Tax land. Why is Britain a tax haven for the super-rich? If Britain were Greece. Disabled charged more for car repairs. Maximizing shareholder value is a dumb idea (maybe a repeat).
Politics. Sex-selective abortion in the UK not that significant. Rochdale takeaway attacked as youths clash with police (chants of EDL), fears of more violence. EU Fiscal Compact bad? What would Britain outside the EU look like? US Republican primary: Conservative Chickens Come Home to Roost, Not rhinos but opossums. Watership Down may be concreted over to provide land for 2,000 houses. More NHS target manipulation.
Random. Words: Goosebury as slang. Millions back removal of dirty hippies with whom they are in complete agreement. Darth Vader motorcycle toy. How to delete your Google Browsing History before March 1st. Adam Roberts reviews Atlas Shrugged, via.
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