Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This attractive and easy to read book is as much a guide to life as an instructional manual for managers. It would be equally useful for students and just about anybody wanting to improve their effectiveness in a number of areas.
Each of the 12 chapters could easily stand alone, although many of the techniques build on concepts covered in earlier chapters. The book could be seen as a more concise alternative to 12 different texts on each of the topics covered, or more convenient than 12 articles. The skills covered, which are as much life skills as managerial skills are: understanding the brain; adult learning; problem solving; creativity; memory; note‐taking; reading; writing; time management; presentations; interpersonal relationships; and stress. Many of these are standard management training fare, and many potential readers will probably have attended courses on one or more at some stage in their careers. However, they are skills where there is just about always room for improvement, and the author presents them in a fresh and straightforward manner.
He is a great advocate of Mind Maps and promotes their use in just about every chapter. Chapter summaries are even provided at the end of the book in Mind Map format. While the usefulness of such visual techniques to aid memory and learning cannot be argued with, this reviewer felt that this particular tool was perhaps over‐emphasised. A wider range of formats for recording information for different purposes could have been utilised.
Mnemonics and acronyms as memory aids were also used extensively, but this did not grate as generally the context seemed appropriate. Examples include the four Cs of good presentation – Clear, Concise, Concrete, Colourful; the MUSE (Movement, Unusualness, Slapstick, Exaggeration) principle to improve memory recall; and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound) objectives. There are dozens of such memory joggers throughout the book, some of which are more memorable than others!The author also makes good use of sayings, quotes and proverbs such as “Life is hard by the yard, but by the inch its a cinch” (in regard to breaking down objectives into small chunks) and “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (the power of positive self‐talk and creative visualization according to Shakespeare).
A extensive bibliography with most references dating from the 1980s and early 1990s is provided, along with a comprehensive index.
Readers of Mind Skills for Managers should not expect a general management text. As the title implies topics covered are generic skills to be a more effective reader, writer, speaker, time manager, etc. Managerial subjects such as supervision, delegation, and leadership are outside the scope of the book. People familiar with standard concepts of adult learning, effective study skills and personal effectiveness may find little that is new. However, they are brought together in a concise and readable manner that would be a useful package for anybody wanting an introduction to these subjects or reinforcement of skills in a desire to perform better at work or at home.