Reviewed: “Do You Know How to Shut Up? And 51 Other Life Lessons That Will Make You Uncomfortable,” by Michael Staver, Mac Daddy Publishing, 2008, $14.95, 119 pages.
Knowing when to shut up, according to author Michael Staver, is a lost art.
I would have to agree. Especially in my office (no offense, coworkers).
Journalists, you see, not only love to write, they loooooove to share their opinions. Mostly about politics. Ick.
“Have you ever been in a conversation with a person who has already made his point but just won’t let it go?” Staver asks in his book “Do You Know How to Shut Up? And 51 Other Life Lessons That Will Make You Uncomfortable.” (Yes! The answer is yes!)
He continues, “Worse yet are you that person? Some people love the sound of their own voices, while others may simply chatter on out of nervousness or because they are uncomfortable with silence. Regardless, it’s annoying and counterproductive.”
The key, according to Staver, is to simply become more comfortable with speaking less, and more effectively. This will come with practice, he says.
This is less of a tip, than a way to get an eye-catching title for a book of business-related tips (about one every other page).
Marketed as a business/self-help book, “Do You Know How to Shut Up?” is a compilation of short bursts of advice Staver has passed along to his clients over the years. He’s CEO of The Staver Group, a national team of strategic business advisors and coaches.
Other gems Staver shared from lessons learned over the course of his 25-year career include: Can You Be Still? How Clear Are Your Boundaries? What Does It Take to Communicate with the Opposite Sex? Do You Know How to Handle Challenging People? Who Should You Blame? And Do You Stand Out (In a Good Way)?
Come to think of it, these are all kinda funny and perhaps are all good questions for anyone in business.
Consider Staver’s Life Lesson No. 8: Can You Be Still?I’m as guilty as anyone of trying to do too many things at once, and of “not seeing the forest through the trees,” as my mom likes to tell me.
Staver seems to think meditation is the answer.
“The most effective way to get more of what you want, and less of what you don’t want, is to commit to stillness on a regular basis,” he writes. “Stillness does not necessarily involve sitting quietly at the feet of some monk in a mountain hideaway. It is about a mindset and a willingness to approach stillness physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.”
To achieve this elusive stillness, Staver offers some homework suggestions including setting aside time to do nothing each week — even penciling it in on your calendar — and turning off all computers and cell phones while you’re at it.
“Be patient,” he advises. “It will take about one month before you really experience results.”
Life Lesson No. 27: Do You Know How to Handle Challenging People? — is a surprising mere three short paragraphs long. The gist is, difficult people aren’t worth your time.
What’s helpful are Staver’s strategies for dealing with said difficult people. These include, “Determine how much mental and emotional energy you are willing to invest in a particular person.”
The trouble is, you’re usually far more invested than you’d like to be when you realize that person’s such a pain.
Well, this book might not be the key to the mysteries of the universe, but it’s a cute little book. Probably better for a laugh than for actually helping you out of challenging office situations. But, then, we could all use a little more laughter. Or stillness.