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The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know (2009)

by Bob Beaudine

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8512259,010 (2.26)1
"This book shows that you already know everyone you need to know to get anything you need in life"--Provided by the publisher.

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Not well put together. It's hard to appreicate a self-help book that merely continues to expound on its own subtitle. ( )
  tammydotts | Jul 27, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This review I did put off writing because I was unable to finish the book. I thought the title was interesting and the summary seemed to promote a useful book, but I found the constant sport references and the plodding nature made the book unreadable. Perhaps someday I'll try again, or pass it on to someone else in the giveaway. ( )
  meerka | Jul 24, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bob Beaudine's book The Power of Who! opens with a very personable introduction, followed by sentence that is marked out in block-quote style, as if to suggest that it above all else is worth remembering. That sentence is, and I quote, "Take everything you have ever heard or learned about networking and just throw it out" (xiv). It's a radical and memorable idea. The presentation of that idea, however, is a microcosm of his entire book. Beaudine has some fresh, new ideas, and he presents them clearly and convincingly, but the vast majority of the book falls into typical self-help territory -- though, admittedly, it's an awfully fun read.

The essential premise of the book is, according to its subtitle, that you already know everyone you need to know. Beaudine suggests that if you consciously think about your friends and relations, you can come up with a circle of about 100 people and 40 goals/steps towards achieving the success and satisfaction you've always dreamed of. After outlining these ideas, and giving some pretty compelling reasons for their legitimacy, Beaudine uses them to introduce a new model of networking that involves not random, possibly-well-placed strangers, but the friends you already know and love -- friends that are willing to help you just because you are you. Understanding this and using it to your advantage, according to Beaudine, is the key to realizing your dreams.

At first glance -- and especially because I tend to write in a fairly jaded, unconvinced voice -- it may seem as if Beaudine's plan is a whole lot of self-help hoo-hah. But I have to confess that the first half of the book, in which he explains and illustrates this plan, is actually the best part. Beaudine argues rather convincingly for the inefficacy of networking, and while he tends to lean on words like "fate" and "destiny" a little too strongly for the pragmatist's liking, the simple logic of his reasoning is surprisingly strong. Not only does it make sense, but it's fun to read, interspersed with anecdotes and situations that make you feel less like a member of a large audience and more like a friend.

While The Power of Who! starts out very strongly, however, its effects begin to wane as time goes on. As the book progresses, Beaudine opts to shift towards business advice mode, dispensing his time-tested wisdom on such things as interview skills and the people with whom you should surround yourself to guarantee success. And while much of this information is, like the first part, practical and well thought out, it's also the kind of thing that one can find in almost any business or self-help book. After all, how many times can one be expected to read that the best thing one can do in an interview is to "be yourself" before it gets a little tiresome. Whereas the book starts off on a rather unusual and refreshing foot, it slips into tedious redundancy as it approaches its end.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that Beaudine's examples betray one of the weaknesses in his argument that he only very briefly considers: the placement and position of your "Who!" is what makes them so effective -- i.e., if your "Who!" are CEOs and presidents, you're likely to find that they will, in fact, take care of most any job problem you face. Unfortunately for the rest of us -- and yes, that includes the younger crowd, whom Beaudine mentions for a short moment in a later chapter but otherwise glosses over -- we may not have "Who!" friends that are nearly as well-connected. And sure, the argument rests upon circles intersecting with other circles, but I don't think Beaudine acknowledges fully enough the plain fact that some people's circles are just going to be objectively better than others'.

While that notion threatens to derail the book and send it face-first into accusations of elitism, Beaudine wisely tempers these notions by telling amusing and witty stories about his own life. Stories that, yes, involve very highly-connected people (the first one involves a gentleman named George W., and I'll give you two guesses as to who he is), but stories that are told in a very personable, down-to-earth style that tempers the highfalutin nature of their subjects. Beaudine's storytelling style truly helps ground the book, and while his constant interjections of "Big Mistake!" may occasionally get tiresome, you never get the sense that you're reading the work of a man who's out of touch with hard work, no matter how wealthy and successful he may be.

All told, if the self-help thing is up your alley, it's hard to say no to The Power of Who! When you think about Beaudine's theory completely, it's a low-pressure and very practical idea that, even at its simplest level, is easy to execute. (And if you're not finding success, it can't really hurt, can it?) I only wish that the whole book was as lucid and enlightening as the first half, because then it would have really been worth the strong recommendation. Regardless, it's at the very least worth a gander.
1 vote dczapka | Mar 9, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Power of Who is an energetic motivational approach on how to use your friends and family to help you advance your lifestyle. It explains that everything you want in life is attainable by using your family and friends to help you along the way. It explains that anything that you want out of life is attainable if you ask your family and friends to help you gain it. It comes across as being strictly an "upper class" mindset on how to get what you want out of life. There are a few good ideas followed by more instructions on using people to get what you want. At one point in the book he even tells you to ask your friends to ask their friends to help you and explains that since your friends "really" like you they will be more than happy to do it. ( )
  Kaysee | Feb 23, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Oh, gosh! For most of the book, I was planning to pretty much just make fun of the exclamation points! This book definitely overuses the bang! It's in the title and on nearly every page. This book is just too dang energetic. That was about the best I could come up with at first.

But then he made me so angry, I could spit. This book represents the absolute worst of self-interested Caucasian Christian Capitalist wealth-mongering. He portrays a life of money-centered calculation: cultivate your friends so you can get stuff, do good things for people because that'll help you get more stuff, make a list so you know what stuff (or wife) you want.

That kind of thing irritates me, but it's not unusual. Then he told a story that completely drove me mad (It was not as offensive as the story about the cliched happy black shoe shine man doling out wisdom, but it came first and pushed me over the edge):

Mr. Beaudine told the story of a lease he signed. It turned out that he didn't need the apartment any more and wanted to see if there was a way to break the lease. His request was denied. He writes, "My first thought was crying and then suing, but that's not how I was brought up." I thought that was cool: he understood that he had signed a legal agreement and he was brought up to stick to his word. Cool.

Uh, but, no. That wasn't the point. Instead of suing, he turned to the power of class privilege. He called a frat brother who owned the building and had the contract ripped up. It would be wrong of you prols out there to sue to change a contract, but if you've got the right background and contacts, go ahead and go back on your word. It's what you've been working for.

This book disgusts me. ( )
2 vote taleswapper | Feb 10, 2009 |
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